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

Boxing at the HP Pavilion

San Jose, CA
November 18, 2004

Once again I braved the deadly fog, crazy drivers and made the journey from Gunsmoke (Stockton) to cover the best sport in the world. I love boxing and continue to stay involved by writing about the fights. When I first started, I was told I’d never be able to do it, now four years later, here I am. Its like they say, genius is 90% perseverance, and 10% inspiration. Dreaming is the first stop towards greatness. This time, Sugar Ray Leonard and friends promoted the last fight of the season. It was a great show for the most part. The HP Pavilion is a great setting, and we had a good crowd. My old buddy Jerry Hoffman, worked as the master of ceremonies. As always Jim Sparaco and his crew did an excellent job.

It’s a privilege to be able to sit ringside as a writer for The Ring Magazine,, exclusivelyboxing and now as CEO and Editor in Chief of, The San Joaquin County Guardian. Too bad, most of what I see is not what I would teach my students. Many a great trainers has said, "a boxer is only as good as his corner”. I would take one step further and say, “a fighter is only as good as his coach”. A fighter and coach are like father and son. A father, at least the ones worth a damn, wants his son to do better, have more, and get further ahead. That’s why parents are so disappointed when their kids go bad.

Bout one, matched Jesse Curry (1-1) with Joe De la Cruz (0-2). It was clear form the beginning that De la Cruz was intimidated by Curry. Joe wore white trunks with black and red trim with black shoes, but looked scared. While Curry wore black and looked confident He immediately took the fight to De La Cruz, who lacked everything. The poor guy, held his hands down by his waist, this is so common, as to be a disease. I have no idea why any fighter would do this. It’s like asking to get nailed. It demonstrates poor training, terrible coaching and simply stupidity. To add to his lack of defensive hand positioning, he lacked footwork, which equals no balance, and therefore no power in his punches. Marty Sammon, my old war buddy worked as referee. Curry stalked De la Cruz who moved continually to his left in a big circle, and waved his arms like tree branches blowing in the breeze. Curry, who seems seasoned beyond what his professional records indicates, hunted him down and administered a sound thrashing. The crowd him lots of support. Cheering madly with every blow landed. I would have to give De la Cruz’s trainer a failing mark. I have no idea what they do during training, but it can’t be much, judging form De La Cruz’s performance. The poor boy was out of his league. He must not have had very much amateur experience, if any at all. What's worse, I’ll bet he’s still with the same guy who taught him all his knows, which is little. Curry landed solid shots that bloodied De la Cruz in the first round then proceed to beat him like an ugly, red headed, step child. I think kettledrums take less of a beating. I believe De La Cruz should forget what he thinks he knows about boxing, and get another coach. It’s clear he has enough heart to step into the ring, but lacks the skills, the hand speed and the killer instinct. The crowd was still arriving as Curry, loaded up a right hand that landed squarely on Joe’s chin and dropped him. I gotta say Joe has a good chin, because that shot might have killed a buffalo. To my surprise, Joe got up, took the count and reengaged, but it was clear that Curry was gonna rip off his head. Mercifully, Marty, the only man I know personally, that jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, stopped the fight. In speaking with Marty, he made it known he was ready for active duty and would once again be ready to jump with his old Airborne unit. He added however, that jumping was the easy part; it was the landings that worried him. I believe Marty’s favorite music are old Army marching songs. Curry scored a TKO in the third round, and hopefully n easy payday. Joe took home a terrible ass whipping, a bloody nose, a third loss, and hopefully plans for a new coach.

Bout Two; Matched Molly McDonnell form Portland Oregon with Tracy Carlton form Compton. Tracy, worn red trunks, while Molly wore black. Jackie Kallen, known as the first lady of boxing, manages Molly. Jackie’s smile reminded me of a used car salesman. I’ve been to her part of the country and know some of the same people. Jackie has been around boxing all her life, which is why Molly was not fighting some one like Kelsey Jeffries, thank God. Molly has the makings of a champion, and I believe will someday give Kelsey a problem. Kelsey, whom I consider a friend, has had too many easy fights. This is fine, boxing is a business and taking fights she can win is part of the strategy. I don’t begrudge her business sense. My concern has to do with her lack of improvement. Kelsey has the heart of a giant, and an equally hard head. I wish she would let someone help her. Given time, I believe McDonnell will mature into a dangerous opponent for Kelsey. Molly looks experienced beyond her short professional career. She demonstrated this by soundly defeating Carlton, who posed no contest. Much to Molly’s credit, she attacked in a calm, calculated manner, never risking too much, and carefully taking Tracy, a bigger, taller, fighter down, like chopping a tree. Tracy lacked everything. She seemed to be out of gas after the first round. She lacked footwork, hand speed, zip, and punched like a girl. While Molly punched like a heavy weight and threw bombs that rocked Carlton to her socks. It took Molly less than two rounds to dismantle, and beat Carlton so bad, the referee stepped in and stopped it. Once again the crowd disapproved and demonstrated their lack of appreciation for the subtle skills of boxing. Many fans, it seems abandon all pretense of civility, drink too much, curse too loud, and loose themselves in a desire for bloody knock down brawls. I like boxing, not too fools knocking the cheese out of each. Personally, I thought Dave the referee did an excellent job, and made an professional call.

