By Don Smith: Sad but true...Politics,inflated egos and a cruel ill-advised suspension almost derailed the 42nd Annual Copper Gloves Tournament at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix, Arizona October 24-25.
The trouble began in February of this year when 75 year old USA Boxing President and Chairman of the Board Hal Adonis was quoted in the New Yorker Magazine claiming a connection between child abuse and success in boxing. His pointed remarks were particularly incendiary towards women which prompted several human rights groups to demand his resignation.
The AIBA, amateur boxing International governing body , and the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) agreed that his insensitive words and personal attitude were detrimental to women and amateur boxing and they jointly called for the dismissal of President Adonis. In June he was more or less thrown out of office ;but, members of USA Boxing allowed Adonis (by a narrow vote margin) to retain a seat on the board.
When it became apparent that Adonis wouldn’t retract or apologize for his hurtful remarks, the AIBA slapped him with a two year suspension from participating from any and all USA Boxing activities. He still didn’t budge! Finally, in an unprecedented move, the AIBA issued a three month suspension on USA Boxing and sent emails to its’ 37,000 members and directed them to cancel (effective October 19) tournaments, sparring sessions and other boxing related exercises until January 19, 2013.
Silence wasn’t an option. Upon receiving news of the suspension, USA Boxing President Charles Butler, Copper Gloves President Kelly Fenn and members of the boxing media, across America, appealed to the AIBA and USOC and pleaded for the suspension to be lifted immediately. They collectively told the USOC and AIBA that gyms and the sport of boxing provide a place and tool for young men and women to learn and grow and closure of these facilities would send the wrong message.
AIBA President Ching-Kuo Wu and Executive Director Mr. Ho Kim agreed and lifted the suspension. First bell on opening night for the Copper Gloves Tournament chimed late but it was a miracle that the event was able to proceed at all. Unfortunately, the number of bouts was limited due to the chaos created by the suspension. Hopefully a valued lesson was learned from this monumental blunder that affected the lives of thousands of boys and girls who count on gyms being open after school. Here is a concise recap of the two day amateur boxin event.
On October 24 In a battle of 75 pound fighters , Micky Scala from Broadway Gym decisioned Aaron Garcia from Fuentes Gym; plenty of action.In the second bout (110 lbs) Allen Martinez ( Calderon Gym) walkover victor as Roy Orozco (Rodriguez Gym) failed to show.In the third scheduled bout, a senior division 132 lb contest: Eduardo Aldaraca (South Mountain Gym) used his experience and strength to dominate Joseph Russell representing Busted Knuckle Gym. Ramero Trejo (Taz Gym) and Danny Riddell Jr. (Hook City (Gym) engaged in a open 165 lb battle with Trejo winning via decision. Johnathan Garcia (Hammer Gym) advanced with a walkover victory over Ricardo Lopez, Grant Park Gym. In fairness to the no shows, they thought the tournament was cancelled according to officials.
October 25, Round two of the competition was held on Thursday night and Chris Scala (Broadway Gym) won his 110 lb bout with Alton Martinez representing Hitman Gym. Edgar Brito (Brito’s Gym) earned a walkover decision when Ryan Ridell, representing Hook City Gym, failed to show. Kevin Morales (Hard Knocks Gym) was ready to fight Oscar Jimenes (Martillo’s Gym) but word of the suspension lift never reached Jimenes’ peeps;so, he was a no show. Leonardo Granillo (Central Gym) failed to show in his bout with fellow Central Gym team mate Jesus Dominquez who did show.. Jesus hopes to be on the 2016 USA Olympic Team. The highlight of the evening (Thursday) was the performance of massive heavyweight Sione Tava representing Phoenix Boys and Girls Center Gym. Tova, born in Tonga, was either making his boxing debut or engaging in his fifth fight depending on the source of information. The 27 year old is a bit raw but Alfred Quintana (Central Gym) can attest to the big fellow’s awesome power. In the second round, Tova lifted Quintana’s feet off the canvas with a short left uppercut. Quintana was bushed and ready to retire when the referee decided to stop the contest. After the bout, Tova and his management team confirmed that the Tonga Native will accelerate his training program and turn pro soon. 178 pound William Northan lll (Rodriguez Gym) was very impressive in his victory over young Johnathan Garcia (Hammer Gym). The Referee stopped the contest and rightfully so. The 26 year old Northan is too experienced and strong for the game but outmatched Garcia. William hopes to turn pro ASAP! ...time is ticking. A special pat on the back for USA Boxing, Kelly Fenn and her staff. They did what they had to do to carry on the rich and memorable tradition and history of Copper Gloves..Atribute to the memory of Al Fenn; founder of the Copper Gloves Tournament.
