Creed Fountain

Growing up in Houston, Texas and spending lots of time in it’s boxing gyms, you hear certain names mentioned with reverence when it comes to boxing and all that it entails. Within and between the long hours of time spent in the gym boxers and coaches talk boxing and as young minds often do, the question of “Who’s the best ?” will inevitably come up.

We wanted to know who the best fighters were, the best coaches, the best managers, matchmakers, cut-men, etc and many names were tossed around during those days. One name that always came up when coaches were mentioned was Creed Fountain. Whenever guys had an important professional fight coming up, they usually wanted one of several iconic coaches in town in their corner. Creed Fountain has been one of those guys for the last 45 years and he is still going strong!

I was fortunate enough to be granted a few minutes of Mr. Fountain’s time today at The Plex Performance Center in Stafford, Texas, after he got finished working with former World Champion Erislandy Lara. Mr Fountain was kind and gracious with his time and even suggested we hold our interview in the lobby of the building, so that we would be able to talk without all the background noise of the gym area.

The video of our interview will be below and the transcript of our interview is below the video.

Clutch City Boxing: Sir can you tell us a little about your background and start in boxing?

Creed Fountain: I started a long time ago, back in the 60’s I guess you could say. I was training to be a boxer myself, here in Houston, then I had a car accident and that was the end of that. Then a young boxer at that time named Johnny Baldwin came in. Johnny Baldwin was a bronze medalist and roommate of George Foreman’s in 1968 (Olympics) in Mexico City.

When Johnny came into the city we used to all box and spar with him. After the car wreck I told him, “Man I’m done with boxing” and Johnny said, “No, no, no, no, I want you to train me”. I said, “Man I don’t now nothing about training no fighters”, and he said, “Well we’re gonna learn together”. I said, “Well if that’s what you want, I mean I’m a gym fighter and you are an Olympic fighter, but if you want me to train you, I will”.

So he (Johnny) told his manager Eddie Yates, and Eddie didn’t want me to train him, but Johnny told Eddie, “Look you’re the manager and Creed’s the trainer and that’s the way it’s gonna be”. That’s what got me started in the training business.

Clutch City Boxing: You said you were training to be a boxer yourself before you started training people, who did you train with, or who trained you?

Creed Fountain: Well me and Johnny were working together so Eddie was gonna be my trainer.

Clutch City Boxing: What gym did you guys train at?

Creed Fountain: Oh gosh it was soo long ago, I think it was called Roxy’s Gym, in downtown Houston. It was on the corner of Louisiana and Texas Street, upstairs.

Clutch City Boxing: Who are some of the boxers and clubs that you’ve worked with and around throughout the years?

Creed Fountain: Probably most everybody that came through Houston. I used to work with my boss, Ronnie Shields, I used to be one of his trainers. So I guess all our guys, Reggie Johnson, Bigfoot Martin, Derwin Richards. I’m also a cut-man, you know what my saying was? If your fighter bleeds, call Creed.

So I’ve had the opportunity to work with Juan Diaz, as his cut-man, four time Heavyweight Champion of the World Evander Holyfield, Dominick Guinn, and man it just goes on and on. I’ve practically worked with all the guys from and that came through Houston, most of them.

Clutch City Boxing: I see you’re working with Erislandy Lara now, how about the Charlo twins?

Creed Fountain: Yes I’m working with Lara now, I’m helping out with him, and I’ve also helped worked with the Charlo twins yes. We got a bunch of guys in the gym now that I’m working with.

Clutch City Boxing: In your opinion, what makes a good boxing coach/corner-man?

Creed Fountain: That’s a good question. I would say, just be honest with your fighters, tell them the truth, and make sure they are doing the right thing. I mean a lot of guys go along with a fighter and let him do what he wants to do, you now? You know, if you ain’t doing it right you ain’t doing it right. If you need to do this, you need to do this, to get it right you know? I’m on your side.

Clutch City Boxing: Okay going along those those lines, what difference do you see between boxers today and boxers in your day?

Creed Fountain: There’s a big difference. Boxers of today don’t want to train unless they got a date, most of them. The majority of them, they want to know they have a fight coming up before they do any serious training. Back in my day we went to the gym every day whether we had a fight or not, we just enjoyed going to the gym.

Clutch City Boxing: What do you think makes a good boxer?

Creed Fountain: One that listens. If he listens to the people that are working with him, he should turn out to be a good fighter. And they can’t be lazy, it’s hard work being a boxer.

Clutch City Boxing: What are some of the things a boxer has to have to be successful?

Creed Fountain: A good jab! That’s the most basic thing in boxing, your jab. If you have a good jab, you work behind your jab, you set up everything behind your jab, and everything else will fall in place.

Clutch City Boxing: Who are some of the coaches you’ve worked with throughout the years? Some guys that maybe you’ve learned from and can respect or have respect for what they do, here in town?

