Havana Banana

I can’t even begin to fathom how difficult it must be for one to leave Cuba knowing that they can never return.

Yes, this is my cliché opening line, the same sentiment echoed by most who tackle the subject of Rigondeaux or defectors in general. Originally, I had planned to open this post by discussing “Havana Affair,” by The Ramones (which has always struck me as a bit racist, and which the Chili Peppers actually do a really good cover of, both of which are reasons why I decided against it) or even about that time I wrote a piece about Rigondeaux as a drag queen, complete with fun name, personality, genre, and backstory about her long climb to the top but then backed out on publishing it because even with all of that, it still wasn’t good enough.

So here we are. Still great, but somehow never good enough.

Remind you of anyone?

My grand love of Rigondeaux began on that fateful night back in 2013 that he is undoubtedly most well known for. But before I recount it in flowery terms that will surely embarrass me in the morning (because don’t they always?) I must start on the eve on November 13, 2010.

AKA-The night I was a ginormous hypocrite.

To be fair, I didn’t realize that I was being a ginormous hypocrite at the time. All I knew was that I was out for the blood of Margarito at the hands of Pacquiao and all of this was being stilted by some boring little guy who had 15 pounds and 5 inches* on me. And I hated it. I exaggerated greatly my gratitude for the fight’s conclusion and continued my life with beer in hand, sure that I would never be subjected to another terrible fight by that-guy-with-the-weird-last-name.

Enter 2013

Like most, I was set to watch ESPN’s “Fighter of the Year,” Nonito Donaire, accumulate yet another win against some guy I’d never heard of (as by this point I’d forgotten all about Rigondeaux). A friend of mine had even inquired about “any good fights lately,” and I’d been talking the bout up to him for a week at that point, how exciting it would be, how lightning quick Donaire was, how I was sure the fight wouldn’t even make it past six rounds.

Aaaaaand then, three rounds into the main event, my now husband (then boyfriend) announced that he was falling asleep on the couch and was going to bed, and my friend texted to make sure he was watching the right channel.

I, however, found myself utterly captivated by what I was witnessing. While admittedly not the most entertaining fight, it occurred to me that I was watching a true thing of beauty-a side to the sport that I’d yet to witness. (I’ve since described it as “boxing ballet.”) Here was a man picking apart a reigning champ (a Fighter of the Year, even) utilizing strategy alone, and the greatest example of ring generalship that I’d ever seen.

The Psych major in me was fucking pumped, y’all.

I became an instant fan, and almost just as instantaneously learned how difficult life can be as a Rigondeaux supporter at times.  Aside from constant defenses of the Cuban style of boxing, long lapses between fights and bouts overseas with streaming capabilities only (I hate watching  pretty much anything on a computer) added to the mounting difficulties. In hindsight, I think this only fanned the flames. The mystery of it all, the inaccessibility-you know. (The majority of the boxing public’s outright hatred for the “boring”, although I’ve noticed that some of those who refer to Rigo as “boring” also do things like read Shakespeare or watch baseball. The irony.)

Enter 2017, and how I tie this all back to the first sentence.

Inspired by my love of Rigondeaux and the works of Brin-Jonathan Butler, (as well as the fact that some friends were already going and invited my husband and I to join,) I visited Havana this summer. (Also, Mike Tyson went to Cuba in the late 90’s and I feel like if Tyson did it, I can do it too. Probably not the best yardstick with which to measure my life, but it’s gotten me this far.)

Attempting to describe Havana using merely words would do it a great disservice. The city has a soul and a presence like none I’ve ever witnessed, and a piece of it will remain with me always. Among the various memories I’ll hold from my short time in Havana, my favorite by far was a conversation I had with a local tour guide about Rigondeaux and Cuban boxing in general.

First, I learned how to pronounce Rigondeaux’s last name correctly: (say it with me now: Ree-gOne-doh, NOT Rih-gOn-DEE-OW which you will likely hear over and over on Saturday night). I also earned mad street cred with him for knowing who Erislandy Lara was and pronouncing his name correctly. But mostly, I noted how his eyes lit up when discussing Teofilo Stevenson. (“Did you know that Muhammad Ali came HERE to see HIM?!”)  I did, but I’d trade a number of the less-cool experiences I’ve had to see that light replicated in the eyes of another when speaking of something that pays them only in joy.

