Year In Review Commentary (Click Blue links for additional info) by Esteban Erik Stipnieks


2011 Was an interesting year for local boxing fans. There were some highlights and some lowlights. So lets take this year in review. February 4th and 5th marked how weather would throw a monkey wrench into things. Christina Ruiz made it to Iowa and scored a major upset.  The year began for amateurs on a high note.  What the Iowa Boxing commission did was inexcusable….sadly a rhyme would occur later.

The Armed Forces boxing championships were both fun and controversial. They had many good bouts local boxer Patricia Cuevas showed hospitality can only go so far she was in it to win it.  She was not the only local boxer who entered the ring to win it.  Sadly San Antonio also got into National headlines with an ugly incident with Cpl Bolden.  I had toned down my coverage because having experience with military sports in 1989.  I could almost hear head rolling.  Unlike Iowa the military takes safety seriously.     

In the shadow of the event SA Golden Gloves happened. Another local boxer emerged briefly to make her point Patricia's expense.  

The local pro scene continued to be weak. It was simply put not there. The joke is if you want to wind up with a small fortune as a promoter of boxing in San Antonio you start out with a big one. Gabriel Carlin put up a good show March at SA Event Center good local club card. Rios fought hard and Ft Worth rival Luis Yanez promptly put his foot in his mouth challenging the loser. Enter the fighting mule Ivan Najara yes a pro boxer from Alamo Heights.

An under attended but totally amusing card occurred in Poteet where Emmanuel Sanchez entered the scene. I suspect in many ways he is like Lisa Holewyne. Talented yet skills also are needed to build a fan base.  Moving from place to place without building one seeming a bit narcissistic does not get people to love you.  The card was a good time for someone to leave with pride sadly it did not happen. The bouts were competitive in Poteet and a great deal of Irony happened. The gags the fights were good but tragically some promoters feeling lighter in the wallet. San Antonio became the home of Road Warriors.

In Houston Salina Barrios showed she got the skills and Patricia Cuevas now Gomez was shown that well sometimes local boxing tiffs cause more harm than good.

Come summer Gabriel would be hammered as boxing dynamics destroyed his card. Ruiz getting a title shot sucked a Emmanuel Sanchez V Eddie Tiggs of the fight. Rios fought a week opponent and Cantu showed why I flashed the yellow not the green light after his last KO victory at the SA Event center. Christina Ruiz failed to get a title in New York.

The press conference for the birth of the San Antonio boxing hall of fame had one classic moment of laughter. Joe Souza, John Michael Johnson, Tony Ayala, Jessie James Leija were inducted. Like the heat wave a drought in local boxing grew in severity. In August on an evening grad student Amateur boxer made a splash. Also another future open boxer would come to fame. Leave it to a ring announcer to come up with the best laugh in local boxing that year. An August fight card had Annie one of the two brainy boxers of San Antonio.

The weather delayed a fight card September one amateur boxing show. A battle over a fight card emerged and like so many forecasts of rain that the weathermen were making the card disappeared. October for the amateur scene things got busy. I mean real busy. While Ivan Najara became the warrior. He brought an early Halloween nightmare in Oklahoma. KO victory not a bad start. William Ramon the boxer from Schreiner fought at San Fernando.

November the changes had gotten solidified. Joseph Rios fought in Vegas and lost. Mark Caloy had taken staba from dog of the amateur boxing world to show. Mark Caloy began a 2nd two year term. Controversy (article appeared in the mag linked) over the actions of ex San Antonio boxing fixture Ronn Simms fully developed. Tragically on a personal level I will forever be grateful for Ronn’s foresight and gifts to the site. The relationship with Air Force boxing I have was birthed by Ronn. The man behind the investigation on the level boxing I agree with. The investigation was done by someone I consider a friend of the site. Joe Souza passed away a former amateur boxer now coach had given Joe a final haircut shortly before his death. The photo taken with Oscar Diaz that went with the obituary was profoundly fitting. The last time I had been at Ft Sam National cemetery my Uncle Agris was buried. My Uncle Agris had lived to see Latvia the country he was forced to flee from as a boy free again. Joe Souza served USAF cold era and his three families where there. I also realized not just a fiery person at San Fernando gym I saw Joe as a liberator. The photo of him with Oscar May 2008 on the obits was highly fitting.

December…..Ivan Najara racked up a win. A Castaneda lost. Local pro boxers are forced to fight out of town. The LBCs were action packed tragically thinly attended.  The president of USA boxing appeared on presentation night. Scholarship checks were handed out. An additional night and day followed.  A new potential boxer star who knows.  I got the impression of Hal being more like Bucky Egan and Bucky Cleven. (Read A Wing and Prayer By Harry H Crosby to understand the comparison) It can be argued right now that USA boxing needs Col Bennett or Ev Blakeley.  In a tribal Casino in New Mexico sadly the variation on an old theme repeated itself.  Ok time to be sarcastic bad cop no donut.  Lessons from Iowa were not learned.  Later Iowa confirmed it did not want to learn them. 

2011 for local boxing fans was very much like 2011 was for south Texas farmers and hill country ranchers a drought….the the long periods without made us appreciate the times with.



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