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


Riot At The Hyatt
Monterey, CA

Promoter Jerry Hoffman scored another hit with his recent event.  He even tried to give Jesus Vega a little help by raising funds to cover medical expenses incurred by illness.  I would have liked to place a bid for Jose Celaya's robe and trunks, but the $500 minimum was a little too stiff for a working class guy like myself. I hope someone was able to do so. By the way they were repeating the announcement, it sounds like there were not many takers. Still, we all wish Jesse well.

The first bout of the evening matched Sheldon Callum up against Oliver Foy. Callum came in with a record of five wins and four loses. Foy¹s record was two wins with one loss. Sheldon is trained by Sonny Marson of San Franciso while Foy is trained by Don Denkins.

The first bell brought out Callum who was cautious, while Foy came out aggressively and become increasingly so.  Aside from being a slow starter, Callum was not well prepared. He was tired after the second round. I cannot say Foy was a great technical fighter, but he was in better condition. What they say is true--fatigue makes cowards of us all.  I was surprised that someone with nine bouts of experience as Callum would allow someone with only three to dominate the fight.  Oliver Foy took the bout. As they say, “Miss one day of training, you know it.   Miss two days of training, your opponents know it.  Miss three days of training, and everyone knows it.” I hope Sheldon spends more time in the gym before his next fight.

The second bout matched Walter Giovanny Diaz, with one win, no losses, against Rudy Mendez Diaz, who was making his professional debut.  Rudy looked pretty good as he stepped out of his corner and into the fray, but that lasted about ten seconds as Walter shot out of his corner like a rocket. Walter threw bombs at Rudy that would have dropped a buffalo. No matter what else may be said about Rudy Diaz, he¹s got a great chin, unfortunately, Walter also landed body shots that stopped him in one minute and 15 seconds of the first round. Not many boxers could have stood up under such an attack.

The third bout matched Ryan “Dangerous” Davis of East St. Louis, MO, against James, “The Dark Angel” Buggs, with five wins and two losses.  I saw Buggs destroy another fighter some time ago. I have seen his serious punching power. However, he is a little too stiff, lacks lateral movement and has poor defensive skills. Davis has a record of twelve wins with two losses.  This sounds like a mismatch, but it’s ultimately the coach’s job to protect his fighter.  Eddie Croft must have believed James could overcome the difference in experience. I would not have taken this fight if I were his manager. The first round clearly demonstrated how much better Davis was.  Ryan moved like a dancer--easily shifting his weight as he punched; and moving laterally. Ryan seemed to be totally in control when bang! out of nowhere Buggs landed a solid right hand that knocked Davis to the canvas.  Davis was up and managed to fight Buggs off until the bell.  I believe Buggs took charge of the bout and won it from that point on. Buggs became the hound while Davis became the fox--dodging, slipping and trying desperately to survive.  Buggs lost a point for hitting too low; however, I believe it was unintentional, then he got caught off-balance and fell over. It was ruled a knockdown, which it was not. Davis got the decision, which I believe was due to his movement, which the judges seemed to like. However, It should also be a warning. Davis had twice as much experience as Buggs. This was a very close fight.  Davis should have been able to totally dominate, which he did not. I predict that if Buggs gets better training, learns how to move laterally and throw three-punch combinations, the next time they meet, Buggs--who is stronger, durable and hungry--will KO Davis by the third.  I would like to be there to see it happen. It was a good fight.

The next bout matched Carina Moreno, with an extensive amateur career and a professional record of two wins with zero losses, against Michelle Gatewood of Spokane, Washington, with a record of two wins and one loss. Here is where the business of boxing become treacherous. From this information, one would have to believe it is an even match. However, while anyone who does not follow boxing might be impressed, those of us who do would not. You see, women¹s boxing is still in its infancy stage; and even though it has made tremendous improvements, it is still not where it will be someday. Carina has an extensive amateur record; she has years of experience and years of gym time, while most women fighters do not.  Many female boxers turn pro before they are ready because there is little or no opportunity to compete. Many times, their coaches, just looking to make a buck, convince them to go pro. This is a major mistake.  The other big mistake is that coaches do not research the background of their prospective opponents. Most coaches ignore a boxer¹s amateur career. Wrong. The rule is simple:  Get as much experience as possible. Be sure you are ready and learn as much about your opponent before signing a contract. You will notice that when promoters give statistics about boxers, they rarely mention their ages.  This is not by accident. Women boxers usually start late in life and have very short careers. Female boxers, like Moreno and Jeffries, are the exceptions. These two women started very young, got plenty of amateur experience and have been rewarded for their hard work.  Consequently, they usually get less-prepared opponents--individuals who might have the record on paper, but not the gym-time experience. This was the case with Carina Moreno and Michelle Gatewood.

