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


Arco Arena
Sacramento, CA
July 21, 2005

Boxing has reawakened in Central California. Dozens of entrepreneurs are stepping into the fray, and trying to get rich. Unfortunately, many of them will fail. The ones that succeed are the ones that do it because they love boxing, not just the money. Don’t get me wrong; money is the name of the game, but not entirely. Take Don and Lorraine Chagrin they’ve been doing this for years. Yet, they sit ringside and watch every fight. You might ask why would an elderly couple want to be around all that noise, drunk fans, blood and violence? That's easy, they love boxing. I gotta admire their moxie

They usually put on good shows. A lot of their success has to do with the people behind the scenes. However, much to any promoter’s chagrin, they can only work with what's available. It’s not up to them to make a fighter, fight. Boxers are often prima donnas, seeking special attention. Some have strange quirks, likes and dislikes. Some wanna be rappers, others wanna be singers, and others just don’t care. Many boxers, especially on the east coast are drunks. I’ve heard horrible stories about boxers showing up drunk. I’ve not heard or seen anything like that here, if I did, I’d drop a dime to the commission.

The first bout was between Carlos Mainor (1-0) from San Diego and Ignacio Solar (2-0), Sacramento. I was disappointed Ignacio waited so long to get rolling, while Carlos got into his rhythm right away. Ignacio was intimidated and did not have any zip on his punches. He lacked fundamentals, had no defensive technique, and his foot positioning was terrible. It did not take long before Carlos saw an opening and landed a left hook, which rocked Ignacio, the ref came him an eight count. Carlos dominated the match, simply by being the busier fighter. Ignacio’s problem was a lack of confidence. Call me jaded, but I do not trust Mainor’s record, as it is impossible to verify an out of country fighter’s history. Ignacio winged his punches and failed to use his jab. Carlos used Ignacio’s head for a piñata in the fourth round. I was surprised at the fan’s lack of support for our own town boy. The lack of loyalty is significant. The fight crowd in Sacramento is unlike any other I’ve seen. Its about 50% DOEIs (Descendants of European Immigrants), usually its about 75% Latino. DOEI fans in Sacramento have no reservations about demonstrating their preferences based on race. The drunker they get the more scream and the less they care. I’m surprised there has not been a major incident, although there have been many brawls. Arco fans seem to like to drink more than average. The inappropriate behavior reaches levels of near insanity ringside. This was a tough crowd, openly hostile towards Ignacio and sympathetic towards Carlos who got the decision.

Sitting ringside watching the fight, I am always surprised at other lack of enthusiasm demonstrated by my colleagues. I feel privileged to sit ringside and observe two gladiators up close and personal. By the bored looks on some of my colleagues, you’d think they were watching Opera. I’d hate to be them, Helen Keller, said it best. “Life is either an adventure or a burden”. I love this game. I suggest the sport Editors send someone who likes what they’re doing. What’s really amazing is that these guys cover all sports, yet they think they know boxing. Its like saying you know the law, because you watch Judge Judy on TV. I’m still laugh at the arrogance with which some of these guys, strut around, name-dropping, and act important. Amazing. It’s true; there is no fool, like an old fool.

The second fight was Francisco Maldanado (10-19-4, 2 KOs) and of Lakeview and Anthony Charnell (5-2-1, 4 KOs) of Sacramento. This was a rematch and proved to be more exciting than the last bout. Anthony Charnell fought Francisco before and it was payback time. Charnell made few improvements, although his conditioning was better. His technique is still lacking. I gotta wonder who trains these guys? I was surprised by Maldanado who came out aggressively, while Charnell seemed subdued. As a fighter Maldanado, lacks fundamentals. I continuously stress this concept because its like breathing, without it, nothing else can happen. Much to my disappointment, 90 percent of coaches don’t seem to know what it means. Instead of examining their performance they choose to take offense. Sadly it’s the fighters that suffer. The fight seemed to be slowing down until Charnell nailed Maldanado, who took a knee and an eight count. Charnell smelled victory and charged in for the kill. After a short exchange Charnell landed a solid right hand and sent Maldanado to the canvas. Maldanado made an attempt to get up, but elected to remain on his back, resting his head on the bottom rope. The referee kneeled next to him and counted him out. Maldanado took the entire count on his back. Charnell got his revenge.

The third bout of the night was schedule for six rounds. Marsha Valley (10-19-4, 4 KOs) was scheduled to go six rounds with Martha Salazar (9-3-0 2 KOs). It seemed to be a mismatch as Marsha was 47 pounds lighter than Martha who weighed 223. Martha couldn’t have looked less like a boxer. She was short, over weight, with a belly that hung over her trunks. Her hair was all messed up and her equipment didn't fit. Marshal looked like a fighter. She had tone, looked strong and was very intense.

I am impressed with the improvements women’s boxing has made since my fighter took third place at the women’s National Championships. Marsha came out swinging for the fences and landed a four-punch combination on Salazar’s head. To my surprise the short fat girl came back with a solid right cross that rocked Marsha. The crowd went nuts. Salazar surprised me with her stoic composer, boxing skills and quick hands. Salazar attacked and continued to land solid combinations that had Marsha’s head bouncing around like a piñata on Cinco de Mayo. The drunks sitting behind me got louder as the degree of violence increased. The entire arena seemed to be toasted, and everyone was scream for blood. Marsha tried switching from left to right foot lead, but nothing worked. I shouted for Marsha to get her hands up, a second latter boom, boom, boom Martha, the short, fat girl from San Francisco nailed her again. Marsha proved she had heart. She tried to come back, but Martha maintains her attack and responded like a professional, boom, boom, solid shots that had the crowd on their feet. Martha Salazar, the most unathletic woman I’ve seen in boxing, demonstrated a surprising ability to box, and punch. Her appearance disguised a lethal ability and a killer instinct. Marsha Valley made a mistake when she took this fight. Salazar landed rights and left hooks nearly dropping Valley, causing her to take a knee. The referee gave her an eight count and asked if she wanted to continue, Marsha, the LA girl, smartly said “no”. This was a rare event, and I was lucky to be present to witness it. Salazar won by knock out. It was the best women’s match I’ve seen in a long time.

