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Friday, February 22, 2013

VIDEO: 1-on-1 with Floyd Mayweather

By Ryan Maquiñana

Floyd Mayweather joined me on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area for a 1-on-1 interview earlier this morning to talk about his upcoming May 4 fight with Gilroy's Robert Guerrero, his move from HBO to Showtime, and whether or not he's still got it!

PHOTO GALLERY: Peterson Stops Holt in Eight

By Juan Marshall
ProAm Fight Talk

Juan Marshall of Pro Am Fight Talk was on hand for Lamont Peterson's successful defense of his junior welterweight title Friday night at the Washington, D.C. Armory.  (San Ardo's Roman Morales scored a fifth-round stoppage of Jesus Hernandez in the co-feature.)

Here's a gallery from the main event, which ended in Peterson's eighth-round technical knockout victory.  Catch the rest of Marshall's work here.

NorCal Roundup: Morales Stops Hernandez, Perez Upsets Hovhannisyan

By Ryan Maquiñana

San Ardo junior featherweight Roman Morales (15-0, 8 KOs) won a Friday night battle of unbeatens as he stopped Jesus Antonio Hernandez (10-1-3, 2 KOs) with a crippling left hand downstairs in in the fifth round at the Washington, D.C. Armory.

Hernandez, who had been outlanded in each of the first four frames, stooped to one knee after the final blow from Morales and could not beat the count.  Official time was 2:59.

ESPN2 televised the encounter on their "Friday Night Fights" series.


Hours later from the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, North Salinas junior lightweight Alejandro Perez (17-3-1, 11 KOs) pulled off the upset of previously undefeated Art Hovhannisyan (15-1-2, 8 KOs) behind a diverse attack highlighted by effective body work.  Perez held off a mid-round surge by the bigger Hovhannisyan and closed the show by winning most of their toe-to-toe exchanges.

Scores were 96-94, 96-93, and 95-93 for the NorCal slugger.  Perez-Hovhannisyan aired on Showtime's "ShoBox" series.

Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for  He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at, check out his blog at, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.

Region 11 Alumni Perez, Morales on TV Tonight

By Ryan Maquiñana

Morales (right) is starting to make the boxing world take notice.

SAN CARLOS – Roman Morales has scored impressive wins on national television three times in his last five fights, but he barely registered a double-take when he walked by the regulars at the Undisputed Gym a few months ago.

That’s alright, the 21-year-old junior featherweight uttered to himself.  In fact, Morales has used the anonymity to his advantage, and aims to ambush Jesus Antonio Hernandez Friday night on ESPN2 (6 p.m.).

Morales (14-0, 7 KOs) has embraced his current lack of celebrity, perhaps indicative of his beginnings in the sleepy town of San Ardo, located south of Monterey.  Renowned for its massive oil field, we’re talking about a place so obscure that one has to hit the zoom button several times on Google Maps to find it.

While he hasn’t gotten the general boxing public to notice him just yet, however, Morales’s opponents are usually left with a stinging remembrance of their acquaintance with him in their respective midsections.  You see, Roman “The Ribcracker” is a bona fide body puncher.

Along the way to his 14 wins, Morales has punished several foes downstairs, including the formerly undefeated Jonathan Arrellano, who was forced to consume a steady diet of crippling left hooks that careened like missiles and pummeled his kidneys last September.

Hernandez (10-0-3, 2 KOs), from Los Mochis, Mex., can attribute his perfect ledger to his ability to keep foes at bay with his boxing skills, but more so to expert matchmaking.  Aside from two draws with former amateur standout Aaron Garcia, Hernandez does not hold a single win over a fighter with a winning record.

Still, Morales can’t afford to cruise to victory on Friday.  With another national audience tuning in, if he wants people to start recognizing him, he’s going to have to win and win big—style points compulsory.


North Salinas junior lightweight Alejandro “El Alacrán” Perez will finally come back from a year-long layoff Friday night when he encounters unbeaten Armenian prospect Art Hovhannisyan in Southern California.  The 130-pound clash will occur at the Morongo Casino in Cabazon and air on Showtime’s “ShoBox” series (11 p.m. PT).