Creed Fountain: Well most of them are deceased. There was Al “Potato Pie” Boulden, Tim Goodall, there were a bunch of guys around town. Those guys and also when guys came into town, other coaches like Yank Durham and all them guys, I would learn a lot by listening and watching them. Houston was a fairly decent fight town back in the 60’s and 70’s, a lot of guys came through. A lot of good fighters and coaches. Guys like Dave Zyglewicz, Joe Brown, Mark Tessman, Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams. We had a lot of big fights in town back then and I learned a lot.

Clutch City Boxing: What’s your thoughts on conditioning for a fighter? Do you think he should run every day, 3 or 4 times a week, do you go by feel or? What’s your opinion on that?

Creed Fountain: I ask fighters, I tell them, there are three things in boxing, do you know what they are? Most of them tell me no, they ask what are they? I tell them, Run, Run, and Run. A lot of times you might not have the skill the other guy has, but if you have the condition you can compete with him. That’s our philosophy here, if we can’t beat them in skill, we beat them with conditioning.

Clutch City Boxing: So lots of running, what do you think, like 5 or 6 times a week?

Creed Fountain: Well you pace yourself, you get your pace you wanna run and you do three miles, four miles, however you wanna run. I like outdoor running, a lot of guys they like running on treadmills, but I don’t like that. I like real running, like the old times, out on the road, or on the track, that’s what I like.

Clutch City Boxing: How much gym work do you like your guys to do for a fight? Let’s say a guy is getting ready for a ten round fight, how much sparring should he do?

Creed Fountain: Well it depends, we spar three days a week. We probably start off sparring four rounds, later add to it, go to six, and just kinda keep going up from there. And you take him a full ten rounds of sparring before he gets to fight night. Most guys they do it that way, now an old veteran they aren’t gonna do that. They already know their body and what they can and can’t do, they might spar six or eight rounds. An old veteran that goes twelve rounds, he might spar six or eight rounds. Now these young guys we got, we will take them the full amount of rounds they are going to fight, at least one time in sparring. If they are gonna fight twelve rounds, they are gonna spar twelve rounds, at least once before their fight. With two or three different guys, that way they get a different look throughout that twelve rounds.

Clutch City Boxing: What do you think has made you soo successful throughout the years?

Creed Fountain: Just hard work, coming to the gym, being dependable, being there every day.

Clutch City Boxing: What are some of the things you stress to your boxers? Let’s say you get a guy that is just starting out, or maybe a guy going from amateur boxing to the pros, what would you stress to him?

Creed Fountain: The key to boxing is the jab. If you work behind your jab, everything else will fall into place. I heard Larry Holmes talking one day, saying that coaches don’t teach guys to jab anymore, well we teach our guys to jab.

Clutch City Boxing: Okay one last question. As far as sparring goes, do you believe guys should go easy and work with each other, or kinds go after it? What’s your philosophy on sparring?

Creed Fountain: Well my philosophy is guys need to get in there and work, not to try to kill each other, but work. Now on the other hand sometimes you have a couple of guys get in there and they spar like if they are in a real fight. I will stop them and call them over and tell them, hey guys look, ya’ll are not in a real fight, work with one another, you now?

Clutch City Boxing: So work hard but just working?

Creed Fountain: Yeah work. I mean let him feel it but don’t try to knock him out. Because you know that if you get knocked out in the gym, you won’t be able to fight.

*I then ask him several more questions after I had already told him the last question would be the last* I was just very excited to speak to him and got a little carried away.

Clutch City Boxing: When you are looking at a fighter, what are some of the things you see that let you now you are looking at a good fighter?

Creed Fountain: Well there’s a lot of different things you can look at, the way he keeps his hands up, the way he jabs, the way he moves, his balance, a lot of different things. Also does he listen to his corner when he goes back to his corner? I look at all that.

Clutch City Boxing: Who are some of the guys from back in the days that didn’t maybe make it big in the pros but were really good fighters?

Creed Fountain: Oh gosh there were a lot of guys, Anthony “Wildcat” Wiley, Kent Kneeley, Earl Winbush, Freddie Jackson, Ron Collins, Bigfoot Martin. I mean there’s been a lot of guys that were really good, but just didn’t make it as big for whatever reason.

Creed Fountain: Also when you asked me earlier about guys I’ve worked with, I forgot to mention Frank and Thomas Tate, I can’t leave those guys out. Both were champions, Frank was a gold medalist and a world champion.

Clutch City Boxing: You mentioned Bigfoot Martin, who fought more world and former world champions than most people. How was he able to do that without getting hurt?

Creed Fountain: Well Bigfoot knew how to fight without getting hurt, and he was just a really tough guy in the ring, he could take a good shot. But he fought them all, Larry Holmes, Tim Witherspoon, Bonecrusher Smith, George Foreman, he fought them all!

Clutch City Boxing: Well thank you for your time sir and I appreciate you being so forthcoming with all this information.

Creed Fountain: Thank you, you thought enough of me to come give me a shout out.

Clutch City Boxing: Oh man, your name is heard in gyms all over this town. Maybe not as much now because these young kids don’t know much, but when I was coming up, man I heard you name in gyms all over town. If you came up when I did, and you didn’t know who Creed Fountain was/is, you didn’t do anything in boxing.

