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

 

Modesto, CA
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 card.

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 strikes.

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!  

Always in Your Corner,

Jorge A. Martinez
Sportswriter/Trainer/Manager
dancingskyhorse@earthlink.net


 

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