2011 Battle of the Badges results, storyline after storyline

Gabrielle Romero poses for a photo with her support group of Team Unified after defeating Julie Chavez of the Richard J. Donovan State Prison Boxing Team. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Drawing a comparison: In 2004 there was a movie called “Crash,” and critics lambasted the film because it was so, so different; they said it had far too many interwoven plots involving too many people from so many walks of life, that viewers would have a difficult a time piecing it together. Well, those critics were wrong and the exciting low budget film went on to be nominated for six Academy awards and won three of them, including Best Picture.

I felt akin to Mr. Paul Haggis, the co-writer/director of Crash when I set out to recount the many story lines from Saturday’s Battle of the Badges Boxing Show. As a local scribe I found myself in a quandary as far as where to start. With so much happening, so many exciting tales, I thought I’d begin by giving you a quick synopsis.

The affair opened with a dedication ceremony for a fallen police officer, Christopher Wilson, who was shot and killed last October. Next

U. S. Border Patrol Drums and Bagpipes

came a rendition of our National Anthem by a tenor who’s voice reminded me of the famed Irish tenor, John McCormack. Two San Diego Charger players, FB Mike Tolbert and safety Paul Oliver hammed it up and feigned a simultaneous knockout. Without any slowdown, six courageous women demonstrated their mettle. Ladies from a local Hooters provided eye candy for the rabid boxing fans who cheered tirelessly.

The subplot of Saturday’s Boxing Show involved the battle between the top boxing teams, the one from Richard J. Donovan State Prison, last year’s and most every year’s team winner and Team Unified, the inveterate runner-up, who had been working extra hard to topple the smug champs. A local hero with the moniker, DavidAverage Joe” Rodriguez would be called on to break their two win to two win tie.

Bout #1 After defeating Jesse Wright (r), Jeremiah Nelson (l) has his arm raised in victory by referee Pat Russell. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #1 set the stage as the 220 pound Jesse Wright of the San Diego Combat Academy under the tutelage of Priest “Tiger” Smalls, a former featherweight champ, faced off against the sentimental favorite Jeremiah “Bullfrog” Nelson, the first of five boxers from R. J. Donovan.

In January, Nelson was approached by Hondo Fontan, an investigations officer who acts as the boxing coach at the Otay Mesa facility. In less than six months, Nelson, with the help of his wife and coach, dropped an amazing 65 pounds and began to run for the first time in years. Nelson and his fellow team members began to live the life of a professional boxer. Up early to run, then off to their regular jobs and then return to training in the evening.

In Nelson’s hotly contested bout, the question became, could he last at such a torrid pace. As most heavyweights do, Nelson conserved his energy and waited for Wright to throw the first punch and then countered with the heavier blows. Wright erred big time by standing in front of Nelson and trying to trade blows with an opponent who out weighed him by 45 pounds. In the end, Nelson won an unanimous decision.

After their tough match in Bout #2, Carlos Hernandez, the eventual winner, and Terence Edwards embrace. Photo: Jim Wyatt




Bout #2 featured Carlos “Scorpion” Hernandez of the San Diego Police Department, a Team Unified member, going up against Terence Edwards of the U.S. Navy by way of Brooklyn, N. Y. and trained by Kalina Fernandez at Old School Boxing. From the git-go Edwards was in Hernandez’s grill, had him backpedaling, and every so often he’d leverage a punch that had knockout written all over it.

Hernandez’s strategy involved working the midsection and little else. By the second round, Hernandez’s nose was bleeding and his coaching staff began to yell over and over again, “Come on!! Come on!! Dig Deep!!

Then in the last round, just seconds before the final bell, Edwards caught Hernandez with a overhand right as he was retreating and his glove touched the canvas for an automatic ruling of a knockdown. But, because the bell sounded within a few seconds after the glove touched, the knockdown was never considered. Without that ruling, the split decision victory went to Hernandez. The judges’ decision was roundly booed.

Referee Tony Crebs raises the arm of Greg Luckettfield (r) after he defeated Olegario Rivas-Carrillo (l). Photo: Jim Wyatt




Bout #3 involved 23 year-old southpaw Greg Luckettfield of the U.S. Navy by way of San Bernardino, CA who had been schooled by Sergio Melendrez at the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, going up against a 34 year-old, father of three, Olegario Rivas-Carrillo of R. J. Donovan.

This one was over early, as the difference in their skill levels was pronounced. Within the first minute, a standing eight count was issued to Rivas-Carrillo, and a knockdown followed. After Rivas-Carrillo was getting hit by some really hard shots to the head, the R. J. Donovan head coach, Hondo Fontan, called for the referee to stop the bout. Fontan was visibly upset by the difference in the skill levels and felt Luckettfield had mislead the matchmaker about his boxing experience.

