Monday, April 23, 2018

RAMON OROZCO



   Riverside California's Ramon Orozco was always a good athlete, but at 5' 4" tall he got into boxing where he could compete against athletes his own size.  After a short but winning amateur career he turned professional on August 6, 1994 in Pomona, California.  He started fast with a first round technical knockout over Chino, California's Eusebio Jauregui.

   After the pro debut victory, things slowed down as he went 0-3-1 in his next 4 bouts.  Those 3 losses included decisions to unbeatens Johnny Walker (3-0), and U.S. Olympian Julian "The Dealer" Wheeler (8-0), so even though he stood with a record of 1-3-1, his reputation was solid.
Orozco stops "Flash" Gordon Williams in round 2

   He turned things around and went 4-1 in the next 5 fights including a mild upset over Gordon Williams at the Forum in Inglewood, CA, and a big upset win, at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles,over Mexico's Miguel Angel Ruiz who was 10-1 when Orozco beat him. Ruiz would later go on to challenge Hector Camacho Jr. for the NABA Jr. Welter Title.

   Ramon went 2-3-1 in his final 6 fights, ending with a 4th round tko win over Victor Hugo Sanchez on Sept. 26, 1996 at the Marriot ballroom in Irvine, California.

   He finished his pro campaign even up at 7 wins, 7 losses, 2 draws, and winning 4 by knockout.  He was the original "Riverside Rocky" and had fans roaring at all of his bouts! Trained by "Trainer of Champions" Jessie Reid, Ramon was always ready for a rumble.  He got his self in trouble, lost some valuable years of prime time in his youth, and would have probably achieved much more in the ring.  But his short pro boxing career was action packed each time out!
Ramon Orozco goes to war with Marco Antonio Ramos for the victory

   Click here to check out Ramon's full ledger at boxrec.com: RAMON OROZCO COMPLETE RECORD

   If you would like to see Ramon Orozco in ring action, I have the following bouts available on DVD (contact me for information):

 1. JOHNNY WALKER            [L-4]
2. JULIAN WHEELER           [L-6]
3. GORDON WILLIAMS      [ko-2]
4. MARCO ANTONIO RAMOS  [w-6]
5. DAVID VAZQUEZ        [tko-by-2]

Contact me via e-mail: The Boxing Guru via E-mail

Boxing fans, pick up your copy of MAT TALES - True Stories from the Bizarre, Brutal World of Pro Boxing!  Click here to order: MAT TALES on Amazon


  

Thursday, March 22, 2018

JOAQUIN ZAMORA

   Born in tiny Luna, New Mexico and now fighting out Santa Fe NM.  Joaquin Zamora was a favorite around the New Mexico amateur circuit before turning professional in 2002 with a first round tko of Dwayne Pope.

   Zamora traveled to Las Vegas Nevada where he lost his 2nd pro fight by stoppage in round 3 against Durango, Mexico's Juan Manuel Salazar in Salazar's pro debut.

   He then ran off a 4-0-1 streak before facing hard hitting Elco Garcia for the vacant WBC Mundo Hispano Jr.Middleweight Title. It was an all-out war for 6 rounds before Garcia got the stoppage to win that title.

   Joaquin learned much from that encounter and began another winning streak going 7-0, 6 ko's before stepping in to face Mexico's Nelson Estupinan (12-3) for the USNBC Welterweight Title belt. It was a glorious night as Zamora put on a dominant performance over 10 rounds to win a lop-sided unanimous decision and left the ring with the belt around his waist.

   In April of 2007 Zamora successfully defended his title belt against highly regarded James "Too Sweet" Crayton by a unanimous decision on scores of  99-91, 99-91, and 100-90.  His level of opposition had risen, and he was equal to the challenge.  He was making noise, and began to get attention in the national rankings off of these back-to-back wins against high level opponents.

