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Boxing News from the Benavides' Gym - The Northwest's Finest Boxing Gym

Women in Boxing

Anyone who knows the history of Jimmy Wilde also knows of the legendary relationship between he and his wife Elizabeth. Count boxing booth fights, Wilde racked up over 900 wins with only three understandable loses. Elizabeth helped him achieve that incredible record. Neither of them seldom weighed over 100 pounds, yet they were mighty. Wilde had remarkable knock-out skills and often fought well over his weight. He even knocked out a future British heavyweight champion, which says something about his punching ability, or British heavyweights. Elizabeth had her own skills and changed boxing for wives forever. Women were not allowed into fights in Britain. When Wilde lost a bid against Tancy Lee for the flyweight title at the National Sporting Club in London (Wilde was suffering from the flu) Elizebeth was barred from entrance. After the fight she barged into the club pushing everyone aside to look after Wilde. She said he would never fight anyplace again unless she was allowed to be there. Since then wives have had a special place ringside.

After Wilde became sick from bad food before a fight, she cooked all his meals before he stepped into the ring. When he could find no training partners, she donned special protective gear and sparred with him. Because Wilde could not fight outside the ring, Elizebeth developed a reputation of knocking about offenders with her umbrella. She was truly a remarkable wife.

Boxers have special relationships with their wives, and wives with their boxers, not always good relationships. Any celebrity has difficulty with women. Males are deluged with women admirers and fighting them off can be difficult. Some wives understand this. Others do not know the mess they are entering.

Sonny Liston’s wife, Geraldine Chambers, stayed with him until his death. Liston was not known to be monogamous. Geraldine appeared to understand and she claimed that he was a decent man, gentle, kind, and loving. Apparently not everyone found him so lovng. She found his dead body in a motel room, possibly murdered.

Rocky Marciano and his wife, Barbara Cousins, stayed together. Rumor said that they fell out of love not long after the marriage, but she remained loyal to him. He was seldom home, especially after his retirement and they were not often seen together.

Jinkee, Manny Pacquiao’s wife, is another remarkable women. They met when he was a struggling boxer earning little money. She worked at a cosmetics counter in a department store. They both claim the meeting was love at first sight. She has worked with Pacquiao their entire marriage, has held political office, manages the family, and is generous with the money they have earned. Among other services, they have a foundation that cares for the medical needs of poor children.

Most boxers fall to the wayward side where relationships are involved. Jack Dempsey was married four times. Often finding the right woman takes time. Sandra Hicks divorced Floyd Patterson, not because she no longer loved him, but because he would not quit boxing and she was worried about his health. Pattern’s second wife, Janet Seaquist, was more supportive.

Muhammad Ali was a notorious hound dog, a sexual creature of the first degree. He was never lonesome. That did not stop him from marrying. He went through Sonji Roi, Belinda Boyd, Veronica Porsche, and Yolanda Williams. Yolanda first knew of him when she was 6 years old and claims that she was always in love with him. He just had to get through his other three wives before she had a chance. She took care of him during his most crucial time.

Daisy Delgado, wife of trainer and manager Jose Benavides and step mother to Jose jr. and David Benavidez, is an extremely fit, attractive, and energetic woman who can be found most days at the Benavides gym. She has gone beyond being a boxing wife to being a full business partner, trainer, nutritionist, and weight-loss specialist. She is not unlike Elizabeth Wilde and does her best to handle all aspects of boxing to allow time for her husband to concentrate on training the fighters.

Born in Los Angeles she wanted to become a dentist and needed to earn money for college. She landed several small parts in local television ads and started modeling. The money paid for dental school. Because she has always been interested in the human body, she worked out at various gyms to keep her shape. This led to winning a swimsuit competition at a body building event.

After a long talk with her dentist, she decided to study nutrition. She is a charming and personable woman and enjoys interaction with people. Doing something more people oriented suited her better than staring at tonsils all day and shooing away flies from bad and smelly teeth. She enjoys the beauty of bodies and finds a challenge inhaling people to sculpt the bodies they want. With the exception of John Ruiz, boxers have decent builds. Her brother, Eric, wanted to box and she became attracted to boxing gyms. Boxers always need ways to cut weight. She met Jose when he was working at Freddie Roache’s Wilde Card Gym. They were instantly attracted to one another. Jose always hoped for a close family, the kind he never had. She was the person to bring everything together. 

Her skill with nutrition and exercise were evident when she helped David Benavides shed 80 pounds and get him ready to begin boxing. She also helped his older brother, Jose jr. prepare for his Interim WBA Super lightweight title fight. “I take a great deal of satisfaction in helping boxers and when I witness them in the ring, I feel a part of me is in the ring with them.”