Asked later about any previous training, Luckettfield denied any formal training or involvement before December 2010. He trained for a month at the Poway Boxing & Fitness Club and for six months at Alliance. At this point, Luckettfield is planning to compete in the USA  Amateurs and then tryout for the Navy’s Boxing Team and compete in the all services tournaments. From what he showed us on Saturday, Luckettfield just might be a natural.

Tony Bernal (r) the eventual winner and Ruben Gutierrez (l) await the judges' decision in Bout #4. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #4 featured middleweights Tony “Fierce One” Bernal of the San Diego Probation Department going up against Rueben “El Matador” Gutierrez of the San Diego Police Department.

After a close first round of flying about the ring, Bernal settled down and started catching Gutierrez with solid left hooks. His success with that left hand won him the match.

Lauren Kohler (l) the eventual winner, and Christina Perez (r) await the judges decision in Bout #5. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #5 featured lightweights, Christina “Heartless” Perez of Corrections Corporation of America going up against Lauren Kohler of R. J. Donovan.

Kohler took round one by being more elusive, using her stiff jab and connecting on her two punch combinations. Perez evened things up in the second round by going to Kohler’s body with some hard shots. Back came Kohler in the third to prove she’s the better, more accurate boxer.

Gabrielle Romero (r) and Julie Chavez (l) embrace after the tough battle in Bout #6. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #6 featured welterweights Gabrielle Romero of Team Unified going up against Julie Chavez of R. J. Donovan, two more dedicated boxers as of early January.

When meeting Ms. Chavez, she was joking around with a fellow team member, Olegario-Rivas and asking him, “Have you been to the Gun Show?” She was referring to the biceps she just flexed. After the six months of training and constantly hitting that heavy bag, she was in terrific shape. The only problem, her opponent on Saturday was also in excellent shape.

In round one, with both boxers throwing a record amount of punches, it was Romero doing the most scoring. Her punches were straight while Chavez’s punches were wild and looping. As her confidence grew, Romero started landing both the rights and lefts.

Referee Tony Crebs raises the arms of both Antonio Moreno (r) and Carlos Geraldo (l) after the two young boxers put on a demonstration at the Battle of the Badges Boxing Show on Saturday, June 18, 2011. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #7 featured two of the area’s best USA amateur boxers, Antonio Moreno and Carlos Geraldo of the Community Youth Athletic Center giving a demonstration of what top flight boxing looks like. After watching the earlier bouts and comparing them to this slugfest of guile, the ooh’s and aah’s from patrons came in bunches.

After their tough battle in Bout #8, Alejandra Appel (l) and Gabrielle Nasworthy (r) pose for a photo. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #8 featured middleweights Gabrielle “the Gabinator” Nasworthy of Immigration and Customs Enforcement going up against Alejandra Appel of the San Diego Probation Department who was trained by Vernon Lee of City Boxing. In Round #1 Appel landed more of the cleaner shots. Round #2 was more of a mixed bag with no clear cut winner. In the final round, Appel took over and kept landing one big overhand right after a another; if you lost count, it was seven in row.

Early on it was David Rodriguez (r) getting hit hard by Chayin Osgood (l). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #9 featured the defending Battle of the Badges heavyweight champ, David “Average Joe” Rodriguez of the San Diego Police Department and member of Team Unified versus Chayin “Big Oz” Osgood of the R. J. Donovan State Prison in the Main Event. Osgood, after not competing for two years, had returned to get his crown back plus help teammates win the coveted team trophy.

Both Team Unified and the R. J. Donovan State Prison’s team needed to record one final win.

After the referee stopped the bout, Chayin Osgood (seated) gets an assist from his coach Hondo Fontan. Photo: Jim Wyatt

In Round #1, Rodriguez was busier and throwing more punches while the taller Osgood was landing the more powerful blows. Round #2 was more of the same with Rodriguez taking some mighty big shots to the head but hanging in there. Then came the amazing Round #3, when Rodriguez started catching the tired Osgood with blows to the head. After several unanswered blows, the referee stepped in to stop the bout. From that point on, the members of Team Unified, their family and friends whooped it up.

Announced attendance for Saturday’s show: 2,500

Proceeds of the event: circa $54,000 will go to the National City Community Youth Athletic Center.

San Diego Charger players, safety Paul Oliver (l) and fullback Mike Tolbert (r) showcased their boxing skills. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Winning boxing team, Team Unified, (left to right) Gabrielle Nasworthy, David Rodriguez, Gabrielle Romero and Carlos Hernandez. Photo: Jim Wyatt

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