I lived off that light for days, fed off of the experience when other annoying or shitty things were happening. I hold onto it still, and surely will for the rest of my life.  To me, that light can be equated to another discussion we had on the great difference between American and Cuban boxers: pride. One need look no further than Adrien Broner flushing cash down a toilet, fighters carelessly missing weight for their bouts, or the infrequency of fights amongst top name pugilists to see that lack of pride in American boxing.

Enter Rigondeaux

The scrappy little guy with the reputation for being difficult to promote (not wholly unearned)  and the ever present sullen expression. The man who, despite surely being told that he would earn more money or have a greater presence and following if he would just be more of an offensive or entertaining fighter, continues to engage in “boxing ballet.” The man who carries the soul, history, and pride of Cuba as he walks through America today.

I can’t say for sure if Rigo will win on Saturday, partly because I lack clairvoyance and a crystal ball, but mostly because my predictions have historically sucked. (And, if I’m being honest, superstition is at play here as well.) But I will say this, and it may likely be something flowery that I’ll regret in the morning: it snowed steadily in San Antonio tonight. Reports say at least an inch (which, before you Northerners give me any shit, is a LOT for us-it was 85 degrees here on Tuesday), but December snow is uncharacteristically rare here-when snowfall does occur in any mediocre amount it typically happens in February.  In fact, the last time it snowed in San Antonio in December was on December 21, 1929. (2.9 inches, for those of you keeping score.)

88 years ago (Yes, I had to use a calculator.)

It could all just be some huge coincidence-probably is. But how cool would it be if this was all some big, cosmic foreshadowing to another upcoming rift in the “norm”?

I wonder if Tyson ever made it snow?

 

To talk snow, Cuba, drag queens, beer, or even boxing, follow me on Twitter @littlejenna37

Brin-Jonathan Butler’s “A Cuban Boxer’s Journey: Guillermo Rigondeaux, from Castro’s Traitor to American Champion” is available on Amazon, and “The Domino Diaries: My Decade Boxing with Olympic Champions and Chasing Hemingway’s Ghost in the Last Days of Castro’s Cuba” is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

*I didn’t actually research this

Stats for my San Antonio Weather Report were found at: “San Antonio Snowfall 1885 through 2011 in Inches,” http://www.crh.noaa.gov/Image/ewx/snowfalltable.pdf

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Inside the Mind of Brandon Rios

This post could just as easily be called “What’s Going on in Brandon Rios’s Head Aside from Heavy Rotation of the Word ‘Fuck’”?

Last week brought with it the news of a bout between Danny Garcia and Brandon Rios, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. This is mostly due to my love of Rios, but also largely in part to my deep dislike of Danny Garcia. (Warning: For some reason, I’m unable to refer to Danny Garcia as anything other than his full name or an expletive, both of which will probably make their presence known here. Also-trigger warning-Angel Garcia is mentioned, in case you need a toilet or trash can nearby for the impending violent dry heaving that is sure to occur upon the mere mention of his name. On second thought, just read this entire piece while either on or near a toilet.) I also just enjoy watching Rios in all his unhinged glory, and the first Rios vs. Alvarado fight will remain one of my all time favorites.

I’m elated over this fight for two reasons: 1.) From what I’ve seen of Danny Garcia (which isn’t much, because refer back to the first paragraph where I talk about how I can’t stand him) he’s not a very interesting fighter. Yes, he pushes the gas pedal when necessary and one really can’t deny his talent (I’ve tried), but I’ve yet to see anything too impressive in the way of an all out, toe-to-to brawl; and 2.) Rios is batshit crazy, and I mean that in a good way. One of things I find most intriguing about Rios is that the guy smiles everytime he’s punched in the face, and  I’m not sure Danny Garcia will know how to handle that.  (To be fair, I’m also not sure that anyone save for a trained professional knows how to deal with that.) 

It’s not the smile itself that mystifies me, but what the smile represents-an absolute, all out war mentality with a fuck-you-I’m-not-quitting attitude.  That, or Rios is just thinking about when he’s going to get his next scoop of Baskin Robbins. Either way, join me below as I delve deeper into the elusive meaning of the smile behind the punch. 

