June 24, 2006
One can never
tell what theyíll see at a professional boxing event. Itís not a job, itís
an adventure. This was the fist professional boxing event in Modesto in fourteen
years. Thanks to James Feller. It was a great show. The Modesto Center Plaza is
a safe setting with plenty of security, and clean bathrooms. James seemed to
have a little of everything. He had great looking ring girls, knockout girls,
and girls in tiny little white skirts that happily displayed themselves. I was
amazed at the bountiful supply of half dressed women. He even had an announcer
wearing pink, strange color for a fight crowd. We also heard the strangest
version of the National Anthem sung by a young lady with a Jennifer Lopez
derriere. She wore a white pantsuit, and had a silver flower in her hair. Thank
God there were no wardrobe malfunctions. James had enough eye candy to give
everyone a toothache. Anymore might have made us blind. Like I said, itís not
a job, its an adventure.
The first bout matched Gerardo
Arcos with Bhakari Gates both of Sacramento. Gates wore white and Arcos black.
Iíve seen Gates fight at Arco Arena, and I gotta say this kids is in desperate
need of a new trainer. Heís got the tools, but lacks the skills. He has a bad
habit of leaping in with a left hook, which can be seen, from the next county.
Itís no wonder he never lands it. I wonder if heís ever watched videos of
himself. Arcos came out throwing power shots, while Gates tried to run, then
turned to fight. Arcos took control and set the tone. Gates failed to use his
reach, longer legs, and stay on the outside. Arcos forced his way in and banged
away with body shots, while Gates tried to cover up and absorbed punishment.
Arcos lacked a jab, but had plenty of hooks and rights. Gates demonstrated good
balance, great lateral movement, but failed to fight back. In the third round
Gates threw Arcos into the ropes and lost a point for doing so. He latter used
his elbows. The crowd got into the action and screamed their pro-Mexican
attitude. Gates missed a dozen shots because he did not step into this punches,
when Arcos got on the inside, Gates failed to slug it out. He leaned back on his
hooks and missed by inches. He absorbed ten or twelve shots against the ropes
and Dan Stell, the referee, who became famous for saving Eric Reagan in
Sacramento Arco Arena by not stepping in let it continue. The crowd made no
qualms about its views and shouted obscenities as the action grew. I thought it
should have been stopped during the third round, instead it continued and Arcos
pounded Gates against the ropes again, but this time, Stell mercifully stopped
the beating 45 seconds into the fourth round. Gates should seriously consider a
new trainer. Arcos won by TKO.
The next bout matched a
wild-eyed Japanese boy named Yoshi Fugii and Carlos Musquez, both making their
debut. I was surprised Yoshi took the fight to Carlos who seemed totally
confused by his strange and bizarre style. I gotta think Yoshi was making a
transfer from the math club or baseball, because he did not know what the hell
he was doing. He attacked form weird angles, took crazy risks, and threw strange
shots, but never stopped punching. Carlos seemed overwhelmed by this strange
wild eyed boy from the east, who may have stunk, but never stopped punching or
attacking, and seemed to cow Carlos who lost momentum. Carlos failed to use his
experience to control Yoshi who did enough in my mind to win. One of Carlosís
relatives shouted racial obscenities, as well as using four letter adjectives.
You gotta wonder how they eat with that mouth. Iím sure his mother would have
been disappointed. I understand why Carlos failed to shine, its difficult to box
such a wild guy, you just gotta brawl with em. However, It was exciting and the
crowd got into. I spoke to Carlos after the fight, he looked beat up, but in
good spirits. The judges called it a draw. I had Yoshi ahead on my card.
The next bout matched a
Modestoís, Tony Avila Jr, with Alex Ariza. I gotta give these guys top marks
for heart; both displayed the kind of courage usually found in actual combat.
Watching these young warriors go for it, reminds me why this is such a great
game. It also served to emphasize how serious and potentially dangerous it is.
Both boxers were injured, yet neither surrendered. Watching their painful
expressions from ringside forced me to recall the site of wounded soldiers,
spilling blood as they fought back on the hot sands of Kuwait as we pushed
Saddamís troops out. Although hostilities ended at the end of the fourth
round, I fear both of these young lions will carry their injuries with them.
Tony was injured during the second round when he seemed to loose his
equilibrium, and Alex threw out his shoulder and fought the third and fourth
round with one arm. It was a hard fought battle, not technical, but filled with
excitement, and fury. I was happy to learn Tony planned to retire. It was easily
the most exciting fight of the evening. I know this is little thanks for the
hard work and courage they displayed, but it is offered with sincere gratitude,
from one warrior to another. Tony won the decision.
