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

San Jose HP Pavilion
July 10, 2003

It's been more years than I care to say, but July is my anniversary of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Some four thousand other insane individuals and myself ran down the streets of Pamplona, Spain with a half dozen Spanish fighting bulls chasing us. Several dozen people were hurt and four gored seriously.  Yes, I was once that crazy. Now as I watch it on ESPN-2, It sounds like make believe, but as wild as it sounds reality is still stranger than fiction. Take Gary Owens' debut as a professional boxer against Carlos Espinoza. The floor gave way and a big hole appeared in the center of the ring. The referee stopped the fight in the first round and had the maintenance men come in and fix it. Then he stopped it again in the second round because it was still not properly repaired.  This kind of of stuff usually only happens in movies. Murphy's Law says, "If anything can go wrong, it will."  Murphy's Law is more than some drunken Irishmen's idea of a joke. I guess the maintenance supervisor never heard of The Six Ps. My old drill sergeant would have told them, "Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance."

Gary Owens, a warrior under any name, has an impressive record as a kick boxer, and like so many other kick boxers, came to boxing for the money. Kickboxing doesn't have the Latino population as a fan base and everyone knows Latinos are the best fight fans all over the world.  Looking back, it seems like a mismatch to have someone with so much experience claim to be making his "debut." This really isn'tt being one hundred percent honest. I felt sorry for Carlos Espinoza, who tried his best.  He really didn'tt have much of a chance against someone with so much actual combat experience. As any trainer will tell you, there is no substitute for experience. Anyway, Gary Owens knocked out his opponent in the third round and got the victory. But I have to repeat what I said earlier, "There is no honor in beating up someone
who isn't in your category," although it happens everyday.

The second bout was no better. Another mismatch in my opinion. Arturo Quintero with eleven fights faced Victor Guerrero with only four fights under his belt. What can you say about something like this? As a sports fan, it's like watching a race car compete against a bicycle. No contest. So Arturo got the victory--whoopee.  It would have been real news if it hadn't.  I'd have to ask Mr.. Gomez, Golden Boy's match maker to make some adjustments. This is not the best  he could do.  I don't mean to sound disrespectful of any of these fighters, it's not their choice. All I am saying is it's not an even contest.   I'd prefer to watch a more interesting match. Arturo knocked out  Victor Guerrero in the third round. As I said, there is no honor in beating someone beneath your level. Marty Sammon, the referee and living legend, hopped round the ring giving us all a laugh. Marty Sammon is an former Airborne Ranger.  This guy actually jumped out of a perfectly good airplane while someone was shooting at him, so you gotta know he's nuts.  Having spent sometime in a foxhole under fire, it's no picnic.  I did what I had to do and I've never claimed to be a hero, but I'd never jump out of airplane.  I use to admire those guys--now I just think they're crazy.

I was happy to see Kelsey Jeffries in such good spirits. I saw her lose to Jo Jo Wyman, less then a month ago at the Civic Auditorium. It was Rick Mello's first professional promotion. I hated to see the poor attendance, but Rick forgot to check the social calendar. He was competing with San Jose's High School Graduation night.  I also learned that Kelsey Jeffries changed trainers. This is always a dangerous time for fighters, as it usually takes some time for the adjustment. I also heard rumors that Kelsey's opponent was some hot-shot east coast boxer who was supposed to wipe the floor with her. I did not like to hear that. I've been a fan of Kelsey since she started fighting. However, I do wish someone would teach her how to pivot with her back foot and shift her weight into her punch. I believe it might give her a knock-out punch, which she lacks and desperately needs.

I watched Honey Girl, Melissa Del Valle come into the ring to a romantic love song. Usually fighters like a loud, ear-splitting  rap tune to bounce in on. She was wearing her Puerto Rican flag on her trunks. Kelsey Jeffries always wears red, white and blue.  Melissa has an impressive amateur record, which Kelsey doesn't.  I grew concerned because I believe I've seen Melissa fight before. I know east coast female boxers have a lot more experience than west coast boxers. I was very impressed with Del Valle.  She came in moving smooth as silk, easily shifting her weight and punching with either hand. A quick combination caught Kelsey coming in. Kelsey's inability to fight from both sides gave me more reason for concern. While Del Valle looked like a professional fighter, Kelsey still has several bad habits she had as an amateur.  Her former trainer never fixed these and I believe it has hindered her  development.  I wish she would rethink her style and make some changes.  I gave the first round to  Kelsey, who although pressured Del Valle, appeared frustrated by her lateral movements. Kelsey is not beyond mixing it up in the clinches and doesn't hesitate to rabbit punch. She can rough house with the best of them and plays the whistle. This fancy term means she will do whatever, until the referee reprimands her, which he didn't. Kelsey came in aggressively but seemed to be off her game and failed to take advantage of clear openings. Del Valle seemed confident and easily kept Kelsey away with her jabs as she moved. Kelsey chased her around the ring and threw wild left hooks taking dozens of jabs to the face. Her face reddened and she had murder in her eyes.  She tied up Del Valle and started punching to the back of her head.  Kelsey took a beautiful right hand to the face that stunned her. Del Valle nailed her again with a quick sharp jab.  Kelsey continue to pressure and tried throwing bombs, which missed. Del Valle's experience clearly demonstrated why she's had such a brilliant career. Kelsey started fighting dirty, pushing and grabbing Honey Girl. The round ended with Kelsey landing a solid shot and smiling as she walked to her corner. I don't know why the referee did not warn Kelsey for punching in the clinches. She desperately wanted to brawl while Del Valle smartly refused.  At the end of the round, during a clinch she nailed Del Valle again as they separated. The referee said nothing, Kelsey caught her with a right hand, left hook and winked as the bell rang. All her sportsmanship gone, Kelsey had no reservations about  fighting dirty and doing whatever she had to do to get some pay back. Del Valle got pissed off and waiting for the next clinch, as they broke away she threw a beautiful combination that was clearly illegal. The  referee took a point and Del Valle shouted in protest, clearly not happy. The final round had everyone on their feet then two very large human whales refused to sit down in front of me. I shouted bloody murder but you know talking to a drunken jerk is a waste of time.  Finally security came over, thank God.  Both ladies gave up any resemblance of civility and just tried to beat each other down. Del Valle smiled at Kelsey disrespectfully. Kelsey growled and came in for murder. A hard-fought, exciting last round saw Kelsey landing several right hands and Del
Valle  running away. Kelsey managed to dominate every round. Even though she was clearly frustrated by Del Valle, she won it in my book. I knew the judges would agree.  Kelsey got a unanimous decision. I believe this should serve as a red flag for Kelsey, who needs to make some changes and learn some additional techniques. I hope Kelsey has the strength of character to recreate herself. At this point in a boxer's career, it's very difficult to do so. However, unless she  does, I fear she will never make it into the top winners circle and be able to compete on a world level.  I believe I could help her develop more boxing and less of a brawler style. I believe I could help her improve, all she has to do is ask.

