Our Local Boxing Community M thru P

Miguel Angel Maravilla, Boxing Writer

The Commerce Little League Baseball Team with the help of their coach has travelled far and wide from Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine to Petco Park in Downtown San Diego.

Nico Marchan, Pro Boxer

There’s this saying, “The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.” What if you have a friend who isn’t intimidated by anything, anyone? He’s always doing these extremely dangerous things. Like climbing the highest mountain to dangle his feet over a narrow ledge. Diving off a cliff into what appears to be shallow water who’s depth changes with each incoming wave. Our next pugilist, is a daredevil who doesn’t appear to be intimidated by anyone, anything. 
On a recent trip to the East Coast, boxer Nico Marchan sought out hotel reservations at the tallest hotel in New York City just so he could look down at the Empire State Building.
It’s likely no one has traveled the world more at such an early age, than the adventurous Nico Marchan who has visited every continent except for Oceania and Antartica.
Which of the above do you think made this prediction? “I believe Nico has an opportunity to become the next big thing out of the Philippines.” 
A boxer’s Pro Debut can be nerve-racking. That’s how it was for local fan favorite Nico Marchan on August 17, 2019. That being said, it didn’t take him long before he was in complete control and going nonstop pummeling his opponent Rigo Cruz Cebreros into submission. Some say graduating from San Diego State University can be tough. Not for Nico Marchan. After his TKO victory over Cebreros, Marchan immediately put on this traditional hat of the Philippines. The boxing world should now expect a lot of firsts from this exciting fighter who for his debut weighed just 110 3/4 lbs. which allowed his opponent to outweigh him by four pounds. As a local USA Amateur boxer, Marchan trained with the Barragan family at the House of Boxing in Paradise Hills, and did extremely well in all USA Amateur Boxing competitions. 
People keep asking, “Aren’t you the least bit nervous when it comes to these extreme heights?”

Christopher Martin, Pro Boxer/Trainer/Gym Owner

Chris “The San Diego Kid” Martin (7-21-06 to 10-5-19)
Christopher “The San Diego Kid” Martin (31-12-3) of Chula Vista, Calif. has certainly faced some of the best ever to include: Teon Kennedy (19-2-2, 7 KOs), Cobia Breedy (15-1, 5 KOs) and Johnny Gonzalez (68-11, 55 KOs). (bottom right) We see veteran referee Raul Caiz Sr. raising the arm of the victorious Martin after his defeat of Jose Angel Beranza to win the vacant WBC USNBC Super Bantamweight Title. Martin also faced standouts like: Emilio Sanchez (18-1, 11 KOs), Tramaine Williams (19-1, 6 KOs), Julian Ramirez (16-1, 8 KOs), Daniel Roman (28-3-1, 10 KOs) the former WBA & IBF World Super Bantamweight Champ, Gary Russell Jr. (31-1, 18 KOs) the current WBC World Featherweight Champ, Colombian knockout artist Miguel Marriaga (29-4, 25 KOs), Luis Orlando Del Valle (25-3, 19 KOs), Charles Huerta (21-7 12 KOs), plus Chris Avalos (28-8, 20 KOs).

The most memorable bouts in Christopher Martin’s career:

First up, there was the mixed decision victory in his return match with Gregorio Torres at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona on 7-18-08. 

Next, there was this split decision victory over the undefeated and much hyped Super Bantamweight Chris “The Hitman” Avalos (16-0) to improve Martin’s record to 19-0-2. That fight took place on August 6, 2010 at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota and aired nationwide on Showtime.

Next came Martin’s unanimous decision victory over Charles Huerta of Paramount, Calif. at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa on May 20, 2011 which improved his record to 22-0-2.

Then, along came the dreaded three bout melt-down. First up was the 10 round split decision loss to the wily veteran Jose Angel Beranza. In his previous bouts, Mr. Beranza had just three victories with 12 losses. That surprise was followed by Martin’s hard fought mixed decision Draw to Teon Kennedy at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas which aired on ESPN2. In that contest, Kennedy benefitted big time from his significant 6-inch reach advantage. 

The final nail in the coffin came in late April of 2012, when Martin found himself matched with the undefeated Luis Orlando Del Valle in Miami. Del Valle was being touted as the next latest and greatest out of Puerto Rico. The same Puerto Rico that’s known worldwide for producing the most boxing greats. With the population of Puerto Rico being just 3.2 million and its land mass slightly over half the size of Hawaii, their reputation for producing the best boxers per capita was well deserved. The scoring in this one was brutal. 110-89, 97-92 and 98-92, all favoring Del Valle.