Martinez Boxing International

One of the great things about writing about boxing in general but especially from the perspective of the Houston boxing scene, is that it’s allowed me to speak to many of the legendary and esteemed boxing personalities in town.

From what I’ve been told from some of these esteemed boxing men, and from what I’ve read and heard around the city, the professional boxing scene in Houston was more of a training ground in the old days than it is today. This is not to denigrate any of our boxing family out there doing their best to keep the professional boxing scene alive today, because we have some very capable,  and ambitious boxers, managers, and promoters keeping our local boxing scene alive.

The difference is mostly because we don’t have the Josephine Abrocrombies, the Texas Boxing Enterpises, and the Lou Viscusis’ in town today like the old timers had in their day.  In the late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s Houston even had Bud Adams, owner of The Houston Oilers, involved in boxing, building a gym and managing boxers along with millionaire Hugh Benbow. This brought many opportunities to the members of our local boxing scene and resulted in a golden time in boxing for our city that many of the old timers still fondly remember.

One Houston boxing coach, manager, and trainer who has dedicated virtually all of his time and efforts into bringing Houston boxing and it’s boxers back to the prominence they once held, is local coach David Martinez of Martinez Boxing International. Coach Martinez, currently operating his Martinez Boxing Gym in Midtown, Houston, Texas, has a strong professional stable of boxers, mostly from Houston, and some from as far away as India and Africa, that are making noise nationwide due to his dedication. His intention seems to be to get his fighters fighting consistently and with purpose, at home and anywhere in the nation and world.

Coach Martinez has taken an ambitious and aggressive approach to the handling, training, and coaching of his boxers, and has had tremendous results thus far. I was able to sit and speak to Coach Martinez at length recently and had a great time getting to know his past and present in boxing, along with what he’s looking forward to in the future.

Clutch City Boxing:  Coach, can you tell me a little about what brought you to boxing and where and when you got started in the sweet science?

David Martinez:  Well I grew up on a farm in Manhattan Kansas, where I wrestled in school, so I’ve always enjoyed combat sports and being involved with them. I took third in the state my freshman year and sixth in the state my junior year. When I came to Houston, I was up to no good and felt getting back into wrestling would help me focus. I wasn’t able to find any wrestling schools, as wrestling isn’t as big here in Texas as it is in Kansas. I still wanted to be active and enjoy the one on one aspect of combat sports so I thought I would try boxing.

In 1990 I started out at Lee Canalitos Gym in Chinatown, where Lee Canalito, Walt Hailey and Ray Zaragoza were coaching at the time. I wasn’t initially fighting or anything, just sparring a lot, and having a good time. After a while I had the opportunity to take a great job that didn’t leave much time for training, so I slowed down at the gym but stayed in contact with all the fighters and followed their careers etc.

Clutch City Boxing: What lead you to decide to go into the coaching and managing aspect of boxing over competing?

David Martinez: Well as I said working in the corporate world didn’t leave enough time for me to train the way a person needs to in order to box, but I had already been bitten by the boxing bug. After a couple of years of not being in the gym regularly, I decided I wanted to start working with the kids as a coach and that’s what I did. From there, working with the amateurs initially, things just evolved to the point to where I’m at now.

Clutch City Boxing: Okay let me back up a little bit. Was Lee Canalito’s Gym where you began coaching?

David Martinez:  No, I actually started at The Main Street Boxing Gym. By this point I had been in Houston, and in and around boxing for years so I already knew all the coaches at Main Street as well as many around town. I went in and talked to Harry Thomas and Aaron Navarro, who I’d known forever it seemed.  I was working a corporate job at the time and walked into the gym in suit and tie, to find Harry and Aaron sitting on the ring apron. I approached them and said I wanted to get back into boxing as a coach and they both immediately began advising against it. I believe their actual words were, “Oh no man you don’t want to do that. There’s no money in boxing, you end up losing your kids, you lose your wife, you’ll lose everything”.  I told them I left I really wanted to give back to the kids, so I decided to get back into boxing against their advice.

At first I had not one person in the gym to train but I persevered and eventually had a team of thirty kids who all competed on the amateur level. I would take the money that I made from my corporate job, and give back to the kids by using the money to buy them uniforms, so that they looked good and felt good when they competed. I started off just taking them to local boxing shows to compete and just went from there. Between working with the kids and training corporate clients for Bobby Benton and Lou Savarese, things just progressed.

Clutch City Boxing: That’s great, so did things start off well for the kids in competition or was there a learning curve since you were still new to coaching at the time?

David Martinez: You know what? Honestly, the kids did great right from the start. We had a few Golden Gloves Champions and a couple of National Champions, and kids that won lots of tournaments. I was blessed to have some really good kids who were also very successful. Even though I was new to coaching at the time, I think just being surrounded by all these great coaches and boxers, helped immensely.

Clutch City Boxing:  How long were you coaching at Main Street?

