Ultimate Boxing Address List

List Updates
Writing a Boxer
Our Awards
Order Form

Boxing Help

Gym Directory
Books & Videos
Boxing Store

Boxing News

Central NY Boxing
HOF Weekend

Links/Contact Information

Link To Us
Contact Us


Great Boxing Book for Beginners


Check out this DVD!  Great for beginners...



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

Pechanga Resort and Casino - Temecula, California
Jirov vs. Mateen

August 7, 2003

Few Americans know August 6th is the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. This is not something most Americans wish to remember, and for good reason. It is difficult for us to imagine killing over 60 thousand human beings in one day. Then another 30 thousand on August 15,1945. Yes, we were at War.  Yes, war is hell; and yes, I might have done the same thing.  The surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor wiped out 2,300 and wounded as many.  The terrorist attack on New York City gave Americans a small taste of what it means to have a war fought on our own soil. Modern society has the advantage of being able to look back and use hindsight to temper its action. We now know that it is possible to live without honor, as so many tyrants have clearly demonstrated, but we cannot die without honor, as death is also a time of being held accountable, when all of our transgressions will be exposed.  With these thoughts in mind I few to Ontario California, made my way to the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula. 

Stopping along the way I visited my favorite cousin Rosemary Henson, in Lake Elsinore. I love my cousin Rosemary. She is a unique human being with an incredible capacity to see the good in any situation. I swear, if you locked her in a room filled with horse manure, sheıd ask for a shovel and start looking for the horse.  Like most unique individuals, she is under-appreciated, under-employed and under-paid.  But in my eyes, she is tops. 

After receiving directions, a hot meal and a cold beverage at Pechanga Resort and Casino, I found my way ringside. It was my first visit to this venue and I was very impressed. Everything was first class. The people were professional, friendly and knew their jobs. I found my assigned seat and waited for the first bell.  I was impressed with Charlynne Pecce, a woman who I met at the concession nearest the doors. I gotta say she was especially friendly. I would recommend a visit to Pechanga Resort and Casino to anyone. 

I sat ringside and listened to a sweet, shapely young thing with bleached blonde hair make the introductions. Fighting for the USBA title was Robbie Peden, from Brisbane, Australia squaring off against Lamont Pearson from Maryland.  Roy Corona was the referee.  We spoke briefly before the bout. I believe referees are the unsung heroes of boxing. I refereed for the Central California Amateur Boxing Association for over five years. I know firsthand how much abuse referees take. They do it because they love the game.

The bell sounded and Peden came out aggressively. Pearson appeared less willing to take chances. Peden pressured Pearson and openly demonstrated a willingness to trade, however Pearson wanted no part of it. Peden wanted to brawl and Pearson wanted to box. Neither fighter established control. When Pearson finally threw combinations, he failed to gain respect.  His punches lacked commitment, his footwork was awful; he had no power in either hand. He never pivoted or shifted his weight when he punched; consequently, he had no juice in his punches.  I had to wonder how he got here. Peden began dropping his hands hoping Pearson would attack. His tactics failed to motivate Pearson, who never really got into the fight. Peden was ahead on my card, merely because he was the aggressor--not because he was more effective.

I was seated next to Jerry Magee, who writes for the San Diego Tribune, several trainers came over and paid him homage.  He stated he was covering basketball and football in addition to boxing. I have to shake my head. Itıs impossible for me to believe that the average newspaper sportswriters actually know what the hell they’re talking about. It’s taken me all my life to learn one sport, yet these guys claim to know them all well enough to write about them intelligently. I gotta wonder what passes for wisdom in their editorıs head. Or how much they care about the quality of their reporting. I doubt if they know anything about boxing strategy or tactics. I think I might have irritated him a bit, as I do live audio coverage of all the fights. These tapes are available for anyone who’s interested.

The third, fourth and fifth rounds were repeats. Peden chased Pearson around the ring while Pearson refused to stand and trade. Pearson did become more effective with his jabs, after gaining some much needed confidence. However, when he finally did throw a punch, it lacked commitment and power. Peden continued to leave himself open, baiting Pearson to step in, which never happened. Peden, becoming clearly frustrated, began rushing in with combinations, which Pearson avoided by moving side to side. By the beginning of the sixth round Pearson had established a dominant jab, which would have been proof enough for fighters that he could land a right, but he failed to do it. As his confidence grew, he began to throw combinations. It appeared that this might actually develop into an interesting fight after all.  Then Peden caught Pearson with a low blow and killed the momentum. Then Pearson slipped and his feet flew out from under him, as the bell rang. The next round saw Pearson coming out jabbing aggressively. Peden waited; waited until he finally came in with a left hook, right-hand combination. I gave the last rounds to Pearson.  Because of his jab, Peden failed to cut Pearson off and trap him in a corner.  There was a little more action in the seventh round, but it failed to develop into anything resembling a real boxing contest. 

I was disappointed with these guys.  I would not cross the street to watch either of these two guys jump off a building. Pearson refused to answer the bell for the eighth round, which got the deserved response from the crowd. Overall it was a dull fight and a barely interesting sparring match. Pearson claimed to have a broken right hand.  Whoopee, another black eye for boxing. Peden got the victory.

Finally, after more brouhaha, the Main Event got started. Vassiliy “The Tiger” Jirov from Russia squared off against Ernest Mateen from Brooklyn, New York. Jirov stepped in with a record of 31 wins, one loss, with 27 knockouts. An excellent record. His opponent stepped up to scratch with 27 wins, 10 loses, 3 draws and 9 knockouts. Both fighters were reported to weigh 195.5 pounds.

