Francisco ‘El Bandido’ Vargas Visits Crossroads Boxing Gym!!!

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Interview and Photos by Raymundo Dioses

On June 9, 2016, just five days after his thrilling WBC lightweight title defense against Orlando Salido, Mexico City, Mexico’s Francisco Vargas visited the Crossroads Boxing Gym in Ontario, California to sign autographs and take pictures with future contenders and champions.

Coming off his second consecutive Fight of the Year, Vargas, (23-0-2, 17KO) looked healthy and trim, a stark contrast to how both Vargas and his opponent, Orlando Salido looked following their war last Saturday that saw the proud Mexican fighters throw more than 2,000 punches combined over 12 exciting rounds.

Vargas, who retained his title with a majority draw against Salido, fielded questions from this writer as young fighters asked for boxing gloves to be signed and to take pictures with him and his green WBC title.

Hola Bandido, how are you feeling physically after such a grueling fight?

“I feel good, very good.  I feel back to normal.  My eyes are a little swollen, but that’s okay.  They are better, and I am better.  Time heals all wounds.”

Have you had the chance to watch the fight?

(With a huge smile) “Oh yes, it was a great fight.  There were a lot of exchanges.  It was an emotional fight.”

What was your favorite moment of the fight?

“Well every round was good.  The sixth or seventh round was the best, when I was able to wobble Salido and send him to the ropes.”

What are your thoughts on media/fans calling the match 2016’s Fight of The Year?

“It feels great.  It motivates me to work even harder.”

How does it feel being in back-to-back Fights of The Year?

“It feels really good.  It shows that my hard work is being realized.”

Do you have a message to your fans?

“To my fans, thank you for your support!”

 

Crossroads Boxing Gym grateful for Vargas visit

Gym owner Bernie Valenzuela was ecstatic to be able to present Vargas to his fighters and sees the fist-thrower as a good example of where they can be if they work hard at the sweet science.

“Allowing the youth to see a champion, and to gaze at the green belt, I believe it strikes a light, a beam of hope!  The thought that it can be done, an idea that it can also be them one day!  It gives the youth a dream and a goal to fight for.”

Crossroads Boxing Gym is located at 1335 E 4th St, Ontario, CA 91764.

A member of the 2008 Mexican Olympic team, Vargas visited the Crossroads Boxing Gym the same day Mexico beat Jamaica in the Copa America 2-0.

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Vargas with 6-1 lightweight contender John Delperdang 

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Vargas with former Heavyweight champion Mike Weaver and Bernie Valenzuela

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Ringside With Raymundo: Spirit of Ali Hover’s over 2016’s Fight of the Year

 

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Ringside With Raymundo: Spirit of Muhammad Ali Hovers over Fight of the Year for 2016

 

Boxing fans received the tragic yet inevitable news that we all knew would crush our boxing hearts on June 3, 2016 that boxing icon Muhammad Ali had passed at the age of 74.

While in no ways whatsoever can anything make up for losing the face of our sport, the much beloved Ali, formerly known as Cassius Clay, on June 4, 2016 two fighters sought to pay tribute with their fists, (and one walking in with an Ali shirt) which they did in Fight of The Year caliber fashion on a breezy Southern California night under the stars.

Michael Buffer took to the mic for the HBO main event as he famously does prior to some of the biggest bouts in boxing history and alongside Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya, relayed Ali accomplishments to the crowd and then led the solemn ten-count every fallen fighter receives.  (Perhaps even a 15 count would have honored the late Ali even more so than the regulatory 10 as the Louisville Lip fought in what most consider the ‘golden age’ of boxing where 15 rounds were the norm).

Buffer went on to announce the challenger, 20 year fight veteran Orlando Salido, and the WBC featherweight champion, Mexico City’s Francisco Vargas, and what enfolded just one day after the worst boxing news ever received was 12 exhilarating rounds is what most are already calling 2016’s FOTY.

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The 7,378 fans in attendance who proudly turned on their cellphone lights in unison during the fallen fighters 10 count and chanted separate versions of “Ali!”, and “Ali, bumaye!”, with grieving hearts watched and cheered as the two combatants in the ring rarely took any steps backwards from round one onward; instead fighting toe to toe for a majority of the fight that both served as a title match and Ali tribute.

Just like Ali had in some of his highest profile fights against the likes of Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier and George Foreman, Salido walked into the ring as the decided underdog at a near 4-1 rate yet proved in dramatic fashion that a warriors heart can never be counted out as the Sonora, Mexico native applied a deadly combination of toughness, skill and veteran guile topped off with a red Ali shirt he donned during his walk-in to the ring inside the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California.

At one point, a writer seated nearby even likened Salido’s work while fighting off the ropes as Salido’s version of Ali’s rope-a-dope technique when he was rocked in the fifth round by a Vargas right hand and was forced to fall back onto the ropes nearby.

Salido valiantly fought back in the round and proceeded to war with Vargas as the pair traded momentum swings in the furious fistic type of action that is now beginning to be regularly seen at the SHC since its inception as the venue (formerly known as the Home Depot Center) has hosted many previous Fights of the Year from Israel Vasquez/Rafael Marquez III (March 2008), Brandon Rios/Michael Alvarado (October 2012), Ruslan Provodnikov/Timothy Bradley (March 2013) and most recently John Molina/Lucas Matthysse (April 2014), all of which this writer is humbled to able to say were covered in person.

The end result was deemed majority draw (114-114 twice and 115-113 Vargas) yet on this night, on the weekend we bid farewell to ‘The Greatest’ in the greatest way possible, there were no losers as alongside Vargas and Salido inside the Stub Hub Center ring was the incomparable spirit of our beloved Muhammad Ali.

R.I.P. MUHAMMAD ALI 1942-2016

2016 Jr Olympic Tournament March 31-April 3rd

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Courage, Honor, Strength and Leadership

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The mission of the Crossroads Boxing Club is to promote growth, and the prosperity of Ontario and the surrounding vicinity through cultural development. We believe it takes a community to build young men & women into healthy adults.

Our motto is Courage, Discipline, Self Confidence and Respect, so as to assist them in always doing the right thing even in the midst of adversity.