Johnny Boudreaux

Johnny Boudreaux boxed out of Texas Boxing Enterprises Boxing Gym and was a four time Houston Golden Gloves Champion, winning the tournament in the Novice Division in 1968 as a Light-Middle Weight, then in the Open Division in 1969 as a Light-Heavyweight, in 1971 as Open Division Champion at Light-Heavyweight, and in 1972 as Open Division Champion at Heavyweight. Johnny was also a two-time National AAU runner up.

As a professional Johnny was known for his extraordinary boxing skills and hand speed, compiling a professional record of 21 wins with 7 by knockout, against only 5 loses and 1 draw.

Johnny was a Texas State and Louisiana State Champion at Heavyweight as a professional and fought many tough boxers including Scrap Iron Johnson, Stan Ward, Roy Wallace, Tony Doyle, Charles Atlas, Randy Stephens, Gerrie Coetzee, and John Tate. Johnny is a name often mentioned when speaking to the old timers of boxing in Houston, and he’s known as a guy who was “Very hard to beat” in his prime as a boxer.

Danny Donatto

Danny Donatto began boxing in the Fifth Ward neighborhood of Houston, Texas. He boxed out of The H.O.P.E. Development Center, on Lyons Avenue, under coaches Jimmy Fields and David Carrington.

Danny won The Houston Golden Gloves in 1971 as a novice featherweight, in 1972 as a novice welterweight, and in 1973 as the Open Division Champion at welterweight. In his amateur career Donatto battled other great local talent such as Oscar Trevino, Danny O’Quinn, and Ruben Nuncio.

Donatto would also pursue a professional career in boxing, compiling an 11-7-1 record while fighting the likes of Ike Fluellen, John Capitano, Darnell Knox, and Milton Seward.

Donatto is also credited with being the initial person to invite future fellow Houston boxing legend Melvin Dennis to The H.O.P.E. Development Center in February of 1969, setting off what would be an extraordinary boxing career for Dennis.

Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez wins A.B.O. Light-Heavyweight Title

On Friday June 22, 2018, at The Humble Civic Center, Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez beat Francisco “El Volcan” Cordero for The American Boxing Organization, Intercontinental Light-Heavyweight Title.

The bout was the main event of El Tigre Promotions’ Texas Title Night, benefiting The PTSD Foundation of America, Camp Hope.

Lopez, making his return to the ring after being away for a year, immediately began attempting to find his range and timing against the experienced and unconventional style of Cordero, in round one.

In rounds two, three, and four, Lopez controlled the action but both boxers had moments when they landed heavy punches, and both appeared to have respect for each others power, being careful not to get careless.

As the rounds continued it became more and more apparent that Lopez was taking control of the match with his superior technique and footwork, while Cordero living up to his “El Volcan” (The Volcano) fight name, remained dangerous and unpredictable, erupting with hard flurries of punches that kept Lopez from becoming too comfortable.

Around round seven Lopez appeared to have worked through the rust from his years inactivity and began landing punches at will, while Cordero hung in as best he could.

Round eight saw Lopez landing flush combinations on Cordero while Cordero offering nothing in return on offense but still trying to gamely survive through ten rounds, was finally saved by referee Gary Simons, who called a halt to the bout at 2:38 of round eight.  Lopez earned the American Boxing Organization, Intercontinental Light-Heavyweight Title with his win and as always was gracious and classy in victory as he has been in the past in his few defeats.

The rest of the card results were as follows:

Raphael Igbokwe beat Rudy Lozano in a six round, unanimous decision at 168 pounds

Robert Silva Jr won by second round knockout over Jeremy Parks in a four round bout, fought at 174 pounds

Saul Mendez won by first round knockout over Travion Marshall in a four round bout, fought at 140 pounds

Armando Frausto won by first round knockout over Nicholas Jackson in a four round bout, fought at 125 pounds

Brandun Lee won by second round knockout over Rey Trujillo in a four round bout, fought at 144 pounds

Antonio Williams won a four round unanimous decision over Raymond Chacon in a bout fought at 130 pounds.

