Results from 10th Annual Battle of the Badges Boxing Show

Team Unified, the 2012 Battle of the Badges winning team. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Once again, the annual Battle of the Badges presented by the Barona Band of the Mission Indians at the Barona Resort & Casino in Lakeside, was a huge success with 100% of the proceeds going to support the local Community Youth Athletic Center in National City.


Additional sponsors of this event, the 10th in a series, included the San Diego chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association, Coca Cola, Donovan’s Steak and Chop House, the Gomez Law Firm, Institute of Justice, Neighborhood Market Association, San Diego Crime Commision, San Diego’s Victory Outreach Church and the Sysco Food Service.

Let’s not forget the boxers who trained for the last four and a half months to be ready to represent their organization with their commendable performance.

Hall of Fame promoter, Bobby DePhilippis (C) was on hand to congratulate Warren Brown (L) who ended up getting an unanimous decision victory over Chris Pharo (R) in Bout #1. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #1 featured middleweights Warren Brown from the Old School Boxing Gym in San Diego’s College area going up against Christian “El Guero” Pharo of the San Diego Fire Department. Round one got off to rocky start for Pharo, who even though he was the aggressor kept walking right into Brown’s left hook. To Brown’s credit, he showed the proper patience and waited to counter. Round two was more of the same with Pharo pressing the action but still getting the worst of it. Then in the closing seconds, Pharo caught Brown with some powerful straight right hands to the head. Often these last minute flurries can affect the judges’ scoring. Round three was an all or nothing slugfest as each fighter showed a lot of heart. Even though Pharo had Brown backing up, it was clear this was part of Brown’s strategy to catch Pharo coming in and then hopefully deliver a three punch combination.

In Bout #2, Shawn Flaherty (R) got an unanimous decision over Carlos Hernandez (L). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #2 featured welterweights Carlos “The Scorpion” Hernandez of the San Diego Police Department representing Team Unified and Shawn Flaherty of the United States Marine Corps. This one was difficult to score. It all depended on the credence the judges gave to the pounding of the midsection by the brawler, Hernandez, or the more polished head hunting by the boxer, Flaherty. For sure Flaherty had more leverage on his blows to the head. Round two and three were more of the same with Hernandez attacking Flaherty like a charging bull. The only way for Hernandez to gain creditability was to see the more polished boxer, Flaherty, waiver, but he never did.

Will Loren (r) has his arm raised in victory by referee Tony Crebs after he defeated Justin Marks (l) in Bout #3. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Will Loren is congratulated by the show’s sponsors. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #3 featured middleweights Justin “The Warrior” Marks of the United States Border Control going up against William “The Thrill” Loren of the Barona Fire Department. It didn’t matter what Marks threw at Loren, the force behind Loren’s punches was incredible. He had obviously indulged himself in more than one can of spinach. Using his power alley, Loren’s big overhand right led to one eight-count after another. In the closing seconds of Round one, Marks barely avoided a third flash knockdown which would have led to an automatic referee stoppage. All this time, Marks kept bouncing right back up as if he had merely slipped on a wet floor. The end came early in Round #2 after referee Tony Crebs felt Marks had had enough.

Travis Muckle (second from the right) defeated Eddie Reyes (second from the left) in Bout #4. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #4 featured heavyweights Eddie Reyes of the Oceanside Police Department going up against Travis Muckle of Fausto’s Bail Bonds. In round one, Reyes got caught by a left hook flush and went down. Considering how fast he got back to his feet, you’d have to call it a flash knockdown. What happened from there on out was a different story. Muckle, with his straight power shots hardly missed while Reyes’ looping punches had less effect. Plus there was a clear disparity in their experience levels. Entering the second round, Muckle was right back pounding away and soon had Reyes pinned against the ropes. At that point, Reyes’ corner threw in the towel.