David Martinez:  I coached at Main Street for seven years then I went over to Ray’s Boxing Gym for a couple of years, where Ray welcomed me with open arms. I have to be honest with you, I learned a lot from Ray Ontiveros. He’s a really good, tough, old school, boxing coach. He doesn’t believe in the strength and conditioning aspect of things everyone is going to these days, he feels you can get everything you need from the boxing, the boxing exercises, and calisthenics for the most part, and I believe in that also to this day.

Now, I have added some strength and conditioning type things into my boxers workouts but it has to be functional, boxing based, based on what the fighter may be needing. For instance if he needs work on balance, core strength, making sure both sides of his body are equally strong, things like that. So I still believe in the tried and true, old school ways, but I’ve added a few things and made my boxer’s workouts a sort of fusion between the two.

Clutch City Boxing: Who or where would you say you have patterned your coaching style from?

David Martinez:  I would have to say from everyone I’ve worked with, or who has worked with me, and that’s the truth. The reason is because for instance working with Aaron Navarro is different from working with Harry Thomas, and working with Harry Thomas is different from working with Ray Ontiveros etc.  I  went to Baby Bull Gym and worked out of there for a while, where I feel I started coming into my own as a Coach.  I also was able to work with Willie and Clara Savannah for a while, which was absolutely amazing. So I’ve been fortunate to have been able to work with many great coaches and I think my style comes from all of them. That plus being able to be in training camps with Robert Garcia and Freddie Roach, where I also learned a lot, and learned different ways to do things. So I’ve combined all the great things I’ve learned from all these great coaches and put it all together and made it my own.

Clutch City Boxing: Very impressive, so let’s follow your boxing career chronilogically and talk about your start in professional boxing.

David Martinez:  Actually it started back at The Main Street Boxing Gym. At that time I hadn’t worked with any pro fighters but Bobby was nice enough to let come with him to a couple of fights. I was able to watch the training camps of boxers that trained at or came through The Main Boxing Gym. I was able to watch Austin “No Doubt” Trout train. Cedric Agnew, Nagy Aguilera, and a few others.

I was able to experience being a part of my first big professional fight because of Nagy Aguilera. Nagy saw how passionate I was about teaching the amateurs and he wanted me to experience a big pro fight, so he told Bobby he wanted me to come with them to one of his big fights. The card was at that Aviator Center in Brooklyn, New York and Nagy fought on the under-card of Zab Judah and Danny Garcia that night. He actually paid for me to come with them to the fight and allowed me to be a part of the whole thing, which was amazing and very generous. As Nagy was about to make his walk out to the ring we all stood around him and me not actually being a part of his coaching staff, of course I was standing behind everyone. Nagy called for me to come up to the front and had me stand in front of him, putting his hands on my shoulders, and he said, “You’re walking me into the ring David”. It was an awesome experience that I thank him for and will never forget. Being able to be a part of the excitement and energy of a big time boxing show, with all the lights, cameras, etc, that was the moment I knew I wanted to be a professional boxing coach.

Clutch City Boxing: So you were off to the pros from there?

David Martinez: Well I knew I was going into the pros already at that point and had already started helping pros out a little in the gym, but I still had one more dream in amateur boxing and that was to coach a fighter at the Olympic Trials. So slowly but surely I started transitioning over to the professional side of things but I stayed in the amateur scene in order to take someone to the Olympic trials, which I was able to do with Jake Crenshaw. Jake wasn’t able to win the whole thing but he fought his heart out and did very well, I love that kid.

Clutch City Boxing: You also worked with several other elite boxers and teams before you came over to the pros full-time correct?

David Martinez: Yes, so basically after working with the kids at Main Street and with Ray Ontiveros, I started to know everyone at all the amateur tournaments and they started knowing me, just from seeing all the same people at all the big tournaments. From there coaches from Houston and other cities around the nation would ask me to come help out with their fighters, and I also gained a lot of experience that way. I got to work with Annalicia Sustaita, who’s a five time National Champion from Dallas, and her sister Maricia Sustaita, who’s also a National Champion, and that was a great experience. I loved working with those girls and they along with their parents, are just awesome people. I also took an all female team to The Ringside Tournament where three of my boxers won, and things like that.

This was all before I started working with Jake Crenshaw though. When I started working with Jake, I actually took time off from work, and dedicated all my time to working with him, to help him make the Olympic Trials. We were together every day for six months and I think the results speak for themselves. Jake and I went 11-0 together during the time, locally and nationally, he won The H.O.R.N Tournament, took gold at the Olympic Qualifiers, then of course went to the Olympic Trials, which was a great experience.

Clutch City Boxing: Who was the first professional boxer that you trained?

David Martinez: I actually was trying to think outside the box and I brought in Albert Mensah from Ghana, Africa. I worked with him for six months then found out he was already under contract with someone here in Chicago, so that was a big let down, to start things off in the pros.

Clutch City Boxing: An interesting introduction to the professional boxing scene?

David Martinez: Yes it was a big letdown but I never wavered and soon I was working with so many people, that the sting of that experience went away.

Clutch City Boxing:  What came next?

