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

Riot at the Hyatt - Monterey, CA 
July 3, 2003

Fanatical sports fans are a little scary. One can never tell what they might do. I actually drove three hours and paid over one hundred bucks for a room at the Hyatt, just so I could cover this event. Nuts, might be a better description. Some guys buy boats or play golf. I cover the fights. Very soon I’ll even have my own website ( As you know by now, I love this game. If you have never been to one of Jerry Hoffman’s fights, you’ve missed something. Every one of his shows has been well planned and well executed, plus he does his own ring announcing. This show was no exception. Jerry is one of the hardest working promoters I have ever known.  He puts on two shows a year, but works year round to do so. I’ve seen this guy at fights all over the place. But as they say, the early bird gets the worm. Jerry understands this concept.

The first bout matched Sheldon Callum from San Francisco with Maurice Hooks from Modesto. I’ve known Maurice for sometime and I wanted him to win. I saw him take a pounding last May by a boxer from Los Angeles. I thought he was overmatched and that the promoter, who was allegedly his friend, overmatched him. However, as I said before, his trainer should not have taken the fight. Maurice has a heart the size of Texas and wants to win, however he’s hooked up with a trainer who must be delusional. He again took a fight with a boxer with seven fights. While Maurice only has one. This is a mismatch in my opinion. I don’t believe many fighters, no matter how strong or how well trained they are, can overcome such a difference in experience.  This brings up what I call the “Dark Side of Boxing.” If a promoter calls a trainer to set up a fight, the trainer is under pressure to say yes. Because if he doesn’t the promoter may not call back. Trainers who make a living from fighting, need to fight. Sometimes they agree to fight when they should pass; and, as we see with Maurice, the results can be heartbreaking.

I sat ringside in a sold-out house.  After a very long dog-and-pony show, the fights finally got under way.  Maurice Hooks came in with kick boxing experience, which sounds good; however, I think it confuses him. I was seated behind the blue corner. The bell sounded and Callum came out with jabs and a right-hand cross. Maurice was the aggressor, pushing the fight and pressuring Callum. Callum refused to be intimidated and gave as good as he got. I noticed Maurice was punching from too far away, which indicates lack of sparring and timing. Callum appeared off balance and clumsy.  He missed most of his punches because he was also too far away. Callum started throwing combinations and stepping in behind his punches. Maurice got him with a right hand then tripped or fell to his right knee. Maurice began throwing right hands to the stomach, which left him completely exposed. Callum tagged him with jabs as he came in. Callum came back with a three-punch combination that knocked Maurice into the corner. Maurice responded with a suicidal attack that had him take more than he gave.  Again, I saw the round for Callum. Maurice displayed good side-to-side movements, but lacked the technical experience to set up an effective counter attack.  Maurice appeared amateurish, lacked smooth, fluid motions and timing. He missed too many punches. Callum caught Maurice with an upper cut. Once again Maurice threw caution to the wind and charged, taking more punishment. Callums’ experience showed as he remained calm, while Maurice seemed to panic after taking a shot. Instead of staying on the outside jabbing, using his distance, he’d come in and brawl. The fourth round saw Callums’ right hand become more effective. He caught Maurice with a right hand upper cut and dropped him. He took an eight count. Callum came in for the kill, punishing Maurice--again. Instead of regaining his composure, he launched another attack in which he took power shots to the head, then another right hand dropped him on his back. It was painful to watch.  But as the Godfather said, “This is the life we’ve chosen.”  Maurice has not realized that you don’t attack after getting tagged. You tie the guy up.  You regroup, re-collect your senses, then you look for an opening. If you can’t find one you create one via your technique and jabs.  Although I like Maurice, I would advise him to reevaluate his career choice. I would also suggest changing coaches and not fight guys with so much more experience.