The 26-year-old Perez (16-3-1, 11 KOs) is a compact puncher who displayed his walloping might two years ago in Fairfield when he shockingly flattened Antonio Escalante in the first round.  That win earned him a regional title shot at undefeated Diego Magdaleno, who Perez also floored in the first frame but ultimately lost a decision.

Since the Magdaleno defeat, Perez has only fought once, an eight-round demolition of Derrick Wilson in February of last year where “El Alacrán (The Scorpion)” put his foe down four times en route to the stoppage.

Perez has his work cut for him against the 31-year-old Hovhannisyan (15-0-2, 8 KOs), who can be just as aggressive and will try to capitalize on a split decision win over former world titleholder Miguel Acosta last July. 

The “ShoBox” series has brought the sport some magnificent wars, including last year’s NorCal Fight of the Year candidate between Sacramento’s Guy Robb and Joel Diaz Jr.  This matchup has that type of combustible potential.


Avenal lightweight Jose Ramirez (1-0, 1 KO), who represented Region 11 in the 2012 London Olympics, has signed an endorsement deal with Nike.

The past 24 months have seen the 20-year-old go from Starbucks barista and Fresno State student to U.S. Olympian, and now, a Top Rank-promoted professional pugilist with a major apparel contract before his second fight.

Ramirez will wear the swoosh on his shoes and have a clothing line adorned with his own logo, as the company takes another step toward increasing the stable of fighters in their boxing division. 

In recent years, Nike has signed Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza, who now trains in San Carlos.  Oakland’s Andre Ward is affiliated with Jordan Brand, a Nike subsidiary.

Ramirez’s next bout was supposed to take place Saturday night against Charlie Dubray (0-1) at Culver City’s GMT Studios, but injured his thumb in sparring and will instead fight on the undercard of the Mar. 30 Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado rematch at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.


Despite rumors that the Northern California Golden Gloves would not occur this year, the tournament are going on as planned from Feb. 20-23 at the Georgie Duke Center in Vacaville. 

According to USA Boxing NorCal president Ben Bautista, most of the region’s top amateurs were expected to compete; the winners in each weight class will advance to the Region 11 Golden Gloves finals against their Central California counterparts. 

Here’s the list of Open Division CenCal champs courtesy of CCA Chief of Officials Andy Murrietta:

108 lbs.: Conrad Rendon (Aleman B.C., Fresno)
114 lbs.: Victor Torrez (Modesto PAL)
123 lbs.: Efren Lopez (Main Event B.C., Fresno)
132 lbs.: Christopher Cruz (S.E. Fresno B.C.)
141 lbs.: Moises Maciel (Fresno PAL)
152 lbs.: Omar Medrano (Northside B.C., Visalia) vs. Neeco Macias (Unattached, Tehachapi)*
165 lbs.: Quilistro Madera (Main Event B.C., Fresno)
178 lbs.: Armando Gomez (Felipe’s B.C., Lathrop)
201 lbs.: None
201+ lbs.: Jose Luis Medrano (Northside B.C., Visalia)

*winner to be determined Saturday 

For more information on the NorCal Golden Gloves, check out

CSN Bay Area Boxing Insider Ryan Maquiñana is a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and panelist for Ring Magazine’s Ratings Board.  E-mail him at, check out his blog at, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.

Guerrero Out to 'Humble' Mayweather on May 4

By Ryan Maquiñana

Robert Guerrero’s life will never be the same again, and he got the first taste of the ravenous media circus that will soon engulf it ahead of his May 4 pay-per-view extravaganza with Floyd Mayweather at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“I’m definitely ready for this fight,” Guerrero said during Thursday’s conference call. “Having the right experience and putting God first, with what he put me through physically and mentally—inside the ring and outside the ring—prepares you for something like this. I can’t wait, and it’s time.”