   Zamora's next big challenge came Sept. 5, 2008 as he faced off against fellow New Mexico prospect Ray Sanchez III (21-2) in a bout televised on the Telefutura network. It was a much anticipated match and didn't disappoint the fans in attendance, and tuned-in live around the world.  It was 3 rounds of war, but when the smoke cleared, It was Zamora who had his hand raised in victory via 3rd round tko.
Ray Sanchez III and Joaquin Zamora locked in battle in 2008


    The next two fights were big ones for Zamora who looked impressive.  First up was a 10 round unanimous decision win over Jose Adelaydo Gonzalez (12-4-1) again televised on Telefutura. 6 months later, he squared off with and stopped Josh Renteria (15-2) in the 10th round.

   Nearly a year-and-a-half later, Zamora took his 18-2-1 record, traveled to Miami, Florida, and moved up in weight to challenge for the vacant IBO Latino Middleweight title against Nigeria's Eromosele Albert (22-4-1).  It was another spirited fight, but it was Zamora being stopped by Albert in round 9.  Zamora then lost a hard fought rematch via decision to Elco Garcia, that fight also televised on Telefutura network.

  
Zamora with other New Mexico favorites

   He improved the record of  his pro campaign with 4 straight unanimous decision victories with his last victory being a 6 round win over Oklahoma's Anthony Hill.

   Joaquin Zamora is a skilled warrior who delights his New Mexico fans, and picks up fans every time he shows his heart in the ring in those nationally televised fights.

   He has had a nearly decade-and-a-half long pro boxing career with an outstanding 22-4-1, 12 ko record. This humble veteran of the United States Navy will always be remembered as one of New Mexico's top pro boxers.

   The fighting days may not be over just yet.  Joaquin tells me that he may have a few more fights left in him, but either way, he will stay involved in the sport of professional boxing!

Check out his complete professional career on boxrec: Joaquin Zamora's complete pro ledger on boxrec.com

If you would like to see Joaquin Zamora in ring action, I have the following bouts of his available on DVD:

1. JAMES CRAYTON             [w-10] {USNBC Welter Title} (Missing Rds. 8 & 9)
2. JOSE JUAN BERMEJO      [w-10]
3. RAY SANCHEZ III             [tko-3]
4. JOSE GONZALEZ              [w-10]
5. ELCO GARCIA #2              [L-8]

Amateur Bouts
1. Jeramiah Torrez
2. Jose Gualdalupe Gallardo
3. Rafael Rodriguez
4. Michael Urioste

Get your copy of MAT TALES: True Stories from the Bizarre, Brutal World of Pro Boxing - available on Amazon in Paperback & Kindle!  Click here to order: MAT TALES


  



Thursday, February 15, 2018

JIMMY THUNDER

 
   New Zealand born James Peau was raised in and fought out of New Zealand.  He had a successful amateur career which included a gold medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games held in Scotland.

   He later changed his name to "James Thunder", but the name "Jimmy" stuck with him.  He told me that he didn't like the name "Jimmy", but it stuck with the boxing public. 

   He opened his pro career on April 8, 1989 with a 4th round tko over 16 fight veteran - Niko Degai in Melbourne, Australia.  He ran off a quick string of ko's and in his 5th fight, he won the vacant OPBF Heavyweight title over August Tanuvasa (7-5, 4 ko).

   In his next bout, he ko'd heavy handed former world ranked contender - Bernardo Mercado (33-4, 28 ko) at 87 seconds of round 1 in a bout that was expected to be a test for Thunder.  That win pushed him into a higher level of competition.

After 3 more fights, and 3 more knockout wins, including a hard fought 10th round tko over former WBC Light Heavyweight Champion - J.B. Williamson (26-5, 10 ko), he tasted his first defeat at the hands of a man who would later become a stable mate of his - Mike "The Bounty" Hunter (15-2-2, 5 ko).  James was stopped in the 4th round.

   He went 3-2 in his next 5 fights, but picked up the IBF Pan Pacific Heavyweight Title, along with the Australian Heavyweight Title in that stretch.

   Just over 1 year later, Thunder defeated Melton "Sledge Hammer" Bowen (28-4) to win the vacant WBF Heavyweight Title via 5th round tko.  He lost that title in his first defense against Johnny Nelson (28-9-1) by decision.