The next bout matched heavyweight Roy Meador from Sacramento and Joel Mosely from Canyon Country, wherever that is.  Meador has a record of 3-0 and Mosely has 0-1.  Mosely had been knocked out by this very guy earlier.  Mosley displayed no respect for Meador and came in with his left hand too low.  Meador pressured Mosely and took the round. Mosely seemed tentative while Meador started throwing hooks to the body with power behind each punch. Mosely was slow and moved away while Meador chased him around the ring. They started talking to each other saying God-knows-what. Mosley--who should have been pissed off, refused to punch and seemed content to wait, while Meador seemed to want to kill him.  Mosely shoved Meador into the corner. A blind man could see openings on Meador as he pulled his hand back, as if in a John Wayne fight scene, but Mosely failed to take advantage. Moseley let himself be pushed around, while Meador loaded up every punch and threw wild, wide shots that could have easily been blocked.  Meador caught Mosely with a right hand shot to the head and hooks to the body. Mosely was out of gas by the end of the fourth round and looked terrible. Meador was throwing low blows. Mosely started coming with his head down like a bull and continued to push Meador around--he looked awful.   It was not one of the best bouts I’ve ever seen. When heavyweights are not in shape it gets to be a lot of pushing and winging punches.  The judges saw it for Meador. I’d suggest harsher training, longer runs and more commitment by both boxers. Crowds like to see heavyweights, but most of the ones I¹ve seen locally stink bad, you gotta wonder what makes them think they can box.

The next bout matched a seasoned veteran, Joaquin Candelario, with thirty-two fights with a record of 6-26. This kid can fight! I saw him use his magic on David Martinez from Stockton and I believe that on any other day, he might have beaten him.   His opponent was “Dangerous” Ricardo Junez. I don’t know if what I am reading is correct, but according to this information, his record is 1-0. This is such a mismatch that it makes you wonder why the Boxing Commission would permit it. I was completely surprised--Junez took it to Candelario and put a frog under his left eye.  The second round saw Junez once again go after Candelario who amazingly permitted this “beginner” to dominate him. I don’t know what happened to Candelario, but he seems to have lost all his mojo.  Junez must have some mighty powerful magic to have cowed such a seasoned veteran. Junez actually had Candelario on the ropes and almost knocked him out several times.  Instead of using his experience, Candelario froze before the eyes of God and all creation. He lost a unanimous decision to a fighter he should not have even been in the ring with. This must be humiliating. Ricardo Junez must feel like he just dodged a bullet.  This is an unbelievable accomplishment and a hell of a way to make his debut.  I’d have to advise him against risking so much so soon.  In my opinion, discretion is still the better part of valor.  I'd fire whoever decided to take this as his first professional fight.

The next bout matched a kid whom I have watched since he began his pro career. Luis Perez, with a 5-0 record, has no idea how to box, but does have a granite chin and punches nonstop. They called him “El Torito,” meaning little bull. His opponent from Los Angeles, Javier Garcia, arrived with a record of 3-2-1. Garcia looked like he was going to die a quick death as he began trading punches. Garcia had good hand-speed and better knowledge of boxing. I gave the first round to Garcia. Perez seems to hang his head out past his arms and takes so many punches you gotta wonder if he doesn’t already have brain damage. The poor kid can’t do anything, he barely jabs, has no foot work, no balance, no defense, and just wades in with both hands chopping away, as if felling a tree. Garcia absorbed tremendous shots to the body, as he peppered Perez with dozens of power shots to the head. I have no idea why Garcia would drop his hands when facing a brawler but he did. In typical “torito” style, Perez came in with his head down, arms down by his knees and waded in swinging wide, powerful blows. As Perez took dozens of shots to the head and face, blood dripped out of his nose and down his face, making him look like a character out a Rocky Movie. Garcia danced away, pivoting left and right; while Perez continued to pressure him. I gave the third round to Perez.  I sat in wonder as to why Garcia would trade power shots with a known and accomplished puncher. Whoever is working Garcia’s corner is either blind or stupid.  No way would I let my boxer brawl with anyone called “El Torito.” Perez’s trainer should be marooned in space for permitting a kid with the heart of a lion to box without any fundamentals or defensive skills.  Perez finally started throwing upper cuts in the fifth and sixth rounds. Garcia did several shoe-shines on Perez but took punishment for his audacity. Garcia completely failed to see that Perez cannot be hurt by hitting him on the head. Perez’s head has to be made of rock.  If someone would just teach him how to box, he might actually have a future.  As it is, he’ll have a thousand pounds of brain damage by the time he’s twenty one. Both of these guys need some major help in developing strategy, as neither seems to have any. Perez might make a better lumberjack than boxer because the only punches he throws are wide chopping shots. I had Garcia ahead five rounds to one. I believe “El Torito” learned more tonight than he has ever learned before. Too bad it cost him a loss on his record.

