MONTEBELLO, Ca.-It’s a golf course by day and a banquet hall and meeting place by night. On some occasions, like last night, it’s a boxing venue that attracts fans throughout Southern California and beyond.
The Quiet Cannon Golf Course sits on the outskirts of Montebello, right next to the notorious area known as East L.A. Fighting and boxing go hand in hand in the unincorporated zone that spans about 12 square miles.
Promoter Ed Holmes owns All Star Boxing and has been putting on boxing cards for two decades at the Quiet Cannon. On Saturday March 11, he put on another boxing show and before the first bell had rung fans were already indulging in food, drink and conversation for an hour.
Most of the fighters on his shows are scrapping for recognition like starving orphans in a Frank Capra movie. It’s blood and guts and determination at its purest level. On one side you have fighters with well-heeled sponsors who are coming for victories and some experience. On the other side of the spectrum you have fighters with more losses than wins but a fiery look in their eyes that tells you they still have hope they can turn things around.
Milling around the tight quarters are businessmen who were invited by the promoter, or hardcore fans who love mingling in the boxing atmosphere. One of the celebrities tonight is Freddie Roach who is in attendance with a Hollywood screenwriter. You also have locals who adore boxing and want to see live action and don’t mind spending money to sit back and cheer for whomever. They don’t know who is fighting and do not care. They casually bet on who is going to win on a whim or the color of their trunks.
During one bout featuring 135-pound lightweights, an attractive brunette Latina is standing with her tall boyfriend and making bets on the outcome. The battle between the two lightweights is fierce and despite a disparity in their records, it’s a razor close fight. The guy bets that a fighter from Connecticut named Oscar Bonilla with three wins and two losses will beat Ruben Martinez who has four wins and no losses. After four rounds of blistering action, Martinez is the winner on all three cards. It very easily could have gone the other way. A punch here, a slip there and Bonilla could have gone back home 3,000 miles with a win on his record. Instead, he has a loss, but it doesn’t describe what actually took place on this night.
Another bout features 130-pound super featherweights. One of the sponsored fighters is a Greek boxer Stelios Papadopoulos (3-0-1) born in Kavala, Greece and now living in L.A. His opponent, L.A.’s Jose Gonzalez (1-2), has that look in his eyes that things are turning around tonight. The fight is fierce and Gonzalez shows good speed and sharp blows to the mid-section. But slowly Papadopoulos cranks up the volume of his punches and the fight turns in his favor. Both unleash furious combinations with neither connecting much to the head. After four rounds Papadopoulos is deemed the winner by majority decision. Gonzalez is disappointed. He truly felt he did enough to gain his second victory. He shakes his head all the way during “the walk” through the crowd and to his dressing room. Papadopoulos celebrates with his two dozen supporters who are scattered in the crowd and convene to greet him.
Next is a matchup of a sponsored fighter Ricardo Cuellar (3-0) a super bantamweight from nearby Lynwood and a familiar boxer named Adrian Rodriguez (2-8-1) from Oakland. I already know the kid from “Oaktown.” Despite a lopsided record Rodriguez has an awkward style that can befuddle anyone without solid fundamentals. Besides being a southpaw, he attacks with blows from different firing ports and has a good chin.
Cuellar has a sponsor, tools and a chest full of confidence after three wins and no losses. But he’s never faced anyone like Rodriguez. Sure enough, after a slow first round Rodriguez unleashes the demons and the fight is on. Cuellar looks like a toddler thrown into a pool and is forced to learn how to swim. He looks like he’s drowning toward a loss and slowly begins to figure it out. By the end of the fourth round it’s difficult to determine a clear cut winner. The judges go with the undefeated fighter Cuellar by majority decision. Boos erupt throughout the venue. The kid from Oakland doesn’t complain. He’s been through this before. But he’s picked up fans tonight. That’s enough for Rodriguez, at least tonight.
Many fans had arrived to see female boxer Adelaida “La Cobrita” Ruiz (pictured with promoter Ed Holmes in the background) make her pro debut. It won’t happen tonight. Two opponents dropped out and Ruiz will have to wait another day to showcase her talent.
It’s another night of boxing at the Quiet Cannon.
Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.