The female fights I’ve seen in Sacramento are pretty one sided. Our uncrowned local queen of boxing can’t seem to find worthy competition, which will cost her dearly in the future. Be careful, if you share these thoughts with her, she’s as mean out of the ring as she is inside of it. I suggest Martha Salazar loose about sixty pounds, if she’s serious about her career. She looks awful. I’ve got a great picture of her. I was surprised She’s ranked number one in California. Thank God, life still has surprises in store for me, although not all are pleasant.

The Co-Main Event was the best fight of the night. Scheduled for 8 rounds, between Roque Cassiani (22-18-3, 15 KOs) from Columbia and Efren Hinojosa (28-2-17 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico. This bout was the best in styles and flow. Roque got into his rhythm right away, while Efren seemed confused. Neither had fundamentals, both lacked proper hand positioning, and balance. I thought Roque dominated the bout early on, but lost momentum. Efren used a  “Hollywood Parry”, an amateurish showboating manner of using the right hand to deflect a jab to the body. Efren was either too close or too far away, and then out of the blue, he landed a lucky right hand that rocked Roque. This was because Roque’s kept dropping his hands. The ring smart Roque grabbed Efferent and both of them tumbled to the canvas. The Referee, who deserves credit, was not fooled. He called it right and gave Roque an eight count. Few fight fans take time to acknowledge the referee’s contribution or lack of it. A well-trained, experienced, referee is essential and this one deserves a pat on the back. I had Roque ahead as he had out punched and out hustled Efern. However, Efren continued to attacked and landed another powerful shot, then charged in for the kill. After a flurry of punches, the referee stepped in and called it. Hinojosa won by TKO. It was the best fight of the evening.

I wish I didn’t have to say this, I thought the Main Event was awful. I have a problem with lazy fighters. When a fighter is just bad, but tries hard, I give ‘em credit, but when a fighter is good and is lazy, it’s just disturbing. The poor guy from Mississippi looked like he’d learned how to box at a petting zoo. Tory Beets (12-6-1, 8 KOs,) was simply awful. He had nothing and needed everything, including a punch. Michael Simms, (16-3-1, 13 KOs) had all the advantages and never used them. Simm’s lack of killer instinct leaves me perplexed. His style, or lack of it, is what causes problems for his opponents. Michael, is a combination of a self taught street guys like Roy Jones, Prince Ahmed, and God knows who else. He never uses his legs to punch. He swings from his elbows in what I call Fat -Cat punches. He throws lazy, sloppy right hands, which I call “smelly cheese”, and he stops punching for no reason. Which I call lazy. He drops his hands and takes breaks when he should be pressing his opponent. Poor Troy Beets, even though Simms gave him dozens of breaks, and about a thousands openings, he was unable to take advantage. He did take a lot of punishment. He must have brain damage by now. His lack of defensive skills, zero fundamentals and slow hands, are unbelievable in a main event fighter. The only thing I’ve found that works on guys like Simms, is for promoters to stop calling. I have seen Simms fight several times and I’ve not found any of his fights impressive. He is building a good record, and unless you’ve seen him perform, you’d think he was pretty good. He reminds me of John Ruiz, who manages to win, but not beat his opponents. I’m sure Michael Simms is a wonderful human being worthy of praise; he just doesn't give a damn about the audience. Someone should remind him that although he might see himself as a real bad ass, he is simply an entertainer, who is paid to perform. In this way he seems like Bernard Hopkins, who could care less, as long as he gets paid. The rest of us must simply endure.

I wanted to say a few words about an old friend. “Little Guns”, Gutierrez, whom I saw fight recently. Guadalupe Gutierrez was once a tremendous warrior. He had a heart as big as Texas and never took a step back. I’ve always respected him as a human being and admired him as a fighter. I was saddened when I saw his last performance, and very concerned that his trainer would let him fight, knowing he was past the point of retiring. I love this game too. I know boxing gains a spiritual hold upon those who endeavor to be great. However, there comes a time in every warrior’s life, when he must pass the torch and serve in a difference capacity. With all due respect, I strongly suggest, that he consider teaching his trade to new, younger fighters. Boxing can always use someone of his caliber and experience to help up and coming fighters learn the trade. I’d hate to see such a fine individual get hurt.

In closing I want to send out a special Congratulations to Lance Armstrong who brought home his seventh win of The Tour de France. His accomplishments have few equals. I’ve taken up riding a bike, because after twenty years in the military, my knees are shot. Although I cannot claim a victory compared to his, I do share his passion for riding and competition. If anyone knows Lance personally, please give him my warmest regards. If anyone out there has a racing bike, a real road bike, they’d like to sell or donate to a worthy cause, I will gladly take it off their hands.

A special thanks to the staff at Arco Arena, Mr. and Mrs. Don Chargin and all the individuals behind the scenes that helped make this event possible.

Remember to send out a prayer for our boys in Iraq and Afghanistan; we’d like ‘em home safely. Having once been at war in the same desert, I sympathies with their situation. Once more I gotta say, Thank God For Boxing.

Always in Your Corner,

Jorge A. Martinez