She and Jose opened a gym Phoenix. Because Jose was always gone with boxers and MMA fighters, Daisy assumed more and more of the gym responsibilities. Soon she was running almost everything except the training. Phoenix was not a good fit for the family. David was running with the wrong crowd. It cost him his title. To help save David, the couple decided to find a safer place to open a gym, one with fewer drug activity and a place with cleaner air. The family comes above everything else. They chose the Seattle area.

Daisy is another word for energy. She is constantly on the move and almost lives at the gym.  She runs the front and back desks, the inventory, handles all the paperwork, all the memberships and payments, is the sales person, and still teaches three weight loss classes and helps train new boxers.

Attending fights and supporting the fighters is a bonus. “I get a front row seat and get to meet many celebrities. The excitement is tremendous.”

The fights give her a chance to really glow. She is a petite and extremely pretty woman with lovely sculpted hands and she likes playing “dress-up” at the fights. “I get to wear pretty dresses and new shoes. I can’t do that at the gym.” At the fights she glides to her seat, often with her sister, like an apparition of Athena, goddess of wisdom, handicraft, and warfare. Athena is often depicted with a helmet and a spear. She never fails to turn heads and more than one admirer has had to visit a chiropractor after having his head snapped around for a quick look at her. Most of the time she is dressed in red sweats, so going to the fights is a special occasion, like attending to a ball. Some people fail to look past her beauty and see the competent woman she is. She is what is known as “the whole package.”

“I love being in the front row at fights. I can hear every punch, especially the body punches. They smack and thud and I love the sound.”

The fights bring out the lightning in her, a special electricity that causes her eyes to glow. She feels the fire burning in her chest with every punch. Although she expects their fighters to win, she still looks away when they take too many shots. “It sounds funny. I love the fights, but I don’t like to see boxers hurt.”

After the fights Daisy is back to the gym, back to the everyday work of allowing Jose to train fighters, back to the sweats and hard work. The fancy dresses are stored away along with the shoes.

Jose Valenzuela hits the Big Screen

 

Jose Valenzuela (6-0-0) hops onto the ring apron and leans back against the ropes. “Another day, another dollar,” he says. He is preparing for his next fight November 4th at the Microsoft Theater, in Los Angeles. At the moment he does not know who is opponent is, nor does he care. No one reaches the top fighting tomato cans, and the top is his destination. He wants good fights with decent opponents.

His considerable skill is evident. In his last fight he stopped tough professional Zack Kuhn (10-5-1) in the first round. Unfortunately the fight was not televised. The uneventful televised event could have used some excitement. His next fight is supposed to be televised, although anything can happen in boxing.

Valenzuela is one of hundreds of prospects climbing the ladder determined not to miss a rung or to slip. As a member of team Benavidez he is in the hands of one of the best trainers in the world, Jose Benavidez, a man recently nominated for trainer of the year.

The gym, near Seattle, could be mistaken for communist party headquarters. Everything is decked out in red. In place of photos of Lenin or Stalin, large pictures of team boxes adorn the walls. Life-sized fight photos cover the windows. Red and black caps, with Benavidez logos, surround the desk counter. Various brands and colors of boxing gloves are stacked from floor to ceiling. Heavy bags hang like bats from the ceiling accompanied by four round body bags dangling as if from two enormous bulls. Everything carries the red, gold, and white colors of the team Benavidez.

Valenzuela gloves up and weaves between the bags like a Sheltie in agility training. His skill shows on his face, or does not show on his face. He has no thick scar tissue around his eyes and his nose is still in the center of his face. He is a sensitive, good-looking young man who once won a poetry contest. A person with an artistic bent is open to new and innovative ideas, even in the ring. They move with grace and style and flow like a stream over rocks.

Today is for working out. Yesterday he sparred. His routine is to switch every other day. He is a classic gym rat. Even with no fights on the horizon, he is in the gym staying in shape. He moves like the poetry he writes, smooth and even, punches darting out in iambic pentameter.

Although it is just another day in the gym for him, there is no such thing as just another fight. No one knows that better than he does.

Abraham Martinez - You Ain't Seen

Nothing Yet

Abraham Martinez looks back on his recent fight with Luis Aaron and smiles. “I was almost a three-to-one underdog in my fight against Olympian Luis Aaron,” said Abraham Martinez. “I thought people must think he is going to kill me.”

Martinez breaks into a loud laugh. He laughs easily and frequently. Little seems to bother him and he is a man with seemingly few concerns. His world does not exist outside of boxing, or, if it does, he keeps that world to himself. His eyes glow like lighthouse beacons when boxing is mentioned. 