Though his team had been negotiating the fight as early as last November, Guerrero (NorCal No. 3; 31-1-1, 18 KOs) was admittedly on pins and needles until the deal was finally secured on Monday night.  Mayweather had alluded to opting for a fight with Devon Alexander two weeks ago, but it turned out to be merely a smokescreen.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

PHOTO: Donaire-Rigondeaux Press Conference

Nonito Donaire (left) and Guillermo Rigondeaux appeared in New York City Thursday afternoon to announce their Apr. 13 fight at Radio City Music Hall.  The HBO-televised bout will be for junior featherweight unification. (PHOTO: Chris Farina)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Miller Advances, Salazar Edged in Indepedence Cup

By Ryan Maquiñana

Miller (left), shown here in a bout last year, won her Tuesday opener.

San Francisco's Raquel Miller won her opener at the Independence Cup in Santiago, D.R., with a 11-3 decision win over Gisela Perez on Tuesday in the 165-pound women's middleweight quarterfinals.  The City boxer advances to Wednesday's semifinals.

The previous day, Fresno's Gary Salazar dropped a 17-15 verdict to Puerto Rico's Hector Marrero Leon in a 123-pound men's bantamweight bout.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Team Rigondeaux to Donaire: "Our Drug Testing Stance Hasn't Changed"

By Ryan Maquiñana 

Rigondeaux (left) and Donaire have not yet formally agreed to fight. (AP)

Unified junior featherweight world champion Nonito Donaire stated Tuesday that he has neither signed his contract to fight fellow titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux, nor will he attend Thursday’s press conference in New York City to announce their Apr. 13 bout.

After revealed that Rigondeaux had not yet agreed to random testing to be administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association leading up to the fight, Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs) released this statement via social media:

“I want you guys to hear it from me first. I am NOT going to NYC for the presser this Thursday [because] Rigo is backing off his agreement to VADA drug testing. Rigo's team verbally agreed to VADA testing both online and in negotiations. But now that the contract to start testing is infront of them, they are finding every excuse not to sign and delay the start of the testing. I have NOT signed my fight contract yet to fight him so I have no obligation to fight ONLY HIM. It disappoints me that top fighters these days run from everything that will hold professional boxing integrity to its highest standard. I will be looking into other opponents with my manager, Cameron Dunkin immediately."

During negotiations, Rigondeaux’s manager, Gary Hyde, said that his fighter would have no problem submitting to random drug testing, especially since it was part of his Olympic training program.   Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs) captured gold medals for Cuba as an amateur in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 before moving to Miami, Fla.

Over a week ago, a photo surfaced of Rigondeaux signing his contract, which was assumed to contain all of the details of the agreement, including VADA testing.  However, a source within his team informed Tuesday afternoon that there has been a misunderstanding, and that the fighter will agree to the stipulation after all.

“Donaire is trying to twist things to get out of the fight and save face,” the source said.  “Our position hasn’t changed.  We have agreed to the testing but requested a copy of the agreement in Spanish so Rigondeaux can read and understand what he’s signing.  [What you saw in the picture] was the fight contract.  [VADA testing] is a separate thing.  Rigo just got the VADA agreement in Spanish this evening.  He’ll sign it and he’s up in a few hours for his flight to New York.”

Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for  He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at, check out his blog at, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.

Guerrero Scores Mayweather Showdown on May 4

By Ryan Maquiñana

[PROGRAMMING NOTE: I will be on CSN Bay Area tonight talking about Mayweather-Guerrero on SportsNet Central (9 p.m. PT after the Warriors game) and on Chronicle Live (9:30 p.m. PT). Here's a channel guide to find CSN on your TV:]

Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero has secured the pay-per-view fight of a lifetime against boxing pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 4 at the Las Vegas MGM Grand, a source with knowledge of the negotiations informed Tuesday morning.

Showtime has secured the broadcast rights for the bout, beating out archrival Home Box Office for the honors. Under his new agreement with Showtime PPV, Mayweather will be able to fight as much as six times over a span of 30 months, starting with the clash against Guerrero.

