Book Review For “Business of Pain” by Araceli Martinez-Rose

51RPoDNwl4L. SL500 AA300 Not all memories of a golden past are good, even for those who walked with world championship belts around their waists.

Gabriel Ruelas can attest to that.

The prizefighter from Yerba Buena, Mexico who later trekked to the San Fernando Valley captured the WBC junior lightweight title in 1994. But as with any professional boxer, there is much more to his life.

“The Business of Pain” written by Araceli Martinez-Rose chronicles his life in a style reminiscent of Oscar Lewis’s book “Children of Sanchez.” You might call this the “Children of Ruelas” as the author utilized the voices from those who worked, lived and cried alongside Ruelas.

Among those who narrate their points of view were sisters, brothers, parents and wives. Of course the book also includes his trainer of many years Joe Goossen, promoter Dan Goossen and former adversaries such as Jesse James Leija and Azumah Nelson.

Most important is the book points illuminates the fight between Ruelas and Colombia’s Jimmy Garcia, who died from injuries sustained during their fight. Family members of Garcia contributed their dark memories of that night along with friends and family of Ruelas.

It’s also a moment that stands out in my own mind. I happened to be covering that fight card for the Los Angeles Times, which also featured Oscar De La Hoya fighting Rafael Ruelas in a lightweight world title match. It was in 1995 and my part was to speak to Gabriel Ruelas, whether he won or lost.

On May 6, 1995, Ruelas out boxed, out slugged and basically did whatever he chose to do against the over-matched Garcia. It was the first big fight card I had ever covered and the outdoor setting of Caesars Palace was filled with grimaces and looks of shock. Few could believe the fight was not stopped around round seven as Ruelas pounded Garcia with little in return.

When the fight was finally stopped in round 11, I spoke to Times columnist Allan Malamud (a great columnist who passed away in 1996) and he gave me some instructions on what to ask Ruelas. As I moved out of press row and toward the dressing room inside a large tent Garcia with an oxygen mask was being rolled on a bed toward an ambulance.

It was a grisly site that I’ll never forget.

Outside of Ruelas’ dressing room stood actor Gene Hackman and heavyweight Jeremy Williams. I informed Williams, who was guarding the door that I was expected. Though Ruelas knew that Garcia had endured a lot of punishment, I could tell that he harbored hope that the Colombian fighter would recover. When I informed him that Garcia was sent out with an oxygen mask you might say the pallor of Ruelas face suddenly changed drastically.

The book gives every perspective of that night and many of the important moments that led to that fight. It also covers his life after that fight and Ruelas’s continuing journey after professional boxing.

My favorite sections of the book are the early years of the Ruelas family while they lived in Mexico and the observations given by former foes like Leija and Nelson. What they have to say is both inspiring and truthful.

Martinez-Rose, the author, also added a number of great current and past fighters like Kostya Tszyu, Evander Holyfield, Vitali Klitschko and Sugar Shane Mosley. There are others who all give their reasons why they love the sport of boxing with a feverish passion.

Most importantly the book expresses the truest sentiments of those involved directly and indirectly with boxing and its Business of Pain.


“Business of Pain” placed first place in the 2012 International Latino Book Awards for Best Young Adult Sports/Recreation story.

The book can be purchased in Spanish or English and has an extensive photo section. Araceli Martinez-Rose is a native of Tijuana, Mexico, and has worked in both Mexico and the United States as a journalist.

Comment on this article


-Radam G :

Nice! Not a single word more needed. Holla!

-Araceli Martinez-Rose :

Dear Mr David A. Davila for this wonderful review. I am proud of 9 international literary award and boxing recognition for my book. The Business of Pain had been publish this 2012 and nothing but well accepted and positive comments on my effort to bring to readers and boxing followers 500 pages of amazing tales. Certanly the true and inspiring story of Gabriel Ruelas, a tribute to Jimmy Garcia, (a tragic event that you live so closely) and the honest and most intimate tales from the 17 world champions and boxing elite from refeeris, to ring announcers and gove makers as well boxing executives and legendary trainners. My idea was to focus only on the positive of the discipline, hard work and determination to became a champion. The importance of family love and support that make a human being strong at the same time, discover the fragil state of mind of those ones that only achive and conquer victories without faith, pride and selfsteem. I want to embrace boxing language to live life that way: if you fell once you get up and continue, you never quit, you always move forward, you shape your body to be a champion, but you shape your heart and mind as well or you will be defeated in life. I hope you review at Sweet Science worldwide leader boxing site, became my best invitation to your readers and boxing followers around the world to discover the most inspirational words of champions like Carlos Zarate, Chiquita Gonzalez, Genaro hernandez, Roberto Duran, Erik Morales, Evander Holyfield, Shane Mosley, Vitali Klitschko, Kosta Tszyu , James Leija and Azumah Nelson (17 champions). the tales of amazing people like Joe Goossen, Jimmy Lennon, Cleto Reyes and Joe Cortez and much more. Thank you for your time to read The Business of Pain; Since I am a television journalist but a boxing outsider, your review is so special with a boxing valitation and I am grateful for your kind words. Araceli Martinez-Rose
->www.aracelimartinez-Rose twitter @aracelirose facebook Araceli Martinez-Rose


I was at Caesars Palace that night to support Oscar. I have the fight poster signed by Oscar De La Hoya and Rafael Ruelas. Was a crazy night.



-fightfanforever :

I have followed boxing and especially the California scene for many, many years. Two of my favorite fighters from Los Angeles by way of Mexico were the Ruelas Brothers. I had the pleasure of meeting them both and watching almost every one of their fights in the 1990's. In a sport where finding gentleman worthy of a following is difficult, they exemplified class and loyalty both in and outside of the ring. I was lucky enough to watch them train many times at the Ten Goose gym over the years. When I bought this book at the WBC convention, I was very excited to see that Gabriel Ruelas was the focus of this book. However, when I recently saw Gabriel at the gym, he explained that he could not sign the book as I asked him to. He told me that the writer Ms. Martinez-Rose screwed him out of everything to do with the book. No money as she promised and she stole the whole experience from him. He said she used him, his family and his friends. She used his photos, his life stories and basically his introduction to the boxing world. When she got what she needed, she was gone. Your review David, however well written, in my opinion is the same as blood money for this vulture. I am so tired of seeing people take advantage of fighters. I thought it was just the promoters and the sanctioning bodies who prayed on these young men and women. I am saddened to see another "Wolf in Sheeps Clothing" using the boxing business for her personal gain.

-fightfanforever :

I have some unsolicited advise for Ms. Martinez Rose. It seems she wants credibility and is looking for people to believe that she is what she says she is. Maybe she would be taken more seriously if she understood how important it is for a professional writer to learn how to use the grammar and spell check on her computer when making public posts. Makes her look like amateur and has me wondering about her self proclaimed "award winning career as a journalist". Something is fishy here.

-brownsugar :

Sounds like a "Must Read".

-spit bucket :

I read an interview with Ruelas a while back and he talked about being promised a fee for his life story. He felt betrayed by Araceli Martinez-Rose as he was never paid. Sounded like he needed the money... Also agree with fightfanforever that this thank you note posted above is pretty sloppily written, weird for a professional writer. As much as I'd love to read about Zarate, Gonzalez, Duran, etc... I feel I'd be doing a disservice to Ruelas by buying this book.