Mohamed Rodriguez, Miguel Flores, and Ryan Karl in bouts tonight in El Paso and Philadelphia.

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Mohamed Rodriguez (left) is prepared for his bout with Kent Cruz.

Houston area boxing participants will be involved in televised bouts tonight from El Paso, and Philadelphia, fighting on PBC Boxing and Top Rank Boxing cards.

The PBC Boxing card from The Don Haskins Center in El Paso, will begin at 7:30 and be televised on FOX.  “Cowboy” Ryan Karl, 15-1 with 9 ko’s, who is trained by Ronnie Shields at The Plex Gym, will be boxing Kevin Watts in a 140 pound bout. Miguel Flores, 21-2 with 9 ko’s, trained by Bobby Benton at The Main Street Boxing Gym, will face Raul Chirino in a 126 pound bout. The Flores bout is not scheduled to be televised but we are looking forward to seeing Flores on live stream or recorded replay and wish him the best tonight.

The Top Rank Boxing card from The Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will begin at 6:00 pm and will be televised on ESPN. Mohamed Rodriguez, 11-5 with 4 ko’s, who is trained by Howard Mena at Mena’s Boxing Gym, will face Kent Cruz in a 142 pound bout.

Mohamed Rodriguez(left) spars with Mike Klekotta at Mena’s Boxing Club

Mohamed Rodriguez looked to be in top condition during training camp and we were glad to be able to provide him with some sparring for this bout. We would like to wish him and everyone at Mena’s Boxing Club the best and look forward to working with you all in the future.


Do Your Bags Move?

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Several months after I moved to California, I began to get homesick, so I dropped in to the nearest gym. It had all the standard trappings of the boxing gyms I grew up in. Fight posters on the wall, the rhythmic sounds of the speed bag, and even that distinct boxing gym smell - a smell only achieved through old sweaty headgear and damp canvases.

But something struck me as odd. All of the heavy bags were lined up against the wall, close together, on short chains. None of them could swing more than a couple of feet in either direction. The double-end bag (or “crazy bag” as some people call it) was strung so tight that if you hit it, the bag bounced rapidly in an eight-inch circle. The uppercut bag was attached to the wall and didn’t move.

I asked the gym manager if he had any bags that moved more . He said, “No we want your punch count up. Why would the bag need to move any more than that?” I responded, “because people move”.

I use this story, not to call this particular gym out(the guys there were in great shape), but because I’ve seen numerous gyms with the same problem. It is a problem that is leading to a decline in the skills of our fighters and most people don’t know or understand it.

For those who don’t know me, Kenny Weldon is my Dad. Over the years, my dad’s fighters were known for their footwork. He worked as a technique and balance coach for Evander Holyfield, Vinny Paz, Pernell Whitaker, and others. He coached the Olympic boxing team in 1988. All of those guys could move.

A lot of that movement comes from teaching proper fundamentals and a sound philosophy. The way my dad taught, almost everything was dictated by movement. Direction will dictate what punches you throw and, if you know what you’re doing, can help you dictate what the other guy throws as well. Fundamentally sound movement is vital in boxing.

Watch my dad hold hand pads. He doesn’t have to tell the guy what to throw. the guy just knows by the way my dad is moving and holding his hands-just like a fight. It is a beautiful dance of motion and explosion.

But all the teaching in the world doesn’t matter if your fighters don’t practice. And most practice happens on the floor of the gym. Keeping your feet  in position to hit and respond to moving targets takes reflexes and timing honed by hours of practice.

Which brings us to hanging bags. Growing up in my Dad’s gym, everything was in constant motion. Each heavy bag was hung on a long enough chain to swing in an eight foot circle. The double-end bags moved in short and long rhythms, sometimes stretching several feet when hit. The “ish’ bag moved even more.

These bags weren’t hung that way on accident. The heavy bag needs eight feet, because that is the minimum distance you need to practice pursuit, cutting off the ring, moving backwards, and doing bumps and turns. The double-end bags are hung at different heights and in different rhythms, because that simulates the various styles that you will fight. Even the speed bag needs enough room so that you don’t just stand there in one place while you hit it, (an all too common practice).

This wasn’t a novel invention. Watch old films of Ray Robinson training. You will see the same thing.

It sounds overly simplistic, but I can often tell whether a guy will have fighters with good feet just by how he hangs his bags. So the question is….do your bags move?