 
Dan and his Son Daniel with Jimmy Thunder in 1994
     In 1994, Thunder made his move and settled in the USA for a chance at a world title shot.  He scored two victories in Albuquerque, New Mexico including a 10 round decision win over Marion Wilson, who just about a month earlier had fought World Ranked Ray Mercer to a draw.
He defeated Ed Donaldson via 2nd round tko, and earned a shot at Richard "Hard Face" Mason (21-3-1, 16 ko) overcoming a point deduction in the 10th round to win a hard fought unanimous decision and pick up the vacant IBO Heavyweight Championship.

   Thunder defended his IBO title at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan with a very close majority decision over former WBA Heavyweight Champion Tony "TNT" Tubbs (39-5, 20 ko) on scores of 114-114, 115-114, and 114-113.  It was a big win for Thunder and it propelled him up in the world rankings.

   He came back in his next fight by adding another former world champion - former USBA & WBC Heavyweight king - Trevor Berbick to his list of victims, defeating the former champ by wide margins in a unanimous decision.  That bout was also for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Title Belt.

   He followed up with wins over Dan Dancuta, and Bomani Parker before running into a bit of controversy.  In his non-title bout against WBF and British Cruiserweight Champion Franco Wanyama (15-3-2, 7 ko).  It was televised on CBS, and it turned into a wild affair with lots of punishment being dished out by both sides.  It went the distance, and in the end Jimmy Thunder was announced to the crowd as the winner.  But the scorecards were checked, and it turned out to be a split decision victory for Wanyama on scores of 95-94 Thunder, and 96-93 Wanyama, and 95-94 Wanyama.

   Thunder went back to work and put together another nice winning streak starting with a successful defense of his IBO title over Ray Anis (19-1, 13 ko) via 7th round tko.  He also defeated Melvin Foster, Will Hinton, William Morris, and Quinn Navarre during the hot streak.

   Jan. 14, 1997 found Thunder in a showdown with another world ranked contender - future WBA Heavyweight Championo John "Quiet Man" Ruiz (29-3, 21 ko).  It was a battle for the NABF Heavyweight Championship.  It went the full 12 rounds.  Ruiz got the split decision victory.  That would be Thunder's last fight for a title belt.

   Thunder scored an incredible 13 second knockout over up & coming contender Crawford Grimsley. That is.... 13 seconds including the referee's count! One of the few actual "1-punch" knockouts you will see!   

   The James Thunder/Crawford Grimsley fight is one of the stories in my book: MAT TALES - True Stories from the Bizarre & Brutal World of Professional Boxing - available on Amazon.
No one could have known what was about to happen when Thunder faced off with Grimsley!



   From that point on, Thunder's boxing career went hot and cold going 4-7 against some top names including:  Maurice Harris, Chris Byrd, Tim Witherspoon, Eli Dixon, Monte Barrett, Charles Shufford, Paea Wolfgramm and undefeated Andre Purlette (30-0, 27 ko).

James Thunder fought his final battle in the professional ring on Dec. 6, 2002.  He went to Victoria Australia and dropped a 10 round decision to local favorite Colin Wilson.  His career spanned 13 years.  The powerfully built heavyweight is remembered fondly by boxing fans.  I'm one of them.

He finished his career with a final tally of:  35 wins, 14 defeats, winning 28 by knockout.

Check out his career on boxrec:  JIMMY THUNDER - Boxrec.com

Read about James Thunder's bout with Crawford
Grimsley and 31 other wild "tales" in the book:





















Click Here to order your copy: Order MAT TALES on Amazon





If you would like to see James "Jimmy" Thunder in ring action on DVD, I have the following bouts available:

1. MELTON BOWEN                         [tko-5] {Vacant WBF Heavy Title}
2. RAMON PEREZ                             [tko-2]
3. MARION WILSON                        [w-10]
4. ED DONALDSON                          [tko-2]
5. RICHARD "Hard Face" MASON   [w-12] {Vacant IBO Heavy Title}
6. TONY TUBBS                                [w-12] {IBO Heavy Title}
7. TREVOR BERBICK                       [w-12] {vacant WBC Continental Americas Heavy Title}
8. DAN DANCUTA                             [tko-2]
9. FRANCO WANYAMA                   [L-10] (Originally announced as a win for Thunder)
10. RAY ANIS                                    [tko-7] {IBO Heavy Title}
11. MELVIN FOSTER                        [tko-8]
12. WILL HINTON                            [ko-7]
13. WILLIAM MORRIS                    [tko-10]
14. QUINN NAVARRE                      [ko-4]
15. JOHN RUIZ                                 [L-12] {Vacant NABF Heavy Title}
16. CRAWFORD GRIMSLEY          [ko-1]
17. MAURICE HARRIS                    [ko-by-7]
18. CHRIS BYRD                              [tko-by-9]
19. TIM WITHERSPOON                 [w-10]

Contact me:
The Boxing Guru via E-mail

 

   

   

   

Friday, January 12, 2018

RICKY THOMAS

Nickname: Time Bomb

   After a short, but successful amateur boxing career, that saw him win gold medals for 3 years in a row at the Empire State Games, Albany NY's Ricky "Time Bomb" Thomas turned professional.

   He started out tough, taking on 2-0 Keith Providence, and Ricky was stopped in round 1 of his professional debut.

   Thomas got right back to the gym and learned from his debut loss.  Thomas ran off 4 straight wins, 3 by knockout, before losing to another undefeated fighter - 6-0 - Ron Morgan.


  Thomas was willing to go against anyone his management put him in with.  In fact, EVERY fighter he ever faced had a winning record.  His record was not padded with easy fights.

   His record shows that he faced some of the big names of that era in pro boxing:  Andrew Council, William Bo James, Davey Hilton, Fernand Marcotte, Darrin Van Horn, Lamar "Kid Fire" Parks,  Julio Cesar Green, Sean Fitzgerald and the legendary James Toney all squared off against Ricky Thomas!

   Ricky Thomas never fought for a title, but he was skilled, fearless, and always tested these top level pros. A real fight fan favorite!

   Check out Ricky's pro ledger on boxrec.com: RICKY "Time Bomb" THOMAS

   He finished his pro career with a record of 11-14-1, with 3 kos. Ricky passed away in June of 2015 at the age of 49.
Thomas squares off against a legend - James "Lights Out" Toney

   If you would like to see Ricky Thomas in ring action, I have the following bouts available on DVD:

1. RODNEY KNOX                         [Draw-4]
2. ANDREW COUNCIL                  [w-4]
3. DARRIN VAN HORN                  [L-10]
4. LAMAR "Kid Fire" PARKS         [L-10]
5. JAMES TONEY                           [tko-by-10]
6. JULIO CESAR GREEN               [tko-by-5]


Contact me for information: The Boxing Guru

Pick up a copy of Dan Sisneros' new book (available on Amazon):











Click HERE for information

Sunday, December 17, 2017

MAT TALES

True Stories from the Bizarre, Brutal World of Pro Boxing



   32 "Tales" that go beyond the actual boxing matches themselves. The fans, the boxers, ring announcers, broadcasters all become part of the story when emotions run out of control. Fueled by passion, desire, fanatic loyalty, and human nature. Sometimes it is a simple misunderstanding, but often it can be a combination of testosterone and beer from the concession stands that make fans lose control. 

   And the boxers themselves? A desire to prove that you are the best, pride in your gym, a need to show the fans that their support and belief in you are well placed. A fight plan that starts to go off course can lead to some pretty unexpected happenings.

   And sometimes, it is not a fan or a participant, but some maniac who needs to "fly" into the middle of a world heavyweight championship on the Las Vegas Strip riding a fan powered contraption!

   This book shares a few of those events where things did NOT go as planned!


   But you don't just have to take my word for it. Boxing historians, trainers, officials, fans, even the fighters themselves share their memories of what those nights were like, as they share their take on these bizarre, brutal, and sometimes funny things that really happened.

