Follow us on Twitter!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Speaks on Profiling Top Amateur Marlen Esparza

Left: CNN's Soledad O'Brien followed Olympic hopeful Marlen Esparza (pictured) for months
before the flyweight went for her sixth straight national title. (Rose Arce/CNN)
Below: O'Brien receives a technical tip from Esparza's rival, Cristina Cruz. (Rose Arce/CNN)

By Ryan Maquiñana

This Sunday, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien shines the mainstream spotlight on boxing when she profiles Olympic hopeful Marlen Esparza in the latest installment of her recurring series Latino in America entitled In Her Corner.

Given the network’s relationship with HBO as members of the Time Warner stable, one would expect an increase in the sport’s visibility in their programming, but not that of the amateur women’s variety.

Credit O’Brien, who has become enamored with Esparza’s story enough to place it front and center as the subject of her latest foray into the ever-evolving identity of the Latino demographic in this country.

“The way I came across Marlen’s story was reading an airline magazine about Olympic boxing being offered to women for the first time in 2012,” the award-winning anchor tells BoxingScene. “I was stunned that all these Latinas were Olympic hopefuls, and as we started researching it, two names kept coming up—Marlen Esparza and Cristina Cruz.”


Friday, September 16, 2011

Where to Watch Mayweather vs. Ortiz in the Bay Area

Bay Area fight fans can watch Saturday night's
Mayweather-Ortiz "Star Power" Pay-Per-View event
at these locations (cover charge indicated):


Birdland BBQ*
1733 Sacramento St.
Berkeley, CA
(510) 827-5414

3000 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 465-2569

15028 Hesperian Blvd.
San Leandro, CA 94578-3512
(510) 317-0200


Abbey Tavern
4100 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 221-7767

Century Theater S.F. Centre 9
845 Market St. (5th floor of Westfield Shopping Centre)
San Francisco, CA, 94103
(415) 538-8422

Danny Coyle’s
668 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 558-8375

Jillian's Billiards Club
101 4th St. # 170 (in S.F. Metreon)
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 369-6100

Kezar Pub
770 Stanyan St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 386-9292


Britannia Arms
173 W. Santa Clara St.
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 278-1400

29 S. 3rd St.
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 293-9976

*Unfortunately, prior engagements have caused me to stay in the Bay Area this weekend. As a result, I am planning to watch it at Birdland BBQ in Berkeley. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

S.F. Boxing Union Tuesday Night Fights Results

By Ryan Maquiñana

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- In the latest installment of the Boxing Union’s Tuesday Night Fights series last night, scheduled headliner Michael Fernandez (415 Boxing Club, San Francisco) found himself in street clothes, unable to compete when opponent Alex Anderson (Fairfield PAL, Fairfield) pulled out.

“It’s disappointing, because I had worked so hard to prepare for this,” Fernandez said. “But I have a couple other fights lined up this month, and the goal is to win the National PAL.”

Instead, the amateur middleweight who knocked Fernandez out in the last Boxing Union show, Terry Fernandez of Oakland’s Phight Club (no relation), met Ricardo Pinell (B Street Boxing, San Mateo) in the main event, with the latter earning the decision victory due to his precision punching and overall boxing skills.

Last night’s show was noticeably different, and it was in no small part due to the Giants-Padres major league baseball game, which occurred minutes away at AT&T Park.

“It definitely took away from our crowd having the Giants game on the same night,” Boxing Union founder Arturo Gastelum said.

Still, you wouldn’t be able to tell when the opening bell kicked off the night, as the spectators in attendance picked up the slack for their absent compatriots and added to another raucous, energetic atmosphere all night long.

“It was another exciting card filled with great fights, especially the one between Andrew Moy and Alan Vasquez,” Gastelum said. “We’ll be back with a great show from the Longshoremen’s Hall in Fisherman’s Wharf on December 2nd.”



In the main event, Ricardo Pinell (B Street Boxing, San Mateo) took the decision over Terry Fernandez (Phight Club, Oakland). After a lively first round where the southpaw Pinell and the orthodox Fernandez exchanged leather at a blistering pace, the second was more tactical. Pinell and his accurate left hand matched wits with Fernandez and his overhand right. Moments into the frame, Pinell landed the one-two, but Fernandez answered with a looping right to the jaw.

However, it seemed that every time Pinell would attempt to take control of the second round by finding a home for his counter left hook, Fernandez would sling that vaunted right hand and push Pinell on the ropes. However, in amateur boxing, scoring comes from cumulative punches landed, and while Fernandez hit Pinell with some solid shots, the judges rewarded the San Mateo fighter for his pinpoint punching and his workrate.

“I wanted to stay away from that right hand of his, because he’s really strong,” Pinell said. “But I used my jab and was able to counter him accurately to win.”



Alan Vasquez (Phight Club, Oakland) edged out Andrew Moy (445 Boxing Club, San Francisco) over three spirited rounds. Moy, a southpaw, worked off the back foot, while the orthodox Vasquez whirled forward with a barrage of volleys. In the first frame, Moy scored a standing eight on Vasquez when a straight right sent the Oaklander into the ropes.

