November 5, 2006
seems that after all these years of one boxing match after another, I hit the
wall, as they say in running circles. I needed a break. I needed more.
I needed a whole new point of view.
I discovered I was not happy with things. As they say, drastic changes
require drastic measures.
tore down my boxing ring, something I never thought Iíd ever do.
I stopped taking students, and quit. I also believe I should not
compromise my standards in order to accommodate my critics. The lack of quality
people in boxing is well documented. The
poor candidates with undisciplined characteristics should not dictate I lower my
standards. I would rather stop
training boxers than follow the standard methods.
I have never been part of a herd nor do I intend to start now.
If mediocre performance is required for membership, Iíd rather quit.
boxing not my religion, it would be easier to give up.
However, I study boxing the way lawyers study the law, and the way
priests study religion. Boxing is
my religion. Although it is filled
with corruption, greed, vanity and crime, I cannot surrender to the unfairness
of society or those who find my behavior objectionable.
I have been blacklisted by the current president of the Central Valley
boxing association for writing about my experiences and opinions of their
behavior--the backstabbing, lying, egos, power struggles and a total absence of
moral behavior. I have been outcast
by men whom I once respected. I have been disappointed and disillusioned by men
whom I once thought worthy of their position within the association. No longer.
In retrospect, they did me a favor; it was like wiping dog shit from my
shoes. My life is better now that Iíve distanced myself from them. It was no
wonder I needed a break from this environment. I say, ďThank God, and good
for those of you who wondered where Iíve been, thatís it.
Iíve been rediscovering what I want to do.
I cannot allow myself to adjust downward, because thatís what everyone
is doing. I cannot give in to mediocrity, because it normal.
I cannot give in because everyone expects less than 100%.
decided to reject those who make such compromises. Boxing may not mean as much to them. It may not be as valuable. Some have called it a whore.
An easy, meaningless distraction. So be it. It means much more to me. The
promoters, trainers, and many of the boxers may be below-standard people. The
darkness that dwells inside manís heart is staggering.
It does not mean I should endorse, agree or co-sign such behavior. I
cannot, and will not condone or accept such behavior.
It makes me want to try harder. Iíve
moved my training gym to Fitness System Gym in Lodi CA. Itís not an ideal
set-up or location, but it will allow me to continue training boxers, which
brings richness to my life. I doubt many can claim something as valuable in
theirs. To the naysayers and
haters, of which there are many, I say, ďHereís mud in your eye,Ē and keep
pushing towards my objectives. To the old men that want boxing to stay as sick
as theyíve made it, I can only hope the Almighty will do His thing and, as
they say, ďwork in mysterious ways.Ē
my respite I returned to one other passion in my life.
Bullfighting. Yep, as crazy as it may sound, Iíve always wondered about
the men who stand in front of a charging bull.
It requires special training, and a rare human being. I became interested
as a child when I learned one of my cousins was a bullfighter. I was enthralled
by the idea of fighting a bull. I
have been following bullfighting from Spain, Mexico and Portugal for many years.
Recently, I attended several bullfights in Thornton, CA.
Who would have guessed you could find bullfights in Thornton? Only in California can you spend a day at a Portuguese
festival, attend a bullfight, and then go out for Chinese food. Itís one of
the many things I love about California and why I stay.
youíve witnessed a bullfight, you may not have an idea of what it consists of.
It is difficult to conceive as to why a grown, supposedly sane, individual would
stand in front of a charging bull, and then at the last moment, pivot, shift his
weight and move out of the way. These
photographs I call, ď Death in the Afternoon,Ē were taken by Mario Garcia.
Thanks to him, you can get a small sense of it.
I would add this to the list of things you simply must do--you must
attend a bullfight. Not only will you come away feeling alive, excited and
joyous--youíll gain an entirely new perspective into what it means to be
young men whom you see, riding waves, skateboards, and bikes donít know the
meaning of ď radical sports,Ē and are not in the same category as anyone who
steps into a ring.
boxing and bullfighting take extreme dedication, discipline and quality.
this is an arguable point.
the many boxers who end up on the wrong side of the law. How many times have you
read of a boxer beating a woman, robbing a bank, or doing some other
self-destructive activity? The
Central Valley boxing community was disappointed with the latest of such events.
Enter Osbaldo ďThe Beast,Ē Sarabia,
a boxer out of Bad to the Bonz Gym from Modesto, CA; trained by Joey Garcia.
is a shocking blow. According to The Record (Stockton, CA),
Osbaldo and two others were arrested when police discovered 120 pounds of
crystal methamphetamine in his car. According
to police, the seizure of such a large size may have prevented as many as a
quarter-million in individual sales. The
Beast and his accomplices will face heavy jail time and the ugly consequences of
their behavior. Itís like Joey said, ďItís heartbreaking.Ē
gotta wonder what was going through this guyís head. What would make an
otherwise sensible individual risk so much?