   The foreword is written by former WBA Heavyweight Champion of the World - Mike Weaver. Who better to write a foreword than a man who has been involved in some of the most memorable matches in boxing history? 
Foreword by WBA Heavyweight Champ - Mike Weaever

   Losing by a wide margin of a 15 round world heavyweight championship against an undefeated champion, in the 15th and final round, he landed one of the most shocking knockout punches in boxing history to win the title, leaving the favored champion lying still, face down in the middle of the ring! That in itself is a boxing legend, but the way Weaver lost his title in his 3rd defense is one of the tales in the book, and that is just as shocking!

   You will probably recall seeing some of these events as they unfolded in front of a world-wide audience tuned in for a championship boxing match gone wrong.  A few of these you probably will hear about for the first time.  And two of them happened at events in which I was present! Both of those were in Albuquerque, and it is no coincidence that they both involved Albuquerque's own - Rudy "Bad Boy" Lovato!

   
Chapter 4: "My first boxing riot!"





   
   You don't have to be a pure boxing fan to appreciate the craziness of these happenings!

   The book is now available in both Paperback and Kindle format on amazon!

Click here to order your copy on Amazon!
MAT TALES - True Stories from the Bizarre, Brutal World of Pro Boxing

   


Saturday, December 2, 2017

MY JOURNEY THROUGH BOXING:



MAT TALES - Volume 1 is almost here!

 I hope you will enjoy the tales shared with you in my new book - Mat Tales: True Stories from the Bizarre & Brutal world of Pro Boxing. Foreword by former WBA Heavyweight Champion - Mike Weaver.
    
Foreword written by: Mike Weaver (WBA Heavyweight Champion)

   Boxing is by far my favorite sport. I have been enjoying “the fights” since I was a young boy growing up in South Gate, California. I would like to share with you the story of how I became so involved in this awesome sport.


How it all started

   I was always a fan of boxing.  Only 11 years old when Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier engaged in “The Fight of the Century”, I remember it well.  All of the neighborhood kids were talking about it. Looking back, it seems we were all just repeating what our Dads said about it. 
    
   Even before that historic fight, I watched “Boxing from the Olympic” On Los Angeles’ Channel 13 with my Dad many times.  I honestly can’t tell you who all of the fighters were that we watched. I do remember a few of those names from the Los Angeles boxing scene at the time.  “Lanky” Al Stankie, Ray “Windmill” White, Arturo “Tury the fury” Pineda are three that come to mind. Lesser known, but I didn’t know enough about the game to foresee greatness, or a journeyman career for any of them.  I just liked their nicknames.  And if Dad liked ‘em, I liked ‘em. 
The place that started a lifelong passion for boxing!
    As the years passed, I developed a love for lots of different things. No matter what I was into, I always kept an eye on the boxing scene. In Jr. High and High School, I really didn’t find many friends who kept up with boxing. We were all busy arguing over our favorite rock bands, or who would win a fight between Chuck Norris and Billy Jack. And, as I can best recall, it seems Pro Wrestling and Team sports were always talked about.  Boxing, not so much in my circles, but I did have a good neighborhood friend – Ed Delgado, who was just as into boxing as I was, and of course, we are still friends to this day. 
Ed & Dan - Lifelong friends with a love of boxing!

I quietly carried my love of the game with me through adolescence and into adulthood.

Technology’s gift

   When the VCR was invented, I began recording every boxing match that was televised. I was probably about 20 years old when we bought our first VCR. I didn’t have a long term plan, I just couldn’t resist the urge to record every boxing match, just in case I would want to watch it again.  Before I knew it, I had boxes filled with tapes, so I started cataloguing them, I wanted to know where each bout was and on what tape. We didn’t have home computers then, so I just typed everything up and kept it in a 3 ring binder.
   After we moved from Southern California to New Mexico in 1988, I began trading boxing matches on VHS tape with fans and collectors from around the country. People actually placed ads in KO and Ring Magazine, looking to trade boxing matches. It was a fun hobby, and it was amazing to see my collection grow.
   I was contacted by a boxing trainer up in Colorado named Dan Cushner who was looking for tape on a certain boxer that his guy would be facing in an upcoming match.  I had a few fights of that opponent, and sent them.  We ended up becoming best friends.  That was back around 1990 or so.  Nearly 3 decades later, we are still best friends!
Dan Cushner, James Buddy McGirt, and Dan in 2002


