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

 

Stockton Death March Continues

November 16, 2006
San Jose, California

The Stockton Death Count continues to rise. Iíve said many times we need more cops, but not the ones we have. To validate my point, a rookie, recently graduated from the Police Academy, shot a mentally handicapped woman in her own home, after forcing a confrontation.  Yep, two in the chest.  POP, POP, problems solved.  ďWe are here to serve, but if you have a mentally ill relative, beware; we shoot first and never ask questions.Ē  The cure is worse than the disease. Itís how things are done here. When I say Stockton is a Wild West town, unsafe for the timid, Iím not kidding.

The gunfire and violence continues unabated with residents using their homes not as havens, but as shelter from random gunfire.  The incompetence of the former police chief, now mayor, remains a mystery.  I cannot imagine what kind of police chief he was, if this is his best effort to stem crime on our streets.

 The Stockton Record, who has a monopoly in Stockton, does not carry a daily, weekly or monthly account of the number of dead or wounded. This would not do, as rich land developers are busy building homes in unsafe flood areas and making millions.  It would not do for prospective homebuyers to have such information.  What would happen to property values?  Such a body count would keep the Mayor informed of just how bad things are.  When I called the paper with my inquiry, the gentleman answering the phone became angry.  He assured me that such information was not available. Bear in mind that for every reported crime, there are as many as ten, which are not reported.

Another mayor might consider random and ongoing sweeps of crime-ridden neighborhoods.  Another might consider random traffic stops.  Another might have the courage to ask for help from outside agencies.  A mayor with real grit would stop allowing Stockton to be used as a dumping ground for early-release programs.  A man who honestly cared might have the character to admit he is in over his head, and step down.  However, when has anyone ever heard of a politician admitting his mistakes?   I suspect this is just another step towards Sacramento and self-promotion.   I believe our mayor wants to be governor, or at least a state senator. Personally, I believe any man who is afraid of installing a Police Review Committee doesnít give a damn about the people.  You might be interested to know the policeman who shot the mentally handicapped women is back on the streets. Tragically, the very agency we depend on has proven the worse solution to the problem.  Itís like shooting yourself in the head to stop a headache.

The ultimate highlight of the week was the shooting of a twelve-year old bystander caught in crossfire. Thank God she survived. 

I received a death threat.  It seems one of Godís lost children has taken offense to something I did or said; which, I am not certain. I take such threats seriously. Iíve made adjustments and have notified the proper authorities. As Iíve said before, my concern with the crime in Stockton is personal.  I hope the Mayor, and police chief realize that living under a death threat is about as pleasant as living with cancer.

Thank God for Boxing is not just a catchy saying--itís real.  Boxing does not solve our problems, but it sure gives us reason to keep trying.   Dan Goosen brought another event to the HP Pavilion and 4,152 fans showed up to watch Andre Ward pound out another easy victory.  He did so without much trouble. I have no idea what Derrickís amateur record might be, but Iíll bet itís no way near as impressive as Wardís.  Dan Goosen must have scouts searching for future victims. Itís about the money, remember?  The average fan seemed to enjoy watching Ward out-slick his unworthy opponent.  I hope Dan is able to maneuver Wardís career until he matures into a world-class competitor.  

I watched several other bouts, none of which seems worth of much comment.  Junior Welterweight Carlos Musquez beat Mike Peralta.  Junior Middleweight Antonio Johnson beat up Sean Holley and Junior Middleweight Karim Mayfield stopped Salvador Lopez. None of the bouts were interesting.  None demonstrated knowledge of boxing fundamentals, technique, defensive maneuvers, or counter punching.   None showed punching ability.  They were little more than brawls, designed to entertain the crowd, who was very unhappy with the referee who stopped all the bouts.

On other boxing news Osbaldo Sarabia, 29, of Salida, once trained by Joey Garza at the Bad to the Bonz Gym, was indicted on three drug counts, each could put him in prison for life.  Our boy, once known as ďThe Beast,Ē was in possession of 50 grams of methamphetamine, and 5 kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute.  They searched his home and found 126 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and more that 6 kilograms of powder cocaine.  The young man, who once sought to make history, accomplished this because his arrest is one of the largest ever in the Central Valley. Each count carries a 10-year prison sentence, in addition to a possible life term.  Osbaldo joins hundreds of young men with more guts than brains.  His willingness to risk it all was the same psychology that led him into the ring each time.  It is a shame such commitment was not directed towards greater objectives. Without the means for expensive lawyers to manipulate the justice system, he can look forward to a long prison sentence.  You gotta wonder what would make a young man, with a wife and children, do such things?  I can only sympathize with his family and friends, as I join them in my concern for his well being.

Osbaldo (black trunks) pounding an opponent

Not all the news about our young men is bad, thank God.  I have several photographs of another aspiring young contender. As you can see, he has spent many hours in the gym in order to develop such a six pack. His confidence can be easily observed via his posture and demeanor.  As a sportswriter, I look forward to covering his forthcoming career.  Justin, shown here at 3 years old, weighing in at 38 pounds with a record of 0-0-0, will no doubt bring boxing fans years of excitement. His sparring partner, Jared, describes Justin as having a wicked left hook, and great footwork.  Justin can dance circles around anyone his size and packs a punch.   After a hard day at the gym, Justin enjoys a cup of apple juice and a splash in the pool.   I wish to congratulate his parents for guiding him towards such worthwhile objectives. Letís hope the gods will smile upon our future champion.

