The Last Jedi is a Messy Masterpiece
Cops 4 Kids & Communities is a non-profit, volunteer driven organization committed to transforming the chaotic lives of young people through persistent and compassionate mentoring by law enforcement and other dedicated community members.
These incredible men and women strive to improve the lives of at-risk youth so that they will cease to be victims of a society that in many ways has failed them. All of the programs offered by C4KC are free; there are many fundraising events throughout the year including this: the Battle of the Badges.
The fighters are police, fire, corrections, paramedics/EMTs, and armed forces who moonlight as amateur boxers. As I make it to my seat, the woman to my left introduces herself as Rosa-Lyn Diaz a representative from C4KC who is accepting a belt on behalf of the family of Gerardo Hernandez, the TSA officer who was killed in the line of duty at Los Angeles International Airport.
As I mentioned before, this is amateur boxing which means a few things:that shirts and headgear are mandatory and that fights are 3 rounds.
Tonight Efrain Muniz and Eddie Guzman make their Battle of the Badges debuts. Guzman dominates the first round, while Muniz looks wholly unprepared and at one point takes a standing eight to compose himself.
The second round clearly goes to Guzman who throws combinations with speed, accuracy, and ease. The final round simply showcases Guzman’s confidence and skill.
I notice that Muniz’s headgear is loose and intermittently obscures his vision. It is impossible to say whether it was an honest equipment malfunction or simply to many hard lefts and rights to the head. Unanimous decision victory for Guzman.
For our second battle of the evening we have Hector “Hispanic Panic” Tamayo and Daniel “Gunslinger” Alvarez. The Hispanic Panic has a whole seven inches on the Gunslinger. He is also lighter and all sinew. Both men have clearly done this before; they aren’t wearing T-shirts like the first two scrappers.
Round one is definitely Tamayo’s. He is faster and is able to land more punches. Round two looks like a toss up until The Hispanic Panic gets the upper hand and the Gunslinger is unable to defend himself. The ref stops the fight; TKO for Tamayo.
Our next bout is between Farris “The Hurricane” Hisle and “The Flying Jalapeño” Vega. The Hurricane appears to have a whole 60 pounds on The Flying Jalapeño but it’s no matter because he dislocates his shoulder less than a minute into the first round. TKO for Vega.
The next fight is between Chris “The Russian Concussion” Dubiansky and “Slick” Nick Herstine. Both fighters actually look like they’re in the same weight class which is a nice change of pace. But neither man has much in the way of skill, finesse, or experience. Herstine throws wild punches in every direction and nearly hits the ref on several occasions. He also shouts like Ryu from Street Fighter every time he fires a shot, telegraphing his actions to his opponent.
Dubiansky busts Slick Nick open in the second round. The ringside doctor allows him to continue. Herstine knocks the Russian Concussion’s headgear off, and after a brief pause, the slugfest wages on until the final bell. Inexplicable decision victory for Herstine which elicits thunderous boos from the crowd.
Now we have Tanya Pasco and Juanita “Green Eyed Monster” Aragon. Pasco is 13 years Aragon’s senior. Hopefully it’s a lucky 13. Like every female boxing match I’ve ever seen, it’s just an all out war. Nearly every second of the bout blows are exchanged, both fighters doling out and receiving punishment.
Aragon is floored by a big right from Pasco seconds into the penultimate round, but the fight continues. Soon after the fight draws to a close and we go to the judges who must not have been watching the same fight because they award the decision to Aragon.
For our next battle, we have Jonathan “Anglo” Merrick and Travon McMillan. Both men are tall and skinny. They exhibit skill and control. But they’re both out-fighters. They pace themselves and pick their punches. They wait for openings. They are quiet. Not boring-but you do spend a lot of time waiting for something to happen.
Luckily, even out-fighters get tired of waiting, and the final round is where they let loose all that they’ve been saving. They go punch for punch all over the ring and finish exhausted. Decision victory for McMillan.
Next we have Markos “El Chino” Rodriguez and Leo “Brick Fist” Rendon. Middleweights are interesting. They have a good mix of speed and power. And these two boys came to fight. Both men come out swinging, each landing with considerable force. By the end of the second round, both fighters are tired and hurt, but they aren’t finished yet.
The final round is a haze of sweat, tears, and flying leather. These men are All Fight No Flight. The bell rings and we go to the cards. The decision goes to Rodriguez.
Next we have Ricky “El Bombero” Seward and Eduardo Gomez. It’s been said that boxers don’t have an old timer’s day. Someone must have forgotten to tell El Bombero that though. Not that 35 is old for the earth, just a little old for the ring. His opponent is 12 years younger so he’s 12 years faster but also 12 years less experienced. Gomez’s mother shouts from the crowd that he needs to “Get busy”.
The precision and timing of both men is impeccable and they are plenty strong. But it comes down to endurance and Seward is just about gassed by the third round. He still exhibits strength and grace and stays on his feet until the final bell. Gomez wins the decision, but Seward is proud anyway, as he should be.
Now it’s time for Marugg and Flores. They step into the ring with one thing on their minds: letting the other know that they’re not afraid. And it goes quite well until the second round when Flores scores a TKO with a crippling left.
Next it’s Mario “Manos Rapido” Dorado and Ray “Little Terminator” Encinas. Both men live up to their respective nicknames. The first round starts off slow but livens up in a heartbeat. Both men exchange countless blows to the body and head.
By round two the shyness is gone and has been replaced with an animal desire to effectuate carnage. They are both tired by round three, but see it through to the end. Encinas is awarded the decision.
The next fight is between Rene “Smashing Machine” Sicre and Justin “Bubba” Robinson. This match up looks like a sausage next to a steak. There ought to be a law against this sort of thing. There’s a subtle difference between a big guy and a heavyweight. Big guys weigh as much as a heavyweight but they’re slow. Heavyweights have speed and power. Bubba is a heavyweight and twice he puts Sicre on the canvas, the second time for good. TKO for Robinson. T
he next bout is between Gloria “Unbreakable G” Campos and Christina “Pelagrosa” Banuelos. Pelagrosa has promised to shatter the Unbreakable, and she sure doesn’t disappoint. Halfway through the penultimate round the ref stops the fight because Campos is no longer able to defend herself. TKO for Banuelos.
It is time for the second to last match of the night between Dustin “El Polvito” Rodriguez and Jose “Toro” Rodriguez. There is never a dull moment in this fight. These two never stop hitting each other long enough to take a breath. They’re here for one reason and one reason only: pain. Decision victory for Dustin Rodriguez.
And now our main event. Ryan “Hitman” Hitchkiss is 29 years old, 6 feet two inches tall,195 pounds fighting out of the Barstow Police Department. Travon “T-Bomb” Taylor is 35 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 190 pounds fighting out of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Taylor nearly knocks Hotchkiss to the canvas early into the first round, but the Hitman manages to keep his feet under him. T-Bomb tries to take Hotchkiss’ legs again in the second, but the Hitman ties him up and they exchange blows. Taylor works the clinch in the third, landing several rights to the left side of Hotchkiss’ head.
Seconds before the end of the round, Taylor has Hotchkiss on the run. The Hitman needs the knockout to win. He gets the knockout, just not the one he was hoping for. Taylor wins the match by KO, a rarity even in professional boxing.