Martinez had nothing to fear from Aaron and dropped him early. Although a close fight and competitive fight, Martinez appeared to be ahead when, just seconds before the final bell. Arcon put him down. Martinez’ corner had advised him to box cautiously, to coast because he was ahead, during the last two rounds. He should have been going all out. So much for advice from a some corners. Know thyself. A fighter should fight. Go out on your shield or stay home. There is no other way to become a champion.The cautiousness, coasting, and the knockdown earned him a draw rather than a win. 

Always wanting to be a boxer is common among boxers, a hidden desire to step into the ring with an opponent and beat him into submission, not out of hate or animosity, but through skill and courage. Martinez can never remember when he did not have that feeling. He has always wanted to be a boxer. Wanting a thing and obtaining it are often two different things. Want requires nothing more than thinking. Obtaining requires work, often a great deal of work, an insatiable desire to be the best at something, to walk tall, hold one’s head up high and say “I am someone, someone special, my own man, a man who has made his way in the world with some, but little, help from others.”

The parents of Martinez were not happy with his desires. When his mother understood he was serious, she bought various training equipment and placed it in the basement. Martinez, who said, “I was afraid of everything, cars, people, going outside, you name it, everything except fighting”,  started on his career. He was 10 years old, a decent age to start boxing.

He eventually found his way into a gym and started on an up-and-down amateur career. Martinez claims to be a religious man and felt confused by God. “Did he want me to fight, or not? If he did why couldn’t I keep winning?”

He won enough fights to qualify for the last spot at the Jr. Olympics. Before the fights he had a falling out with his coach. His coach dumped him. He felt betrayed, but still went to the Olympics. As last seat he was slatted to fight the number one seat. He surprised everybody by knocking him down. The knockdown was not enough to give him the win, but was enough to get him some recognition.

He wandered from gym to gym working out and learning what he could. One of his biggest teachers was YouTube. “I watched everything I could about boxing on YouTube. I watched the footwork, the various blows, the movements, how to move in and to move out.” He finally started training with Steve Jones. Jones claimed to be a former sparring partner for Muhammad Ali. Martinez started to learn some valuable techniques. One day, when he showed up at the gym, Jones was gone. “He just disappeared. No one knew what happened to him. Again I felt betrayed.”

Martinez returned to the basement and trained himself for the next five years. He found his own amateur fights by going to other gyms and be asked to be put on cards. He was going nowhere. One of his high school teachers saw that and talked to him about his future. “He pulled out his wallet and showed me a picture of his attractive wife. He said to look at the picture and said no boxer could get a woman that pretty. A person need a college education.” Apparently the teacher had never seen the women that hang around with boxers or he would have started training that day. Martinez enrolled in college.

He enjoyed the school work. Still, he could not get boxing out of his head. One evening he lay in the grass and started watching the stars. Again he made a person-to-person call to God asking what to do. He said he wanted to box, but he needed God’s help. A shooting star flashed across the blackness. “It was a sign. I left college sold everything I had, and moved to Las Angeles. I would stay in boxing and I would become a champion.

With a record of 8-0-1 he is on the right track. So far he has proven to be an exciting fighter, a real crowd pleaser. he needs to know that courage is the understanding of what is and is not to be feared. A boxer should never be afraid to win. Coasting only works when you are going down hill.

David Benavidez wants Canalo

David Benavidez returned to the gym this week to prepare to take back the WBC super middleweight title he lost on the scales in a fight against Roamer Angulo. David dominated the fight and made the hard-hitting Angulo resemble a sloth. David fought much of the time off the ropes, an unusual tactic. He fights off the ropes better than any current boxer, but understands the ropes is the wrong place to be. He also understands that his opponents are not sure what he will do when he is there.

“When I started boxing I used the ropes a lot. Being there came naturally to me. I learned how to swing back to the center whenever I liked.”

He has apologized to fans for not making weight for the fight. In the time of covid usual practices are not allowed. He was limited to one visit to the gym per day prior to the fight, not enough time to finish removing the weight. The remaining time he was confined to the motel room so could not even walk around the streets for exercise.

David had no difficulty in his fight with Angulo and found him to be an easy target. “He just kept coming ahead and looking for one punch. He had no other plan.” Angulo hardly threw a combination in the entire fight. David seldom throws anything except combinations. “If I throw a three punch combination I know at least one of them will land. I don’t like to take chances.”

Taking chances for him is throwing a single punch. A single punch that misses expends more energy than a combination that lands and leaves a boxer open for a counter-punch. Boxers think they are saving energy with a single shot. They are mistaken. The combination needs to be fast, not hard. The surprise of a fast blow often puts a man down.