Guerrero (NorCal P4P No. 3; 31-1-1, 18 KOs), currently the World Boxing Council interim welterweight world champion, will take on the incumbent Mayweather for the WBC’s full-fledged 147-pound belt.

Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) has not defended the title since his September 2011 knockout of Victor Ortiz, which allowed the WBC to award Guerrero interim champion status after he defeated Selcuk Aydin at HP Pavilion last July.

[RELATED VIDEO: Guerrero has ‘great chance’ to upset Mayweather]

Almost a fortnight ago, Mayweather insinuated on social media that he would eschew the fight in favor of one with Devon Alexander, but ultimately, Guerrero won out.
“I’ve been calling all the big names out to fight me because I’ve learned that nowadays, nothing gets done until you open your mouth and push for it,” Guerrero told after his previous outing, a unanimous decision over Andre Berto last November. “I know if I get a shot against Floyd, I’ll shock the world.”

The fight will mark Mayweather’s 10th pay-per-view main event and third on Cinco de Mayo weekend, while Guerrero will enter a bout of this magnitude for the first time.


2013 NorCal Golden Gloves Start Wednesday

By Ryan Maquiñana

Despite rumors that the Northern California Golden Gloves would not occur this year, the tournament will go on as planned from Feb. 20-23 at the Georgie Duke Center in Vacaville. 

According to USA Boxing NorCal president Ben Bautista, most of the region’s top amateurs are expected to compete; the winners in each weight class will advance to the Region 11 Golden Gloves finals against their Central California counterparts.  

2013 Central California Golden Gloves Winners

By Ryan Maquiñana

Lopez (left) moves on to the State Silver Gloves. (
Here are the 2012 Central California Golden Gloves Champions, courtesy of CCA's Andy Murrietta.  They will now advance to the Region 11 Golden Gloves finals against the winners from this weekend's NorCal bracket, which takes place in Vacaville:

108#    Conrad Rendon-Aleman B.C., Fresno 
114#    Victor Torrez-Modesto PAL 
123#    Efren Lopez-Main Event B.C., Fresno
132#    Christopher Cruz-S.E. Fresno B.C. 
141#    Moises Maciel-Fresno PAL 
152#    Omar Medrano-Northside B.C., Visalia vs Neeco Macias-Unatt., Tehachapi
165#    Quilistro Madera-Main Event B.C., Fresno 
178#    Armando Gomez-Felipe’s B.C., Lathrop 
201#    None 
201+#  Jose Luis Medrano-Northside B.C., Visalia

108#         Marco Arroyo-E. Stockton B.C.
114#         Giovanni Noriega-Bakersfield PAL
132#         Stephen Lippincott-Unatt., Los Banos
141#         Eduardo Sanchez-Lemoore B.C.
152#         Zachary Lopez-Hanford B.C.
201#         Julio Arrellano, Jr.-McDermont B.C., Lindsay
201+#       Jesse Grano-Pacific Coast B.C., Monterey 

*TBD 2-23-13 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cherry Stops Escobedo in Atlantic City

By Ryan Maquiñana

Cherry overpowered Escobedo in six rounds Saturday. (AP)

Woodland’s Vicente Escobedo never recovered from an early knockdown and was stopped by Edner Cherry in the sixth round of a junior lightweight bout in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Saturday night.

Escobedo (NorCal No. 7; 26-5, 14 KOs), who was coming off a controversial loss in a 130-pound title fight against Adrien Broner last July, hit the canvas in the closing seconds of the first frame when Cherry (31-6-2, 17 KOs) connected with a left hand to the midsection and followed it with a right hand upstairs.

Though Escobedo would beat the count, Cherry, fighting out of Miami, Fla., would finish the job in the sixth with two more knockdowns; most of the damage resulted from heavy right hands. With Escobedo on all fours, referee Allan Huggins officially waved off the bout at 3:00.