Vassily has an awkward style. He bobs his head and waves his arms up and down endlessly as if signaling aircraft. And he is a southpaw.  I have no idea where he got this style or who his coach might be. However,  I can say that Vassily is hungry and wants to fight. He is willing to take chances and goes for it.  I thought I had seen some awkward boxers before, but I was in for a surprise. Mateen is even worse--off balance, he faces the wrong way, and swings in such a way that actually prevents him from punching. It might have looked good on paper, but when you place these two Kings of Awkwardness in a ring, heads have to crack.

Mateen is a well built, solid-looking individual. However, Vassily demonstrated no respect for his physique. He came out smoking--bobbing, weaving, waving his arms and his head around. He punched, moved in and pawed at the air throughout the round.  Mateen came out jabbing with the bell of the second round. Jirov tried jabbing at the body, while Mateen jabbed from too far away and began dipping his head like a bull, way below the belt line. The referee was a heavy-set Latino, who according to the card is named David Denkin, but I donıt think this is correct. This poor guy seemed intimidated by the size of both boxers--he seemed nervous and ill prepared. The beginning of the third round began with Jirov pushing Mateen down. The next exchange saw Mateen dropped, this time from a solid left hook to the body. Jirov started coming in with right jabs, left hooks, and then they cracked heads hard enough to raise a goose egg on Mateenıs head.  This appeared to make him angry.  He started coming in hard; trying to get some pay back. The referee was not in charge of the action and there was a lot of grabbing and shoving by both boxers.  They put their heads up against each other and fought on the inside with uppercuts, left- and right-hooks that had both men sucking for air.

The fourth round saw Jirov coming out in the usual fashion--bobbing, weaving and jabbing with his right hand. Mateen began standing in an awkward position, actually facing away from Jirov at a weird angle I had never seen. Jirov jabbed and continue to catch Mateen on the left side of his head. Once again, the referee appeared afraid and unable to monitor the bout. Several times Jirov got Mateen in a headlock.  At times he held his head down and the referee never said a word. The crowd booed, cursed and began raising hell. Jirov cracked heads with Mateen again and blood started pouring out over his left eye. The round ended with Jirov looking like he'd been shot in the head.

There was flurry of activity in the corner with Jirovıs corner working to stop the bleeding. Mateen came out more confidently, jabbing at the cut, causing the blood to flow down into Jirovıs eye. Mateen began to pursue Jirov; however, the blood seemed to make Jirov angry and he fought back with renewed vigor. Jirov threw four beautiful jabs that caught Mateen on the side of the head, while Mateem seemed to be looking at the audience and ignored the blows. They cracked heads again, then again. Jirov caught Mateen with body shots, while Mateen stood at a weird angle and tried to punch by throwing some kind of slicer punch that could have been blocked by my grandmother. Jirov peppered Mateen with right jabs while Mateen came back with slicer punches to the head and body. The crowd got into it and the noise level rose and fell like ocean waves crashing upon the shore. The bell sounded.  Jirov came out smoking--bobbing, weaving and waving his hands. Mateenıs and Jirovıs styles were custom-made for a train wreck. Shoving and punching from weird angles, Mateen fought back as best he could, while Jirov seemed content to wait and stalk Mateen who moved around along the ropes. Mateen complained about the repeated head butts, the referee warned them both, yet the head cracking continued. Mateen pushed and shoved Jirov, until Jirov unleashed a crashing body shot that stopped Mateen in his tracks. Blood began pouring out of Mateen and the goose egg on his head continued to grow. The referee stepped in to break them apart, the bell rang and Mateen nailed Jirov with a solid shot that had the crowd on their feet.  The whistle sounded, the bell banged and both fighters stepped out. Mateen tied Jirov up, he pushed away and connected with a jab. Jirov caught Mateen with a solid uppercut, knocking out his mouthpiece, the referee picked it up, walked him into the corner and stuck it back into his mouth. A furious exchange took place, then Mateen could be seen complaining about the head butts.  The referee waved his hands and stopped the bout. The crowd went ape-shit and began chanting, "Bull-shit, bull-shit!"  I was told Mateen had complained about double vision and was unable to focus. The referee was obliged to stop the bout. It would have been unwise not to have done so. It was, in my opinion, a terrible, awkward fight, lacking in grace, finesse, boxing technique and style. I know I have seen more interesting fights in alleys and street corners.  Jirov earned the victory, but won it via his constant head-butting, not his punching. Mateen, perhaps the most poorly prepared fighter I have ever seen, seems to lack any understanding of the fundamentals of boxing. Had Mateen kept his whining to himself, he might have had a chance to win. Jirov looks like someone to avoid, like John Ruiz, not because of his skill, but because of his awkward style.  I would suggest a visit to my friend, Buddy McGirt, and hopefully, a reinvention from truck driver to boxer. If Buddy can work miracles on Gatti, he might be able to do some repairs on this poor guy. 

The trip was an overall good experience.  I got to meet Shane O’Grady and make some connections. I got to spend time with my family, some whom I have not seen for years. Rosemary and I took a day trip to TJ, which is always memorable. I came, I saw, I ate, I drank, I returned, I wrote--thank God--without incident or problem.

My thanks go out to Goossen Tutor Promotions, and the Pechanga Resort and Casino staff. Iıd like to continue to cover the fights in Pechanga for fight fans in Northern and Central California. With just a little help from the promoters or Resort Management I could do a much better job.  Many thanks also go out to the city of Lake Elsinore and its friendly population.     

See you Ringside,

Jorge A. Martinez