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Jorge's Corner
The Voice of Boxing in Central and Northern California

Amateur Boxing
Atwater Pentecost Club
Atwater, CA
May 29, 2004

Winning. There maybe a few things more important to a young fighter, but I canšt think of any. I attended the Central California Central Association Amateur boxing match at Atwater. It was an excellent show.  Congratulations to Mr. Eddie Campos and Dennis Moniz.   Thanks Andy Murrieta and Rick Mello, the referees and all the officials whom without the show could have never taken place.

The bright side of amateur boxing is so bright one needs shades, the dark side is so depressing, many simply turn away.  But I’ll leave that for another story. Today, I shall focus on the two best bouts. In the 100 lb. weight class. Alejandro Anillo, from the Atwater boxing club and Isai Orea 97 lb., from Oakdale. Both displayed conditioning usually only seen in world championship matches, and heart only found on the battlefield.  Their coaches whom I have not met should be congratulated because it is they who usually instill the technique and knowledge required to compete in this very demanding game.

The best bout of the evening was between James Kindell, from Tulare, 30 years old and Francisco Soto, 23 years old, from Avenal.  It was my privilege to be present when these two warriors met.  In observing these gladiators, I noted James Kindell possessed a more mature demeanor. He also looked stronger, and potentially dangerous in the ring. His trainer said he had been to the National championships and had 50 bouts. When I asked him how many Soto had, he said he did not know.  A Red Flag went up in my mind; no amateur coach would allow his boxer to enter the ring with an opponent whom he did not know this about. I was surprised by his reply, but this begins to demonstrate the culture of amateur boxing.  This aspect of it troubles me. I always deal with everyone honestly, however this is not what most people are accustomed too, hence we have an atmosphere of distrust. I am at a loss to explain why he responded in this manner, as it would have made no difference to me or to the story.  I would have eventually learned what I had to know.  This concerned me, however, I as I said, I do not make up the story, I just tell it.  His opponent, Francisco Soto, appeared smaller, less strong but confident. He possessed a young guy quality, which is hard to describe, but easily recognized.  He appeared streetwise due to his tattoos.  I also noted a reckless glint in his eyes, one Išve seen in explosive individuals.  It is my business to notice these details. I contacted his coach and asked why he had taken a fight with an opponent with so much more experience. (Soto only has 20 bouts)  He replied that it was not the number of fights or experience but how good the fighter was that mattered. He went on to say Francisco had fought two boxers with over 100 fights each and beat them.  He added Francisco had not trained properly and had a hurt hand, which was why he stopped the fight, and then he added that Sotošs father kept shouting for him to stop the fight, which was why really he stopped it.  He then said Francisco wants to turn pro, but he feels he doesn't have enough experience yet.  If this sounds confusing, join the club; I am still confused about his logic or his reasons for stopping the bout.   However, as I said earlier, I donšt create the story, I just tell it.  I believe I have quoted everyone correctly without taking sides.

In my opinion, Francisco Sotošs best weapon was speed, and agility, while James Kindellšs was experience and power. The first round proved me correct. Soto mistakenly choose to trade shots with Kindell who seemed amused by Sotošs cockiness. He responded by landing bombs. Soto refused to back off and brawled, a mistake. I shouted for Soto not to trade shots with Kindell, noticing that his punches had more power. No sooner had I done so than Ka-bow, Kindell landed a solid shot that dropped Soto. It was not a matter of being off balance, or lucky shot.  Kindell was clearly stronger. Soto, displayed a great heart, and got up to finished the round.  I thought he was overmatched, and the fight should be stopped.   I predicted a knock out, unless Soto changed tactics. Being able to change tactics in the middle of a battle is a rare quality, not often founded anywhere. Fighters are not known for their willingness to admit weakness.  An unseasoned fighter will resort to instinct. Unfortunately, this is also their ultimate mistake.  Few have the intelligence to change tactics.  Soto failed to adopt, and proved you do not meet experience and power with brute force, but skill, evasiveness, and agility.  I also suspect Soto only has one speed and tunnel vision. He sees a target and charges in for the kill, without considering alternatives or change in tactics.  The second round began with a fury of action and dozens of punches exchanged. The power and speed behind those punches was magnificent, both fighters displayed excellent technique and training.  I noted Soto had not changed tactics, nor was he fighting smarter, but recklessly.  I believed his pride had been injured and he sought revenge, a trait often found in fighters. Pride is essential amongst this rare group of human beings.  A boxer is unlike others, in that he must extract revenge while in the mist of battle. Few none combatants understand the heart of a warrior. Fighters have noble hearts and under the right tutelage can accomplish amazing feats.  However, I feared Sotošs pride might be his undoing, no sooner had I repeated my instructions, than Kindell unleashed a beautiful combination that rocked Soto and again sent him to the canvas. Again, Rick Mello, the old veteran referee stepped in and administered an eight count. Soto, regained his composure, and launched himself once more into the fray.  Kindell charged across the ring and delivered a series of powerful blows, just he was about to go down again, Sotošs coach stopped the bout. Soto protested. He did not want to quit. No amount of arguing would have accomplished anything. The fight had ended. Soto, the proud young, warrior was vanquished, victim of his inability to adopt, change tactics and fight smarter. He’ll have much to contemplate as he jogs around the windy, lonely hills surrounding Avenal. Hopefully, hešll return a humbler, wiser man.

Stopping the fight was one of the better moves I have seen taken by an amateur coach, although I did not learn about the reasons until latter? Putting the boxer first is rare among amateur coaches. Many have few real qualifications and questionable motives. Few teach fundamentals, most focus on the professionals and ignore the beginners.  His coach made a tough decision. I do not believe Soto could have come back from two knockdowns and won the bout.  It made no sense to endure punishment and risk injury for a ten-dollar trophy.    A warrior may accept these plastic trinkets, but they matter little, in comparison to the pride that is at stake. When I approached Francisco, who had left the building angrily, he was not happy with my observations, nor pleased that I offered them. Few young men are able be gracious after a defeat. Fewer have the character to overcome their self-made obstacles and see past their wounded pride.   I believe Francisco should change weight class. I believe his frame is too short to be fighting as a middleweight. Keep in mind, Hopkins is six feet and De La Hoya is five feet, ten inches. 

Kindellšs coach informed me James was a youth minister. Thatšs great, I think every man needs to be passionate about something. Me, I love boxing, so Išll focus on the fight. I believe James is too short to fight at middleweight.  At 30 years old he has few reasons to stay an amateur. After all, whatšs the challenge in beating up boxers with less experience and maturity.  Itšs a hollow victory, one not worthy of a warrior.   Down here in the small pond it’s ok, but as he moves up in the ranks, and faces taller, better-seasoned fighters, his short stature will be a problem. I would suggest he make another try for the National Championship, then go for the National Team.  There is no shortage of professional boxers, nor unscrupulous promoters who will chew-em up, use them, then dispose of them on the mountain of wanna be heroes. No matter, at least for now, he can celebrate momentarily, and enjoy his victory.  Congratulations James, good fight.

Always in Your Corner,

Jorge A. Martinez