On Thursday, October 3, Phoenix television reporter Allyson Blaine (CBS 5) called to inquire about my knowledge of a $5,000.00 reward offer for information leading to the arrest and conviction of person(s) involved in the beating death of 17 year old amateur boxer Alexis Urbina at his home in Phoenix in September 2013. I told her that retired Judge Carlos Mendoza contacted me (via phone) with the offer and Mendoza asked me what was the best method of getting the word out and I suggested promoting the message on a billboard listing independent phone numbers to call, in case tipsters might be reluctant to call an organization with police ties. The intent and motive was honest, but four days after the Blaine piece aired on CBS 5, questions from the family challenged the effort, so Mr. Mendoza picked up the phone and informed me of his decision to take the offer off the table. Judge Mendoza retired from the bench several years ago after severely injuring his back. At the end of our brief conversation, he told me he wanted to be part of the solution in finding the killer(s) but he would walk away knowing his heart was in the right place. Mendoza is a long time supporter and contributor to local crime prevention programs including Crime Stoppers aka Silent Witness. He was elected twice to serve as Justice of the Peace, Downtown Justice Court in Maricopa County.
After two telephone chats, Ms. Blaine, a telegenic reporter, came to my house with a cameraman and we spoke for about 20-25 minutes after a mike was attached to my body. Understand, I have a radio face, so I don’t know much about the glam side of television. She asked me why I was getting involved in the homicide case and I told her it was “time to catch the bad guys.” I felt empathy with the family, but my role as a journalist is to investigate and report my findings to my readers. Thomas Jefferson and I agree, a free press is vital to the well being of a free and ope society. There is no Pulitzer prize listed in my resume,but I will never apologize for my body of print/broadcast work produced during a journalistic career that spans more than three decades.
CBS 5 aired Allyson’s report was aired during the station’s 10 p.m. newscast that night (9/3/2013) and most of my conversation was left on the cutting floor. The piece also included comments from Saul Urbina (older brother of Alexis) who talked to Ms. Blaine either before or after my front lawn meeting with the young reporter. She did a good job and should be applauded for her effort. At least 15 viewers told me they saw the broadcast and believed the interview could be instrumental in generating tips and possible leads.
A billboard asking the community to report anything they may have seen or heard pertaining to the case was is accessible for public viewing (30 days) beginning Tuesday, October 15 near the Circle K just west of the 7th Street and Broadway Road intersection in Phoenix, Arizona A special thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Alvidrez for securing copies of the official Silent Witness flyers which were distributed by socially conscious volunteers. Mrs. Alvidrez’s son (Gilbert Anthony Garcia) was murdered in 2007. Gilbert was also an accomplished boxer and his loving mother still grieves his loss. CBS Outdoors donated the billboard and Silent Witness endorsed the project. Kudos to journalists and everyone across our great nation who have taken interest in the case. Our prayers remain with the family. To help catch the bad guys, phone in your tips to Silent Witness: 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO.
USA Boxing AZ Lineup: Catch the following USA Boxing AZ shows if you can. 10/19 at Eclipse Boxing Club, sorry no more info…10/26: Salvation Army Smoker Tournament at the Kroc Center in Phoenix…..11/7: 38th Annual Gene Lewis Invitational Tournament at the Broadway Recreational Center in Mesa. Go to the USA Boxing AZ website and catch all updates and please think about becoming a USA Boxing AZ volunteer. Special opportunities await you.
Ring Noise: 132 lb boxing prospect Luis Olivares, fighting out of Glendale, Arizona, upped his record to 6-0 with a unanimous decision win over Hector Marengo (6-5-4) in Tampa Florida, recently. No word on the next bout for the soon to be 21 year old (10/17) pugilist who is on a fast track with all of his wins coming this year. Ironically, Luis trained in Tampa a few months ago for a fight in Connecticut which was cancelled when Luis fell prey to the humid conditions in Tampa. All three judges scored in favor of Olivares: 40-36. Apparently, the former Arizona Golden Gloves Champion and his team were able to come up with an antidote for the H factor. Luis trains at Busted Knuckle Gym in North Phoenix and is under contract with SMS Promotions. His management team is hoping Luis will be ready to fight for a minor title shot by the end of 2014 or in the spring of 2015. He fought at 152 in the amateurs against formidable adversary Abel Ramos of Casa Grande, Arizona. Ramos, a year older, fights at 142 lbs and remains undefeated at 8-0. No chance of a rematch in the pros!…Phoenix lightweight Mario Esparza (1-0) may return to trainer Tom Garcia who was sad to see the promising fighter leave him for what was supposed to be a greener pasture. Mario is under a two year contract with Fan Base Promotions which stipulates the promotional company will find two fights a year for the young pugilist. Four fights in two years isn’t enough action to keep the shoes in shape. Ralph Velez was angling to manage Mario but the former ring announcer (Iron Boy & Fan Base) was told no thanks and now he writes a boxing column for: diamondboxing.com. He was the Southwest coordinator for Fan Base Promotions, but their last show was almost two years ago. I sent an inquiry to Fan Base operations in Canada; still waiting to ascertain their promotional status and the role of Ralph Velez within their organization. Still waiting for response.
