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

Hopkins vs De La Hoya
Las Vegas Sept. 18, 2004

I hate to be right at times. I get no satisfaction from being right when it comes to watching a great hero like Oscar, whom I know personally, loose.  I got no pleasure in calling it perfect. I predicated Oscar would give a better than expected performance. I predicted he would be fearless, move laterally and be aggressive. I know this East L.A. boy has balls. Oscar proved a lot more than he failed to do. I hated him to see him loose, yet Bernard the ex-convict, the former street thug, the once upon a time criminal seems to have earned a new status in the world of average people. He has become respectable, at least in front of the cameras. I canít begrudge his win, he earned it fair and square.

Oscar came out looking sleek as a greased pig, slipping in and out, scoring with his jab, and avoiding Hopkinís punches. Hopkins seemed intimidated by Oscar, who was ready to risk it all, just to score a point. Hopkins was behind on my card the first and second round.  His came back more aggressively in the third, then kept getting rougher and rougher. Oscar, maintained his momentum, but lacked punching power.  Throughout the fight, I continuously pointed out Oscarís foot positioning, his lack of power and his wide stance.  I could teach Oscar how to punch, if he only would listen. All though we have talked several times, he always seems to be performing for the cameras. He may have forgotten how to be humble, but I am certain he is much more in touch with that after this experience.  If he would have listened for ten minutes, he could have avoided this ass whipping which I predicted. Itís too bad his big time trainer, famous throughout the land, failed to stress this point. I also did not like the way he was hugging on the enemy. This may be grounds for termination. Oscar never pivots when he punches, heís feet are too far apart, and he drops his hands after he throws. Hopkins who is taller had the advantage, he is naturally stronger. Hopkins is also bigger, and could afford to take chances with Oscarís meek, little baby punches.

No one can dispute Oscarís hand speed and heart. Too bad, his big time coach failed to correct his lack of fundamentals and instill a deeper sense of good old respect. He also failed to tell him not to stand in front of Hopkins.  This was a fatal mistake, as I predicted.  Hopkins has managed to clean up his act, stay on the right side of the law, and win a lot of fights, as a fight fan, I could not ask for more.

The body shot Hopkins landed was perfectly placed, even without the benefit of proper foot positioning or full strength behind the punch, it was still effective. I gotta wonder why Oscarís wife and father, who never sit together, were not present at the fight.  I gotta wonder where his mind was and what's going on in his life.  I canít believe that a semi famous wanna be rock star like his wife would enjoy hanging around smelly gyms, old men and horny guys.  I canít imagine an East LA guy, married to an attractive lady, liking a lot of men staring at his wife, who seems to like to wear a lot of revealing clothing. The best thing to do may be to hire a punch of body guards, or put her in one of those special boxes, reserved for the millionaires, up and away from the common folk, where Oscar seems to be more comfortable. Maybe everything is not so rosy. Oscar wonít be the first guy who married a beautiful women, then discovered she only married him for his money. Letís hope Iím dead wrong on this one. Thank God heís got a new TV show. I bet he misses the good old days, when fighting and chasing women was just for fun.  It might have been a lot of Mexican Macho bullshit, but it was fun and he still thought he could sing. Dreams die hard leaving broken hearts along the way. My antenna tells me weíll hear more about this.

I would suggest Oscar, rethink his next fight, take some time to really learn proper fundamentals, study boxing the way a lawyer studies the law and learn how to pivot with his punches. Old dogs can learn new tricks.  He needs to do the same thing Rocky did, after Clubber Lane kicked his ass, he needs to go back to being hungry.  Not for money, but revenge. I can teach you Oscar, my least experienced fighters know about shifting their weight, pivots, breathing and proper hand positioning.