David Martinez: Wow, it’s hard to say, things just kind of snowballed from there and I started working with lots of pros. Let me see, well Alejandro “Porkchop” Guerrero, from Dallas was another one I worked with after that. I took “Porkchop” to Robert Garcia’s gym to attend a training camp, and from there he decided to stay after he was offered a contract to sign on with Robert Garcia. Since then I’ve been working mostly with the local pros, from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and the Valley, working on getting somebody to the top.

Clutch City Boxing:  And how is that going for you?

David Martinez: I have ten fighters in my stable now. A lot of the guys I’m working with now are diamonds in the rough type guys. Guys that may have had a rough start due to poor management and what not, and maybe got a couple of loses on the record for that reason, but in reality are great fighters. What I’m doing is helping them to get back on track, and give them the proper management and personal attention they should have gotten to begin with. So my stable is actually pretty good, I’m very excited about my stable right now.

I’ve also brought in Pitbull Sharma from India, who’s an animal. Sharma is amazing, and he will be making his pro debut in The United States soon. I’ve got Josue Morales, who got a great win recently, where he was able to be seen and talked about after performing soo well. Josue is actually in training to fight an Olympian for a title next month. There’s Dominique Griffin, who’s 2-0 as a professional and on his way to great things. We have Robert Silva, who’s 10-1 as a pro, who also performed really well recently and is primed for big things. Thomas Hawkins, who fought very well against one of Virgil Hunter’s boxers in New York recently. Gosh I don’t want to forget anyone but there’s about ten boxers I’m working with now, it’s an awesome stable.

Clutch City Boxing: What does the future hold for Martinez Boxing, and what are you hoping to accomplish in the next five years?

David Martinez: The goal is to get my guys titles. I’m approaching this the way I approached amateur boxing, which was getting my guys to the big fights nationally. I feel that I could get my guys fights, and wins locally all day, every day, but it’s what they do in the big shows that really count and what’s gonna get them ranked nationally. When I look for fights for my guys nationally I look for fights against boxers that I know they can beat, then it’s up to them whether they put the work in that decides whether they actually win or not. Of course I do everything I can to help them in training so that they can be successful, but I can only do so much. I’ve had guys come into training camp late, where they didn’t give themselves a chance to really get into shape, and it didn’t work out so well for them and things like that. With the type of fights I get my guys they have to be one hundred percent focused and committed because we are really working on getting their careers to the next level and getting them the big fights. So that’s something we really stress here and work on with our guys, keeping them focused and in phenomenal condition so that they can perform at their best.

Clutch City Boxing: That’s a really smart approach Coach and it seems to be working really well so far. I’ve noticed The Martinez Boxing Gym is starting to become one of the gyms the elite boxers in town are coming to in order to get high level sparring, how do your guys like this? I mean do they all get along well with each other and with the guest that come out to spar?

David Martinez:  Yes, it’s great, the guys love it and it’s been fun and a great honor for me to have this stable, along with the guys that call me and ask to come spar. As you know at our grand opening, we had Golden Boy prospect “King” Ryan Garcia come to the gym and work out and he wants to come back and spar. We’ve had Dimas Deleon come in from The Valley, Jorge Ramos, A.B.O. Light-Heavyweight Champion Alfonso Lopez has come in to spar, local prospect Eric Manriquez has come in, it’s just been great. I feel very lucky and honored that these guys call me and say they want to come spar and/or work out here, and blessed that having this gym has allowed me to accommodate them.

Clutch City Boxing: The gym is definitely a “dog house” that guys know they can come to in order to get good sparring. You’ve mentioned to me before that you want everyone to feel comfortable here and I’ve seen that personally to be true, is this part of your approach to boxing that you feel has brought you success?

David Martinez: Yes definitely, I try my best to give all my guys the personal attention they deserve, along with anybody that comes in here to spar or work out. My house is their house, if they come in and forget to bring a water bottle or Vaseline, things like that, we don’t hesitate to give them whatever they need. I just want people to feel comfortable and at home here. This gym is set up for the pros, and we have everything they need to allow them to be successful, it’s a great place to be.

Clutch City Boxing: Awesome Coach, one more thing, what is your approach to training your guys and working their corners?

David Martinez: The main thing for me is trust. Trust is a very difficult thing to establish at times because as pros some of these guys have maybe gotten some raw deals in the past. My approach is to let them know and prove day in and day out that I will do everything I possibly can to help them be successful, and as long as they are also doing everything they can, there is no reason why we can’t win together. I feel that if I haven’t given them my all and/or they haven’t given their all to prepare for a bout, we shouldn’t even be on that card.

By the same token when we both know that we’ve given a hundred percent, the fights and the corner work is easy. I’ve been mic’d up for bouts on ESPN, Showtime, and HBO and everyone could hear and see that I don’t scream at my fighters or denigrate them. I focus on remaining calm and giving direct, simple instructions. I try to not only calmly tell them what they need to do, but to also explain to them exactly how they can do what they need to do. In the last bout I worked with Thomas Hawkins, Andre Ward was working as a commentator at ringside, and he took me aside after the bout and complimented me on my corner work, which was amazing! I mean I was star-struck just being able to speak to Andre Ward but for him to compliment me on my corner work, wow, it was a big thing for me.