Pro Sparring Benefit in Honor of Kenny Weldon

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At Fighter Nation Boxing Gym. 13305 Woodforest Boulevard, Houston, Texas, 77015

We will only be featuring professional sparring, Coaches who sent rosters for amateur teams, thank you for your interest you are all still invited to come enjoy the entertainment. We are still having live music, food, and other forms of entertainment. D.J. BTL and Jordn Mikalz (AKA Krucial) will be on hand as well as other groups and individuals who we are in talks with at the moment. Come out and support us as we get together to honor Kenny Weldon and raise funds to help Kenny’s family with his final expenses. 100% of proceeds will go directly to The Weldon Family.

The Kenny Weldon Sparring Benefit (updated information)

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Fighter Nation Boxing Gym,  13305 Woodforest Boulevard, Houston, Texas, 77015.

Due to the high level of interest in the sparring benefit, as well as the recent passing of Kenny Weldon, we have postponed the benefit until May 12, 2018, and also changed the location to The Fighter Nation Boxing Gym at 13305 Woodforest Boulevard, Houston, Texas, 77015.

Termite Watkins and Beverly Hollis at The Fighter Nation Boxing Gym were kind enough to agree to work with us in bringing this benefit to you in honor of Kenny and we are excited to see everyone on May 12.  We at Clutch City Boxing also felt that the Fighter Nation Gym was a perfect place to hold the event for several reasons.

The first reason is because when Kenny closed down his gym he gave a lot of the equipment he had in his gym to Termite and The Fighter Nation Gym, and helped coach there, before retiring completely.  The second reason is because Termite Watkins was Kenny’s first boxing student, and we feel that the spirit of The Galena Park Boxing Academy and Kenny Weldon boxing lives on throughout Houston but more so at The Fighter Nation Gym.

Also the main ring that was used at Kenny’s gyms throughout the years, stands today at Fighter Nation. This is the same ring that Muhammad Ali fought Cleveland Williams in, and also many Houston Golden Gloves bouts were fought in.  This ring was also used by the many Champions developed and trained by Kenny in his Galena Park and World Class gyms as well as the many Champions he worked with for important and Championship bouts including, Jesus “Ernie” Gonzalez, Reggie Johnson, Termite Watkins, Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Meldrick Taylor, Hector Camacho, Livingstone Bramble, Raul Marquez, and many more.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone and hope you all enjoy the professional and amateur sparring we are putting together, the music, as well as the food and drinks that will be available.  All Coaches that have sent in rosters or have confirmed your boxers will participate, I still have your rosters and will be posting information soon on what I have up to this point, so hang in there I haven’t forgotten about you.

If anyone would like to participate or if anyone needs to cancel etc, I can be reached at 832-845-1321.

Coach Melvin Dennis

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Clutch City Boxing Club is proud to have Mr. Melvin Dennis join the team as Head Coach and Advisor for professional bouts.  Mr. Dennis brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team and we are very fortunate to have him come on board.

Melvin Dennis is well known for his exploits in the amateur as well as professional boxing realms in the 1970’s through 1981. Dennis was a USA Boxing National Champion in his first year of competing in the amateurs, and won The Texas State Middleweight Championship, defeating Charlie Small by TKO  in 8 rounds in 1975.  Dennis retired with a professional record of 34 wins, with 21 of those wins coming by knockout,  16 loses, and 3 draws.

Dennis was a consummate professional who fought all over the world and several of his loses were due to his fighting boxers in their hometown or country.  Dennis knocked out Roy Jones Sr. in 1978 in The Sam Houston Colosseum, and faced many top contenders and Champions including Chuck Mince, Vito Antuofermo, Maurice Hope, Denny Moyer, Jesse Avalos,  Lamont Lovelady, Eugene Hart, Tony Licata, and All Time Great Wilfredo Benitez.


Klekotta batters and stops Patina in one round at The Inaugural Galveston Fight Night Series

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The Inaugural Galveston Fight Night Series, produced and promoted by Alfonso Lopez and his El Tigre Promotions team,  was a resounding success.  The event, held at The Galveston Convention Center (San Luis Resort) was an enjoyable and successful night of professional boxing that gave just due to the rich history of boxing in Texas.