1. Ice Cream

Who doesn’t smile when they think of ice cream? (Aside from vegans and the lactose intolerant, and even then they’ve taken it upon themselves to invent lactose-free and soy ice cream, so my point still stands.)   The mere thought of Rocky Road has evoked mirth in even the most stoic of humans, and the Dalai Lama himself once said “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room.” Granted, this has nothing to do with ice cream, but when I googled “Quotes about Ice Cream from Major World Leaders” it was either this or some quote from Steve Jobs that isn’t nearly as cool. (Ha. Ha.)

Anyway, ice cream can move mountains and solve the problems of the people, both big and small, and for that it’s deserving of a a smirk at the very least.  Ice cream brings people together, and  I’m pretty sure I even know Rios’s favorite flavor:

                                                                   Stop shaking your head, we all saw this coming.

2. Dogs

 Everyone loves dogs, even those who say they’re allergic or claim to be immune to the charming powers of the canine.   While I can’t be absolutely certain what kind of dog Rios is thinking of while grinning (and I hope like hell it isn’t a chihuahua), I’m sure that some lucky pooch somewhere has captured his heart-and yes-his smile. 


                                 This isn’t Rios’s dog. This is my dog, who is clearly not a Golovkin fan.
3. Trick-or-Treating

Training camp be damned, Halloween is coming up and Rios has kids. Trick-or-treating is a rite of passage for all children, teenagers, and those few lucky adults over the age of 23 who are the same height as a fifth grader and are acting as the chaperone for their 10 year old niece.  ‘Tis the season for Kit Kat, Butterfinger, and those really cool Reese’s pumpkins as it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.  Besides, even if he has no interest in candy he can still sport a badass costume. (But never one of those lame t-shirts that says “This is my Costume,” only derelicts and Pennywise [not the band] wear those. )

                                                               Someone gave Danny Garcia a rock 😦  
4. The Smell of a New Book

I’m not sure how one would  physically carry this out, but take all of your previous notions and pre-formed ideas about traditionally good smelling things and get rid of them (probably a good idea to do this on a bulky item collection day), because friends, few smells induce a smile like the smell of a new book.  Although his image might suggest otherwise, Rios could secretly be a bibliophile of massive proportions, hell-bent on sustaining the image of a shorter, lighter, foul-mouthed modern-day Rocky.

Picture this, if you will: An obviously tired Rios, exhausted and spent after a long day of training, collapses into a red leather arm chair with a hardback tome. Possibly “War and Peace,” or perhaps the ninth installation in the Harry Potter series, whose title I can’t remember but which was long as fuck and really intimidating looking at first glance.  


                                       Not buying it? Me either, but here’s a picture of a book anyway.
5. (And most likely): Beating the Shit out of Angel Garcia
When you really think about it, this makes either the least amount of sense or the most amount of sense. While it’s somewhat likely that in truth Brandon was never thinking of beating up Angel Garcia until quite recently, it is far MORE likely that he’s really been pondering the idea since he was in the womb.  Because surely, deep down inside all of us there’s a tiny, sweet piece of something that yearns for the day when Angel Garcia will get caught by the cheapest of shots as a consequence for his annoying and ever present running mouth. 

And who better to deliver this shot than Rios himself? It’s almost as if Brandon were privy to the knowledge that Angel Garcia was destined to become a douchebag of immense proportions before Angel Garcia came to fulfill this prophecy. And Rios, being the gift from God that he is (along with breakfast tacos) was sent from the spiritual world to the physical in order to vanquish this, our true mortal enemy.  But not, like, kill him or anything. Just shut him up for a minute.  With his fists.

 (Those are either boxing gloves or Rios is suffering from the same affliction as Evan Peters on “AHS: Freak Show.” Also, here I’ve            reduced Brandon’s communication skills to that of a Pokemon.)

I’ll continue to hope that Angel Garcia will someday stop talking (thought not as a result of any bodily or neurological harm and by choice only ) on Twitter at @littlejenna37 or at junkinthetrunks37@gmail.com

                                                                         

GGG vs Canelo: Choose Your Babysitter

Close your eyes, my friends (after you read this intro, that is) and picture with me the front door to your residence. The doorbell rings unexpectedly, you aren’t expecting company, and since you’re nothing like me you answer it anyway. On the front step are two very recognizable men, one in a suit and one in a shirt emblazoned with the initials “CA” (I assume this is their normal walking-around wear). From the outstretched hand of the suited man is a flier with the words “Need a Babysitter? Please call: …..” (only there’s really a number there not a bunch of dots).