The second saw Vasquez subsequently rattle off combinations to close the stanza. Depending on what the viewer valued, the bout could have pointed either way heading into the final round. In the end, Vasquez’s quicker hands when the two traded power shots would win distinguish him among the judges.

“I had to get revenge after that first round,” Vasquez said. “The standing eight didn’t really affect me, but I had to show my heart in there and come right back at him.”


Junior Welterweights

Eduardo Alvarado (Third Street Gym, San Francisco) outhustled Jordan Oryall (Elite Boxing Club, Pleasanton) to the decision win. As both fighters went toe-to-toe for nine minutes of action, Alvarado landed just enough shots, namely the left hook to the body and head, to take the bout.

“Usually I’m able to use my distance, but I didn’t wait for him to make it an inside fight,” Alvarado said. “I did what I had to do in there based on my opponent’s style.”


Junior Welterweights

In an intriguing matchup of teenage prospects, 13-year-old Suray Mahmutovic (415 Boxing Club, San Francisco) earned the judges’ nod over 14-year-old Ulises Serrano (B Street Boxing, San Mateo). Mahmutovic took the first by keeping Serrano at bay at the end of his long left jab. However, the second round began with a resolved Serrano tucking in his chin and scoring with left hooks on the inside. Ultimately, Serrano had a hard time getting around Mahmutovic’s left jab, which he doubled and even tripled to victory.

“My coach just told me to keep sticking the jab,” Mahmutovic said.



Edgar Navarro (Club X Boxing, Santa Rosa) took a clear decision over a game Brandon Adams (Third St. Gym, San Francisco). Navarro started off strong, effectively landing his lead right hand against his shorter southpaw opponent. However, the second round was marked by Adams’s propensity to come forward and press the issue. With the fight on the line in the third, Navarro punctuated the victory by landing two jousting jabs followed by a clean one-two that promoted the referee to give Adams a standing eight count.

“I was waiting on his left hand,” Navarro said. “My corner prepared me well, and when I hit him with the one-two for the standing eight, I thought I had it.”



On the strength of a stinging left hook, Jessie Lopez (B Street Boxing, San Mateo) seemingly won a war of attrition against Mario Ayala (Don Conley Boxing Club, Sacramento), but the judges saw it the other way in a close battle. The shorter Lopez had his moments, but Ayala scored with frequency, namely off the left hook when the pair would trade in close quarters.

“I was able to jab, step back, and throw my overhand rights and hooks off the counter,” Ayala said. “That was the key.”


Junior Welterweights

In the opening bout of the evening, Humberto Otoya (US Kickboxing, Hayward) utilized steady pressure and a body attack to outwork late replacement Joel Lopez (Third St. Gym, San Francisco) en route to the decision victory.

“I just went to the body,” Otoya said. “I got him to put his hands down and I was able to go to work up top."

Ryan Maquiñana is a boxing correspondent at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and He’s a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and The Ring’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at, check out his blog at or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Maquiñana: S.F.'s Fernandez knocks out cancer

Michael Fernandez
Ryan Maquiñana

Next Tuesday, San Francisco’s Michael Fernandez fights in the same hometown ring where he lay prone in disbelief only two months ago.

“I made a mistake to throw a counter left hook and I missed,” he said about his July bout at the Roccapulco Supper Club. “Thing is, when you go for the knockout, you can’t have your hands down.”


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grading Cal Football's Season Opener

Keenan Allen had eight catches for 112 yards including this 31-yard beauty.

By Ryan Maquiñana

QB – Zach Maynard wasn't mind-blowing (16/35 passing, 1 INT), but he was far from terrible (319 total yards, 2 TD) in his Golden Bear debut. Showed a lot of mobility in the pocket, which will keep a lot more plays alive this year. Gunned the short routes well, especially the slants, but missed some throws including the opening INT as well as an easy TD to a wide-open Covaughn Deboksie-Johnson. Puts a little too much air under his deep balls, which I hope he corrects against teams with DBs with faster closing speed. But it's already apparent that he's an upgrade over Brock Mansion, something that Cal fans have craved. GRADE: B

TB – Isi Sofele (24 car/83 yards, 2 TD, fumble) is dangerous in space, but I wish he would just hit the first hole he sees and take advantage of his speed. Sometimes it seems he's looking to break the big one (like he did in the second quarter) on every play instead of take what's given to him. He wasn’t as safe with the ball either, coughing the ball up twice with one leading to a FSU touchdown. As far as his backups, Covaughn-Deboskie Johnson, who has a skill set to ultimately overtake Sofele as starter, showed little so far (1 car/0 yards), aside from a Maynard pass that was just out of the reach of his fingertips on a sure TD. C.J. Anderson (2 car/10 yards) did a decent job, but he wasn't utilized in short yardage as much as advertised. Want to see more from him. Don't understand the empty set backfield where the TB is not in the slot, because you effectively take him out of the play when chances are you're not going to him on a go route. GRADE: B

FB – Looked like Will Kapp and John Tyndall were going back and forth, and they did a palatable job taking on assignments. Kapp had a carry for a first down near the goal line. Would like to see the FB used in the passing game more often to add that extra dimension. GRADE: B-