Held in Galveston, the birthplace of Jack Johnson, one of the greatest heavyweight champions in history, the event lived up to the high expectations of it’s attendants, participants, and viewers on pay-per-view. The event was professionally organized, held in a beautiful venue, and brought in a large crowd of boxing fans from all over The State of Texas. The seven bouts on the card featured boxers largely from the Galveston, and Houston areas, affording them the opportunity to develop and showcase their skills at home, before moving on to bouts out of state and around the world.

Bout results:

1. Alejandro Morales winner by T.K.O over Andrew Sosa
2. Marc Perales winner by T.K.O over Christopher White
3. Travis Conley - Draw - Reynaldo Trujillo, over 4 rounds
4. Armando Frausto winner by T.K.O. over Christian Morris
5. Michael Klekotta winner by first round T.K.O. over Andy Patina
6. Samantha Salazar winner by 4 round decision over Monica Flores
7. Alicio Castaneda - Draw - Joshua Ross, over 6 Rounds

The Clutch City Boxing Club’s, Mike “The Body Snatcher” Klekotta performed exceedingly well by forcing a referee’s stoppage at 59 seconds of the first round over Galveston’s Andy Patina. We were concerned about Patina’s boxing ability during training camp and knew we had our work cut out for us. In training we developed a strategy we felt gave us the best chance to win and fortunately Klekotta was able to implement that strategy to come home with a win. Mike Klekotta had an inspired training camp, getting himself into excellent condition as well as sparring with the best partners available, and he dedicated this bout to former boxing foe, Omar Henry and recently passed Houston boxing legend, Kenny Weldon, may they both rest in peace.

The Clutch City Boxing Club is also very proud to announce the addition of Houston boxing legend Melvin Dennis as our Head coach and Advisor, and both Mike Klekotta and I attribute much of the credit for this win to Mr. Dennis.

Klekotta receives instruction from all-time great Melvin Dennis

We at Clutch City Boxing are appreciative to have been given the opportunity to participate in the inaugural “Fight Night Series” and we are looking forward to working with Alfonso Lopez and his El Tigre Promotions team in the future.

Those Galena Park “Killer Bees” and Mr. Kenny Weldon

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I’ve always made it very clear that I consider Kenny Weldon one of the greatest boxing teachers of all time. Growing up, and even for most of my adulthood up until recently, Kenny had been such a big part of boxing in Houston and the Houston area, that I just somehow thought he would just always be there. I don’t think the news of his passing has sunk in and maybe a part of me will always feel he never left us due to the tremendous influence he’s had on boxing in the area and in general.  He was never my coach but I’ve always admired his ability to consistently develop boxers that have always been of the highest quality in terms of skill, knowledge and accomplishments.

I’m a person that believes in action and works over words and as a boxer, coach, clinician, and person, no one has achieved more than Kenny Weldon in the sport of boxing. The ironic thing about it though is that Kenny Weldon’s words, and his ability to articulate boxing better than anyone I know of, is what made him soo effective in teaching boxing. That yellow-jacket, “Mr. Jack”  logo that his team wore meant excellence in boxing and a hard time if you happened to be in the opposing corner of a boxing ring. This rang soo true to myself and a few friends and family members that we respectfully called The Galena Park Boxing Team the “Killer Bees” instead of the yellow- jackets.  This became our reality and I was actually a bit shocked when I was recently told by Kenny’s daughter that “Mr Jack” is a yellow-jacket and not a killer bee! I think I may have actually argued for a minute that “Mr. Jack” is a killer bee and not a yellow jacket, before I realized who I was talking to!

Lastly, I have been told that Kenny believed in always being a gentleman and taking the high road, and up until now I have done so when I have heard statements that have implied that certain people’s coaches or even in some cases the persons themselves boxing philosophy and knowledge is superior to Kenny’s, but today will be different.

The simple fact of the matter is that no one has come close to what Kenny has accomplished and although there were and are some coaches that are right up there with Kenny in terms of boxing knowledge, none of those coaches are the ones that imply these sorts of ridiculous claims.  These guys are either hallucinating or are soo self absorbed and delusional, that they actually believe they know more than someone who proved his knowledge with results, in a consistent manner, when they themselves have accomplished little to nothing in boxing as far as teaching boxing goes.  If you are one of these persons, I encourage you to take along look in the mirror and check yourself before life does it for you. Pride comes before the fall, and you should at least put up half the numbers Kenny did before you become prideful for f**ks sake. 