I do my best to be professional in everything I do and also carry myself as a professional. My guys and I go in there and do our best and we leave it all in the ring, then get out of there hopefully with a win. I think people notice that and this approach has served me well, as many of the people working in boxing at the highest levels have been really amazing about welcoming me into that level with open arms.

Clutch City Boxing: Thank you for your time Coach and we will see you soon.

Space City Graphics and Little Cancun

Local boxing coach Marco Renteria, owner/operator of Marcor Trucking is now passing on business lessons as well as boxing lessons to his children Gilbert, Brianna, Mark, Josh, and David (KB).

In a recent interview with Marco we spoke a little about him helping his kids get started in business as well as teaching them the value of working hard for themselves and each other. I mentioned to Marco how I have seen all of his children helping out at the newly opened businesses of Gilbert and Brianna Renteria, and Marco stated, “Yes Lou, they all have to understand that if they want to have things in life, they have to work for it, even the young ones”.

With that being said, 2018 has been a busy one for The Renteria Family with two new business ventures begun and everyone pitching in to make sure these ventures are successful ones.

Space City Graphics is owned and operated by elite boxer Gilbert Renteria, and is located at 5310 East Sam Houston Parkway, Suite G, Houston, Texas, 77015. The business is a graphics and marketing specialty shop specializing in graphic design screen sprinting, embroidery, and digital printing. Space City offers anything from t-shirts, banners, coozies, car wraps, channel letters, signs and much more. Gilbert and his Space City Graphics Team put as much dedication, excellence, and integrity in their work as Gilbert has been known to do in his boxing pursuits. The team takes pride in offering the best work and best prices in town and are off to an outstanding start in business, getting high praises from their customers, including the writer of this article.

Little Cancun is owned and operated by Brianna Renteria and is located at 17950 West Lake Houston Parkway, Humble, Texas, 77346. The restaurant serves specialty drinks, fruit cups, mangonadas, ceviche, ice cream, milkshakes, many different types of snacks, both Mexican and American styled, raspas, and much more.

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to a trial
grand opening at Little Cancun and was able to taste several different snacks and drinks. Every snack and drink I tried was delicious and once again I was very impressed with this family. Everyone from parents Marco and Enedina, to Gilbert, Mark, Josh, and David(KB) helped Brianna around the shop and it was evident that Little Cancun will be a very successful family business as are Marcor and Space City Graphics.

The same principles that have made Marco and his family successful in boxing are now serving them well in business, and those principles are: hard work, integrity, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

For the best work and best prices in town for any of your marketing or printing needs, contact Gilbert at Space City Graphics.

For delicious food and drink and a taste of Cancun without having to travel to Cancun, visit Brianna at Little Cancun.

Clutch City Boxing and Friends Celebrate The Life of Coach Kenny Weldon

On May 12, 2018, Clutch City Boxing and friends, along with The Weldon Family gathered together to celebrate the life of the late Coach Kenny Weldon. The day consisted of old friends coming together along with new friends to pay respect to and celebrate Coach Kenny, in the most appropriate way possible, through boxing.

Fighter Nation Boxing Club, Ray’s Boxing Club, El Tigre Promotions and Boxing Academy,  Martinez Boxing, Savannah Boxing, Charlo Boxing, Cut and Shoot Boxing , Atzlan Boxing (South Houston),  and King Boxing all had boxers participating in sparring, with several even sparring boxers above their weight class, and/or sparring several times to make the day a success.

Ernest Tobias and Cesar Mendoza

The day of sparring, music, food, and friendship, began with an excellent display of boxing between K.B. Renteria and Cesar Mendoza, two boxers whose boxing heritage can be traced directly back to Coach Kenny and The Galena Park Boxing Academy.  K.B. is trained and coached by his uncle Eleazar “Pelon” Renteria and Cesar is trained and coached by Ernest Tobias, both of whom trained for many years under Kenny Weldon. Both coaches learned their lessons well at The Galena Park Boxing Academy and have began to pass those lessons on to the boxers they train, which was evident in the advanced boxing skills displayed by their respective 9 year old boxers. 


Eleazar “Pelon” Renteria and K.B. Renteria

The day continued with excitement as every boxer involved gave their best and there were many boxers whose boxing lineage could also be traced back to Kenny participating , especially since the hosting club, Fighter Nation was founded by Termite Watkins, who was one of Kenny Weldon’s first boxing students. 

Josh Renteria and Josue Morales were two of several boxers that came to spar but were not able to due to several teams and individual boxers no-showing and not giving any advanced notice. Clutch City Boxing and Fighter Nation appreciate every boxer who did come to spar whether they were matched or not and we thank you for your efforts.  We were also disappointed we did not get to watch Mark and Jose spar since we had been looking forward to watching both apply their advanced boxing skills.

