Chris Chatman vs. Lester Gonzalez Press Conference

As boxers and trainers pose for a photo at the close of the Press Conference, Manny Melchor discovers Lester Gonzalez’s high-jinks of showing only the portion of the fight poster with his face. (l to r) we have Emilio Bojorquez, Sr., Christian Bojorquez, Chris Chatman, Manny Melchor, David Gutierrez, Lester Gonzalez, James Parison and Pablo Armenta. Photo credit: J. Wyatt
Chris Chatman (left) and Lester Gonzalez (right) pose for a photo at their Press Conference, Wednesday, November 3, 2010. After Gonzalez turned the poster upside down, we can only imagine what Chatman was thinking: ‘Have your fun now, but come November 18th, we’ll see who gets the last laugh.’ Photo credit: Jim Wyatt

Number two, no one has any inkling who will be victorious in this bout between the undefeated 32 For the first hour and a half of this jovial social-event, the invited guests sat and enjoyed not only a wonderful meal but conversations with like-minded boxing enthusiasts. Unlike other press conferences announcing a boxing event, this one took place in the backyard of the principles, at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Mission Valley on Wednesday evening. Thursday, November 18th, Lester “El Cubanito” Gonzalez (11-0-1, 6 KO’s) of San Diego’s Black Tiger Gym will do battle against Chris “The Last Chapter” Chatman 8-1-0, 4 KO’s) of San Diego’s City Boxing Gym. And why is this upcoming boxing show being handled differently? For one, there’s the change of venue as all prior Bobby D Presents Coors Light Boxing Series shows were held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, a site which local boxing fans have now outgrown. Plus, our Cuban exile and once-beaten 24-year-old, former U.S.S. Pinckney sailor, both have terrific power and versatility.

These are not your ordinary boxers. Gonzalez and Chatman are two of the top middleweights in the land, the cream of the crop, boxers that have a tough time finding fights because they are so good. Since they are at the crossroads of their careers, this will be a make or break fight. In this match-up, you have two gentlemen who have a tremendous amount of respect for each other.

Gonzalez began his training at age 13. Since he was brought up in a rough section of Havana, Cuba, Playa de Este, he likely had more than a few scraps at an even earlier age. With his extensive amateur career (over 100 amateur bouts), Gonzalez has more experience than his opponent, especially when it comes to fighting southpaws. Both Gonzalez and Chatman are lefties.

When asked for a prediction on his bout with Chatman, Gonzalez answered, “I don’t believe in giving predictions. I treat every opponent the same as if they are to be my most difficult opponent ever. For all twelve of my previous opponents, it was the same. Not one was more difficult; not one was treated any differently.”

Asked if he was familiar with Chatman’s style or ever watched him fight, he answered: “Once or twice, but I don’t really focus on a boxer’s style. I’m like most everyone else, I watch to enjoy the fight.”

On and on went the questions and on and on went Gonzalez’s tactful, non-committal answers. Being so close to the mid-term elections, he’s learned by example that giving these vague, wishy-washy answers is acceptable.

Leaving Gonzalez, the boxing writers then directed their questions to Chatman. After the air was cleared about rumors that he used steroids and, did he or did he not sign a long term contract with promoter Don King, the reporter from Inside Hollywood was removed and the boxing writers got back to the more pertinent questions.

“Chris, do you have a prediction on this fight?”

To paraphrase Chatman’s remarks: “I expect to be tested. I expect him [Gonzalez] to keep coming with hard shots. I expect his best because I am the best. The strongest part of my game is my persistence. And when something doesn’t work, I become adaptable.”

Someone asked whether he thought Gonzalez was a step up from his earlier competition. Chatman went somewhat on the defensive. After all, he had just TKO’ed the formerly undefeated Alberto Herrera in his backyard and did go to the East Coast to fight the former Olympian Demetrius Andrade. He also mentioned his triumphs as an amateur. “Like Gonzalez, I have had plenty of amateur experience, Golden Gloves champ, Navy Champ, I fought in the Nationals. I was a Regional champ. Third in the Nationals.”

When asked about switching trainers over the years, he had high praise for all his coaches, “From Sergio Melendrez, I learned the ins and outs of the Mexican style of fighting. Vernon Lee taught me how to be slicker in the Philly style. I can’t praise Manny [Melchor] enough. He’s a two-time world champion, who keeps taking me to these higher levels where at first I feel I can’t possibly see myself reaching. Further and further, he takes me from one point and then to a higher point. I now look back and wonder how he got me to do it. I now look at myself with a negative eye.”

When asked about all the past showboating, he added, “I believe all the showboating is over. The only reason I ever did it was when I thought the other boxer disrespected me by not showing up to fight. I don’t believe I’ll have that opportunity with Lester.”

Sitting between David Gutierrez (left) and his adopted brother, James Parison (right), is the abundantly confident middleweight Lester “El Cubanito” Gonzalez who will be facing Chris “the Last Chapter” Chatman on November 18th.

Before introducing his step-brother, James Parison (12-1-0, 3 KO’s) (right), who will be battling in the co-main event, David Gutierrez (left), the trainer of both Parison and Gonzalez, made the following comment: “This Chatman versus Gonzalez match-up is a real treat for San Diego. The world of boxing should take notice.”

Parison went on to explain why he hadn’t fought in almost 12 months. He had fights scheduled and then for this or that reason the other boxers would suddenly cancel. His last bout was a loss in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada to Craig McEwan (19-0-0) from Edinburgh, Scotland. Parison had to lose a lot of weight for that fight and felt he was ill-prepared. He’s now ready to resume his career against Loren Myers (7-9-2) from Fresno, Calif.

Flanked by his father, Emilio Bojorquez (left) and the Event Coordinator, Gabriel Barron, Christian Bojorquez answers a question from the media. Photo credit: Jim Wyatt

Also in attendance was Christian Bojorquez (1-0), the former Mexican National Champion who fought over 100 amateur bouts. In October, Bojorquez won his debut bout against Salvador Cifuentez (0-1) of Chula Vista. Since that first bout with Cifuentez was so entertaining, the promoter signed both for a rematch.

Two more of the boxers on the Chatman/Gonzalez Undercard, middleweight James Parison (left) and super featherweight Pablo Armenta (right) pose for a photo after answering questions from the media. Photo credit: Jim Wyatt

Pablo Armenta (3-0-1) was also at the head table. In his capacity as a college student at Southwestern College, a store clerk at Big 5 Sporting Goods and a professional boxer, Armenta has his hands full juggling the three occupations. After Armenta’s bout with Ron Hurley (4-4-2) had to be canceled a few weeks back, they’re giving Mr. Hurley another opportunity, that is if his handlers can produce the proper documentation.

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