The other day I watched some good boxing between Joe Calzaghe and Jeff Lacy and I could not help reminisce about some boxing that used to happen in San Pedro twenty five years ago. No it was never professional boxing, not even formal amateur boxing, but good street boxing that did develop some good boxers in San Pedro among the children and teenagers.
There were several persons who used to own a pair or set of boxing gloves and just for the fun of it they used to encourage children and teenagers to put them on and practice their skills right on the street. With no traffic going or coming and with a nice grassy area, you had the perfect boxing ring flanked on the sides by the fences and by people who made a circle to watch and enjoy some good street boxing.
My father used to have a set of gloves at his store, which at that time was named “Me Lo Llevo Store ( I’ll take it all Store). Whenever there was a nice crowd of guys who wanted to have fun, they would offer a coke or a bar of chocolate to the winner and children were very willing to do battle for this fine prize.
Pedro Valencia and his brother Miguel Valencia were guys who were not afraid of throwing some fists for a coke. They were rough boys who were even willing to shed some blood to make the fight more exciting and the win more convincing. Oh yes, Dimas Guerrero was a popular boxer and even in his teenage days he used to promote boxing. He and his dad also had a set of boxing gloves which were tried very often right in front of his house between Martha’s and Elvis Kitchen.
Whenever you saw a group of some 25 persons cheering on during one sunny afternoon, you could guarantee that some good boxing was taking place. Oh yes, Erlindo Graniel and Pete Graniel, Rudy Nunez, Efrain “El Tolok” Bardalez, Adolfito Ayuso (deceased), and even Panny Arceo and Norman Eiley were avid participants in boxing and I would say that they were pretty good too.
I remember when I was about twelve years old, I put on the pair of gloves right in front of my dad’s store. It did not take even a minute for me to receive a good punch right on my left chin, and it felt so hard that I thought my chin bone was dislocated. Needless to say, I quickly took my gloves off and conceded victory to my opponent, whom I do not remember who he was. Perhaps it was Dimas.
From that time on, I have been afraid of boxing, even though I do like to watch the sport very much. From time to time some guy from a certain neighborhood would meet with another guy from another neighborhood or camp, and those used to be some exciting afternoons. I remember the middle neighborhood used to be a popular winner, because Dimas Guerrero the Terror used to be in that boxing camp and they always emerged the winners.
Then I remember an anecdote. When we were teenagers we used to promote a soccer team on the island and we put on a show at the cinema to raise funds for the team Los Atleticos. In the show we had a fake boxing match between Dimas and Panny Arceo. It was supposed to be a show but Panny got heated up and landed a real one on Dimas. This exhibition ended into a real boxing match, so much that we had to close curtains to end that fight because apart from boxing they were also drinking. But that was as far as local boxing went 25 years ago.
- by Angel Nuñez, Columnist