I believe the best example of a true boxing expert versus a pretend expert was given to me by a person who I consider an expert in every sense of the word, Mr. Walt Hailey. I spoke to Walt recently and Kenny’s name came up due to his being in critical health at this time last week. This isn’t a direct quote but Walt said something along these lines: ” Kenny and I competed against each other as coaches for a long time and would sometimes become angry with each other due to the competitive nature of this sport and us being younger and less mature at the time. One thing that is true today just as it has always been even during those times though, is that I have certainly always respected his abilities as a coach  and never questioned his accomplishments. ”

Another opinion I would like to share comes from another true expert in the sport, Mr. Melvin Dennis. Mr. Dennis said this when I asked him about Kenny: “Kenny was a bad man in the ring, one of the best. He was a hell of a fighter and later became a hell of a coach, and boxing will miss him “.

God Bless


Win a Free Ticket to Galveston Fight Night

Clutch City Boxing readers I’ve mentioned Mike Klekotta will be representing The Clutch City Boxing Club as well as The Grind Boxing Academy on Saturday April 14, 2018, at 7 P.M. at the Galveston Island Convention Center (San Luis Resort), 5600 Seawall Boulevard. The El Tigre Promotions event will feature an exciting night full of professional boxing with several hometown fighters and many Houston and Houston area boxers.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by contacting El Tigre Promotions, as well as at the door on fight night if the event does not sell out. I have several tickets in hand, if anyone wants to purchase their tickets now contact me today.

Mike Klekotta fought the pictured boxer in the amateurs to a split decision loss. It was a competitive match-up with the pictured boxer pulling away in the third round, allowing him to seal the decision. This boxer would go on to become a four time Houston and Texas State Golden Glove Champion and also compile an excellent professional record of twelve wins, zero losses, and one draw before suddenly becoming aware he had stage four gall-bladder cancer and tragically passing away at the age of 25, in 2013.

I will give a free ticket to the first Clutch City Boxing reader that can name this boxer. The only rules are that you have to comment on the article itself, not on social media, and you have to pick up your ticket at The Grind Boxing Academy and Fitness Center at 18075 West Little York, Katy, Texas 77449.

Also don’t forget about our benefit sparring event for Kenny Weldon on April 28, 2018, 11 A.M - 7 P.M.

James Carter

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A long time Coach and Official in the Houston area, Mr. Carter certainly contributed to the history and legacy of Houston boxing by not only volunteering his boxing knowledge, but also as an advocate for our youth. Mr. Carter was a boxer during his time serving in The United States Army and also met his wife, in Germany, while serving our country. In a time in our country when Germany and Germans were demonized, Mr. Carter and his wife experienced prejudice when they came home to The United States. This fact may have contributed to Mr. Carter’s loathing for any sort of prejudice or racism, and he was known to treat all of the mostly Black and Latino boxers he coached like sons.

Mr. Carter was the Head Coach of The Salvation Army Boxing Club, in the city’s North-Side of town at Aldine-Westfield and Jensen. Mr. Carter coached many of the neighborhood youth and coached Kenneth “Iron Man” Walker, uncle of Reggie “Sweet” Johnson, when Kenneth brought a 12 year old Reggie to Mr. Carter for boxing instruction. Johnson’s mother initially did not want her son to box and Mr. Carter took the initiative to visit her at her home and convince her to let Reggie box, assuring her that he would protect Reggie as well as teach him to protect himself in boxing and in life. As we all now know, Reggie Johnson would go on to become a three-time World Champion, and has attributed much of his success to the lessons in boxing and life, that he learned from Mr. Carter. While conducting an interview with Reggie, he mentioned the many times Mr. Carter would invite his boxers to his home for meals, and how Mr. Carter was even more influential and respected by his boxers and the community because of the genuine and heartfelt way he treated them. The way in which Mr. Carter connected and communicated with his boxers, led them to become better persons in boxing and life and he was known to make the bouts and tournaments they participated in fun for his boxers.