The men in front of you are none other than Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez, and for some untold reason they’ve become babysitters. 

Clearly, you’re a bit angry as they’ve ignored the “no soliciting” policy of the neighborhood. But you quickly forget this anger, as  at the very least they aren’t peddling the shitty Chinese restaurant up the street, an irritating occurrence you’ve become used to. And also-it’s GGG and Canelo. You politely accept the flier, shake hands with both, and close the door (after telling Canelo that he lost to Lara). Now you’re faced with a bigger problem: which one do you choose? 

Luckily, I’ve done the hard work for you. After extensive hours of research on the subject, I present a comparison of how the two men stack up in the most crucially super important points to consider in selecting a sitter for your child. (Or adult. I don’t know your life. )  Read below to reach enlightenment:

Birth Order

Birth order could certainly serve as an important factor in choosing a caregiver for your child. After all, in multi-children households, who else do irresponsible parents often look to as a “suitable” caregiver but the older sibling? As the youngest child and only girl in the family, I was countlessly left in the care of my two older brothers- one of whom openly hated me (it’s not his fault, I was clearly the favorite) and the other who often took to pelting the-one-who-hated-me and me with pennies or anything else within arm’s reach when the mood struck him. (There were also several incidents that involved me being tied to a chair with my jump rope and a sock stuffed into my mouth because I was being “too loud and annoying” [lies], but there’s another time and place for those anecdotes.) 

At any rate, even though the experiences frequently include incidents that one might equate to child abuse, baby sitting a sibling could easily provide one with the experience necessary to be a caregiver for a child. Unfortunately, for this particular dilemma, both are the youngest in their families. However, GGG IS a twin, and while I’m not certain who was born first I’m gonna go with it was him for the purposes of this article. Clearly, this puts him in a position of superiority over his seconds-to-minutes younger brother and gives him the upper hand in this category. 

Number of Children Legally Assigned to Them (AKA: How Many Kids Do They Have?)

One. Each. Not making this easy on anyone. Care.com is starting to look pretty good. Side note but relevant-I just had an urge to see if a “true” Baby Sitter’s Club exists outside of the books. It doesn’t. 

How Old is the One Child They Each Have?

This is a little tricky, y’all. Understandably, both men likely prefer to keep the lives of their loved ones (especially their children) under wraps (no pun intended unless it was funny), so little information exists on the kiddos. However, I once saw an episode of “24/7” where Canelo said that his daughter was born when he was a teenager. As I don’t know his exact age when she was born and we technically have seven years to work with, I’m gonna go with 15. Seeing as Canelo is now 27 years old (a slightly depressing fact when I think of all the bullshit I was doing at 27), that would make her 11ish, depending on her birthday. According to one of the scant sources I found online addressing the subject, GGG has a son in primary school and recently welcomed a daughter into the world. Even though GGG has more children, Canelo has more years of experience, so this round goes to him. 

PSA-While doing research for this, I found an article referring to Canelo’s daughter as his “seed.” Outside of fertility clinics, this should probably never happen.  

Languages Spoken

I’m not a parent, but as someone who has seen parents in public with their children (and is the proud leasee of cable each month), parents seem to be OBSESSED with their offspring being multilingual. And why not? While being anything more than unilingual has been all the rage in pretty much every country besides the US for decades now, we’re finally starting to catch up. So of course, parents would want a sitter who can help little Jackie and Judy learn Blackfoot (the most metal language that came up when I googled “Names of Languages”). 

In the Language Department (not a true department), Canelo speaks Spanish fluently and some English-very little though. GGG speaks four languages: Kazakh, Russian, German, and English.  While I’m super impressed that he speaks four languages, I’m going with a draw in this category. Yes, it’s crazy impressive that he’s quadrilingual, but when are my fictional children ever going to use Kazakh? German would be really cool to know for Oktoberfest, but in South Texas English or Spanish would more than suffice.  