A loss to Bernard Hopkins is actually a sort of ďRed Badge of CourageĒ; it proves that youíve got the right stuff, because only the very foolish or the very brave take on his man.  Oscar has been in the ring with all sorts of fighters, but heís never been in the ring with someone as strong, or as experienced, and as hungry as Hopkins. I gotta give Oscar a BOB, a B for balls a O for zero brains and a B for bone head, what on earth was he thinking?  This is what happens when a super rich superstar is surrounded by a punch of ass kissing groupies. Someone should have taken Oscar aside and read to him from the good book.  No, not the good book, but Ring Magazine, the bible of boxing, he could have easily done some research and discovered it was a bad idea.  They would have soon agreed it couldnít be done.  Iíll be making another trip to visit him soon, maybe heíll let me take up some of his precious time and let an old war dog teach him some old tricks.  No matter, except for the smog, the low riders, the gang members, the crowed streets, the shooting, the attitude and general hopelessness of the area, as they say ≥ I love LA≤.

Iím actually headed to Sorrento Italy with my honey.  Weíre flying into Rome after spending some time in The Big Apple.  Weíll be visiting Naples, and then several towns along the southern coast.  The weather is super fine now, and most of the tourists have gone home.  I have appointments in several gyms to speak with Italian boxers. Who knows, maybe Iíll form a California -Sorrento Connection, nothings impossible, if one is willing to work hard enough. I hear Naples is home of an old world organization with a lot of connections all over the world.  Who knows, right?

Once more, I feel privileged to be a part of this game, even though there are so many darks spots, and some of them smell like that stuff you scrap off your shoes. I gotta say. Thank God for Boxing.

 

David Martinez vs. Anthony Martinez
Sept 10, 2004, Stockton CA

As much as I love boxing, Iím the first to say that parts of it are like that brown stuff you get on your shoes.  No matter how much you scrap off, the smell lingers. Thank God, I also get to see the bright side. Speaking with David Martinez is a breath of fresh air. I met David when he was still an amateur. I was refereeing. I asked him to get me a soda, I gave him the money and he returned quickly, wearing a smile.  Itís a miracle David has managed to maintain a positive demeanor, especially in Stockton.  Many people here make the Taliban look like choir boys. You've never seen so much senseless meanness in your life.

Case in point, recently a rookie coach I know, attended his first boxing match at Atwater. He mistakenly believed he would be amongst friends.  He brought his fighter, made the weigh in, and spent the entire day at the venue. Ten seconds before the bout, he was told he could not work the corner, because he was not registered.  His fighter was also not wearing an "official" helmet, and was almost disqualified.  The poor guy was publicly humiliated.  No one bothered to tell him he had to be registered, or anything else.  Itís hard to understand.  Iíve never lived anywhere, including war zones, where people mistreat each other so badly. Iíve been in Stockton a long time, and I still donít get it.   Iíve come up with several theories as to why Stockton is such an awful place. One of my theories includes the 175 prisoners released into the population every month. I believe the descendants of these criminals, are multiplying and creating generations of individuals with the values and attitudes of inmates. A dog eat dog mentality, here only power and money are respected.   This and the hundreds of board and care homes, treatment programs, multiplex apartments, and government subsidized housing, all which attracts the worst of society. Stockton also has a state halfway house for the criminally insane. As our mayor, if he runs for the senate, the rest of us, who donít owe homes in Santa Cruz, or live behind guarded gates have to deal with the crime, the hookers, the dealers and random gunfire that are normal in Stockton. Oh and get this, the former, police chief, a Mexican Republican, is gonna be the new mayor.

The event in Stockton, on Friday September 10, 2004 was James Grunsyís first successful promotion. The problems in staging a professional event are monumental.  There are hundreds of details, dozens of little problems, and then there is the commission.  For example, Kenny Lopez, told me he was denied a license. According to Kenny, a commissioner demanded he spar several rounds, so that he, could evaluate Kennyís ability.  I gotta wonder, what on earth  makes him think he knows boxing well enough to evaluate a fighter. And how can he withhold someoneís license, without due process.  To add insult to injury, this same guy, told Kenny he could not fight, several days before the event.  Kenny, stated that he had not been told anything about sparring until he called, and spoke with him.  When things heated up the guy hangs up on him.   I believe this individual is over stepping his authority. I checked the Rule book and I did not find any section stating a commissioner has the right to make a known professional boxer, demonstrate his ability to box after have been licensed.  But, if he has the legal authority to require a sparring match, then he must also have a time line for informing the boxer, weeks before the event is scheduled, not days.