The Main Event featured one of
the hardest fighting, none stop brawlers Iíve seen come out of Sacramento.
Ernesto Castaneda has got to be one of the toughest fighters in the country. He
is without exaggeration a fighting machine. I marvel at what he could do if he
actually learned how to box. He must have skin as thick as elephant hide and
must be in tremendous shape, because he never stops attacking. He also wonít
take a round off. Iíve seen this kid take enough punishment to kill a tank,
and keep coming. If he could learn how to maintain his balance, shift he weight
into his punches, and jab correctly, he might be a contender. Iíve watched him
turn his feet parallel to his opponent. Iíve seen him cross his feet and throw
punches from his elbows. I wonder at what he might do if he learned defensive
skills. His opponent Cleiton Conceicao also deserves high marks for surviving
Castanedaís attack. The fight was an ugly not stop bloody brawl. It involved
little technique, no strategy, positioning, or great counter punching. It
consisted of Castanedaís attacking none stop by swinging from every angel and
position possible. The judges called it a draw. I had Castandea ahead on my
The event ended happily without
the audience getting too drunk or stupid. Something that always makes the
evening a little less crazy. I wanna send a final salute to all the boxers, and
once again to James Feller the promoter that made it all possible.
Those of you who follow my
coverage know how many times Iíve thank God for Boxing. In my book this is the
best game. Those who possess the grit and necessary partial insanity to
participate, receive gratification beyond describing. Those who excel can get
rich. As in all things that include money, there is a dark side, dangerous to
navigate complete with monsters and dragons. Every form of evil exists and often
lamented. There are dozens of critics, and idiots who claim to know boxing
because they watch it on TV. Others, alleged former boxers, insist they know
best, even though theyíve never proven their mettle in the ring. There are the
brownnosers, and the lowest creatures next to child molesters, the politicians.
Fans have cause to pause and ponder whether to mingle with such questionable
characters, until by some miracle they meet a real student of the sport. I had
the privilege of sitting next to judge Kenny Bayless. Not only was I impressed
with his professionalism; I was equally impressed with his manner and his
directness. Visiting with him was a pleasure. Its too bad more members of the
commission donít have his style.
Among those whom I add to my
long list of friends is Richard Page. This professional boxer has the heart of a
warrior and the spirit of a daredevil. Iíve followed his career and Iíve
watched him wage war. I found him to be enjoyable company. This kid has a great
chin, heís usually in shape, and wonít quit. However, like I told him, he
needs help. I can only image what he could do, if he had a better trainer.
Another young man whom Iíve
been consistently impressed with is Sacramento's own Manrty-------. Heís
ranked number two in the country as an Amateur. I hope this kid makes it to the
Beijing Olympics. I wish there was more I could do for this young lion. After
being in this game so long, Iíve seen wannabeís come and go. Iíve seen
dozens of young men filled with self-importance swell up like balloons, only to
blow up. The one ingredient most telling as to whether a young man will succeed,
is character. This is a difficult attribute to identify, yet obvious when
absent. Iíve met other local Olympic wannabeís, and I tried to like them,
Iíve even gone out of my way to help, but itís like trying to teach the
devil about God, they just doesn't get it. If they lack the necessary character,
there is nothing you can do, but stand aside and watch em self-destruct. The
absent quality is a lack of respect. When a young man demonstrates this flaw,
there is little anyone can do. Itís too late. I know enough about people to be
able to identify a phony. Once you get past the fake sincerity and hard luck
stories, all they really worship is their ego and money. Still, I wish em luck,
and God bless em. Iíll stay away; I donít wannabe around when lighting
Boxers seriously interested in
advanced training, seeking to further their careers beyond Central and Northern
California should contact Fear No Man Boxing Club. He never accepts more than
ten fighters, and everyone gets a lot of attention. He takes boxers over 18, but
only if they plan to fight competitively.
As much as things change and as
much as people complain about them, it helps to remember that beauty is only a
temporary condition, which is what makes it beautiful. The next time someone
cuts you off on the freeway, or behaves rudely, find the humor in it, even if it
means laughing at yourself. Keep in mind that a person who lacks a sense of
humor, is like a car without shock absorbers, every tiny bump in the road seems
like a boulder.
Once again I gotta say Thank
God for Boxing. See you at the fights!