Escobedo, a 2004 Olympian, has lost two in a row after a four-bout winning streak.

CSN Bay Area Boxing Insider Ryan Maquiñana is a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and panelist for Ring Magazine’s Ratings Board.  E-mail him at, check out his blog at, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.

Friday, February 15, 2013

This Week in NorCal Boxing: Escobedo Must Defuse "Cherry Bomb"

By Ryan Maquiñana

-Vicente Escobedo looking to defuse the "Cherry Bomb"
-Nonito Donaire Jr. films McDonald's ad, fight still up in the air
-Bika-Sjekloca fight on HBO Boxing, winner in line for Andre Ward
-WBC prez: Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero negotiations ongoing
-Karim Mayfield closing in on world title shot
-Santa Clara University hosting college card Saturday
-The NorCal Pro and Amateur Boxing Schedule Until May 2013


PHOTO: Miller, Salazar Heading to Dominican Republic with Team USA

By Ryan Maquiñana
Salazar (3rd from left) and Miller (5th from left) will gain some valuable international experience. (USA Boxing)
Fresno's Gary Salazar (bantamweight/123 lbs) and S.F.'s Raquel Miller (middleweight/165 lbs) have concluded training camp at Team USA's Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and will compete in the Independence Cup, which will take place in the Dominican Republic on Feb. 18-22.

Friday, February 8, 2013

UPDATED: Pro & Amateur Northern/Central California Boxing Schedule (July-August)

Poster for the Sacramento card on July 20. (Uppercut Promotions)
 (all times PT and subject to change)

• JULY 13 (Inglewood): N. Salinas's Alejandro Perez vs. Edgar Riovalle at Hollywood Park Casino (7 p.m.; TV: 11 p.m. Unimás); Tickets:

• JULY 13 (Brentwood): Cornfest Boxing Championship at L.A. Boxing (4 p.m.); Tickets:*

• JULY 19 (Sacramento): Sutter Club Boxing Show at Sutter Club (8 p.m.); Tickets: 925-383-2872* 

• JULY 20 (Roseville): Showdown at the Fairgrounds at Placer County Fair & Events Center (4 p.m.); Tickets:

• JULY 20 (Sacramento): Rage VI: War at Red Lion Woodlake Hotel (7 p.m.); Tickets:

• JULY 20 (Oakland): Showdown in Oakland 9 at Pacific Ring Sports (1 p.m.); Tickets: 510-444-5269*

• JULY 20 (Livingston): Amateur Show at Livingston High School (3 p.m.); Tickets: 209-233-2000*

• JULY 26 (Lincoln): ESPN2 Friday Night Fights at Thunder Valley Casino (6 p.m.); Tickets:

• JULY 26 (Redwood City): World-Class Championship Boxing at Fox Theatre (7 p.m.); Tickets:

• JULY 27 (Sacramento): Sactown Beatdown 2 at Caballero's B.C. (1 p.m.); Tickets: 916-583-0955*

• AUG. 3 (Carmichael): Amateur Fight Night CB & MMA at California Boxing & MMA (5 p.m.); Tickets: 916-316-0393*

• AUG. 3 (Modesto): Amateur Show at Red Shield Community Center (3:30 p.m.); Tickets: 209-872-7231*

AUG. 10 (San Jose): Family Fest III at Victory Outreach (2 p.m.); Tickets: 408-806-2455*

• AUG. 17 (Visalia): Amateur Show at Whitman Community Center (3 p.m.); Tickets: 559-805-7255*

• AUG. 17-18 (Concord): Manny Piriano Memorial Tournament at Community Youth Center (2 p.m. both days); Tickets: 925-383-2872*

• AUG. 24 (Sacramento): Battle of the Badges at McClellan Convention Center (6 p.m.); Tickets: 916-612-6865*

• AUG. 27 (Fresno): Central Valley Showdown at International Catering Company Regency Room (7:30 p.m.); Tickets:

• AUG. 31 (Pacifica): Beautiful Brawlers 3 at The Surf Spot (2 p.m.); Tickets: 415-694-1907*

*Region 11 amateur card

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cal Opens Dykes Era with Solid Recruiting Class

By Ryan Maquiñana

Dykes has his work cut out for him at Cal. (AP)

We're going to take a brief break from boxing to cover my alma mater's 2013 football recruiting class.