Iron Boy 10:Popular Arizona boxing veteran Juan Garcia will headline the Iron Boy 10 card in a 10 round contest to fill the vacant WBC USNBC lightweight title. Pure Journalists don’t pick and choose favorites, but it’s hard to root against the 27 year old who has always been a class act in and out of the ring. Good role model for any young athlete . His opponent s yet to be selected. Juan was Raymundo Beltran’s primary sparring partner for his controversial bout with WBO lightweight title holder Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland last month. Burns kept his belt with a draw decision that infuriated the majority of boxing scribes covering the title match. They thought Beltran had won decisively and the Scottish flavored crowd agreed by directing a chorus of loud boos toward the embarrassed Mr. Burns. . I talked to Ray on two separate occasions after the Glasgow fiasco and he was adamant in stating that he would only agree to fight Burns again, outside of Scotland; preferably in the United States. Something changed because his management team is reporting through social media that the Ray is willing to meet Burns in Scotland one more time. Could I suggest different judges?
Copper Gloves 10/16-17: Arizona State State Fair Public Relations Director Kristi Walsh has credentialed this sleepy eyed veteran columnist to cover the Annual Copper Gloves Tournament on Wednesday October 16 and Thursday October 17 at the fairgrounds, 17th Avenue and McDowell Road in one of the aromatic barns.The plan is to present 12 bouts of high energy amateur boxing with first bell at 6 p.m. both nights. On Wednesday night, admission until 6 p.m. is three can goods per person or regular entrance fee. All donated food will be boxed and taken to the good folks at St Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix. As an extra bonus, fair goers can watch some boxing and then walk over to watch Music Hall of Fame Rock N Roll band “Cheap Trick” perform at the Coliseum, 200 yards from the boxing event. Save money and have some fun. The fair opens 10/11 through 11/3; Wednesday through Sunday. If you attend the Copper Gloves, please say hi and thank you to the USA Boxing Arizona Officials and the Fenn Family for presenting 2 days of premium amateur boxing. Have fun; stay out late and ride the most challenging rides.
Green Stop Over: Light heavyweight contender Allan “Ghost Dog” Green (32-4) closed down his training camp last week at the United Central Gym in Phoenix. He was sparring with Phoenix southpaw Joey Ruelas (super middleweight) until the local fighter became inactive over a cut he suffered on the Iron Boy 9 card on September 21. The 34 year old Green is on his way to way to Australia to fight Blake Caparello (17-0-1) on October 17 in a 12 round bout for the vacant IBO Light Heavyweight title. According to onlookers, the Tulsa, Oklahoma native looked a bit heavy during his seemingly sparse workouts in Phoenix. Caparello is favored to win the title.
“The Showdown of Future Champions”: sorry for the last minute notice. Hard Knocks Gym, 2605 W. Northern Avenue is presenting “The Showdown of Future Champions” boxing tournament on Sunday 10/13. Coordinator Clement Vierra promises 21 fights and general admission for adults is listed at $10.00. 1st bell chimes at 1 p.m. Former University of Arizona and NBA star Mike Bibby will be in attendance and don’t be surprised if super middleweight boxer Derek “The Black Lion” Edwards (26-2) tip toes in if his personal schedule permits. Derek trains at Hard Knocks and holds down a regular job to support his family. His handlers say the native North Carolinian is in terrific shape and ready to start sparring sessions. No word on next bout. Showdown results will be included in my next column. Call 602-973-9172 for further information on the show.
More Iron Boy 10: The Iron Boy 10 card at the Celebrity Theater on November 16 is still tentative, but here is a list of fighters expected to appear on the show: Bronson Schultz, Paul Romero, Edgar Brito, Carlos Castro, Joe Martell, Sergio Lickhovich, Victor Castro, Julio Sarinana and Francisco C. de Vaca. Tickets are available through Ticket Master and the Celebrity Theater box office. Until The Next Time!