The Public Access TV Show

   I had this huge collection of boxing on videotape, so I thought it would be fun to start a boxing show on Albuquerque’s public access channel.  In 1991 The 8-Count Boxing Hour made its debut.  I had lots of fights shot on a home video camcorder, so I featured those bouts on the show.  
   From Albuquerque, NM, I traveled with a trio of pro boxers who were fighting in Thornton, Colorado – a suburb of Denver.  I worked the corner for Chino Sanchez, and Daniel Perez, but I brought my camcorder to record all of the bouts for my show.  The promoter – Tom Quinn was more than happy to have a little exposure for his fighters, and I would have some recent boxing action featuring local professionals to air on the show back in Albuquerque.  I showed them all, in fact, I showed the entire card on my 2 hour “pilot” for the show.  The response was totally surprising!
Toby Smith tuned in!
Albuquerque’s boxing fans had never seen anything quite like it, a very successful debut.
A funny little article from the Albuquerque  sports page.
   Danny “Kid Dynamite” Romero Jr. was just turning professional, and I enjoyed being a small part of his rising career, as he and his fights, appeared on quite a few episodes of the show.  It was fun to watch him rise and become a world champion. 
Dan with a 17 year old amateur - Danny Romero Jr.
 

Danny’s father also provided me with a whole library of great amateur fights for the show.  Johnny Tapia was returning to the ring wars, and he was always there for me to do an interview, or show some of his old amateur fights any time I asked him.  He never said “no” to anything I requested.  Rudy Lovato, Sean McClain, Daniel Perez, and so many other exciting local boxers.  I can’t name them all, but the local fighters were always featured on the show.
Dan does a post fight interview with pro boxer Jayla Ortiz & her manger Dan Cushner in 2006

Becoming a pro boxing judge

   The show caught on, and I was invited to bring my camcorder down to all of the local shows, pro & amateur boxing and kickboxing events.  As I was taping an amateur kickboxing event, the events coordinator for the New Mexico State Athletic Commission – the late Max Abeyta – approached me about applying for a license as a boxing judge with the State Commission.  He said that he was a regular viewer of the public access show, and that he was impressed with my knowledge of, and love for the sport, and that I should be involved as an official.  I was a little surprised, but felt honored.  I wasted no time in filling out the application, and heading down to the next Commission meeting to have my application for a license voted on by the commissioners.  It was a unanimous 5-0 vote in favor of approval!   I even recorded the vote and aired it on my boxing show.

The Written Word

   It was somewhere around that time that I was contacted by the late Ed Walsh of Pro Boxing Update/Flash magazine.  He said that he was no longer going to be covering the Southwestern United States for the publication, and that the publisher wanted me to do it.  Again, I was honored, and jumped at the opportunity.  The column became known as The Southwest Line and I reported on all of the happenings in pro boxing, mostly in New Mexico and Arizona, but also quite a bit of Colorado and Texas. 
Being a featured writer for PBU/Flash was very prestigious in those days, and it opened a lot of doors for me in the world of professional boxing.  Remember, these were the days before the internet.  There were no websites, no cell devices, no tweeting, no YouTube or Facebook.  Paper, Radio and TV were the kings of media.  Ring and KO Magazines may have had more subscribers, but for those in the boxing industry, PBU/Flash was #1. 

Boxing on videotape

   My video service was becoming more and more popular, I was getting contacted from boxing managers, trainers, and promoters from all around the United States, looking for scouting video of potential opponents.  Cameron Dunkin, Tom Loeffler, Bob Spagnola, were just a few of the super agents who used my services to provide scouting videotapes for their fighters.  It was always exciting to see a boxer who had just won a big fight say that he saw something on the video, or that they were well prepared with videotape of their opponent.  It was a great feeling of satisfaction to hear these great warriors acknowledge my small contribution to their winning efforts. I suspect most of them didn’t have any idea where their trainer got the video!