During his introductory press conference in December, first-year Cal head coach Sonny Dykes repeatedly used the word "fit" to describe the type of student-athlete he hoped to lure to Berkeley.  As the 2013 Signing Day revealed his inaugural recruiting class, a group of 25 future Golden Bears will aim to vindicate his evaluations of their respective potential.

RANKING: The Bears will land somewhere between in top 30-40 nationally and in the middle of the pack in the Pac-12.  Surprisingly, the Bears have a higher-ranked class than archrival Stanford, which is coming off a conference title and a victory in the Rose Bowl.

NEEDS (in order of importance):

STARS: With Dykes's high-octane "Bear Raid" offense in mind, he decided to invest heavily in the offensive line. Cal signed five of the "big uglies", with 6'8'', 364-pound tackle Aaron Cochran (Buhach Colony H.S./Atwater, CA) leading the charge.  Cochran will join his older brother Matt, currently a freshman center for the Golden Bears.

At the skill positions, 6'4'', 190-pound Elite 11 quarterback Jared Goff (Marin Catholic H.S./Kentfield, CA) is highly decorated, and 5'8, 174-pound burner Khalfani Muhammad (Notre Dame H.S./Sherman Oaks, CA) is a much-needed addition to the running back corps now that injury-riddled gamebreaker Brendan Bigelow has reportedly suffered another torn ACL. Former Boise State commit Jack Austin (Chino Hills H.S./Chino, CA) is a 6'3, 210-pound physical specimen who joins an already deep receiver group.

Defensive back Darius Allensworth (Heritage H.S./Romoland, CA) tore his ACL in December but will be back in time for his freshman campaign.  The 5'11'', 175-pound athlete will contend for a cornerback spot, where the Bears just lost NFL-caliber talent in Steve Williams and Marc Anthony, while top returnee Stefan McClure missed all of 2012 due to a major knee injury.

Perhaps the best news the Bears received all week occurred when 6'3'', 215-pound outside linebacker Johnny Ragin III (Wilsonville H.S./Wilsonville, OR) made good on his promise to de-commit from BYU and stay with Cal despite a final overture from Oregon.

SLEEPERS: Takkarist McKinley (Kennedy H.S./Richmond, CA) is a 6'3'', 240-pound physical freak.  To give you an idea, he's currently headed to the California State Track meet as a sprinter.  Expect him to see some action as a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid.  As far as a project, perhaps Drake Whitehurst (San Francisco City College/San Francisco, CA) qualifies.  Though lacking blinding speed, the 6'6'', 215-pound wide receiver has good hands and the size to become a matchup problem down the road.

THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY: Rule No. 1 of recruiting is that a commitment isn't final until pen goes to paper and the National Letter of Intent hits the fax machine.  With that said, three players stick out in my mind in terms of last-second losses:

Cameron Hunt (Centennial H.S./Corona, CA), a 6'4'', 267-pound offensive guard, was the crown jewel of the class, but due to his would-be position coach Jim Michalczik's departure, will now clear holes for Oregon.

Oklahoma stoned the Bears twice in two months, starting with 6'5'', 205-pound wide receiver Dannon Cavil (James Madison H.S./San Antonio, TX), whom Dykes convinced to de-commit from Texas Tech only to switch allegiances to the Sooners a few weeks ago.  Then today, safety L.J. Moore (Central East/Fresno, CA) decided to join high school teammate Hatari Byrd (another Cal target but an unlikely one from the beginning) and pulled the trigger for OU despite a promising official visit to Berkeley last week.