I believe the Commission needs an outside overseer. Each individual commissioner should be held legally accountable for their behavior, like any other licensed individual.  The Governor should step in and do something.  I suggest Kenny hire an attorney and file a civil action.  Unless he does so, the behavior will continue.  I suggest everyone write the Governor in Sacramento.  Boxing belongs to the fans, NOT, the bureaucrats in Sacramento. Donít brother writing the Sacramento office, contact the big office in Los Angeles.  Write 5757 W. Century Blvd.. GF -16, LA, CA 90045.  I am following up on this one.

I only went to watch David Martinez fight.  The other bouts were awful. I donít mean bad, I mean awful. Itís a pity, because the boxers were in good condition, unfortunately, brawling, slugging, swinging from left field, and throwing hay makers, is as boring as listening to old guys talk about their days in the ring.  Plus, aside form Carlos Sepeda, form Stockton, the rest were strangers. I have no idea where James found these other guys, or why he put them on the card. Hey, James, you need LOCAL TALENT. If you must hire strangers, at least get American boxers. Most Mexican boxers are awful, have no technique and swing away as if chopping down a tree, which might be interesting, but they usually miss. The main enough was so boring, people got up from ring side and left.

David Martinez, stepped into the ring against an older,  much more experienced boxer named Anthony Martinez, form Costa Rica. David told me before the fight, he never took anyone lightly.  He also agreed, it was great being a hometown hero. I think half the audience was related to him, the other half just come to watch him fight. Any promoter wishing to make a buck in Stockton must have David on the card.  Davidís simple and direct manner, along with his boyish smile are a winning combination. David keeps his behavior low key, respectful and courteous.  David ďThe GentlemenĒ Martinez, is a good kid.  However, it is still my job to be a truth teller, and I gotta say.  I donít agree with his version of the fight.  I had Anthony ahead the first two rounds. Yes, there was a lot of punches thrown and David demonstrated courage, conditioning and heart, however Anthony out scored him.  At one point Anthony nailed David with a right hand that would have dropped a buffalo.  David came back in the third, fourth, fifth, then lost the sixth on my score card. According to The  Stockton Recordís story, David states he believes he won every  round.  This is common amongst fighters, they get tunnel vision, and canít see the forest for the trees. Itís also a sign of impending danger, if a fighter always thinks heís winning, he does things differently. I canít believe his corner could not see David was cut over both eyes.  Knowledgeable trainers will testify that tunnel vision is a common trait amongst undefeated boxers. Guys like Roy Jones Jr., and De La Hoya, etc. once thought they were bullet proof.  I believe David needs to learn better defensive skills. His trip to New Mexico helped tremendously, because before he went, he took too many shots.  At one point the skin over his eyes looked like mashed potatoes. He was getting hit too much as an amateur. He returned a much improved fighter.  Thank God heís got a great chin and always in top shape.  Never the less, he should change coaches.  I believe David deserves a chance at big money, and a better trainer.  The reason most good fighters donít make it, is because their coaches are small minded, and fear having some big time trainer stealing their boxers. The fools must not have heard about contacts.  Fighting in Stockton may be fun, and it may be a great ego boost, but that's it. The poor old guy that trains him, seems about to keel over. How on earth can a broken down old man teach a young fighter anything. The guy might have been a good boxer in the 1930ís, but that does not make him a good coach, besides boxing has changed in the last 60 years.  Plus no one really cares.  David needs someone like Buddy McGirt, or Emmanuel Stewart, not some old guy with a bad attitude and a foul mouth. He needs to learn how to pivot on his feet, shifting his weight into his punches.  As it is now, he lacks power.  No oneís taught him the importance of putting his weight into his punches. This is why he brawls and takes so many shots.  Hitting the bag for a dozen rounds may improve you conditioning, but it does nothing for your boxing skills. Bags donít hit back, but hitting the bag the only thing most boxers do at the PAL gym in Stockton. Aside from having no trainers, there are also too many students. That's the problem with publicly funded community programs.  They have to take everyone who walks through the door.  The alleged trainers are just some old guys who hang around, and tell lies about their lives.  The only one who gets any attention is David.  Iíve turned away dozens of fighters who have come from there, they have absolutely no fundamentals, no idea how to parry, slip or block a punch. Iíve had dozens of calls from unhappy parents, wishing to have their kids enter my program. I usually say no, theyíve been ruined, and only know how to swing away like crazed lumber jacks trying to knock down a tree.  Poor kids, it is such a waste of potential. Itís too bad the old guy who calls himself a coach never cared enough to teach them proper fundamentals, or anything else.  Itís worse than the poor kid who goes to karate school for self defense. They think they know how to fight, the alone comes some street thug and knocks the crap out of 'em. Hitting the bag, and wearing a white outfit doesnít teach you anything. I hope the new mayor, Chavez, will at least hire a younger, healthier, knowledgeable coach who gives a shit about the new guys, who are now completely ignored. The old guy with the foul mouth and bad attitude is awful. At least hire someone with manners. The use of four letter words in front of children is not proper role modeling and that old guyís favorite word is F---You. Oh yea,the poor old guy thinks he OWNS the PAL gym, funded by public donations and the police department, someone should enlighten him. I feel sorry for the poor old guy, boxing is all he has left in the world. Its too bad he never took the time to make any friends. David took control of the fight in the seventh and eight rounds. I thought David won the fight and the judges did an accurate job of scoring it.  David rocked the house at the Stockton Civic Auditorium, and made going to the show worth it.  I believe that it was a great fight because it was not a one-sided battle. I think Anthony Martinez should be congratulated for never quitting, fighting until the last moment, and giving it hundred percent. I donít believe Carlos Zepedaís bout was a draw. I thought Jean Elissia of Fresno won it.  The home town crowd screamed their disapproval, but that's the way it's supposed to be, Stockton is a fight town.  Letís hope new trainers turn out better prepared boxers to take the place of aging veterans like Kenny Lopez, and Tony Dominguez. Both of these tough veterans have been around a very long time. However, if the commission gives them a license, they will keep punching.  Hopkins may also be 39, but heís as rare as a Congressmanís son in combat.