This brings to mind a little tidbit you might like to know. It seems that 90 % of all small businesses fail because of employee theft. According to studies, 87% of all people will steal under any circumstance, and 5 percent will steal when given an opportunity. Doing the math, that means that out of 100 people only eight are worthy of trust. That means 92% of people are liars and thieves. The study added that religion or level of education, ethnicity or social economic status did not change the results. The report added that regardless of status in the community, title, position, age, or gender, 92% of all people will steal. So when drunken fans boo, and misbehave. I try to remember Boxing needs fans, but man, I am just so glad I don’t have to work with them.

Bout Three, Matched Sergio Rios, (3-0, 2 KOs) with Alvaro Ayala (3-5). I’ve been following Sergio’s career since the first time he stepped into the ring as a pro. He’s made tremendous improvements, yet has still not learned how to pivot and put his body weight into a punch. He throws dozens of punches, never quits, does not like to back up, and has enough energy to light New York City, but he has no fundamentals. This is what I mean when I give coaches bad reviews. The problem in many cases is that boxers don’t have many choices of whom to pick when they start. They have to take whoever is available. In Stockton, the PAL Gym is run by a grumpy old guy about 90 years old, who trains David Martinez, a professional fighter. The problem is that old-timer ignores everyone else, and training consists of banging on the heavy bag, if there's a room, and beating the hell out of each other in sparring. These kids just go in there and swing away at each other with any idea of what boxing is. They have no defensives skills, no footwork, no counterpunch skills, no technique, no nothing. If one of them survives the beatings, and shows some heart, the old man gets them a bout. I heard from a relative the old guy matched their 16 year old kid nephew with a 32 year old man. Of course, the kid took a beating. This is so far below bad, its obscene, but that’s how it is in Stockton. Like a I said, a fighter is only as good as the man who coaches him.

Alvaro Ayala had all the tools and some of the same problems as Rios. Both fighters seemed to suffer from bad coaching. Neither of them has a punch, so they pounded each other for five rounds, without seemingly hurting each other. Ayala’s arms were so long, he could not punch at Rios who likes to get in close. The poor guy never leaned the simple technique of stepping back and punching. The exact same mistake Hearns made against Sugar Ray. Both fighters lack knowledge of fundamentals. On the up side, I gotta say, both of these guys came to fight and never stopped punching. Finally in the sixth round after beating each other for over 15 minutes, the ref stopped it. I plan to write Santa Claus and specifically ask that Sergio Rios get a brand new trainer, one who knows fundamentals. I hate to see a fighter with so much heart not get good training. Its one of my biggest pet peeves with trainers, who talk guff, while their fighters take the beatings. I suggest that Sergio contact Candy Lopez, the PAL coach for the San Jose league, and beg him to train him. Candy is one of the few guys in this game I respect. He knows fundamentals, speaks Spanish, and loves the game. Bout four matched Ernesto Zavala, a southpaw with a record of 19-3, with 8 KOs, against Ernest “Too Slick” Johnson, (15-1-0, 6 KOs) I don’t know where they got the name “Too Slick”, it sounds like a name used by inmates. I met a guy once who wanted me to train him, and insisted I call him “Shank”. Yea right, I refused to have anything to do with idiots or fools. I avoid these “tough guys” like bad smells. I wasn’t impressed with “To Slick”. I believe he came to survive, not to win. He fought a lack luster fight, lacked punching power, lacked passion and seemed to drifted in and out of the fight. While Zavala, had zip, wanted to win and tried like hell to take Ernest out. The problem is that Zavala at 32 years, lacked the ability to out fox Ernest, or defeat him. I gotta wonder why Zavala has only had 22 fights in his long life, while Ernest almost equals his experience in a much shorter time. Zavala landed slapping body shots and chased Ernest around the ring. I’ll admit that Johnson moved like a greased monkey, but he did it without scoring blows, or punching with any authority. I was expecting to see much more, especially after the write up. The heat butts didn't help, Zavala cracked heads with Johnson who wore cornrows, and must have had a harder head, because he never bled, while Zavala did. It seems life in Chula Vista helped him develop a thicker bones. Who knows? I wish Freddy Roach, who receives a lot of praise, had taught Zavala how to pivot, and put some power behind his punches. I think Freddy should have also taught his fighters how to switch from left to right foot lead. For all the hype about Roach, I’m yet to be impressed. Zavala got the decision. Ernest seems to have lost the zeal young fighter must have. Most washed out boxers don’t stop caring until they are over thirty.