Although David is anxious to retain the WBC championship, he would really like to fight Alvarez, but understands that will not happen soon. “Canalo wants an easy fight, someone he can beat without any effort.”

He feels Alveraz has gotten soft with all his easy living and he has learned to earn millions without the work needed to be a top boxer. He has looked bad in his last fights, especially - regardless of the closeness of the scorecards - against slow and plodding Kivalov. Alvarez has also been suffering from a bad knee and the affliction that affects every successful boxer,- management difficulties. The problems are presently being fought out by lawyers, the only breed more ruthless and amoral than managers. A lawyer will pick the pockets of a dead man. A manager might at least leave the empty wallet.

Money is another issue. Alvarez wants a guarantee of over 30 million dollars for his next fight. So far, no promoter is willing to take that chance. Also, 30 million leaves little room for a decent opponent. 

The disparity in purses has always been a problem in boxing. The disparity can be easily solved. Assume there is $100,000 available for a fight. Guarantee both boxers $25,000. The winner gets the remaining $50,000. Fans would get much better fights under that system. No fighter wants to leave $50,000 on the table and there would be far fewer fighters willing to stumble while walking to the center of the ring and being counted out.

Several fights are in the works for David. For he must play the waiting game. He does his waiting in the gym.

Moises Flores ready to make comeback


There is still a lot of fight in Moises Flores and this rooster is preparing to prove it. Until he fought Guillermo Rigondeaux in a controversial no decision bout for the WBA super bantamweight title in 2017, Moises Flores (25-3-0) had been undefeated and the number one WBA contender in the division. In the televised bout, Rigondeaux landed a clean left after the bell of the first round to KO Flores. Referee Vic Drakulich, one of the top referees in the business, did not hear the bell and, after checking with ringside officials, called the fight a win by KO for Rigondeaux. Later, after farther reviews of the television clips revealed the punch was thrown after the bell, the commission changed the decision to a no contest. Neither side protested the decision although many fans were outraged, some thinking Rigondeaux had been robbed of he KO win, others thinking Flores had been equally robbed of a win by disqualification.  

For the round that the fight lasted, Flores had been the aggressor, stalking and attempting to catch Rigondeaux. Rigondeaux is a counter puncher and does not like to move forward.

The no contest bout was followed by three losses for Flores. Daniel Roman (24-2-1) won by unanimous decision at the Ford Center; Brandon Figueroa (17-0-0) put him away at the Microsoft Theater; and Leonardo Baez (17-2-0) pulled off a unanimous win in February at Fantasy Springs Casino. Everyone felt Flores was finished as a quality contender, everyone except Flores.

Flores admits to having past trouble training and recently having disputes with his management team. He is the kind of boxer who needs prodding to keep him in the gym.  He will train hard if pushed. At the age of 33, he is on the downside, but he feels he can still be a top contender. What he needed was a new management team and better training - what he needed was to become part of the Benavidez team.

Today he looks nothing like a shot fighter. Under the training of Jose Benavidez, he shows up at the gym ready to work. He hits hard, very hard. The body shots he throws against Benavidez’ protector knocks  Benavidez around the room like a drunken ballerina, a tough drunken ballerina. In the fight with Rigondeaux he was the aggressor. He still has that aggression and expects to put it into action soon.

Flores has beaten some rugged contenders during his rise, contenders like Paulus Ambunda (24-1-0), Luis Emanuel Cusolito (21-1-0), and Oscar Escandon (24-1-0), all for the all for the intern WBA super bantamweight title. He also beat Mario Antonio Macias (26-13-0) for the Gearbox super bantamweight title.  In 2013 he knocked out iron-fisted Rodolfo Hernandez Montoya (24-3-1) in a fight that had the crowd on its feet.

Flores feels he has another two years left as a top contender. Of course, he is looking for another title fight, a chance to earn some real money. He only received $25,000 to fight Rigondeaux, not much for a title fight. Rigondeaux received $150,000, not much for a champion, either. Rigondeaux, because of his slickness, does not demand big purses. He appeals to a select type of fan, one who understands the finesse and subtleness of boxing. It is often the rough bangers that bring in the big bucks. 

Many shot fighters say they can make a comeback, that they have been reborn and renewed. Flores is hardly a shot fighter. He is more a throwback fighter, one who has had success sprinkled with losses. People tend to forget that even a world champion, like Joey Maxim, had 29 loses. That was fairly common in the days of men.

If he continues to work at his current rate, expect to see him in some important fights, maybe even another championship. Because of his loses, top fighters might mistake his recent lapse in enthusiasm for incompetence. They are in for a surprise.

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