From that point on, June 20, 2012 until October 5, 2019, things went from ho-hum to the rather bleak. In his next outing, Martin did stop Roberto Castaneda in the sixth round and in February of 2013 he managed to get his revenge against Jose Angel Beranza. But from there on out, the only real fun came when an inspired Christopher Martin taught the rather brash, pompous Daniel Franco (15-0-3) a much deserved lesson. After being knocked down in round one, Martin sent Franco to the canvas twice in round three which no doubt led to that early stoppage.  

The substantive, cherished time that Chris Martin gets to spend with his family … priceless.
Where oh where did the time go? From being just a youngster himself to finding the lady of his dreams who considers him second to none. Then it was from being a dedicated/proud father to taking on the colossal task of owning a constricted business during the worst of times.

Federico “Flavio” Martinez, Pro Boxer

(top, left) The disappearing act: where did all those flowing locks go? At one time, El Suave had so much hair, he couldn’t just go to a barber, he needed a hairstylist. (bottom) We all have our heroes in life. The man Flavio most revered was Israel “Magnifico” Vazquez the WBC Super Bantamweight Champion of the World who resides in nearby Huntington Park, Calif.

When it comes to naming the most popular mate at the Marron Training Camp in Lakeside, Calif., the most humble, the most requested sparring partner, you’d have to say the veteran Federico “Flavio” Martinez would win that competition hands down. So true! Most popular Dad? Again, Martinez!! So true! The person who can pick up the phone (at any time of the day or night) and reach the most influential people, the movers and shakers, the people in high places? It’s Flavio!!! So true! His win/loss record 0-4, speaks volumes of his unselfish additude. Being a giver, rather than a taker, Martinez couldn’t bring himself to destroying a fellow boxer’s hopes and dreams. As far as facing stiff competition: the present, combined record of the fighters he has faced? 28 wins, just 8 losses with 2 Draws.

From that last minute request from boxing standout Genaro “El Conde” Gamez to his many hours in the gym to get his mates ready for a big fight, the sport can take its toll.
As mentioned earlier, no one knows as many people in high places than Flavio. So true!
A champion of emerging brands, new designers, plus those unexpected fashion trends, Flavio has often appeared on the Vogue and Vanity Fair 10 best dressed list. So true!

Memo Mayen, Tijuana Boxing Promoter, Gym Owner

Two well-established stables of Professional & Amateur Boxing in Tijuana have to be Promociones Mayen and his popular Mayen Boxing Gym.

Manny Melchor, former Champion, respected trainer

It’s called street cred: The 5’3″ tall Manny Melchor, born in the town of Mansalay, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines learned how to box the hard way. He had 0 wins, 3 losses and a draw in his first year, then 6 wins, 5 losses and a draw in his second, followed by 6 wins (2 wins by stoppage) four losses) in his third. In his fourth year he went 4-2-1 with three stoppages against better competition. By 1997/1998 he was right back to just putting in time and went 0-2-1. By 1999/2000, there was an offer to fight for the title and Manny’s career went back into high gear. He won seven in a row and was defending his newly won WBC International Minimum Weight Title. By October of 2000 at the age of 31, his career was virtually over after his management team had him fighting only the cream of the crop (the fighters he now faced had a combined record of 138 wins and only 5 losses. As a result, Manny lost his next six fights, two by stoppage and four went the distance to end his career.

After moving his family to the U. S., they settled in Chula Vista, Calif. By this time, the former WBC Minimum-weight Champ had gained a reputation for being a well respected trainer and from that point until now, he’s been hard at it training his own future champions at the City Boxing Gym in San Diego’s Downtown. Over his 16-year Pro career, Manny fought all over from Lake Tahoe to Sydney, Australia, from Manila to Seoul, from Bangkok to San Juan, from San Antonio to Mexico City, from Miami to Tokyo.
It’s extremely difficult for a man to succeed without a good woman backing him up. Be that a wife or mother. If he has both, then he’s twice blessed. A man can have all these dreams but he needs that woman with the proper perspective and if she doesn’t challenge him, she’s no good.
One of Manny Melchor’s most enduring, distinctive traits has to be his warm, friendly smile.
Here is the obligatory photo of Mr. Melchor with the most popular icon of the Philippines Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao the only 8-division world champion in the history of boxing. As far as pro boxing goes, the Philippine Islands have produced 33 World Champions to include: Roberto Cruz, Ceferino Garcia, Rolando Navarrete, Donny Nietes, Gerry and Dodie Boy Penalosa, Erbito Salvarria, Ben Villaflor, Bernabe Villacampo, Eleuterio “Little Dado” Zapanta, plus International Hall of Fame fighters Gabriel “Flash” Elorde and Francisco Guilledo who boxed as Pancho Villa.
Amongst his many dear friends we would have to include the Gesta Clan (left to right) Anecito Gesta Jr. plus the former WBO NABO Lightweight Champion Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta.