In reality, the loss of Moore has a more lasting effect than Davil's because while Cal has a plethora of blue-chip wide receivers from the last class in Bryce Treggs, Chris Harper, and Darius Powe among others, the secondary is thin, especially at safety.  Once you get past playmaker Avery Sebastian, the jury's out on upperclassmen Michael Lowe and Alex Logan. 

BEAR RAID(ING) OTHER SCHOOLS: Wraggling Austin away from Boise State was a very good get; snatching Ragin and keeping him was a coup on a moderate scale. The Bears also struck gold with offensive tackle Erik Bunte (Mission Viejo H.S./Mission Viejo, CA), a UCLA de-commit who will compete for a spot on the two-deep right away.

TOSH.NO: It would be downright criminal to ignore that last year's loss of defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi to Washington has continued to hurt the Bears in the recruiting department.  Never before had Cal recruited as strongly on a national scale with consensus five-star recruits, and the 2010 class that included likely first-round draft pick Keenan Allen only validated the program's arrival in that regard.

At the same time, academic issues have plagued the program the past few years, with the graduation rate finally hitting rock-bottom in the Pac-12 last year--an unequivocally unacceptable result for a school like Cal.  Whether those problems are attributed to signing players who could not cut it in the classroom or the academic support systems is another story.

With only three consensus four-star recruits, the truth is that 2013 has yielded a solid but not spectacular class.  Stars aren't everything, but in the scope of perception, they matter in this case.  The question remains, however, whether Dykes and his staff will be able to return to a top 15-20 level while still attracting guys who "fit" academically will be one of his greatest challenges at Cal.

PROTECT THIS HOUSE: Though the constant underachieving on the field and in the classroom caused his demise, one cannot deny former head coach Jeff Tedford's ability to protect the homebase recruiting-wise.  He cultivated enough relationships with local high school and junior college coaches to plant his flag in the critical Northern California triangle of the Bay Area, Sacramento, and Fresno, in addition to everything north of that area to the state border.

With Tedford holding court, no longer would other schools travel from Miami and South Bend to poach kids with impunity.  Marshawn Lynch, Aaron Rodgers, Jahvid Best, Syd'Quan Thompson, Lavelle Hawkins, Zach Kline, Derrick Hill, Worrell Williams, Freddie Tagaloa, Viliami Moala, and Desmond Bishop are prime examples of local four and five-star kids who were convinced to stay close to home.

However, when Lupoi left, he took Sacramento's Shaq Thompson (Syd'Quan's little brother) with him, and fellow NorCal blue-chipper Arik Armstead is now starring at Oregon after being thisclose to enrolling at Cal.  With 2013 five-star defensive line recruit Eddie Vanderdoes of Sacramento barely even looking the Bears' way, even after he had de-commited from USC late in the process, it's pretty clear that the triangle is open for business once again.  No question about it: Dykes must dominate locally in the future.

One encouraging sign was Dykes plucking junior college recruits like Whitehurst out of San Francisco City College and 6'4'', 245-pound defensive end Sione Sina (College of San Mateo/San Mateo, CA).  In contrast, despite them enjoying a substantial presence on his early 10-win teams, Tedford inexplicably shied away from JuCo kids as time wore on.  Rodgers, Bishop, and sackmaster Ryan Riddle all attended two-year colleges before landing at Cal.

GRADE: Given that Dykes and his staff entered late in the game, it would be unfair to evaluate his ability to land top-notch recruits and get Cal back to a recruiting level that Tedford enjoyed toward the end of his tenure. (On a side note, that's why I feel an eight-win season from Dykes should be the goal due to the talent on this roster.  Last year, more than one out of every four scholarship players were either U.S. Army or Under Armour All-Americans, an unprecedented figure in the program's long history.)

However, Dykes was still able to steal away a top prospect in Ragin and kept most of the current class together upon his arrival. Hey, for all we know, Dykes mined 25 (26 if defensive back Trey Cheek's SAT score qualifies for admission) guys who will blossom into major stars and significant contributors. Obviously, there's no better recruiting tool than success on the field, but I think we'll get a better idea of the effectiveness of the new coach's sales pitch in Year Two. For now, let's give him a B.