“DJ B.T.L”  Denzel James provided music and doubled as an announcer as the boxers entered the ring, along with keeping the crowd and boxers informed of the days activities such as the glove raffles and attending celebrities. “It’s Krucial” Jordn Mikalz got the crowd excited and involved when he performed his rendition of The Houston Rockets Playoff Anthem. His contribution was much appreciated as he lifted the spirit of the crowd and injected his positive energy into the room. His song based on The Houston Rockets playoff run but explained by Jordn as an ode to everything “Houston”  was a perfect celebratory song for the event and was enjoyed by all.  

So many groups and individuals contributed to the day that it’s almost impossible to name them all but a few of the major contributors were , Reggie Johnson, Beverly Hollis, Termite Watkins and The Fighter Nation Family, Alfonso Lopez and The El Tigre Promotions Team,  Ray Ontiveros and The Ray’s Boxing Team, David Martinez and The Martinez Boxing Team, The Renteria Family and The King Boxing Team, Melvin Dennis, Warren Williams, Bigfoot Martin, Rafael “Tiger” Medina and Family, Martin Allison, Ernest Tobias, J.P. Portillo,  Mark and Amanda Harris, The Weldon Family, Mike Phelps, Tom Trimm and many more.

Clutch City Boxing would like to thank everyone who attended this event and/or contributed to making this celebration of Coach Kenny’s life a successful and fun day for everyone involved. I personally was overwhelmed by the graciousness and generous nature of everyone involved, who all gave their time freely without asking for anything in return, and I am eternally grateful to you all.


El Tigre Promotions, LLC.

A huge thank you to Alfonso Lopez and everyone at El Tigre Promotions LLC. for their participation and presence at The Kenny Weldon Sparring Benefit, tomorrow May, 12, 2018 at Fighter Nation Boxing Gym.

Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez is well known as one of the best boxers to come out of The State of Texas in many years and has had much success as an amateur and now as a professional.  Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, he made his boxing debut as an amateur under the guidance and training of Felix Ramirez and Henry Harris Jr. of The Cut and Shoot Boxing Gym, and has represented that historic boxing tradition very well ever since.

In 2017 Alfonso and several partners founded El Tigre Promotions LLC, with the intention to host quality professional boxing events in Houston, Texas and its surrounding areas, while providing local boxers a platform to display their skills and progress their careers. Having several military veterans on the El Tigre Team, the organization is also involved with giving back to those that defend our freedom and have partnered with Camp Hope,  a PTSD Foundation of America Outreach Program,  giving a portion of all proceeds earned to that program.

The team of (General Manager) Chris Stalder, (President) Alfonso Lopez, and (Vice President) Felix Ramirez got off to a terrific start in their inaugural promotion at The Galveston Island Convention Center at The San Luis Resort, bringing a fantastic night of boxing to Galveston, Texas in a beautiful venue. The team is currently focusing on their second event,  being held at The Humble Civic Center on June 22nd,  which will feature the second generation of another storied boxing tradition, Arturo Marquez in the co-main event, and the return of “El Tigre” Alfonso Lopez himself in the main event!

Again Clutch City Boxing and everyone involved in the organization of the sparring benefit and celebration in honor of Kenny Weldon, would like to thank Alfonso and The El Tigre Promotions Team for taking time out of their busy schedules to participate in this event.

el tigre promotions, el tigre boxing promotions, chris stalder, alfonso el tigre lopez, felix ramirez,


Martinez Boxing, Houston, Texas


The Martinez Boxing Team will be present at The Kenny Weldon Sparring Benefit and Celebration,  helping Clutch City Boxing and everyone attending to celebrate the life of boxing coach Kenny Weldon. Coach David Martinez is well known throughout the Houston boxing community as a person who works hard to bring his boxers and our city back into the national spotlight it held in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and he has made a huge contribution in doing so in a relatively short amount of time. Coach Martinez certainly respects and loves the sport of boxing and always goes above and beyond for the boxers he trains and represents. He’s also a proud representative of Houston boxing and has always represented us well on a local and nationwide basis.

I recently went to The Martinez Boxing Gym when a fighter I was training received a small laceration during training and I needed some expert advice on how to best handle the healing of the cut, as well as  how to best keep it from bleeding should it open up during my fighter’s bout.  Coach Martinez was very helpful and generous with his knowledge and I must add, friendly and understanding when I explained to him that I knew the in ring aspects of boxing well, but not so much when it came to cuts and so forth.  I left his gym that day with a renewed respect and appreciation for his willingness to help out rather than judge as many coaches are apt to do, and I found his approach refreshing. Thankfully my fighter was able to stop his opponent in 59 seconds in his bout a few weeks after my meeting with Coach Martinez and the cut never became an issue, but I was still very grateful that he gave me the best advice he could without a second thought.

clutch city boxing, martinez boxing, houston, texas,

A few weeks later I called on Coach Martinez to advise him that I was organizing a benefit, sparring event to celebrate the life of Coach Kenny Weldon, and needed more professional boxers to participate. Again he was very generous and immediately agreed to bring a few members of his team to help out.