WR – The big play potential between Marvin Jones (5 catches/118 yards, 2 TD) and Keenan Allen (8 catches/112 yards)—especially an all-world talent like Allen—is something that will keep Cal in games as long as the OL gives Maynard enough time to set his feet on his throws and throw a halfway accurate ball. There were a couple drops though on bubble screens. Would like to see more out of Coleman Edmond, and walk-on Bryce McGovern seems to have impressed his position coach Eric Kiesau so much that he’s seeing action as well. I wanted to give the group an A-, but I can’t take too much out of this game especially since FSU’s DBs did not wrap up at all and gave up massive YAC, something better secondaries will not allow. GRADE: B+

TE – Anthony Miller (2 catches/32 yards) will be a threat in medium yardage on third down if Maynard can find him, because he will get open. Jacob Wark and Spencer Hagan appeared but didn’t make much of an impact yet. GRADE: B

OL - Aside from that one drive where they incurred three straight penalties, not so bad actually. They need to do a better job pulling. There were often times when they would get out front and have no one to block. Power run game was solid, and Dominic Galas and Brian Schwenke put their new and improved brute strength on display. Would like to see Matt Summers-Gavin return to 2009 form, when he was the team's most valuable lineman. Need to do better protecting Maynard's backside, as the QB's legs singlehandedly saved him from harm at times. GRADE: B-

DL – Everyone wanted to see consensus high school All-American Viliami Moala collapsing the center of the Fresno State line, and he did on the one or two live snaps I saw him play. He mostly played on special teams, however, leaving Kendrick Payne and Aaron Tipoti, who did a solid job in bottling up the Bulldogs into 68 total rushing yards. The ends supplied decent pressure on debutant Derek Carr, with Ernest Owusu and Trevor Guyton (fumble recovery for TD) getting most of the snaps. Want to see more snaps for highly touted freshman Gabe King, which he will likely get against heavy underdog Presbyterian. GRADE: B+

LB – The best position on the field all day long. D.J. Holt and Mychal Kendricks shut down the middle of the field with 17 combined tackles (3.5 TFL for 15 yards), and while walk-on Dan Camporeale did a solid job, looks like the true frosh (Cecil Whiteside and Brennan Scarlett) are more than ready for D-1 ball. Whiteside forced the backbreaking fumble. Dave Wilkerson and Chris McCain, the other underclassmen, had flashes, but for me, the lingering question is how these LBs fare in pass coverage against teams with good pass-catching TEs. GRADE: A-

DB – Another group that shined on Saturday. Aside from giving up the late TD in garbage time, Steve Williams was outstanding, showing textbook form on an INT. Marc Anthony had a quietly productive game (5 tackles), and D.J. Campbell made the play of the game in my opinion when he hunted down the Bulldog receiver the length of the field to make the tackle. It worked out well for the Bears, as FSU would not score. Campbell and Josh Hill snuffed out numerous misdirection plays, and Sean Cattouse levied some lumber when necessary. GRADE: B+

ST – What more can I say except that performance was a stinker. Plenty of mistakes in every department, from Bryan Anger uncharacteristically shanking a couple punts in the stiff Candlestick wind right down to Giorgio Tavecchio’s horrid performance which included several kickoffs to the opposing 20 and two blocked extra points. Is there something seriously wrong with Vince D’Amato that he’s worth a scholarship but not worth giving a shot on the field? He did just fine in the 2009 Big Game. But not all was lost. Michael Coley was a missile and had a few tackles in kick coverage. GRADE: C-

COACHING – Jeff Tedford made some widescale changes in his staff, namely bringing former position coaches Jim Michalczik (OC/OL) and Eric Kiesau (WR) back into the fold, along with new faces Marcus Arroyo (QB), Ashley Ambrose (DB), and Mike Blasquez (S & C). So far, the defense as a whole under coordinator Clancy Pendergast looked outstanding, and the offense will be a work in progress. As far as the head man is concerned, I liked the multiple looks for Maynard, including a brief spell at pistol. Working the screens to death early on almost paid off with a Deboskie TD off a fake screen, but I would like to see more use of the power running game, which Fresno State seemed powerless to stop for long stretches only for it to be abandoned at times. Time management was OK save for the end of the first half, when Fresno was only one big play and timeout away from securing a late FG opportunity. ST coach Jeff Genyk, as stated above, did not have a great day, but a win’s a win, and there’s at least 11 more games for improvement. GRADE: B


Friday, September 2, 2011

Maquiñana: Chargin marks 60 years with Friday card

Ryan Maquiñana

His shrewd eye for talent is as discerning as ever; the bounce in his step is just as vibrant.

As legendary boxing promoter Don Chargin reflects on the 60th anniversary of his first fight card this Friday in Salinas, he does it with a hint of moxie.

“Everybody knows my age,” he said. “I don’t try to hide it. Sometimes I get to talk to some of the young people and get those side glances where they think, ‘What does he know? He’s getting senile.’ Thank God I still see those out of the corner of my eye, because it means I’m still alert.”