Ginger vs Sandy Blonde or Light Brown, Whatever Color GGG’s Hair is Dependent Upon Lighting

Since this is vital in choosing a caregiver for your loved one, I’ll spare any intro and jump right in. 

Famous Male Redheads

Seth Green-Most notable for his role as Kenny Fisher in “Can’t Hardly Wait.” Is also short and seems kind of funny. 

Ron Howard-Who could look at Richie Cunningham and not automatically think of a warm blanket of trust and dependability?

Rupert Grint- Duh. 

David Caruso-The cheesy, sunglasses wearing pseudo-badass on CSI: Miami who will never be as great as Gil Grissom.

Prince Harry-I mean, he’s a prince. 

Famous Male Guys with GGG’s Hair Color: (Credit to Xazu 20 and the list “Beautiful Blonde Men” on IMBD for their assistance.)

Justin Hartley-He’s an actor of some sort.

Ryan Philippe-That dude who knocked up Reese Witherspoon.

David Beckham-Should have been at the top of this list.

Ashley Parker Angel-This guy who went “Girl name, boy name, porn last name” when choosing his celebrity moniker.

David Bowie-Fucking. Icon. (From a non-fan, even.)

Jason Mewes-Though I love him, I’m a bit (read: very) confused as to how he ended up on a list of “beautiful” men.  The incomparable Jay to Kevin Smith’s “Silent Bob,” he’s the offensive, druggie loudmouth we all love to-well love, really.

Canelo takes this one. Also, I think we’ve all learned that there’s a definite “put up or shut up” quality associated with being a redhead, as not one of those peeps is unknowable. 

Who is Better at “The Game of Life?”

This question is not being posed in order to provoke thought or to be existential,  I just really want to know who is better at the board game “The Game of Life,” because that’s what you play when you babysit someone (or at least it was when I was being babysat  by people other than my brothers 20+ years ago OMG).  To be honest, I see Canelo as more of a video game guy. An X-Box player, really.  He probably thinks that board games are boring or beneath him, or even worse he plays “Risk.” GGG seems more willing to enjoy a riveting game “The Game of Life” with his charges, and probably picks the red car.  Dude might even play “Candyland” if you remember to add the word “please” to your request. Clear winner-GGG. 

The Verdict?

Going off of points alone, Canelo would appear to be the obvious choice. But, since I like GGG better I’m going with him for the win. (Strange turn of events, no?) Here’s hoping that’s not the only decision he gets this weekend. 

PS-I’m fine with a knockout, too. 

If you’re bored and on Twitter, you’d an find me at @littlejenna37, or by searching “Junk in the Trunks” on Facebook. 


Who’s Your (Baby) Daddy?

Speaking from experience (and I’m sure my fellow boxing enthusiast sisters can agree), SO much of being a female boxing fan is combating the idea that we’re only in it for the hot, shirtless man meat. While this certainly can be true in some instances (Sergio Martinez, for example, a God among men who has probably always “woke up like this”), it is definitely not always the case. But instead of refuting this shady side of female boxing fandom, for the purposes of this piece I’ve decided to just go with it-and talk some hot boxing man meat. (TBH, that was gross even just to type, but it’s staying because I’m still laughing at it.)

Before jumping into the fun, a couple of side notes: First, this isn’t based solely on looks. (Just mostly) As a woman of substance, I’ve put thought into additional characteristics or traits that I feel also make the man attractive. And second-as was brought up to me recently after proclaiming my love of Pau Gasol- I have a thing for Hispanics. So there’s a pretty decent chance that this list will be swayed in their favor.

One:

It should come as no great surprise to anyone who has interacted with me on the most remote of boxing talk levels who my number one pick is. Not only does this man have THE BEST hair in boxing (and pretty much the free world),  he’s also an intellectual, which is a bit of a rare find in this sport. He’s a man of varied talents, including playing the long flute thingy and meditating, he enjoys reading, AND he likes dogs. (He also drives a Prius, for the environmentally conscious gal). He can switch from being soft and well-spoken to kind of scary, kill-you-in-the-street-and-leave-your-body-in-the-trunk-of-a-Prius at seemingly the drop of a dime (which I know for a fact some girls find hot):


Number One with a bullet is Keith Thurman. (Bonus points for the boxing moniker in regards to insemination. Because as we all know, in baby making as well as in knock outs, all it really takes is “One Time.”)