Protect Yourself at all Times

When choosing to become a boxer there are many aspects to consider but I think one of the most important things to remember is, to protect yourself at all times. This of course goes for the in-ring action as many referee’s will tell the competing boxers to do so before ringing the first bell, but it also goes for out of the ring actions as well. I’ll go over a few here for you and encourage you to comment and/or begin communication with one of the well respected coaches in your given area. Houston is a fight town and we have many excellent coaches in every part of town that can give you great advice on these matters.

Protect yourself when you choose a coach and gym to learn and apply your trade. Make sure the place and coach are a good fit for you and you feel comfortable with both. Just because a given gym or coach may have success with some people, does not mean it will automatically equal success for you. Do you understand the coaches style of teaching? Different people learn in different ways, and a coach may or may not communicate in a way that you can best understand the lessons he or she is teaching. What’s the atmosphere like there? Does the gym have an atmosphere of learning, positive reinforcement, family, and togetherness? Do the coaches give attention to, time, and effort to all their students or just the strongest competitors who they feel can win boxing matches and become champions? A coach may have the technical knowledge but the wrong approach to boxing and not be the type of coach you want to trust your health and well-being to, if you aren’t already athletic, conditioned, and tough. Do the coach and the members of the gym genuinely care about each other and every member of the club, or are there “favorites” that everyone supports because they want to be a part of winning boxing matches, more than helping people become better versions of their selves? These are just a few things to consider when choosing a “home gym”.

Protect yourself when deciding to box competitively whether amateur or pro. Does the head coach care about you as a person, or just his reputation as a “winning coach”? Do your coaches, trainers, advisers, mangers, etc over-match you and your gym mates? It’s your body and your life and you can’t get your health back once it’s gone so be careful about who you listen to and believe in. Does your coach support you every step of the way and stand with you win, lose, or draw, or does he or she only claim you when you win? Will your coach tell you the truth under any circumstances and “ride” with you for better or worse or is he more concerned with his reputation and standing in the boxing community?

In doing research to write these articles and bring them to you, I am blessed to have been able to speak to and become friends with many of the members of the boxing community that have been very successful and they all say the same things about coaches who they feel had the greatest influence on them, who they feel are the best in the business. The two biggest things they remember is that the coach genuinely cared for them and their well-being, and life in the ring and out, and that those coaches were loyal to them even if it hurt the coaches in the long run.

Some examples that come to mind are Kenny Weldon, Charlie Court, Melvin Dennis, Willie Savannah, Ray Ontiveros, James Carter, Henry Harris Sr, and Reverend Ray Martin. There are many, many, more great coaches in the past and present that have the same qualities and I encourage feedback from readers if they have similar stories to share about their coaches, these are just some examples that come to mind when thinking about the conversations I have had with people in the Houston boxing community when doing research for articles.

Kenny Weldon was well known to be sometimes brutally honest when discussing boxing with his students and constituents, choosing to consider their safety before anything else. He also was well known to have an organized, lengthy, set of boxing skills his boxers had to have and be able to display, before he allowed them to box competitively. He also taught many people for free, not to mention doing coaches clinics for our coaches in The Gulf LBC and all over the world for free.

I was told by both Jesse Valdez and Paul Tessman, son of Mark Tessman, that Charlie Court was not only a coach but a friend to his boxers, always looking out for their best interests over anything else. Jesse told me straight out that Charlie Court was his best coach because, “He cared about me as a person more than a boxer”.  Paul Tessman related stories to me of Charlie Court being a friend to his father and caring for his father and Jesse Valdez as a family member would, often times traveling or contributing in other ways to their careers and lives, “On his own dime, to make sure they were safe and supported to the utmost”.

Willie and Clara Savannah are known for the family atmosphere at their gym and the support they all give to each other in the ring and out. They also have strict rules that their boxers must be in school or have a job in order to be a member of their gym. I remember hearing a story once that Juan Diaz began to feel overwhelmed from fighting pro and attending college, and told Mr. Savannah how he felt. Willie Savannah told Juan if he really felt it was too much, he should quit boxing and finish his degree. Keep in mind that at this time Juan was a top-ten contender and as his manager, Mr. Savannah stood possibly make decent money from that, but his integrity and love for Juan was number one!

