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Television Exposure Does a Fighter Good

By Richard E. Baker on October 8, 2020

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Valenzuela's skill shows on his face, or does not show on his face. (Photo: Richard E. Baker)

Jose Valenzuela (6-0-0) hops onto the ring apron and leans back against the ropes. “Another day, another dollar,” he says. He is preparing for his next fight November 4th at the Microsoft Theater, in Los Angeles. At the moment he does not know who is opponent is, nor does he care. No one reaches the top fighting tomato cans, and the top is his destination. He wants good fights with decent opponents.


His considerable skill is evident. In his last fight he stopped tough professional Zack Kuhn (10-5-1) in the first round. Unfortunately the fight was not televised. The uneventful televised event could have used some excitement. His next fight is supposed to be televised, although anything can happen in boxing.


Valenzuela is one of hundreds of prospects climbing the ladder determined not to miss a rung or to slip. As a member of team Benavidez he is in the hands of one of the best trainers in the world, Jose Benavidez, a man recently nominated for trainer of the year.


The gym, near Seattle, could be mistaken for communist party headquarters. Everything is decked out in red. In place of photos of Lenin or Stalin, large pictures of team boxers adorn the walls. Life-sized fight photos cover the windows. Red and black caps, with Benavidez logos, surround the desk counter. Various brands and colors of boxing gloves are stacked from floor to ceiling. Heavy bags hang like bats from the ceiling accompanied by four round body bags dangling as if from two enormous bulls. Everything carries the red, gold, and white colors of the team Benavidez.


Valenzuela gloves up and weaves between the bags like a Sheltie in agility training. His skill shows on his face, or does not show on his face. He has no thick scar tissue around his eyes and his nose is still in the center of his face. He is a sensitive, good-looking young man who once won a poetry contest. A person with an artistic bent is open to new and innovative ideas, even in the ring. They move with grace and style and flow like a stream over rocks.


Today is for working out. Yesterday he sparred. His routine is to switch every other day. He is a classic gym rat. Even with no fights on the horizon, he is in the gym staying in shape. He moves like the poetry he writes, smooth and even, punches darting out in iambic pentameter.


Although it is just another day in the gym for him, there is no such thing as just another fight. No one knows that better than he does.

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