The next bout matched Ricardo Cortes and Robert Davis Martinez, who came in wearing a Cuban Flag around his shoulders and on his trunks. He was well built and looked solid.  I have seen Ricardo take guys apart who look like him, but it always gives me pause, because they look potentially dangerous. I wish someone would teach Ricardo some boxing skills. He seems to be winning on sheer courage and strength. He has somehow found the correct formula to win; but I fear disaster awaits him unless he learns some fundamentals.  He is often clumsy, awkward and off balance. His most powerful tool is his great conditioning and his granite chin. Ricardo takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Martinez looked great coming out for the first round. Cortes started fast and caught Martinez with a nice shot that had Martinez spinning away as he jabbed. Cortes dropped his left hand and seemed to be off his game. The Cuban moved away while Cortes stalked him. The round seemed slow compared to the usual brawl Cortes engages in. Both fighters were too cautious and neither seemed willing to risk coming in for the kill. Martinez came in with a beautiful three-punch combination to the body and the round ended. Cortes came out again wanting to brawl, while Martinez stayed away and waited for the right moment to throw his quick jabs. Martinez seemed to be able to read Cortes better and caught him coming in. The crowd got impatient as fight crowds will, and egged Cortes on, but failed to motivate him. The boos started coming as both fighters waited and stalked each other without incident. The crowd of 4,070 booed, but the action failed to increase.
Cortes started doing some kind of crazy head movements. He seemed awkward and completely off his game. Both missed so many punches there must have been something in the water. I can't explain it. Both guys missed each other so often it was weird. It's like some kind of weird science fiction experiment, as neither could connect even though they never stopped punching. Finally Cortes nailed Martinez and shoved him into the corner.  Martinez responded like a wild man swinging all over the place.  Cortes looked awful. I had never seen him look so bad.  Finally, Cortes nailed Martinez with a left hook that  knocked Martinez into the ropes. Martinez once again came to life and responded with a dozen wild punches that missed Cortes who was unable to finish him.  Suddenly Cortes dropped Martinez with a body shot to his knees, but again failed to finish him. Martinez dodged another bullet by some kind of miracle The last round looked like a repeat of the last five. Cortes pressuring Martinez--who jabbed and stayed away. In a flurry of missed punches and wild off-balanced movements, Martinez somehow managed to escape the bombs that Cortes unleashed. Martinez managed a brief comeback but it lacked power. Cortes took the victory in my book, but it was not a display of good boxing skills. I hope Cortes reads this and rethinks his training methods. I would suggest a change in trainers soon.

The Main Event was for the California Cruiser Weight Title.  Yosuke Nishjime from Japan came in with an impressive record of 24-1-1 with 15 knockouts.  Cecil Mackenzie seemed ill prepared for such a challenge with a record of only 11-6 with only 8 knockouts.  Although I saw Mackenzie knock out his last opponent, I was not impressed.   The other guy was simply awful, see my last story.  The Japanese fighter looked slick, mean and very determined. I had spoken to several of his fans outside prior to entering the Pavilion. They were pretty confident he'd win.  Yosuke came out throwing quick  jabs while Mackenzie waited and stalked him. Cecil missed a right hand and continued to pressure him. Cecil moved in and started fighting on the inside.  Due to my seating, it was difficult to see who got the better of the exchange. It was clear Cecil wanted to brawl, while Yosuke wanted to box. Yosuke nailed Cecil with upper cuts in the corner. I saw a low blow by Cecil that went undetected as they mixed it up in the clinch. Both fighters waited and seemed cautious. They got into another clinch but failed to punch. The bell sounded and it looked like it had the makings of an excellent fight.  I believed Yosuke actually had a chance, if he could stay away and  box. Cecil looked desperate and amateurish compared to him. The second round started with both fighters in a clinch, suddenly Cecil caught Yosuke with a body shot that hurt him, Cecil charged in and jumped on him like a cat on a mouse.  He rained a barrage of  punches on Yosuke; throwing vicious body shots and finishing him with an upper cut to the head. The  referee stepped in and stopped it.  The crowd went nuts and nearly lifted the roof with the noise.  Cecil Mackenzie is now the new California Cruiser Weight Champion. Congratulations to Cecil McKenzie.  May he keep his belt longer than the last guy who had it.

See you Ringside,

Jorge A. Martinez