Two

Throughout my time as a chick, I’ve heard guys almost ENDLESSLY describe this apparent mythological female when in search of their ideal mate. Someone with a great sense of humor who can sit at home with him on the couch and genuinely enjoy watching a game (or a fight), but can also look super glam and gorgeous on his arm at a party. A girl who is smart enough to carry on a conversation but not above silly bar talk while knocking back a few beers with friends. Someone who can effortlessly navigate life on her own but still needs his help with things that make absolutely no sense, like Excel spreadsheets and any kind of finance talk because all of the words just mold together into this kind of weird, abstract drivel.  The veritable “lady in the streets and [redacted] in the sheets.” And the male form of this unicorn is none other than:


Leo Santa Cruz. Guaranteed, if you are a woman and are stranded on the side of the highway with a flat, LSC is pulling over to change your tire. (Or he’ll at least wait with you until AAA arrives.)

Three 

Friends, remember the cute-but-goofy guy back in school? I’m talking middle, high school, or college here. Elementary school doesn’t count, because EVERYONE is goofy (and usually covered in boogers) so this species of male wouldn’t necessarily stand out. A guy like this probably exists in most workplaces as well. He’s exactly as the title states: cute but goofy. And sometimes  a little too goofy, where you might start to question your attraction to him but then realize that it’s an endearing trait. He’s infinitely confident and was probably born comfortable in his own skin, and he always makes you (and everyone else) laugh even though he typically relies on physical humor and not so much witty banter. If you haven’t figured this one out yet,  you more than likely don’t spend much time on social media. Number three:

IMG_0597

Vasyl Lomachenko. I bet he’s really fun to hang out with, but definitely upstages your Halloween costume every year.

Four

I hate myself for Number Four but there’s no escaping the truth. Sometimes, you just can’t help being attracted to the all encompassing popular guy. He excels at everything, he’s uber confident, hella likeable, and it’s almost like he can’t lose (even though you’re of the opinion that he’s been handed AT LEAST one L by a Cuban contender):

IMG_0598

 Number Four is Canelo Alvarez, damn it.

Five

There’s something overtly attractive about a pensive, sullen, drama queen of a man. Someone who seems to carry the weight of the world atop his tattooed shoulders.  A man who rations his smiles for a few interactions with his family and riding go karts on 24/7. A man who rarely shies away from referring to himself in third person; a trait that for him merely teeters on the line of douchbaggery, while in others is a definitive leapfrog into asshat territory:

IMG_0599

Last on our list is Miguel Cotto. I wonder if he laughs at knock knock jokes, y’all.  Clearly, mystery is part of his charm.

If you’ve got connects to any of the above or find yourself bored on social media, I can be found on Facebook by searching “Junk in the Trunks” or on Twitter @littlejenna37

Damn the Man! Save The Advocates!*

If you ever find yourself driving down the intersection between Buena Vista and San Jacinto in a residential area on San Antonio’s West side, be prepared to see it. No, it’s not the proverbial  bird, or plane (but there is a hero involved).  It’s a boxing ring. Outside. Covered under a pavilion named after the donor and everyone’s favorite Chairman of the Board of NuStar Energy, Bill Greehey, and situated alongside the two story structure which houses it’s  office space. 

Meet: The Advocates Social Services. (But you can call them The Advocates.) 

A brief history: Started in 1978 by Executive Director Charlie Mata, The Advocates strived to assist the needy in obtaining necessary resources such as food and medical insurance. In 1999, the  Boxing Youth Program, a free ancillary service created by Mata’s son, Jason, was born. Jason saw the program as a new and creative way to help youth in the area stay off the streets, in addition to overcoming age old issues of  bullying, poor school attendance, and low self-esteem. Now, four days a week, youth can be seen diligently practicing their footwork, jabs, and shadow boxing outdoors on the grounds of the agency. 

Although the program itself is situated in the Prospect Hill area, it’s outreach spans far greater than that. Data provided by Mata show that in the years spanning 2013-2015, youth enrolled in San Antonio ISD, Edgewood ISD, Eastside ISD, Northside ISD, South San ISD and even a private school student benefitted from the program. (For you out of towners, that basically encompasses three different geographic areas of the city.) Additionally, the program has a contract with Haven for Hope and provides after-school services for homeless children residing at the shelter.  Referrals are also received through the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Office.