Speak of giving up, the main event was a dull as driving to Fresno on Hi-Way 99. Gilbert Martinez, must be one of the worse heavy weights in California. He has no boxing skills. He swings his arms around like a bear and fights just John Ruiz, the man made famous for losing to Roy Jones Jr. I don’t know what to say about Gilbert, except that he is simply awful. I met his coach once, and I don’t understand why Gilbert has not improved, developed or quit. What’s going on? The poor guy would flick his jab, three times, swing his left arm out and around while stepping into his punch with his back foot, thereby negating any power the punch might have had. The boos of the crowd did not seem to faze or interest Martinez who never changed, or do anything different. He just plotted along, repeating the same awful mistakes throughout the bout. What made the crowd boo even louder was that his opponent, Sherman, The Tank William's was just as bad. Williams, like Johnson did not seem to want to win, just survive, not get hurt, and go home with a paycheck. It was like watching an old carpenter pounding nails, building another structure of which he cares nothing about. Doing as little as he can, and still get paid. Sherman, adopted the exact style, and rhythm of fighting as Martinez. He never did anything but respond when attacked, and only rarely attacked himself. After eight rounds of frustration, I began shouting instructions at Gilbert, who was once again in a clinch with Williams. I bet they clinched 900 times during the ten rounds. One of the fans called it dancing. I shouted “step back and upper cut”, a move I thought was as simply as spitting out your mouth piece, but Gilbert never seemed to get it. Watching Gilbert Martinez is as boring as watching Andy Griffin. Its the same old thing, One jab, a left hay maker and clinching, over and over.I happy when the round ended and the card girls came up, at least they pretended to care. Having to observe 10 rounds of bad boxing is a real challenge. I have written on Gilbert in the past, and I wish I could find something uplifting to say. I’m sure he’s a good person. I wish I could say “Yea Man, what a fight”. I wish I could say how brave he was, but I can’t. I think Gilbert knows he is a draw simply because he is a heavy weight, and he doesn’t give a damn whether he wins or looses. I think Gilbert couldn’t give a damn what anyone thinks. He’s in it for the paycheck. He knows he can’t box, and he don’t care. He knows he’ll never be a champion and that's ok with him. I gotta write Santa Claus another letter and ask he give Gilbert Martinez some enthusiasm, or a new career. The dullest fight of the year ended in a draw, whoopee.

One nice thing about going to the fights is seeing old friends. I want to say, it’s been my privilege to work as a ringside sports writer and commentator. I love what I do, and I try very hard to do it well. I tell it as I see, and even though I may not like what I see, I have great respect for the boxers, even the ones I don’t think care, or know how to box. Boxing is a very tough game, and it takes tremendous courage to be up there. I teach my students that boxing is 90 % psychological and 10% physical. If a boxer is unable to defeat his weaknesses, he’ll never make it in the ring. My shaman grandfather taught me the importance of self-discipline, consistency and forbearance. I try my best to pass my years of training, and experience to my students. However, even when one has a great student, it’s still an uphill struggle. There are so many obstacles put there by the 92% of the people the study spoke of, yet we must persevere and press on.

Now as the CEO and Editor in Chief of The San Joaquin County Guardian. You can see my boxing articles at, boxinginfo, and as well as For those of you who read my articles and respond, thank you. Even those of you who disagree with my observations, I hope the best for all of you in the coming year. I continue to believe we could clean up boxing, if each person reached out and helped a stranger, and they pay it forward. Get involved, boxing belongs to the fans, not the commission or the promoters. Get involved, write your congressman, ask for better officials, better commissioners and higher standards of conduct for them.

Once again, I gotta say “Thank God for Boxing”  

See you Ringside,

Jorge A. Martinez