Gabby Romero (l) defeated Jesse Ramirez (r) in Bout #5. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #5 featured female lightweights Gabby “Boss Lady” Romero of Team Unified going up against Jesse “Navy Baby” Ramirez of the United States Navy Military Police. Both boxers had experience beyond the normal four months of preparation time, both were the same height and weight and they were sparring partners at the same gym, the House of Boxing. So, this contest meant even more to the gals; they were fighting to see who was best in their gym. In the early stages of Round one, it appeared Ramirez had Romero’s number. Her punches were getting through while Romero threw more punches but had difficulty landing them. (Round one to Ramirez)

Round #2 was one of the most hotly contested rounds of the show and appeared to go in the Romero column based on her constant aggression and strong finish which had Ramirez’s head snapping back right up until the bell. Clearly frustrated by Romero’s strong finish to even things up, Ramirez took a swipe at Romero after the bell sounded. That meant Round #3 would be for all the marbles and likely end with one of the corners throwing in the towel. As expected, the gals went full bore to begin the final round. Romero wasted no time and got in close to maintain and in fact build on her punch count lead. The key to Romero’s success may have been her edge in conditioning. She moved about better and simply threw more punches. For such a match, it often comes down to who managed to outwork their opponent and how can you outwork an opponent, if you haven’t trained harder, did more sit-ups, hit the heavy bag longer or ran further. Since they were training side by side, the business of who had an advantage coming into Saturday’s contest must have been evident before they stepped into the ring. Or, maybe one of the gals had been sandbagging in the final weeks leading up to the Battle of the Badges.

Three of the five college scholarship winners, Andrea Casillas (r), Denise Rodriguez (c) and Martin Gonzalez (l) were on hand to receive their official certificates. Photo: Jim Wyatt.

During intermission, the show’s organizers, the National City CYAC in conjunction with the National Latino Peace Officers Association (San Diego County Chapter), the Barona Band of Mission Indians and the Barona Resort & Casino presented five college scholarships to aspiring local students: Andrea Casillas, Denise Rodriguez, Martin Gonzalez, Felipe Luna and Samantha Quiroz.

In Bout #6 it was Cecillia Duncan (l) getting the win over Andrea Gonzalez (r) Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #6 featured female featherweights, Cecillia “Bam Bam” Duncan of the San Diego Police Department representing Team Unified versus Andrea “Chupacabras” Gonzalez of the National City Police Department. In this one, Gonzalez appeared to have the better boxing skills but that meant little to the all or nothing mentality of Duncan who kept the wild looping punches coming from every angle. Then, nearing the close of the round, Duncan landed two unanswered blows which prompted the referee to issue Gonzalez an eight count. In Round two, Duncan was clearly the busier fighter and in the final round, who can say, as both ladies left everything in the ring. In the end, Duncan was awarded a unanimous decision.

Jacob Burkard (r) gets the win over Mark Williams (l) in Bout #7. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #7 featured middleweights Mark “Flash Bang” Williams of the San Diego Police Department who was in excellent shape and representing Team Unified going up against Jacob Burkard of the Barona Fire Department, a gentleman with a body type you usually see on the cover of Muscle and Fitness Magazine. From the outset, this was an unadulterated street fight; a street fight that precluded any defense. If the ring’s perimeter were made of plaster, instead of ropes, the walls would have come crumbling down. When one of Burkard’s scary punches landed, the crowd was amazed how Williams was able to keep his composure or stay on his feet. After an accumulation of blows, the flash knockdowns started coming. The one in the first round was followed by another in the second round. Having survived against Burkard is a feather in anyone’s cap.

Former Heavyweight champion Mark Del Rio (l) returns to beat the defending Battle of the Badges Heavyweight Champion, David Rodriguez (r). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #8, the Main Event, featured last year’s Battle of the Badges heavyweight champion David Rodriguez of the San Diego Police Department who was representing Team Unified. His challenger, Marco Del Rio of the San Diego Probation Department is no shrinking violet. Before Rodriguez came along and before he ever put on a boxing glove, Del Rio had won the title three times. This was old school versus the new kid on the block. Throughout the contest, Old School, Del Rio, did more than a decent job of neutralizing Rodriguez’s power which included the patented jab followed by the straight right. Del Rio had good head movement and countered well, especially with his left. Even though both had similar power, it was Del Rio who got off to a better start and landed the cleaner shots in both Rounds one and two. Rodriguez, who in the past has been known to be a slow starter, took control in Round three. Since both have granite chins, this one went to the scorecards with one judge declaring Rodriguez the winner and the other two had Del Rio ahead. Your winner by mixed decision and new Battle of the Badges Heavyweight champion, Marco Del Rio.

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