I cannot say I have not taken risks. I can say I have never been tempted
to risk my freedom, something I believe to be invaluable.
I met Osbaldo. I watched him fight. He lacked technique, footwork and
fundamentals; but he had an abundance of courage, conditioning, and stepped into
the ring to match his ability with another.
Regardless of his proficiency, he had my respect for having the courage
to do so. I share concern for his well being. The Central Valley will miss this young man who, via his
courage, brought excitement and entertainment to boxing fans. As a Life-coach
for athletes, soldiers, cops, firemen and other men of action, I hope he finds
guidance, and a new direction.
still puzzling why so many young men, with so much potential, surrender to
criminal activity. I know itís
about the money, but itís also about the excitement, the adventure and the
allure of it. We see it in movies
and TV all day long. Itís
enticing to our youth. Itís
beyond me why the valley has become a dumping ground for early prison release
programs. Stockton is riddled with crime, political corruption and
malice. Itís a criminalís
paradise. Stockton sucks, and that is not a mistake.
We have hundred of illegal undocumented immigrants wandering our streets
committing crimes, and preying upon each other to survive. Our mayor, once a
police chief has proven incompetent, and lost 7.1 millions dollars, which as far
as I know, is still missing. Stockton is number one in murder, crime and
Godlessness. Hispanic youth are
dropping out of school at 50%. How
is this possible? What other city
in California can make such a claim? On
top of that, the Mayor is allowing criminals into our communities and they are
influencing our youth. Although, Osbaldo made his own choices, there may have
been a different outcome if heíd been influenced by a different environment.
Meanwhile, I call Stockton ďGun Smoke.Ē This Wild West mentality is
only interesting from a distance. It
feels like a combat zone. Last night I heard gunshots.
In a combat zone, I at least have the right to shoot back.
a happier note, you will be happy to learn Jerry Hoffman is preparing for his
upcoming fight in Monterey, CA. Jerryís
shows are always well planned, entertaining and have the best venue in the
world. Monterey is beautiful!
Come to his show. Youíll be glad you did. Jerry may be moody, but you gotta
admit, he knows how to put on a show. Good
local news, Rodney Jones of Stockton is in line for a title shot; but the guy
with the title is not stepping up. In
the paper, (The Record, Stockton, CA), Rodney says Cory Spinks is ducking him.
I hate to throw water on Rodneyís fantasy, but I donít agree.
Iíve never known a world class fighter duck anyone. Fighters are not
built to avoid confrontation--they seek them.
Cory may not be as willing to mix it up with Jones, because thereís no
money in it. Rodney may be a great guy, etc. He may have earned a title shot,
but he has no fan base. Unfortunately, heís not even well known or supported
in Stockton. How many black faces did you see at the Civic Auditorium on
September. 25, 2003, when he fought Manning Galloway, after a 12-year absence?
Unfortunately for Rodney, black fans are not willing to spend their money to
support him. Itís one of those puzzling questions, and I donít get it.
If Rodney had taken a Spanish surname as a ring name as I suggested,
heíd have a bigger draw and a larger fan base.
As it is now, he has none. Iím
not even going to ask why he was absent for 12 years, why he never moved to Los
Angeles, and why he remains in Stockton, where boxing has fallen off the map.
The truth is worse than weíd like to know. Stockton sucks.
And anyone who wants to make it as a boxer has to move to Los Angeles to
be around big-named fighters, promoters and affluent supporters.
Rodney, like so many valley folk, seemed incapable of breaking away from
whatever it is that they find so precious about Stockton. I donít see a thing.
is business. Itís about the money and thatís what makes it what it is.
No fans, no ticket sales, no money, equals no shows. The name of the game in
boxing is MONEY. Anyone who doesnít think so must also believe Bush is a real
fighter pilot. Don King could care less about right or wrong, good or bad.
Itís about the money. There is no advantage in Spinks fighting a
no-name boxer like Jones. Sorry, Rodney.
to say, but Rodney let opportunity pass him by when he decided to stay in Gun
Smoke, and not make a drive for greatness.
Life is about choices; all choices have consequences; and playing it safe
never got anyone anywhere. At 38 years old, Rodney is way past his prime. His
life is filled with shoulda, coulda, wouldas. Itís too bad; but life goes on.
Iíve always liked him. I hope he wins. Iíve been beating the drums
for him for years, but Iím afraid, heíll join the ranks of almost-famous
fighters from Stockton who never made it, because they could not defeat their
small-valley town mentality.
fans will be sad to learn Trevor Berbick,
former heavy weight champion was murdered.
He won the title from Pinklon Thomas and lost it soon thereafter to Mike
Tyson, then 20, by KO in the second round, making Mike the youngest heavyweight
champion in1986. What could have our former hero been up to? and what got him
into that predicament?
dark news continues, Americans are arriving in body bags from Iraq bringing more
despair. It is no wonder I cling to
one of the few things that still makes sense in my life, and I gotta say, ďThank
God for Boxing!Ē