*NOTE: I find the ratings superior to,, and, in that order.  They have been more accurate and less biased over the years.  And I read this stuff religiously.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Quintet of Region 11 Boxers Win National Silver Gloves Titles

By Ryan Maquiñana

Mahmutovic just keeps collecting hardware. (Rob Fernandez)
Region 11 amateurs continued their impressive run at the Junior Olympic level Saturday afternoon, as five boxers captured championships at the National Silver Gloves in Independence, Mo.

In the 14-15 age division, Suray Mahmutovic (415 B.C., San Francisco) defeated Sergio Diego Flores in the 178-pound final to add the Silver Gloves to his recent victories at the World Junior Team Open and National Junior Golden Gloves.

"Flores was just rushing Suray all fight long from the beginning," said Rob Fernandez, Mahmutovic's trainer.  "But Suray was just boxing well, landing clear jabs that were snapping his head back.  It took awhile to count all the scores, but in the end, the judges got it right.  I'm really proud of Suray."

Mahmutovic was joined in the 14-15 age division winners' circle by Gilroy's Peter Tavares, who won by decision in the 80-pound final.

Three more Region 11 boxers competed in their respective weight classes in the 12-13 age division.  Richard Torrez (Tulare A.C., pictured) outpointed three-time National Silver Gloves champion Elijah Green of Maryville, Mo., in the 176-pound final.  Marc Castro (Fresno PAL) concluded his run with a decision triumph in the 85-pound final, while Gabriel Flores (Los Gallos, Stockton) lost a close verdict on points.

In the 10-11 age division final, 55-pounder Jesus Haro of Merced emerged victorious to cap another successful tourney for Region 11.  With the Junior Olympics coming in June, our boxers have established the region as a force on the national scene.'s Ryan Maquiñana is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Panel. E-mail him at, check out his weekly column for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, his archive for, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

National Silver Gloves, Day Two: Mahmutovic and Tavares Win, 'Dracula' Robbed?

By Ryan Maquiñana

Mahmutovic (right) stopped his foe in the third. (Sheldon Callum)

Region 11 went 4-1 in Friday's semifinal action at the National Silver Gloves in Independence, Mo.  While Marc Castro, Gabriel Flores, Peter Tavares, and Suray Mahmutovic won without incident, Ruben "Dracula" Villa dropped a controversial decision that had some onlookers aghast.

"[Villa] got robbed very bad," said Rob Fernandez of 415 B.C. in S.F.  "I'm not being biased, but it was a one-sided fight."


12-13 age division, 85 lbs.: Marc Castro (Fresno PAL) RSC-3 Damond Ferguson (Columbus, OH)

12-13 age division, 95 lbs.: Gabriel Flores (Los Gallos, Stockton) dec. Otha Jones (Philadelphia, PA)

14-15 age division, 80 lbs.: Peter Tavares (Unattached, Gilroy) dec. Alejandro Leon (Boca Raton, FL)

14-15 age division, 119 lbs.: Michael Dutchover (Midland, TX) dec. Ruben Villa (Backyard, B.C., Salinas)

14-15 age division, 178 lbs.: Suray Mahmutovic (415 B.C., S.F.) RSC-3 Baylee Heinie (Black Hawk, SD)

Boxing World Weighs in on Super Bowl XLVII!

By Ryan Maquiñana

My latest for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area: The boxing world weighs in on Super Bowl XLVII!

Check out predictions from Robert Guerrero, Karim Mayfield, Don Chargin, Seth Mitchell, Otis Griffin, Frank Espinoza, Fernando El Guerrero, Sam Garcia, and Lem Satterfield. Did our panel pick the 49ers or Ravens?

-John Abella HEADLINES Osric Pratt-Opp Presents 4/13 CARD IN SACRAMENTO 
-VOTE FOR NORCAL BOXER OF THE WEEK: Ava Knight or Demetrius Andrade