Undefeated Super Bantamweight Emilio Colon Garcia (6-0-1) and his father (Danny) attended the second night of the Copper Tournament and the senior Garcia used the occasion to call out a local boxing writer (guess who) and lodge a vociferous and animated protest about information submitted to this veteran journalist and printed over the Internet in one of my recent columns. Personally, I like Emilio and I would never use my pen or computer to smear anyone. Professional journalists don’t do that. The story centered on the question of why Emilio Garcia didn’t fight Jensen Ramirez on October 6 at the Celebrity Theatre. Garcia told me, at the Copper Event, that he overextended his ACL and was forced to cancel his fight with Ramirez who subsequently fought Paul "Ziggy" Romero on the card. I covered the October 6 show and several "reliable" sources contradicted Garcia’s injury claim and said he was faking the injury in an effort to side step Ramirez who is scheduled to fight Alexis Santiago on November 30 at the Celebrity Theatre in a highly anticipated 6 round battle.
The same sources also claimed they saw Garcia running after he excused himself from the card. I calmly explained to both Garcia’s that the assertion wasn’t made by me and if Emilio wanted to effectively end the controversy; he or his father should go to the treating physician and request a printout stating the nature of the injury and time and date when the incident happened. I gave the father my telephone number and email address; so he could forward the information to me. When neither man called, I phoned and left a message for Mr. Garcia on two separate occasions. It is time to move on to the next round....Good luck to Emilio!
Probation Denied: Former Top Rank Arizona boxing promoter Peter Mckinn was denied early probation release by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dawn Bergin on August 31. News of the denial was reported by Sonora News reporter Linda Bentley and Rink Talk Host Pedro Fernandez. Both reporters covered the story from the beginning and each publicly expressed personal satisfaction in the pronouncement of a guilty verdict. Tabloid journalism at its’ best. McKinn was sentenced to 3 years of supervised probation in 2011 for theft and check fraud. At the sentencing, he was ordered to pay $7,500.00 restitution to manager/trainer Joe Diaz and his boxer Luis Ramon Campas. The final tab attached to the taxpayer was somewhere in the neighborhood of $250,000.00. Justice served..you tell me? His (McKinn)friends and some law practitioners think the loquacious and obnoxious Phoenix Native was the victim of a preconceived political witch hunt because McKinn knew and associated with Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox who once served on the Arizona Boxing Commission.
The McKinn Case was initially prosecuted by then Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas; arch nemesis of political power broker Mary Rose Wilcox. The check fraud and theft charge stemmed from a business dealing between controversial trainer Joe Diaz and McKinn when the two were almost civil towards each other. It was 8 years ago when Diaz was training and managing former light middleweight IBF Champion Luis Ramon Campas and according to both parties McKinn gave the trainer a $5,000.00 check and the rest of the story differs depending on who you talk to. Diaz claims he took the check to the bank it was drawn on and the bank told him the account had insufficient funds. He eventually took the check to proper authorities for prosecution months later. McKinn says the check was given to Diaz to hold until the check could be exchanged for its’ cash value. when the issue became a legal challenge, McKinn produced a dated and signed receipt bearing the name of Joe Diaz and presented it as proof that Diaz was paid.