Angel and Haydee Mendez, boxing officials

As Pro and Amatuer boxing officials this couple has always enjoyed traveling about the U. S. and the world while working for three separate organizations: USA Amateur Boxing, the Tijuana Boxing Commission plus the California State Athletic Commission.
In 2019, Angel L. Mendez Ramos and his lovely wife Haydee Mendez celebrated the birth of their first child, Giana, who no doubt put a crimp in their unabated travel here, there and everywhere. Together, the couple has traveled extensively from Angel’s birthplace of Puerto Rico to the Bahamas, from Niagara Falls and the New England states down to Tampa Bay, Florida, to New York and Philadelphia, west to Las Vegas and San Francisco, and now south to Los Angeles, San Diego and across the border into Mexico.
Our world travelers have now become more conservative: “Last year, let’s just say we stayed closer to home.” On their fifth Wedding Anniversary, the family visited Solvang-The Danish Capital of America which is located in the Santa Ynez Valley.
While they remain flexible, it has to be rough adapting in this time of Covid 19.

Raquel “the Pretty Beast” Miller

When talking about well-traveled people, you’d have to include middleweight Raquel Miller (10-0, 4 KOs), who over the past 5+ years has spent a lot of her time commuting back and forth from her home in San Francisco to The Arena Gym in Point Loma, San Diego, Calif. to train with her devoted coach Basheer Abdullah (r). In her last bout, November 23, 2019 at the Centre Videotron, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, Miller won a 10 round unanimous decision over Alma Ibarra, at the time to win the Interim WBA World Female Super Welterweight Title.
In her bout on May 18, 2019, as a middleweight, she traveled south to the Hawaiian Gardens/Gardens Casino to KO Erin Toughill and win the vacant NABF Middleweight Title.
As an Olympic back-up in 2016, Miller had the misfortune of being in the same, wide-ranging weight class as Claressa Shields who being 10 years younger and weighing substantially more than Miller (170-175 lbs.), Miller did not get an opportunity to represent the U. S.
You talk about people being known for their versatility, Miller fits that description to a tee. One moment she’s a top model and the very next she’s ready to pound somebody’s face in.
She’s fearless. Who do you know goes into a cage with a huge, Royal Bengal Tiger for a photo op and then while in the cage with this huge kitty, decides to grab it by it’s tail?
In addition, Raquel Miller is an estute marketeer and knows how to get her message across.

Mike Millsap, Boxing Official/Timekeeper

Mike Millsap is the California State Athletic Commission’s infallible, unerring Timekeeper. Three minute rounds are just that and the referees can always count on his help when it comes to a ruling concerning an interruption of time or their 10 count.

Dilan “El Rey” Miranda, Pro Boxer

Super bantamweight Dilan Miranda from San Diego by way of Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico has always been an exceptional boxer but not a big puncher. After beginning his career with four straight victories, there were two losses. The first coming by way of knockout to an undefeated super bantamweight Anthony Reyes in December of 2018 followed by a mixed decision loss to Daniel Constantino in a six rounder on January 31, 2019.
Which brings us to this August 24, 2019 scrap versus Ming Freeman. Miranda, who like Freeman, had slimmed down to fight as a Super Flyweight appeared to be the stronger of the two when facing the 5’4″ tall, orthodox boxer Ming Freeman (1-4-1, 1 KO) from Northridge, Calif. And since Miranda was stronger and better prepared, it was Miranda ending up with the stoppage victory in round three. Notching this victory after the consecutive losses, Miranda was elated and headed to the neutral corner to climb the ropes to celebrate his victory.

Archie Moore – Pro Boxer Extraordinaire

Archie Moore’s nickname, “the Old Mongoose,” alluded to his legendary ability as a counter puncher. The 5’11” tall Moore, the longest-reigning Light Heavyweight World Champion had one of the longest professional careers in the history of the sport after competing from 1935 to 1963 (28 years). During his career, Moore won 185 fights, lost 22 and had 11 draws. The San Diego Boxing gym on Market St. which bears his name, ABC (Any Body Can) Mongoose Gym is run by his son Billie Moore. In Moore’s long and illustrious career, he fought Rocky Marciano, Floyd Patterson, and in 1962 was KO’d in round #4 by a young man by the name of Cassius Clay who later changed his name to Mohammad Ali.