Ray Ontiveros, is another coach that’s known to be brutally honest when need be with his boxers. He will tell you if he thinks you have a chance to win and if he doesn’t think you can win, he will tell you that as well. He also has a very strict program that’s well known to have made not only many regional, state, national, and world champions, but also many Northside boys into men.  Mr. Ontiveros is another man, as all of the coaches I’m mentioning, that did not and does not let money guide him in his boxing journey. I have personally heard Mr. Ontiveros say several times over the years, “I don’t make any money from boxing, the gym dues are only to keep the lights on and the rent paid”. This isn’t suggesting that getting something back from a sport you give soo much to is wrong, it’s just an example of the integrity of these great coaches, including Mr. Ontiveros.

James Carter was a well loved and respected coach in Houston for many years for his work with the community kids at The Salvation Army Boxing Club. His pride and joy was though was Reggie Johnson and many former area boxers, including myself, remember well hearing the stories Mr. Carter very proudly told of his time training Reggie and their adventures in boxing. He also took a lot of time to make sure his boxers went from boys to men under his training, giving them lessons in life as well as boxing. When speaking to Reggie about Mr. Carter he told me of a few important lessons he learned from phrases Mr. Carter repeated over and over, including, “Show me your friends and I can predict where you will be in five years”, and my favorite, “We may represent different teams and fight each other in the ring, but we are all one boxing family”.

Henry Harris Sr was a local coach that not only trained his sons Tobe, Henry Jr, and Roy, with great success but also many local boys at that time in the Cut “N” Shoot, Conroe, and Huntsville areas. When speaking to Henry Jr by phone while putting together some information for an article on Roy, I asked him what made his father a great and successful coach. I asked because as a lifelong practitioner, participant, and student of boxing and martial arts, I genuinely wanted to know, maybe even more so for myself than the article I would write on Roy.  Henry answered with no hesitation, “Because he not only taught us boxing, he taught us to believe in ourselves and the work we put in, making us feel like we could accomplish anything in and out of the ring”. He continued saying, “That man could get the best out of a person more than anyone I’ve ever encountered”.

Reverend Ray Martin has been one of The Third and Fifth Ward’s strongest advocates for many years, beginning when he talked George Foreman into helping him start up what was initially The H.O.P.E. Development Center, later named The George Foreman Gym, on Lyons Avenue in Fifth Ward. That gym would be the first boxing home of Melvin Dennis and Danny Donatto, two very successful Houston boxers who made noise nation and world wide. Later when The H.O.P.E. Center closed down, The Reverend opened The P.A.B.A. in The Third Ward, which from it’s inception was meant to, “Keep our local youth off the streets, away from drugs, and in the ring”.  Many Houston area people can still remember the P.A.B.A.  commercials and advertisements, ” A kid can’t open a knife or fire a gun with boxing gloves on”.

These are just a few examples of the many great men that have contributed to helping our city and the world be a better place. Their love for boxing and their communities are great examples of what a boxing student should look for in a coach, and current coaches, including myself, should strive to be and live up to.

I know there are many coaches not mentioned and many stories out there still that should be told. There are also some that I have recognized in the past that were not mentioned here like Santos Montemayor and Walt Hailey, and I encourage everyone to read those articles. I would also like to encourage everyone to comment on this article and share your own personal stories of coaches that have had a positive influence in your life!




Oscar Trevino/ Houston Golden Gloves Boxing Icon

One of the living legends of the sport of amateur boxing in The City of Houston, Oscar Trevino competed as an amateur boxer from 1965 until 1980, compiling an extraordinary record of 280 wins with 230 of those wins coming by knockout, against only 26 loses. He was also a Houston Golden Gloves Champion in the open division five times starting in 1972 as a lightweight, then in 1973 as a light-welterweight, 1977 as a welterweight, 1978 as a welterweight, and 1980 as a light-middleweight.