Over the airwaves

   I became a regular on Albuquerque sports radio.  Henry Tafoya’s Sportsline was lots of fun, as I would call in and talk boxing with “Henry T” on weekday mornings.  The late Jim Boggio would have me as a guest on his boxing radio show Punch Time at Lunch Time.  Dom Zarrella had me on as a regular guest to talk boxing on Dom’s Dugout.  Ron Harris even had me as his regular boxing analyst on his show Sports Talk with da’ Guru in Marysville, California.  It was a fun time being a guest on each of those radio shows.
   Here I was.  A pro boxing judge, writing for a boxing publication, providing video for some of the biggest names in the sport and hosting a local boxing show.  It was a very fun time in my life.

Real TV?

   A new boxing series had started airing on our local CBS station – Promoter Lenny Fresquez presented Rising Stars Boxing.  I welcomed a chance to see local boxing events carried on real television in New Mexico.  Local sports casting legend Henry Tafoya and Albuquerque Journal Sports writer Rick Wright did the first couple of shows and I loved it.  There was a card scheduled in December of 1997 headlined by Elias Paulin (9-4) taking on local favorite Andres Fernandez (10-1) for the vacant WBB Bantamweight Title belt.  I was getting ready to head down to the venue to work the show as one of the judges assigned by the State Athletic Commission when I got a phone call telling me that the regular broadcast team would not be able to make it for the event, and I was asked if I would consider filling in on short notice!   

   The promoter had seen me do broadcasts of boxing events on public access channel 27, so he hoped I would do it.  I had only a matter of hours to try to fit into one of my Dad’s suits, and head over to the State Fairgrounds for the broadcast.  I was excited, and a little apprehensive.  Real TV?  With no time to prepare myself?  But there was no way I was going to say “no” to a chance like this.  Boxing was calling on me, I had to give it a shot.  I was matched up with New Mexico’s “Mr. Boxing” – the late Stan Gallup and after a quick combing of the hair, and cliff notes version of what I was to do, we were called up into the ring, handed a bout sheet, and a microphone.  They started a countdown, and we began the broadcast.  I can’t help but laugh at myself every time I see the tape of that night, in a borrowed suit about 2 sizes too big for me, and talking off of the top of my head.  The boxing action was exciting that night, and that made up for the thrown together at the last minute broadcast team.  I guess I didn’t do that bad, I was kept on as Henry Tafoya’s color commentator for many more shows after that! 
Henry Tafoya & Dan doing an intro at the State Fairgrounds
He even gave me the name “The Boxing Guru”.  Of course, I know I am not the boxing guru, there are so many in the game with much more knowledge and experience, but I am honored that Henry considered me his boxing guru, and dropped that moniker on me. 


Doing a broadcast in Las Vegas, NM
I also thank boxing promoter Lenny Fresquez for having me on the broadcasts, it was a great honor.










Tragedy strikes

   I was deeply involved in the sport that I loved so much.  Life was good.  I was rolling along, juggling these boxing responsibilities, my beautiful family, a good job.  Then in Jan. of 1998 it all came crashing down.  When I got a phone call at work, asking me to come down immediately to La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, NM, to learn that our 16-year-old Son was killed in an accident at his High School.  Everything stopped.  My mind and heart went numb.  The curtain came down on my life.  I can hardly remember those days after Daniel’s passing.  I had to keep going with my job as a Mail Carrier with the U.S. Postal Service, there was no options with that.  We still had to make a living.  But, I just didn’t have the emotional strength or focus to do everything that I was involved in with boxing. 
A wonderful night with my Son - Daniel at Albuquerque Toughman fights.
   I tried to keep going.  I thought “That’s what Daniel would want me to do”.  I was deeply honored to have them do the memorial 10-count, where they ask for a moment of silence while they toll the bell 10 times for the fallen member of the boxing fraternity, for my Son, at two different boxing events in New Mexico.  One in Albuquerque, and one in Santa Fe. 