Carina came out looking every inch the professional, while Gatewood looked like a lamb being led to the slaughter. Carina sparkled with confidence; Gatewood looked like a black hole--for lack of it.  It was a no-contest in my opinion. Carina picked her shots and hit Gatewood who had no defense or rebuttal. The commission, in one of its rare moments of brilliance, stepped up and stopped the fight. It was a merciful decision, as it would have evolved into a public beating of an overmatched Gatewood.  I cannot believe Carina, who seems like a warrior, would take pride in defeating such an unworthy opponent. However, this is the business we¹ve chosen and that's how the game is played. Gatewood¹s coach is ultimately responsible. I was happy to see Michelle did not have to endure senseless punishment. She had no chance of winning. Carina¹s manager is doing a great job of handling her career. He is feeding her half-chewed pieces of meat for which he should be applauded.  However, as a sportswriter, it makes for a dull, uninteresting, one-sided contest. I believe Carina needs to have better competition. She needs boxers that will force her to step up and improve little by little.  But, there is no hurry.  Maybe after a dozen of these give-me fights, she will get a real opponent and we will have an interesting contest. I did notice Carina displayed no mercy, never paused and never gave the scared Gatewood a moment’s rest.  So we can rest assured, Carina Moreno has the killer instincts of a hungry predator. As they say, “The wolf rushes towards the rabbit when it screams, but never to help.”  I predict Carina Moreno will have a long career.  She seems to have that rare quality of character, confidence and discipline. I hope I am right.

The main event matched Ricardo Baragan with a record of nine wins, and two losses from San Jose, CA, against Freddy Castro, from San Pedro, with a record of seven wins with six losses.  Freddy goes by “The Rabbit,” and I have to agree it is a very appropriate nickname. This kid can move swiftly and pop up, find an opening and deliver a lethal combination at any movement. I have not met Freddy, but I have been to San Pedro.  It is a tough place with lots of crime, lots of gangs and lots of ways to get into trouble. Freddy seems to have a lot of experience and moves with the causal confidence often found in street-savvy individuals. Ricardo Baragan is a nice, quiet young man. He seldom speaks, and when he does, it is in a soft tone.  He seems respectful and quiet; however, this demeanor changes quickly when he enters the ring. This young man can punch and does so with a vengeance. He is a no-nonsense fighter who steps up and delivers in an exciting, no-retreat style. He can brawl, box and move very well. This bout was entertaining and worth the price of admission. Both young men performed very well.  Neither have any reason to feel disappointed or embarrassed. The fight consisted of Baragan as the aggressor, and Freddy constantly moving, but equally as lethal. Baragan threw bombs from every angle, while Freddy, slipped, dodged, pivoted and moved laterally at will, stopping to deliver a retaliatory barrage then move again. Both boxers displayed excellent conditioning, good hand speed and determination. Freddy displayed better ring generalship, better footwork, and moved in and out easier.  If Freddy had a coach that took better care of him, I believe he would have more wins.  Baragan, whom I believe has potential, should be moved up slowly. I thought he performed very well against a better, more gifted boxer; however, his manager should take care not to expect too much or move him up so quickly. Ricardo has plenty of time to mature, improve and make his drive for boxing glory.  I would recommend more caution and improved sparring for Ricardo.  I would suggest Freddy move cautiously towards bigger and better-known competition.  I saw the fight for Castro by one point.  The judges saw it as a draw, and so it goes into the record books. It was a great fight.

My adventures in the world of boxing continue to develop and I am certain will make excellent reading when I write my memoirs. So far, I have managed to cover many excellent events. Hopefully, this coming year will see me covering major fights all over the world.  It would be very exciting and the best job any real boxing fan could hope for.

Dreams never come true by themselves; you’ve got to work at it. I am living proof of this truism. I have completed two years of sports writing and look forward to many more. I am especially looking forward to covering fights in Vegas, which is not too far away. A special hello goes out to my best friend David R. Mac Donald, a former artillery, now an Anglican Priest.  He’s living out there somewhere in the backwoods of Arkansas. Hey David.

See you Ringside,

Jorge A. Martinez