Oscar started his boxing and martial arts studies in 1965 at The Variety Boys Club in Houston’s East End, with coaches Joel Delgado and Jack Ramos. He would begin his competitive amateur career there, starting off in the 115 pound division.  After The Variety Boys Club closed down, Oscar went to the famous Magnolia Barrio Y.W.C.A. where he began studying under and competing for Coach Santos Montemayor and Johnny Severson. By this time, Oscar and several of his Magnolia “Y” team mates were some of the best amateurs in the nation, winning many Houston and Texas State Golden Gloves, along with several National Golden Gloves Titles.  In 1975, The Magnolia “Y” shut down and Oscar went to Kenny Weldon’s Gym, taking Sammy “Bumble Bee” Fuentes with him, again always seeking to test his limits and raise his game to the highest levels by seeking the best coaching and competition he could find. Oscar said his toughest opponents as an amateur boxer were David Martinez Jr, James “Bubba” Buscheme, and Byron Payton.

Oscar successfully competed in boxing and martial arts at different points and at times simultaneously. He won The Houston Golden Gloves as an open division competitor five times at a time when the Houston Golden Gloves was a very big event in town, being held at The Sam Houston Coliseum.  This would be the equivalent of having The Houston Golden Gloves at The Toyota Center in today’s times! Oscar also competed as a professional kick-boxer, winning 19 fights by knockout, and also becoming the P.K.A. North American Light-Weight Champion in 1976.

Oscar continues to stay in shape to this day, and is a deeply spiritual and God fearing man. Oscar attributes part of his deep religious beliefs to a bad decision that went against him in The Texas State Golden Gloves Championships in 1980, against a young Byron Payton from Troupe, Texas. After their bout Byron was invited to join The U.S. National Boxing Team in a tournament that was to  be held in Poland, with the winners essentially assured of an opportunity to compete in The Olympic Trials. The team’s plane never made it to their destination, crashing a half mile from an airport in Warsaw, Poland, killing every member of The U.S. boxing team, and 65 Polish citizens.

As Oscar related the story to me he stated, “A bad decision saved my life”.

Mark Tessman/ Houston Golden Gloves Boxing Icon

Mark Tessman, Variety Boys Club, East End of Houston, Houston Golden Gloves,

A native Houstonian, Mark Tessman was a graduate of Smiley High School and The University of Houston.  After being bullied in school, Mark’s father Paul began teaching him the sweet science, and after a few amateur matches, took him to The Variety Boys Club in Houston’s East End, where they met coach Charlie Court. Mark began training at the Variety Boys Club under Coach Court and he soon began to become a very successful amateur boxer winning many bouts and tournaments, including:

Houston Golden Gloves

120 pound                     Junior Champion  1961

Welterweight              Novice Champion 1962

Light Heavyweight   Open Champion 1964, 1965, and 1966.

Mark was also a two-time Texas State Golden Gloves Champion.

Charlie Court, always looking out for his boxer’s best interest, then suggested Mark begin training at Hugh Benbow’s A&B Gym, where he could get sparring with professional boxers as he began preparing himself for a professional career. Mark would ultimately turn pro and he achieved a professional career record of 44 wins and 4 loses, his professional career highlight being a losing attempt at The World Light-Heavyweight Title against Bob Foster. Mark was said to be putting on an excellent boxing display that night, before getting caught with a hard punch and losing by knockout.

Mark would briefly retire before making a ring return with mixed results, as he seemed to change his smooth, technical boxing style into more of a boxer-puncher style, which led to him getting hit more than he did before the style change. After Mark lost a particularly bad decision which he should have won,  Charlie Court then asked Mark to retire, not wanting to see Mark being used as an “opponent” to build other fighter’s records. Charlie Court felt soo strongly about his suggestion that he told Mark that if he agreed to retire, that Charlie would do the same. They both agreed and shook hands on the agreement, neither ever returning to boxing. Mark was just 26 years old and Charlie only 38 years old.