 Video of Memorial 10-Count for Daniel & Congressman Steve Schiff

   Something like that means a lot to a grieving father who loves the sport like I do.  The boxing community really came together to support me during that time.  Andy Rivera had won the state golden gloves in the heavyweight division, and I was honored when he had the medal engraved and gave it to our family in honor of Daniel. What a tribute! 
Andy Rivera had his NM Golden Gloves Championship Medal engraved and given to my family in honor of our late Son - Daniel. A great honor!
It’s so hard to remember clearly, but through a haze, I kind of remember seeing some of the boxers at the funeral home on the evening before Daniel’s memorial service the next day.  Charles Anaya and members of his family, Rudy Lovato, are a few that I can recall.  I remember getting a call at my home from Johnny Tapia, who was in Big Bear, California training for an upcoming title defense.  He called to express his sorrow about Daniel’s passing.  Johnny kept an 8x10 framed picture of Daniel in his locker room with him as he warmed up for that title defense against Rodolfo Blanco. I’m sure there are other things that I just can’t recall, or wasn’t aware of.  All of it meant so much to me.  My faith in The Lord God was the biggest help of all.  Perhaps, he sent all of these friends from the boxing community to help get me through it.

Letting go

   I struggled, but finally, I just accepted the fact that I did not have the strength to do all that I was doing before Daniel’s death.  I finally resigned from my column with Pro Boxing Update/Flash.  With a very heavy heart, I turned in my resignation as a licensed pro boxing judge with the NMSAC.  The Rising Stars boxing series on our CBS station stopped, and as much as I loved doing it, I was almost relieved to have one more duty taken away.  I did continue to build my collection of boxing on videotape.  That was something I could do at my own pace without too much obligation. 
   I still remember the first boxing event I attended after resigning my judging position.  It was at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Johnny Tapia and Danny Romero were headlining separate bouts, and it was televised on Showtime.  I sat in the upper level of the arena with my family, and felt like Roberto Duran had punched me right in the stomach.  It was a very painful memory.  Seeing all of my old friends from the NMSAC doing their jobs officiating.  That event made me realize how much I really missed it, but I didn’t question the truth.  I had too much taken out of me from losing our son.  It was ok after that.  Almost like, it was something I had to do to finally accept that I would no longer be officiating professional boxing.
2002 with World Champion Johnny Tapia

Down but not out

   I’m still involved in the background of boxing.  Behind the scenes you might say.  Still providing boxing videos to fans, collectors, and people in the industry.  With the advent of YouTube, and all that’s available on the internet, there isn’t much of a need for my service any longer.  But, there are plenty of boxing fans who still like to trade for some of the rarer fights in the collection to add to their collections, and sometimes actually scouting potential opponents for upcoming matches, and that’s always fun.  Every once in a while, a former pro boxer will contact me looking for any of his fights that are available on video.  That is always such a pleasure to be able to do something for my heroes of the past. 
Clip from an interview used in the HBO Documentary: TAPIA
It was an honor to be contacted by film producer Eddie Alcazar, and to provide much of the footage
(even appearing in it for a few moments) used for the HBO Documentary TAPIA, about the life of my friend – Boxing Hall-of-Fame champion – the late Johnny Tapia.
   I have also been involved in a small way with former WBA Jr. Middleweight World Champion – Austin “No Doubt” Trout, and being even a tiny part of his successful career has been very satisfying.  My friends Louie Burke, and Rocky Burke keep in touch, keeping me connected to the sport too.  We are always there for each other, any time we need anything boxing related, or otherwise. I have also become an editor with boxrec.com which is now the internet’s official keeper of records for boxing.  If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!
   
   In November of 2013, I created a blog called “The Boxing Guru’s Hall of Fame”.  It features the lesser known warriors of boxing who are not household names, but are no less awesome warriors of the great sport of boxing.  You are invited to check it out: www.guruofboxing.blogspot.com - You just might see some names you recognize there!

The journey continues

   I have never hidden my love for the sport of boxing.  It has been a big part of my life, and a part of my identity over the years.  I am both an ambassador, and a defender of this beautiful, brutal, sport.  It has been a fun and incredible journey.  That journey continues with this blog and my first boxing book.  I hope you will pick up a copy!

Here is the link to order your copy of MAT TALES:
MAT TALES - True Stories from the Bizarre, Brutal World of Pro Boxing