By Richard E. Baker on January 16, 2021
People in the boxing game often call me thinking I might have some information. I don’t.
Word spread and I expected a number of calls. People in the boxing game often call me thinking I might have some information that might benefit them. I don’t. I was at my deck writing a short story about several NVA troops in Vietnam tying to dump an old man in a river. At the age of 75 I still cannot forget the war and I judge everything by that experience—in other words, nothing compares. I keep a cold bottle of Brew Dr Kombucha on my desk to stir up my stomach. There were three books on my desk: Reading American Photographs, Edward Hopper—Forty Masterworks, and Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. There was also a roll of Ilford 120 B&W film, a negative scanner, an air blower, address book, notebook, and a travel clock. My dog, a spoiled little snaphound, has a bench beside me and appreciates an occasional pet during work. When I am late he starts to whine. One brief pet and he is good for another fifteen minutes. That does not work with my wife.
I did not know much about the upcoming fight but knowing anything was a plus in this time of covid. Fights are scarce, especially small club fights for local boxers. The fight was scheduled for February 27 in Great Falls, Montana, the middle of winter in one of the coldest places in the U.S. The scenery is spectacular there and I lived there for a year as a kid when my father was in the Air Force. I had a small gang and we spent our time playing War. Boxing is a kind of war and I enjoy the fights.
A new promoter, Rob Wienholz, was staging his 3rd all professional card. He had done some mixed martial arts fights in the past. He seems to be a likable man and willing to invest in local boxers, including his son, a 2-0 (2 KOs) rising star. His father was willing to invest in him, too.
I started jotting down what information I knew when Jose Benavidez called. He was in California with three fighters, his son David Benavidez, Jose Valenzuela, and Abraham Martinez. All the boxers had possible upcoming fights. He said he would give me the details as they arose. Big name boxers have fewer problems getting fights when fights are scarce. Television will pay for known commodities. The newcomers suffer—few venues, little money. Just getting everyone food and rooms can be a problem.
The Montana fight is going to be held at the Heritage Inn Casino and Sports Bar. The Inn is a modern facility with beautiful rooms. They have three dining venues, something to suit everyone’s taste and budget. Unfortunately some of the facilities are closed due to covid but should be open sometime this year. The sports bar and casino remain open. Drinks, gambling, and a hamburger, nothing else is needed for a happy life except sweaty bodies displaying their manhood in a ring.
At the moment only 50 spectators are allowed to attend the event. Wienholz hopes things may change by time of the fights. In any case, he has made preparations to keep boxing fans satisfied. A live PPV broadcast has been arranged. At just $30 a view he has attempted to keep the price affordable for most fans. They do not get the thrill of a live event but they get the comfort of being with friends and they can watch in their underwear. Maybe they do that at live events in Montana, anyway. I am not quite sure.
The card has yet to be filled. Wienholz is careful to have competitive bouts and there is plenty of time. There is nothing worse than a night of mismatches. Aside from his son Russell, Willie Gomez (4-1-1) and Trinity Lopez (2-0-0) will be on the card.
Finding a father willing to support his son is a beautiful thing. A good fight on a cold night warms up everything. We should all be so lucky.