From speaking to Reggie it became evident that Mr. Carter’s boxing instruction was also life instruction and Mr. Carter was more concerned with building and developing boys into men, than he was in developing and building boxers. A couple of quotes of Mr. Carter’s that stood out to me were: “Introduce me to your friends and I can predict your future” and “Just as I am here for you today, you must be there for someone else tomorrow”. Mr. Carter also lead by example, remaining humble and open minded, never criticizing other coaches, and even allowing other coaches to work alongside and with him in running the boxing program at The Salvation Army Boxing Club. One such instance in particular that stood out to Reggie was when Mr. Carter allowed long-time area Coach John Alvarado Sr. to join him in training the kids at the club, bringing his already established and accomplished boxer sons John Jr. and Steven with him. This act made the Salvation Army Boxing Club even more effective than it had been before, and John Alvarado Sr. also remained in Reggie’s life, serving as his head corner man when he won his second World Title.

After having to retire from coaching due to medical reasons, Mr. Carter still served the Gulf Association for many years as Registration Chairman. This was where I met Mr. Carter and I always enjoyed visiting him and hearing all of his stories of coaching boxing and the people he came into contact with during that time. Mr. Carter was welcoming and friendly, always making me feel better leaving his home, than I felt when I arrived there. Most of all I can clearly recall being at a smoker event at Savannah’s Boxing Gym when the news of his death was announced along with the moment of silence and ten count bell ringing. The tears in the eyes of Coaches, Boxers, and Officials, from every walk of life, race, creed, religion, and boxing club, told a story I can’t begin to give justice to with this article. This is the type of man, along with many others that I hope to bring recognition to, that have made Houston and Houston area boxing the powerhouse it is today.

Walt Hailey

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Started boxing as an amateur in 1949-50 in New Orleans in the CYO program, under the legendary Ernest “Whitey” Esnault. Continued boxing as a middleweight, in the armed services as a Marine and was an Armed Services Champion. After his service in The Marines and boxing later boxing in college as well, Walt retired from boxing and moved to the League City area approximately in 1960-62. In 1965 he started up a boxing club at a boys home in League City, after noticing the boys home had a boxing ring but no boxing program or club, when he went there to deliver some furniture. He coached the boys home boxing club for a couple of years until the home closed down, then started up the League City Boxing Club in 1967. Coached The League City Boxing Club for 15 years, then started up The Clear Lake Boxing Club. Operated The Clear Lake Boxing Club for a while then started up The Bayou City Boxing Club. While operating The Bayou City Boxing Club he trained his boxers out of The Main Street Gym at it’s original location, later at Lee Canalito’s Gym, back at Main Street at it’s current location, then at Steve Slava’s Gym. Walt continued to coach but began delegating more and more of the coaching responsibilities to current Bayou City Boxing Head Coach Victor Rodriguez Sr. around 2008-09. In 2012 he retired from coaching, and moved from Houston to San Antonio, where he still serves as an Official and judge. During his time in the Houston area Walt trained many Champion boxers, he promoted professional boxing in Galveston, served as an Official with The Gulf Association, and also served as Gulf Association President for several years.

I attempted to come up with a complete list of boxers Walt trained or worked with but the number of names is very high and I am sure many names will be left off for now. I encourage all boxing participants to comment on this article and I will add names as you give them to me. After speaking to Walt briefly and getting some input from Vic Rodriguez and Adrian Lopez, here is a preliminary list.

Charlie Small, Ricky Webb, Gilbert Galvan, Felix Cora Sr, Manuel Pena, Paul Nuncio, Aaron Navarro, Guadalupe Martinez, Adrian Lopez, Benjamin Flores, Bobby “El Jefe” Flores, John Paul White, Travis Roach, Darlington Agha, Eugene Hill, Miguel Flores, Johnny Torres, Luis Mendoza, David Martinez, Jacob Espinoza, Victor Rodriguez Jr, and Daniel Ybarra.

I also was able to catch Walt at the tail end of his coaching career as well as my amateur boxing career, and felt I learned more from Walt in a short time than I had learned in all the previous years I participated in boxing. I have always felt that if I had linked up with Walt earlier, I would have been able to accomplish much more, but I am thankful I did get to learn from him and cherish the times I was able to watch him operate at The Lee Canalito Gym, and later have him instruct me in the sweet science at The Slava Boxing Gym. My lessons from Walt did not stop at boxing and I feel I learned more about being a gentleman from him than any other coach before, as well as how to conduct myself as a man in life. These are the things that make Walt Hailey a great man and Coach even more so than his priceless knowledge in boxing in my opinion.

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