The female boxing match was excellent!  I was impressed with Carina Moreno.  This girl is destined for big things. She has an excellent amateur record and displays her experience well. Her opponent flew in from Chicago and took a powerful beating for her trouble. Moreno dominated the entire match so much that it appeared to be an evening of target practice.  I'd have to call it a mismatch. Or a no contest. I’ll admit Cecilia Barraza can take a punch, if that is any consolation. Carina jumped on Barraza like a goose on a Junebug and beat her like a red-headed step child.  The poor Barraza--who calls herself Boom Boom, got hammered as if she had stolen money from the church. After watching three rounds of Barraza taking such a pounding I was advocating for a stoppage, however logic often seems to be absent at these events. I have no idea why her trainer would permit Barraza to continue taking a beating, knowing very well that she had no chance of winning.  Personally, I’d stop it and just say she was unable to continue.  But as I said, common sense is not common.  The bloody nose and the tremendous beating were still not enough for her coach to stop it. The fight went on to its bloody end. Barraza took a beating and bled like a stuck pig. It made absolutely no sense, however it was allowed to continue. I have to admire Barraza for not quitting; however, the punishment was useless and unnecessary. I gotta wonder why her coach would not throw in the towel.  There is always tomorrow and losing is bad enough without also taking a humiliating beating. At least this way she could say, “My coach stopped it--not me.”

The main event proved beyond any doubt that the business of boxing is an art. Jerry Hoffman, whose magic as a promoter has made him successful, knows the real formula does not require big named, expensive boxers, but only consistency and a solid fan base.  He knows the best boxing fans in the world are Latinos and he markets almost exclusively to this target audience. He also never schedules ten rounders as main events. Ten-round boxers always want too much money. From what I heard, Jerry hates to pay well. This last show proves that his formula may not be the stuff big fights are made of, but he always packs the house and makes a buck.  His main event proved my point.  Tony “Bonz” Avila, a native of Modesto, has never set foot in Salinas, nor to my knowledge, has he fought on any recent cards.  He moved to Las Vegas and hooked up with an old friend of mine, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, whom I met at Richard Steel’s gym in Vegas. I ran into Eddie in Monterey. He and his crew were checking out the sea lions that have invaded the wharf area.  Eddie has a lot of juice in boxing and lots of connections.   Ricardo Barragan, his opponent, another fighter who is not well known and almost assuredly not well paid, hasn’t been seen in a long time. Yet, here he is, starring in The Main Event. On most cards six rounders are considered warm-up bouts. Not on Jerry’s cards.  Here, these are the main events.   He keeps his costs down and due to his consistency and excellent marketing skills, stills packs the house. 

I remember Ricardo Barragan when he was still boxing as an amateur, but that was years ago. He has matured into a serious student of the sweet science and proved his mettle against Tony.  I went downstairs and spoke with Tony before the match. I thought I might know him from my Tough Man College and High School Boxing tournaments I promoted in Stockton, but no luck. I wished him well and returned to my spot ringside.

The bell sounded and it was soon apparent that “Bonz” did not pack the gear to mix it up with Barragan.  Tony tried to jab and move away from Ricardo, who pressed him from the onset. Tony would throw a fast combination and try to get away, but Barragan came after him viciously. During the exchanges it was apparent that even if given the opportunity, “Bonz” could not hurt Ricardo, while it was equally clear that Barragan was hurting “Bonz” with his shots.  Ricardo almost knocked out “Bonz” several times, who took terrific punishment and never had a chance of winning. However “Bonz” showed courage, but I caught him looking at his corner several times, as if asking Eddie to throw in the towel. “Bonz” took a horrible pounding for five out of six rounds. Ricardo, putting a hurting on Tony who looked like he’d been rolled over by a steam engine, while Ricardo barely looked winded after the bout. It was not the best fight of the evening although it was entertaining.  I’m going to christen Ricardo,  “Steam Engine,” because he never stopped pressuring his opponent. Good hunting and good luck.

I congratulate Jerry Hoffman who has found the right formula for promoting money-making bouts and keeping dreams alive for all these young boxers.  Always the businessman, Jerry is already announcing his next bout, six months away. Smart guy. As we all know, professional boxing is about the money. Who cares if you have to cut a few corners? If it works, don’t fix it. Good luck, Jerry.

See you Ringside,

Jorge A. Martinez