Friday Night Fights with PNN (Not ESPN)


Tiny - Posted on 28 May 2011

Author: 
Tiny aka Lisa Gray-Garcia & Tony Robles/PNN

Reno, Nevada-
“He is my favorite fighter,” Santiago, 7, looked up at me. Not a young man of many words, that’s all Santiago said and then showed me a color photograph of him with his father, small hands covered in boxing gloves bigger than him. Through Santiago’s eyes, I saw the love and hope of thousands of Mexicano young boys and their fathers in diaspora, past the lies of Amerikkka false borders, and low or no wage work, to the dreams of the first Mexicano heavyweight boxing champion to be, Chris Arreola, from Riverside, Ca, by way of East La

“Arreola was the aggressor,” said POOR Magazine Revolutionary Worker Scholar Tony Robles. Tony was the only reason that for the first time in my life, I was witnessing a deeply corporate (ESPN) boxing match between Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola and Kendrick,”the apostle” Releford. Tony concluded,“Arreola threw the most solid punches, telling blows, the fight should have been stopped earlier.

We arrived in Reno on a windy Friday night to begin a very cheap and very rare mini-vacation, courtesy of Tony. The boxing championship was at the Reno events center and included all the requisite sexist and corporate trappings, women dressed in micro-bikinis repping Corona beer and men drinking from an omnipresent river of alcohol supplied by the on-site bar. There were also a lot of young children, mamaz, elders and workers flying Mexicano flags filled with anticipation for the their favorite boxer in ESPN’s Friday night fights

We witnessed five fights, most were “under-card” fights as Tony referred to them, fights which were really just stepping stones to other fights, a process that seemed crazy to me, so you got seriously –f-ed up just to get the privilege of getting seriously f-ed up again!
“That’s boxing,” Tony reminded me.

“From Washington DC, Tony “the tiger” Thompsen versus Maurice “Sugar Mo” Harris ” , said the announcer in old-skool style over the PA system. This fight was such a clear example of a corporate promotional “set-up” at least in my eyes, Tony, the tiger” “knocked down” Sugar Mo, without even trying, almost WWF style and then before there was even a fight at all, “the tiger” somehow “won”. This whole travesty promoted me to ask Tony “the Bear” Robles what happened.

“You cant say that for sure, these guys weigh 270 pds, if you were hit by a punch with that force you would go down too’, he concluded with his own kind of verbal punch.

I thought about my meager experience with “boxing” at the hands, or gloves, as the case may be, of Tony’s cousin Eric Robles, an amazing boxing teacher and athelete in his own right who held a boxing class a few months ago until a back injury took him out of commission. In one class, one meager workout with boxing, I got a work-out harder than I had ever gotten in my whole life and I work-out all the time.

Men Do Cry- and African Flags

The main or co-main fight of the night was between Arreola and Releford. Both fighters arrived sporting beautiful outfits, Tony keeps reminding me that outfits arent’t important, but I'm from LA and style, contrary to what Tony says, is always important.

Arreola’s body was a portrait of LA Raza cultura, bringing me back to my East LA born Xicano stepfather and me and my mama’s herstory in East LA, Compton, Wilmington and East Hollywood. His shorts claimed Men do Cry, which I thought was a beautiful and telling message about his character and soul. I found out later it’s a reference to a previous fight with Vitali Klitschko, for the heavyweight championship of the world where his trainer, Henry Ramirez threw a towel into the ring to stop the fight in the 10th round because Arreola, who fought valiantly in an attempt to become the first Mexicano Heavyweight Champion of the world--was absorbing much punishment at which point Arreola famously began crying in the ring. This latest win over Releford gives Arreola a 4 fight winning streak and a likely return championship fight against Klitschko.

Releford, with his smooth ebony skin, crown of mid-length dreadlocks, and tasseled shoes was wearing shorts that were a re-mix of the African flag.

Arreola, who is the son of a boxer from Mexico is also a big fan of Julio Cesar Chavez, from Culican Mexico, and has a big following in Southern California with Mexicano gente.

In the end, Arreola did “slaughter” Releford which truly made me cry, the pain inflicted on Kendriks face and head was way beyond ok, even though I do “understand” its an inherent part of the sport.

After the fight was over Arreola, who recently re-dedicated himself to becoming heavyweight champion of the world, didn’t just walk out the back of the auditorium, like all the other fighters pushed by their corporate handlers, instead he jumped out of the ring to sign multiple autographs culminating with arguably his most important autograph,

“Check you out young brother," Arreola said to Santiago after Santiago approached Arreola with the picture of him in boxing gloves, and Arreola responded with an autograph and a lingering high five. Santiago's entire face became a smile, The ESPN cameras were off and the handlers were trying to get Arreola away from Santiago and his father as quick as possible.  "Keep it up young brother", Arreola said as he was whisked away.  As I watched Santiago's face filled with pure joy, I realized, this was truly a moment in PNN, not ESPN, herstory.

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