June 9-10th Report from Tijuana boxing scene, Remembering Max Baer, Prospect of the Week

Boxing has found in Max Baer the kind of fighter who can bring the game back to the old days—the days when big men fought to knock each other out…So I believe that boxing’s comeback now rests right on Baer’s shoulders. He is only 24 years old, he’s the biggest, strongest man fighting today, and he hits with terrible power.

-Jack Demsey, a former Heavyweight World Champion

Happy Friday everyone!! Thanks giving this email a click and taking the time to read this week’s Boxing TL;DR newsletter.

First off I wanted to share with you guys a little bit about my first international pro boxing experience as an observer, as I mentioned in last week’s email I would share a little about it.  So last Friday I was down in Tijuana, Mexico to watch a fighter from my gym, Carlos Maldonado, fight in a sanctioned pro fight. It’s a little different in Mexico. Going into it I didn’t know what to expect because I had heard all kinds of stories about how in Mexico the matchups are incredibly one sided, how the boxing venues in Tijuana are often just regular bars with just standing room only and all. If you’ve seen the movie Creed, think of that first fight scene in Mexico where he pulls out of the dressing room and right into the barroom floor and into the ring to fight. That’s a little bit of the image I had. Now I’m told there are other venues Carlos has fought in that are a lot like that, but this was completely different. Completely different, but equally bizarre. Staged in probably the most posh district within Tijuana, the fight took place in The Grand Hotel Tijuana. Yes, there was a small Range Rover showroom across the street. I was there pretty early and had used up enough of my time at their pool as a hotel guest imposter, so it was time to scope out the ballroom and see the place where the actual fights were to take place. I peaked in about 2.5 hours before the start of the event and not only was this the tiniest ballroom I’ve ever seen for a boxing event (a capacity so small it would never be able to turn a profit for a show in the United States), there was no ring in sight and still another event going on! Like the Spanish version of a Zig Ziglar sales conference, or Tony Robbins for the younger readers.

So somehow they pulled it off and there was a ring and chairs all set up and ready to go for fight time, but as we walk to the “locker room” here was the part that felt a little like the movie Creed. We go into this area of the hotel that looks like of like an old mall that’s closed down (backstory: this hotel did have a casino that was shutdown for legal reasons I was told, maybe they still need to pay the right guy?). So this area of the hotel we’re in now feels like a mix of a first floor of a mall and a airport terminal. All shops are empty and closed down. We go into one that’s still kind of under construction or renovation maybe. That becomes the makeshift locker room, but inside and the hallway outside of that room becomes the locker room for every fighter, both A side and B side, red corner and blue corner. I thought that was odd. There were other rooms available to use, this was a ghost town mall after all. Carlos gets all wrapped and gloved up, we go into the ballroom. He is matched up with a kid who’s actually a pretty good opponent this time, winning record and all. Carlos is sharp but patient there are a few good exchanges from both fighters in the middle of the round and a big flurry of punches from his opponent at the end of the round. Carlos slips under what might have been a big, hard landing overhand right and finds a devastating shot to the body left exposed by the reckless local. Carlos makes quick work out of the kid and the fight is over.

This Day in Boxing History

June 9th

1899 Jim Jeffries knocks out Bob Fitzsimmons in a fight on Coney Island to win the World Heavyweight title

2016 Garrity McOsker gets knocked out by Ivan Marquez. But ya, it’s been a full year since my last pro fight. Didn’t go the way I wanted it to and haven’t been able to get my next fight yet, but I’m still working towards it.

Sorry to leave you with that bummer, want a pick me up?!

Yes? ok. Let’s turn it back to June 8th (so ok “This yesterday In Boxing History” ) in the year 1933. A fight that, in its day, was one of the most important fights for American patriotism and personally one of my favorite “slap in the face of fascism” moments in sports history*

June 8th 1933 Max Baer KO’s Max Schmeling in round 10 of a fight in Yankee Stadium

Max Baer, an American whose mixed ancestry included Jewish roots, fought and knocked out the German, Max Schmeling, who was Hitler’s favorite boxer.  Baer, who wore the star of David on his trunks for this fight and I believe every subsequent fight, and his victory symbolized strength and pride and brought inspiration to countless Jews, especially young boys and girls.

*one of my other favorites was Jessie Owens winning 4 Gold Medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Prospect of the Week

Golden Boy Signee David Mijares real tricky fighter

Weekend Schedule (kind of brief)

June 9

At Verona, N.Y. (Showtime): part of their SHOWBOX programming, a feature they do for smaller shows/promters, showcasing prospects

Joel Diaz Jr. vs. Regis Prograis, 10 rounds, junior welterweights

Steve Rolls vs. Demond Nicholson, 8 rounds, middleweights

Jon Fernandez vs. Juan Reyes, 8 rounds, junior lightweights

June 10

At Sloan, Iowa (CBS Sports Net)

Daniel Franco vs. Jose Haro, 10 rounds, featherweights

This is Daniel Franco’s (promoted by Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports) first fight back after a surprise upset to veteran/journeyman/gatekeeper Chris “San Diego Kid” Martin in March, a fight I was doing color commentary for on local TV. That was an amazing fight to witness live. Martin was losing the entire fight but the savvy veteran found his puncher’s chance. Great to see Franco back in the ring so soon after his first knockout loss and this will probably end up being a valuable experience and response for a young prospect with a bright future.

Zhimin Wang vs. Manuel Rey Rojas, 10 rounds, junior welterweights

Giovanni Mioletti vs. Sal Lopez, 6 rounds, junior featherweights

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