Jackie “La Princesa Azteca” Nava, Champion, Legislator

Do you know anyone who can do this? A one-handed pushup or handstand of her entire body?
The battle is often waged on many fronts. Who’s more glamorous? Which of us is wearing the most stunningly, beautiful wardrobe? And which of us can last the longest while our opponent continues to batter us with a ton of punches?
Jackie Nava: “One thing that is crystal clear, I have the best people training me.”

Brian Nevarez, former Pro Boxer, now Gym Owner, Trainer and Husband

On March 27, 2015, we witnessed Sandra Chanel rushing over to console her soon-to-be husband Brian Nevarez after the 26-year-old, welterweight from Vista, Calif. had suffered his first loss as a Professional fighter. That loss was to the 5’11” tall, southpaw Daureen Niyazbayev, an extremely talented warrior from Kazakstan, similar to the 31-0 Gennady Golovkin who has already gained prominence after winning three world titles. As they say, you can’t win them all, but Brian Nevarez certainly came close.

Back on March 27, 2015, we saw Sandra Chanel Nevarez rushing over to console the valiant 26-year-old, welterweight from Vista, Calif. after he had suffered his first defeat as a Pro. The loss was to 5’11” tall, southpaw Daureen Niyazbayev, another extremely talented warrior from Kazakstan, similar to the 31-0 Gennady Golovkin who had already gained prominence after winning three world titles. As they say, you can’t win them all, but Brian certainly won more than his share.
After this couple got married, Brian and Sandra decided they’d be better suited to opening their own gym. Along with Brian’s father, they did just that and soon had themselves a dandy location on the second floor of the World Gym in Vista, just a block and a half off the main thoroughfare, Route 78. After renting this rather large space, they were then under the gun to sign enough members to pay the considerable rent. So once again, the fighter and his life partner, suddenly had themselves a considerable challenge before them.

Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (28-2 with 17 KOs)

The 33-year-old super lightweight Antonio “Relentless” Orozco of San Diego by way of Tecate, B. C., Mexico has now lost two of his last three fights. The one that mattered most was to the current WBO, WBC World Title holder Juan Carlos Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) and the other was a sixth-round KO loss to the 22-year-old, up and comer Vergil Ortiz Jr. In the Ramirez bout, Orozco was in it until the end but clearly lost on all three of the judges score cards 119-107.

Manuel Ortiz former World Bantamweight Champ

Up until his death on May 31, 1970, the 53-year-old, former Bantamweight Champion of the World, 5’4″ tall Manuel Ortiz (100-28-3, 54 KOs), Global ID 000001, had been a resident of El Centro, Calif. After defeating Lou Salica on August 7, 1942, to win the Title, Ortiz went on to defend it 20 straight times before losing to the great Willie Pep (74-1) by decision on July 17, 1944. Then, on September 12, 1944, he regained the crown by defeating Luis Castillo. He then fought 15 times going 14-0-1, before losing back to back matches to Carlos Chavez and then what many consider a major upset to Harold Dade. Two months later, in his rematch with Dade, Ortiz regained his title and reputation. From that point on, he went 24-14, with a record of 4-1 in title fights. On December 10, 1955, after losing to Enrique Esqueda in Mexico City, the 39-year-old finally called it quits.

Ortiz, who owned and operated a 442-acre farm near El Centro, said that his farm had been responsible for keeping him in tip-top shape. In his prime, 1940-1946, Ortiz had lost just 3 times in 62 fights. His 8 title defenses in one year is tops in his division, as is his total of 21 title defenses over his career with all but 2 being successful. Only the great Henry “Homicide Hank” Armstrong, a 5’5 1/2″ welterweight, is ahead of Ortiz when it comes to title defenses within a year. Armstrong defended his title 11 times. Boxing historians might also argue how many more bouts would Ortiz have won if he hadn’t been drafted into the Army?

Jonathan Asesino Perez

Johnny Boy Quiroz

JonathanJohnny Boy” Quiroz (6-5, 1 KO) of Oceanside, Calif. was not only an outstanding USA Amateur, he was also a very aggressive Professional as well competing from 2012 until September 9, 2016.
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