Strangely enough one of the least known boxers, Rodney Jones, a hell of a fighter also  lives in Stockton. He holds the NABF title . The trouble is, local black sports fans don't want to pay to watch him fight. So, the poor guy is not sought after by promoters in Stockton.  He is not a good draw, as they would say. This fact is common knowledge amongst promoters and many a black fighter suffers because of it. Without the fans, promoters can not afford to promote fights.  Rodney Jones has worked hard , and yet relatively unknown. Another problem is that he has no one doing PR for him. His trainer Richard Perez,  lacks the polish or knowledge necessary to promoter Rodney. Richard a nice enough guy, appears to be in over his head. My observation is that he doesn't trust anyone.  This condition is common amongst  city dwellers, prisoners, soldiers, gang members, social workers, nurses and cops. Theyíve seen so much injustice and bad, they suspect everyone.  I must ask, if everything you see and know is bad, what does that make you? In the end we are what we live, and unless we work to maintain our humanity, life becomes a never ending conflict and a terribly lonely existence. Instead of basking in the spot light,  Rodney Jones, is ignored and forgotten. There is no Rodney Jones fan club, there are no banners with his name.  There is no standing applause or cheering section. After countless battles, he remains mostly unknown.  As it is now,  I would advise any up and coming boxer to change their name to one which will attract better fans. With a name like Martinez, or Perez, Rodney would be a hero, toasted and respected. Its common knowledge that Latinos are the best and most loyal fights fans in the world, and without fans, in this business, youíre nobody. If heís lucky, he might find a small article in the sports section, yet when I speak about Rodney Jones to fight fans, their response usually is ďWhoís thatĒ? He just won another fight, and did with a broken hand, that's the mettle Rodney Jones is made of.  Congratulations, keep punching.  It's too bad, that is the way things ought to be, and the way things are. No amount of wishing is gonna make a difference.  So much of what needs fixing is way out of our control.

In closing I send out a hello to Robert, Sylvia and Angel,  of Kingsville, Texas.  A special hello to Mr Felix and Yolanda Landin, and Residents of Main Dr; My old barrio of Corpus Christi Texas. A hello to Yolanda Waters of Houston.  With so many things going badly, the War, the election, and all sorts of shenanigans. I am  grateful to once more be able to say,  Thank God for Boxing!  

See you Ringside,

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

 

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