 

I wanted to give fans a chance to revisit Old War Dogs of the ringóKenny Lopez and Tony Dominguez. Both of these fighters fought on way past their prime. They did so in order to cash in on the big bucks professional fighters were allegedly making.  To my knowledge, neither of them made the big money.  Too bad the number of punches absorbed has nothing to do with the amount of money you make.


Kenny Lopez, once a ďtake no prisonersĒ brawler, and hard puncher from Stockton.  I take pride in saying I tried to help Kenny.  Sadly, he was trained by his uncle who did not know enough to help Kenny.  He also lacked the depth of character to step aside and admit he could not help him.  Instead, he fed his ego, and put Kenny on the chopping block. Itís too bad; Kenny had the fury to have gone much farther than he did.  He was usually overmatched, unprepared, and tried to make up for it by charging recklessly.  Kenny may have lacked skill, but like so many Mexican American boxers, he had an abundance of suicidal courage.  Itís a common problem in the Valley--everyone seems to belong to a clan, and anyone not of that clan, is suspect.  A more logical approach would have been to listen before judging, but thatís not the way itís done in Gunsmoke. Itís a small indication of the level of social brutalization that occurs on the means streets of Stockton.  This is why boxing has survived here. Itís a social statement and a reflection of the degree of abuse to which people are subjected.  Itís a no-pity, no-mercy environment.  Suffering is seen as normal and people take pleasure in seeing others suffer. Men gossip like women and backstabbing is considered an art form.  I tried to help Kenny learn technique, but being the tough guy he was, he wanted to intimidate me with his power.  He only succeeded in alienating me. Who needs be around such foolishness?  Iíve been around fighting men too long not to know when someone is not interested in improving. Kenny suffered from the same psychology seen in so many fighters who try to out-bad everyone they meet, and only succeed in isolating themselves.  As a result of my observations, I stepped back, and let the inevitable happen.  He took beating after beating; at one point, being denied his license.  I was happy to see he regained himself and ended his career on a high note.  Here, Kenny stopped the same fighter who had previously knocked him out with a well-placed left hook.  Kenny retired with a large fan base and many supporters. Although I have not seen Kenny for a while, I continue to wish him well. Kenny is one of those boxers I believe could have gone much farther under more knowledgeable trainers. The streets of Stockton are piled high with stories like this one.


Kenny Lopez gains revenge for his defeat               

Tony Dominguez, the red-haired punching machine from Manteca, is another of the Old War Dogs I covered during the brawling contests at the Stockton Civic Auditorium.  Local promoters, more interested in making a buck, seldom matched local boxers with worthwhile opponents.  This continues to be the practice in Valley Towns and usually leads to over confident, poorly trained, inexperienced boxers. This leads to predictable results.   It is no wonder local trainers, whom I cannot name, deceive themselves into believing they actually know what they are doing.  History will verify that itís been a very long time since Stockton produced a winner.  This can only be laid upon the shoulders of incompetent, ignorant, self serving old timers whoíd rather see their boxers beaten, then step aside and permit more knowledgeable coaches to take over.  Nonetheless, Kenny brought local fans excitement and a chance to forget about their mundane existence.  Although he seldom left his home turf, Tony banged out many victories. He is greatly admired and well respected by fans. 

Much to my disappointment, neither Tony nor Kenny has been nominated to Stockmanís Mexican American Hall of Fame, or any other good citizenís awards.  This clearly demonstrates the failure of local community leaders to recognize the contributions made by athletes to the Mexican American community and the history of Stockton.  Although I have little hope of our present Mayor, or present Hispanic City Council members to do so, I hope a new leadersĒ will name both of them to the Mexican American Hall of Fame, and recognize them for their contributions to Stocktonís history.

Fans who have contacted me and requested more information on bullfighting will be happy to learn I plan to continue covering next season.

As I prepare to make a trip to Monterey to cover the upcoming event, I do so with a smile. Boxing fans can look forward to the best of me as I cover boxing in the Central and Northern California.  Boxing fans in Stockton and Lodi can contact Fitness Systems Gym in Lodi for boxing training. I have moved my training headquarters to Lodi. Call me at (209) 462-5822 for details on how to get started.

Fans should keep in mind that during the holidays many people are comparing themselves to others, and focusing on what they donít hae.  Itís difficult not to come up short when unrealistic goals are set.  During the dark days ahead, when confronted with lifeís realities, it will be difficult not to do whatís easy, instead of whatís right.  I urge everyone to take the high ground, move aside when pushed, ignore the inconveniences and live another day. Let madness, anger and violence run past you.  Donít get caught up in the insanity of hip-hop mentality, where violence and obscene language is considered normal.

ďThank God for BoxingĒ has become my signing off signature.  It may not be as good as Michael Bufferís, ďLetís get ready to rumble!Ē but itís mine.  IĎd like to wish everyone a safe holiday, whether you are in Iraq, or just far away from home. Stay grounded; donít make decisions based on emotions. Things always look better in the sunlight. I look forward to seeing everyone next year. 

Always in Your Corner,

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


 

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