|Sad Story of Yuri Boy Campas
By Vikram Birring at ringside, Doghouse Boxing (July 26, 2010)
Thirty-eight year old men are not supposed to be fighting.
Especially one who cashed the equivalent of a boxing lottery ticket, a match against Oscar De La Hoya.
Yet Luis Ramon Campas, better known as “Yuri Boy”, continues to fight, in search of money, despite huge financial rewards against Fernando Vargas, Felix Trinidad, Raul Marquez, and the aforementioned De La Hoya.
In the steamy Houston night, Campas 93-15-1 (74) plied his trade against a journeyman named Taronze Washington 14-14 (7) in a smoky nightclub. It had come to this for a man who once had his face pasted across the Las Vegas strip.
Campas showed flashes of the past, bullying Washington to the ropes and unleashing a flash from the past, a lethal left hook to the liver. Six rounds of this gained him a 59-54, 59-54, 60-53 unanimous decision victory. Even the shadow of Yuri Boy’s shadow could defeat someone of Washington’s caliber.
But what is the end game? How many $5,000 matches can Yuri Boy take until he feels he is financially secure? And by that point, will his brain even be able to function properly? This is the sad story of someone without an education. Athletics can take you a long way, but only so far, for at the end of the day, there is still a life to live, a family to support, and the only way is to have an education to apply other skills. As Wladimir Klitschko constantly states to young children across the globe, Education = Hope, and Campas is the perfect living, breathing, example.
It was the easiest bait for a local crowd, two local boxers going at it for bragging rights. What the bragging rights were, exactly, when Jimmy Guzman, a prospect in a city full of far more distinguished young boxers than himself, and Rodrigo Villareal, a wild swinging barroom brawler, were unknown, but it got the audience riled up nonetheless.
Guzman was slightly favored, due to the fact he was undefeated, and Villareal had a sub-.500 record, but none of that mattered when Villareal 3-4 (1) floored him early with a looping punch thrown from his knees. Guzman 4-1 (2) fought back valiantly, ripping one-two combinations, but left himself open for Villareal’s looping, but powerful, punches. This was the pattern the bout took until the close of the four rounds, and the judges rendered a minor upset, as Villareal won 40-35, 40-35, 39-36.
Cesar Martinez, a recent winner of regional Golden Gloves in the middleweight division, made his professional debut against fellow recognized amateur Marchristopher Adkins. Both recently lost at the state level, but to make a debut against such a high level of competition is unheard of in boxing, where a boxer is usually fed tomato cans to build up his record until he gets a big money opportunity, where win or lose will make the payday that should give him some level of financial security.
In Adkins’s corner was former welterweight world champion Curtis Cokes, who was champion in an era when boxing, along with horse racing, was the national sport. In those days, there was only one world champion, and he demanded the highest of respect from an adoring public. Cokes himself had possibly the toughest debut in boxing history, as he faced future world title challenger Manuel Gonzales in his first professional bout.
Cokes was known for his fierce training routine, and one could tell he imposed it on Adkins, as he was ripped from head to toe, not an ounce of fat on his 157.5 pound frame. Martinez was in excellent condition as well, and when the opening bell rang, he was a whirlwind of punches, constantly moving forward and throwing without a single break.
However, what experienced boxing eyes could notice was, that many of Martinez’s (1-0) punches were hitting air, swinging and missing like a baseball player, over and over again. Adkins (0-1) employed a shoulder roll, a technique that takes years to master, for one mistake and a lethal straight punch will send one to sleep early. What was the specialty of Archie Moore and Harold Johnson is now rarely used presently, except by fellow immortals Floyd Mayweather Jr. and James Toney.
Adkins frustrated Martinez throughout, making him miss and countering with straight punches. Watching Martinez chase him was akin to a kid trying to kill a fly, always so close, but the fly always gets away at the last second, slowly mounting frustration with each futile attempt.
But there was one thing Martinez had on his side, his hometown judges, and they handed him a horrendous unanimous decision on a silver platter, 40-36 on all cards. Even the great Curtis Cokes could not do anything about this. As the old phrase goes, a boxing ring is the only place you can be robbed by a pen and a pencil.
Andres Juarez is the perfect example of a boxer being analogous to a prostitute. No decorated amateur career, and no skills ready for a professional career, yet turned professional nonetheless so a few quick bucks could be made off of him.
Juarez was thrown in the ring with a polished boxer by the name of Ramsey Luna. Though Luna only had one bout coming in, a victory, his skills were extraordinary in comparison. He showed daft footwork, good hand speed, and fast, accurate punches. Throughout the first two rounds, Luna (2-0, 1 KO) buckled Juarez’s (0-1) knees, who really had nothing to give in response. Thankfully, common sense prevailed, and the bout was stopped before a fatal ending, as Luna gained his second victory, and Juarez hopefully began his search for a new day job.
The fight of the night was between two local women boxers, debuting Kendy Escamilla and Jennifer Scott. Escamilla (1-0), only seventeen years old, had a thirteen-year age advantage on Scott (2-2, 2 KO), and it showed, as she was faster, quicker, and more powerful. But Scott showed the grit of a fighter, always responding with her own combinations. They traded blows throughout the four rounds, but Escamilla’s were more effective, and she won a close victory, 39-37 on all cards.
Antonio “Kid Crisis” Capulin, came very close to losing his killer instinct in the opening minute of his professional debut.
A highly decorated amateur, Capulin had great success this year until making the decision to give up his headgear and become professional. His opponent was also making his debut, Tomas Almeida.
The difference in skill level was apparent as the bell rung. Capulin held his hands high and straight, elbows tightened, and moved his feet in a way that displayed a comfort level in the boxing ring, as if it was his bedroom. Almeida, on the other hand, looked like a matador who had never seen a bull before, but was now standing directly across from one.
Within thirty seconds, Almeida was already trapped in a corner, and then, it happened.
Capulin’s (1-0, 1 KO) left glove made the rightward turn, his arm in a perfect L formation, as it made a speeding path, like a torpedo, into the face of Almeida (0-1).
The result was like watching a cartoon.
The hapless Almeida’s head fell forward on the ropes, but his momentum coming forward was so great that the ropes propelled him backwards.
The first body part to hit the canvas was his skull, as it landed with a sickening thud. Then his shoulders, lower back, and legs followed.
Initially Capulin had danced across the ring and waved his arm in joy, but now he simply stood and stared blankly, realizing the damage his fists had caused.
Five minutes past.
The silent audience wondered if Almeida would ever get up. Secretly, Capulin was hoping so, because history shows that boxers who cause fatalities are never the same. Emile Griffith, Jesus Chavez, Gabriel Ruelas, the list goes on. They were never the same fierce, menacing figures afterwards, instead relying on boxing skill and hoping for victory but without pain to the opponent. They continued to win, but with never the same ruthlessness. And worse, their lives were always haunted with the ghosts of the opponents who left this Earth as a result of their hands.
Referees who worked in such bouts have often committed suicide, with the mental torture of knowing had the fight been stopped an instant earlier, the dead man would still be alive, enjoying his life.
Fans who witnessed the event never watched boxing again, the trauma of watching a live execution being too much to overcome.
Boxing can be ecstasy, but can also be gruesome, making one wonder how humans can even watch this savage spectacle with enjoyment.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, a dazed Almeida stood up, and wobbled to a nearby stool where he sat. Eventually, he was able to make it out of the ring on his own two feet, a true miracle from God. Capulin and the crowd were both relieved, as they could move on with their lives in peace.
Questions or comments,
e-mail Vikram at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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