McKinn also contended that Diaz purposely didn’t plan to return the check; so, he could collect twice. Diaz said the signature was a fake and he began an energetic and hostile crusade against McKinn. It included marches and the carrying of signs that bore anti McKinn messages. Some were quite funny. In the end, it was the testimony of a former McKinn associate that convicted the former boxing promoter. The state promised the informant immunity from prosecution if he would wear a wire and get Peter McKinn to sing like a canary. Keep in mind that the informant is diabetic and lost both legs to the disease, .If he went to jail; his chief medical officer would be warm and cuddly Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The decision was a no brainer. When McKinn was sentenced and restitution was paid, the Arizona boxing community breathed a sigh of relief thinking the 8 year ordeal was finally over. Think again! Despite poor health the 73 year old Diaz continues to wage war against McKinn and what he perceives "corruption" in boxing. His questionable crusade has alienated him from the boxing community and recently his Top Level Gym in Phoenix was closed. He still manages Campas who at age 41 is having a hard time finding winnable fights. It’s not over...Bentley and Fernandez will keep us posted, rest assured!
Short Jabs: Rest in Peace Emanuel Steward: your legacy continues in Arizona and around the world.... Great piece of boxing news: 20 year old light heavyweight sensation Trevor McCumby (8-0-8 knockouts), Gendale,Arizona, has been added to the Iron Boy November 30 card at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. He will face Caleb Caldwell from Las Vegas Nevada in a 4 round contest and his addition to an already solid out card should pack the house .
Roger Mayweather and Bobby Ware schooled fighter Alexis Santiago takes on under rated Jensen Ramirez in the six round main event...A spokesperson for Victor Castro says the young Phoenix based fighter (7-0) isn’t ready to take on Javier Loya but he will be soon. Both boxers are slated for the November 30 Celebrity card. Loya takes on Tony Moreno and Castro’s opponent will be named this week. Carlos Castro (2-0) and Amateur standout Francisco C DeVaca are expected to fight on the Celebrity Show. Carlos isn’t related to Victor Castro in case you were about to ask! ... .....
Boxing Announcer/Thespian Ralph Velez has been named Southwest Regional Director of Operations for Fan Base Promotions. His duties include selecting fight venues, scouting and signing talent and developing the Fan Base Name Brand. In the past, Ralph has held the microphone for Sonoran Capital Group, Fan Base Promotions and more recently; Iron Boy Promotions. He has two films to his credit. Velez and Fan Base are currently looking at boxers Jesus Aguinaga,Jennifer Han, Edgar Brito and Andrew Hernandez for possible contract offers. Their group of signed fighters under the Fan Base banner include: Jesus "El Martillo" Gonzales, Janks Trotter, Ed Jackson, Paul "Ziggy" Romero, Rafael Valenzuela,Isiah McFadden and Eddie Brooks.
Fan Base’s next show is scheduled for January 16 in Calgary, Alberta Canada and the parent company has announced plans to build a gym in Calgary. A second 2013 show is tentatively penciled in for February in Phoenix...Best wishes go out to Phoenix Television Sports Reporter (and nice guy) Bruce Cooper who was admitted to a local hospital recently after experiencing heart complications. He has been very supportive of boxing over the years...2012 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Mysterious death of Heavyweight boxer Zora Folley who was found dead in the swimming pool at the Sands Motel in Tucson, Arizona. It was ruled an accidental death from horseplay; he was 41 years old. Folley was born in Dallas Texas and moved to Chandler at the age of 10. Before his professional boxing career, Zora Folley wore our country’s military uniform proudly while putting his life in harm’s way during the Korean War. He was decorated several times for his military service acts of heroism. On the Eve of Veterans Day, it is only appropriate that we as a nation thank Zora Folley and all of the men and women , past and present, for their military service...Thank You!....UNTIL NEXT TIME!
November 5, 2012