And while the program could stop there-it doesn’t. Jason stresses the importance of community outreach to participants  through such outlets as the Justice for Youth March in 2015. In addition, the agency has played host to several  public seminars on topics affecting the youth themselves, such as bullying and abuse. Most famously, Mata spoke on a panel alongside champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez and Olympian Marlen Esparza at an anti-bullying event in 2013. 

But now, the agency is in trouble. While currently operating Monday-Thursday from 5:30-7:00 in the evenings, The Boxing Youth Program may soon be forced to close it’s doors due to high operating costs, low (consistent) volunteer turnout, and few donors. Mata has appealed to funding sources to no avail, and the agency may consequently resort to  drastically cutting services as a result. 

Now-let’s be honest. For some reason, there’s still a stigma attached to a sport that’s basic premise is to beat the pulp out of the guy standing in front of you. While true fans of the sport understand that there’s much more to it than that, at face value this is what boxing touts, and it could be a clear barrier to funding that Mata is experiencing.  However, an important aspect of the program is that it provides non-combat training in a combat sport. (No, that’s not a typo.)

In essence, youth are peer trained in the basics of the sport: how to throw a punch, perfect their stance, move their feet, and (most importantly) protect themselves at all times, all without actually sparring against each other. Oh, at some point this can be introduced, but it’s completely voluntary and there’s no expectation or pretense of it occurring. Most importantly,  the onus is on participants to prove that they are mature enough to take on the responsibility of competing in the sweet science. This is proven not only physically, but through their character and actions as well, both inside the program and out.  And for those who prove capable and choose to compete, Mata is with you. The boxing program has boasted competitors in the Golden Gloves tournament in San Antonio and has hosted it’s own tournaments as well. 

So, if you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably wondering how you can help. You can start by checking out the agency’s website: boxingsanantonio.com, Facebook page: The Advocates Boxing Youth Program, and Twitter page: @TASSSAT.  Read about their programs in greater depth (by writers more skilled than I), and see for yourself all the good that The Advocates have done. If you live nearby and would like to volunteer (or have additional questions) contact Jason Mata at jmata146@gmail.com. And don’t keep quiet about it-spread the word about all the good that can come from punching something. 

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Twitter: @junk_n_trunx

*Obvi, there’s no “Man” to truly damn here, but if there’s a person alive who can knowingly pass up an “Empire Records” reference when one is so blatantly handed to him/her, I hope I never meet them.

Six Things that Kovalev and a Shark Have in Common

I know, I know. It seems like kind of an odd comparison. But after doing extensive research on marine life (i.e.: I watch “Shark Week” annually) and observing the sadistic and creepy habits that are Kovalev, the two actually overlap in certain ways. I mean, sure, neither one could survive in the other’s respective environment without some serious plastic surgery, but aside from that the similarities virtually abound! Peep this: 

 6. They’re Both From Russia 

That is, if the shark in question is a Hammerhead or a Pacific Salmon shark. (A close relative of the Mako shark, which according to the Discovery Channel is basically a giant asshole.) Blue Sharks, also found in Russian waters, are sometimes known for their “tragic attacks on swimmers and divers.” While I can’t say with certainty how Krusher views aquaphiles, it’s common knowledge by this point that he’s fairly well renowned for tragic attacks on his peers, too. 

5. They Travel Long Distances to Feed

 The Blacktip Shark, for example, migrates long distances for its meals. Much in the same way that Kovalev migrated to America to fight. To, um….make money to buy food with. 

4. That Cold, Dead Stare

 You know what I’m talking about:

  

                                                                                      It practically eats your soul

  
                                                                  Twinsies! (Those are boxing gloves, by the way.)

3. They’ve Both Amassed a Body Count

 Sadly, following his sixth round knockout to Kovalev in 2011, Roman Simakov was hospitalized, lapsed into a coma, and died three days later. Much in the same way that “Jaws” was responsible for the deaths of all of those kids during his rampage at Amity Island back in 1974.