A.B.O. Intercontinental Title Bout in Humble, Texas

On Friday June 22, 2018, Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez and Francisco ” El Volcan” Cordero will battle for The American Boxing Organization, Intercontinental Light-Heavyweight Championship. The bout, scheduled for ten rounds, is being promoted by El Tigre Promotions and will be held at The Humble Civic Center in Humble, Texas, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit The PTSD Foundation of America’s Camp Hope.

Lopez is well known as a boxing prodigy who came into the sport at a relatively late age, advanced very quickly, and became a two-time Houston and Texas State Golden Glove Champion, as well as a Silver Medal National Golden Glove Champion, in fewer than thirty five amateur contests!  A student of the Cut and Shoot/Harris boxing dynasty, Lopez received a sound boxing background from day one and was soon ready to embark on a professional career.

As a professional, Lopez again rose quickly, winning The Texas State Super Middle-Weight Title in his 13th bout, and The W.B.C. Continental Americas Super Middle-Weight Title in his 21st bout.  He then boxed former World Middle-Weight Champion Kelly Pavlik in a ten round bout, losing a controversial decision that many believed he should have won, or at least been scored a draw.

After taking some time off between 2015 and 2017 to heal some nagging injuries, Lopez returned in June 2017 and got two more wins before taking the rest of the year off to start up a promotions company with several partners, El Tigre Promotions LLC. He will be making his ring return this Friday, June 22nd in an A.B.O. Intercontinental Title match against a young, but seasoned veteran of the professional ranks, Francisco “El Volcan” Cordero, who has fought all over the world, including a bout against German, Light-Heavyweight Champion Denis Liebau.

The fight card billed, Texas Title Night, is packed with elite level talent including:

Raphael Igbokwe (Houston Texas), Armando Frausto (La Marque, Texas), Roberto Silva Jr (Houston, Texas), Saul Mendez (Katy, Texas), Christian Morris (Brownsville, Texas), Rege Harrison (Houston, Texas), Rey Trujillo (La Porte, Texas), Antonio Willaims (Ft Lauderdale, Florida), and Brandun Lee of Coachella, California.

The full bout list is displayed below, doors open at 6 PM, first bout starts at 7!  Humble Civic Center, 8233 Will Clayton Parkway, Humble, Texas, 77338.

Lopez and Munoz Jr bring the heat at the High Stakes main event in Houston, Texas

noe lopez, rafael munoz jr, high stakes, houston, texas

June 8, 2018:

Noe Lopez and Rafael Munoz Jr engaged in a heated battle in the main event of The G.O.A.T. Promotions’, High Stakes. The bout featured boxing, brawling, a knockdown, momentum changes, drama, and toe to toe action. After four rounds of action Noe Lopez was awarded a well deserved decision to continue his winning ways and Rafael Munoz Jr raised his stock as a game fighter capable of beating anyone on any given day, and will assuredly be brought back for future opportunities.  The crowd was treated to an entertaining bout where both boxers gave everything they had and tried their best to knock each other out.

I  was happy to help out Coach David Martinez in the corner of Josue “El Zurdo de Oro” Morales in his 4 round match up against Jose Elizondo, in a match that pitted the smooth, southpaw skill of Morales vs the aggressive, boxer/puncher style of Elizondo.  The first round saw Morales land the first significant strike but both boxers having their moments during the round. From the second round on, Morales seemed to become more and comfortable and his landed punches increased every round. Elizondo was a strong, and game boxer though and continued applying pressure from the first bell to the last, always dangerous and never more than one punch from changing the momentum of the bout. Ultimately “El Zurdo do Oro’s” technique and poise was too much for Elizondo and “El Zurdo de Oro” was a unanimous decision winner.

Results from the rest of the card are as follows:

Juan Torres beat Jhaquis Davis in 4 rounds

Chris McCoy and Ray Trujillo boxed to a 4 round draw

Jahaziel Vazquez beat Eric Manriquez by referee stoppage in the 4th round.

D’Angelo Keys beat Alberto Navarro by first round TKO for the Texas State Lightweight Title.