2. They Can Unhinge Their Jaws

….. Juuuuuust kidding.

But if Kovalev was open to learning, able to make it happen, and not afraid to live a deviant lifestyle I see a VERY lucrative side gig in his future. 

1. They Stalk Specific Victims Rather than Attack at Random

According to the article, “Great Whites Hunt Just Like Hannibal Lecter” (I swear I didn’t make that up) one need look no further than last (last) Saturday night as proof of the same with Kovalev. Not only did he completely dominate Pascal without exuding much effort, Kovalev also openly admitted his intent to “punish” the fighter for running his mouth outside the ring, and didn’t even attempt to clock Adonis Stevenson (or Max Kellerman, because why not?) when he had the perfect chance to. 

So kids, the next time you attend a Krusher bout, toss a wooden seal his way. You just might be surprised at what comes next. (But FYI, if he doesn’t leap to catch it in his mouth, it might be time to run like a motherfucker.)
Facebook: Search “Junk in the Trunks”

Twitter: @junk_n_trunx

e-mail: junkinthetrunks37@gmail.com
References: 

“Great Whites Hunt Just Like Hannibal Lecter,” Seth Borenstein and Science Writer. Abcnews.go.com

“Sharks in the Russian Seas,” en.sharkiller.com

“Sergey Kovalev,” Wikipedia.org

What If Wladimir Klitschko Was Your P.E.* Teacher?

While I understand that this would probably NEVER be the case, and that having a Doctoral degree in Sports Science in no way relegates one to teaching P.E. classes, humor me. After all it could always happen, although probably in some alternate universe where he wasn’t a multi-millionaire and Vitali wasn’t the current mayor of Kiev. 

First (and in my opinion, most important), would his name be Dr. Klitschko or Dr. Steelhammer? Because if I’m a tenth grader who has just received my class schedule you can be damn sure I’m not going to any gym class taught by a Dr. Steelhammer. (Or a Dr. Klitschko, to be fair. Or just any P.E. class in general, I hated sports back then.) Aside from the fact that the name Dr. Steelhammer is intimidating as is, let’s not ignore the pornographic implications that come (pun intended [Also-Editor’s Note-It’s really hard  (SEE?!) to write that sentence without some sort of sexual innuendo being attached to it]) along with a name like Dr. Steelhammer. I would imagine that trying to get through a semester with Dr. Steelhammer would be akin to constantly attempting to ignore a giant silver cock in the room.  His name itself would present the daunting, semester-long task of refraining from dick jokes and awkward giggling. (And I’m sure there would be absolute hell to pay for all of the giggling in the form of push-ups. Oh push-ups.)

 But it’s not like Dr. Klitschko would be any better. Ukrainians are scary, and anyone who disagrees is either Ukrainian or hasn’t seen “The Orphan.” (And sidenote, what is the deal with Klitschko family nicknames? “Dr. Ironfist?” NO. At what point were “Dr. Klitschko” and “Other Dr. Klitschko” ruled out as potential monikers?)  

Second, the guy (and his brother) are on a freaking postage stamp. The 2010 Ukrainian stamp, to be exact. How do you even begin the feat of impressing someone at that level of athletic prowess with your feeble attempts at Kickball? Not happening. I wonder if Kickball is even allowed in the Klitschkonian Era (again, humor me) of P.E., or if it’s nothing but that weird exercise with a sledgehammer and a tire or the Ann Wolfe form of training using pads and a truck. (Shoutout, Texas!)  

And supposing Kickball (or any other team sport) were allowed under Klitschko’s reign, how on Earth would teams be picked? In the normal fashion, by appointing team captains or assigning numbers or perhaps more in the Shirley Jackson form of lottery? (Which I suppose would truly only work if you had an uneven number of students, anyway.)

Last (although this might not seem important), the guy speaks four languages. FOUR. What if he decides to switch things up one day and busts out in a new language that no one understands? And THEN, what if he made everyone who didn’t understand that language do push-ups as punishment?! I guess if you’re looking on the bright side, everyone would be swole. But at what price?

At what price?

Still on the Twitter: @junk_n_trunx 

*P.E.=Physical Education, for those of you who aren’t down with South Texas slang. We can’t be bothered with a lot of syllables here, y’all. It’s hot.