Clutch City Boxing would like to thank Coach Martinez and his team of Cristobal Morales, Roberto Silva, and Josue Morales for their help in making this a successful event and wish them the best in their upcoming bouts . We would also like to thank Coach Ray Ontiveros, Coach Ernest Tobias, Atzlan Boxing (South Houston), Alfonso Lopez and El Tigre Boxing Promotions, Termite Watkins and Fighter Nation, Reggie “Sweet” Johnson, Coach Melvin Dennis, Warren “Kid Nitro” Williams, J.P. Portillo, Jordn Mikalz, Denzel James, Craven Crawfish, Portico Services, Tiger Medina, Jimmy Strickland, Martin Allison, Pelon Renteria and King Boxing, Coach Rambo Cano, Coach Adrian De la  Garza, Rafael Munoz Jr, and The Weldon Family for allowing us to organize this event in honor of Kenny.

Also look out for upcoming articles similar to this one featuring the teams and persons I’ve just mentioned above.  And if I’ve failed to mention anyone it’s not intentional I just got a million things going on right now.




“We may represent different teams and fight each other in the ring, but we are all one boxing family”

reggie sweet johnson, houston texas, fifth ward, james carter, salvation army boxing club,

As many of you know, highly acclaimed boxing coach Kenny Weldon passed on April 13, 2018. Kenny was forced to retire from boxing due to health reasons and had been in poor health for several years before passing away.  As we are well aware there is no retirement fund for former boxers and coaches and Kenny’s family is now faced with medical bills along with final expense bills, in addition to losing the patriarch of their family.

Several friends and I have gotten together to organize a benefit to help with Kenny’s final expenses and we will be giving 100% of the proceeds of the benefit to his family.  The event is being held at The Fighter Nation Boxing Gym, at 13305 Woodforest, Houston, Texas, 77015, on May 12, 2021 from 11 A.M . to 5 P.M.

The benefit will include amateur and professional boxers sparring in exhibition matches, along with live music, raffles, and food and drinks that will be sold for donations. The entrance donation fee is only $10 and along with the entertainment, attendees will also get the opportunity to meet some famous boxing personalities who will be attending.  We will have many boxers from past and present in attendance. The first three to offer their help in supporting this event are well known boxers from our area.

termite watkins, kenny weldon, galena park boxing academy,

Maurice “Termite” Watkins, is a Houston native, and was Kenny Weldon’s first boxing student. Termite is a former National Amateur Champion, who was also the youngest ever at 16 years old, to achieve that goal. He then  boxed on the same United States National Boxing Team as Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, where they represented America in International competition.  He would later turn professional and was a top-ten contender, once challenging Saoul Mamby for The W.B.C World Light Welterweight Championship. Termite also trained, coached, and cornered Iraq boxer Najah Ali for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Termite has been very helpful and involved in the organization of this event and he was also kind enough to donate the use of his Fighter Nation Boxing Gym for the benefit event to be held.  Termite’s book, (They Call Me Termite) recounts many stories from his inspirational life and we are very excited to have him be able to attend.

alfonso el tigre lopez, cut n shoot boxing, cut n shoot texas, el tigre boxing promotions and academy,

Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez, is a native of Cut and Shoot, Texas, and is also a representative of the famous Cut “N” Shoot / Harris Boxing legacy.  Alfonso is trained by Henry Harris Jr, former heavyweight title contender Roy Harris, and Felix Ramirez.  As an amateur Alfonso was a multiple time  Houston and Texas State Golden Gloves Champion, as well as a National Golden Gloves Silver Medalist.  As a professional he is a former W.B.C. Continental Americas Super Middleweight Champion,  and current Texas State Super Middleweight Champion.  Alfonso was also very generous to agree to attend this event as he has been very busy with his El Tigre Boxing Promotions, as well as training for a return to the ring on June 22, 2021 at The Humble Convention Center.

Reggie “Sweet” Johnson, is a Houston native and former three-time World Champion at two different weights, (middleweight and light heavy weight).  Reggie grew up in Houston’s Fifth Ward and was a student of long time Houston boxing coaches James Carter and John Alvarado Sr.  Reggie was actually the first person to offer his services and has also been very helpful in the organization of this event.  When I initially spoke to Reggie he was very enthusiastic to be a part of this event and upon agreeing to participate told me, “I’m all in and we also must get everyone else together to do something for Kenny”.  Reggie then shared a few sayings which he stated his coach James Carter taught and consistently drilled into him during his years with Carter. Two impressive ones that I believe are also relevant to this event were:

“Just as I am here for you today, you must be there for someone else tomorrow”


“We may represent different teams and fight each other in the ring, but we are all one boxing family”.

Coach Melvin Dennis

klekotta, dennis, clutch city boxing, clutch city boxing club

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.


The Greatest, Three Knockdowns, and Third Ward, Houston, Texas


Muhammad Ali was and will always be cosmically tied to Houston, Texas as many important events in his life took place in our town, and he spent a considerable amount of time here training and promoting his fights. 

His earliest introduction to the consciousness of the Houston and Houston area boxing scene may have been as Cassius Clay, when he beat Cut ‘N’ Shoot’s Henry Harris Jr. in the light-heavyweight semi-finals of the 1960 National Golden Gloves Tournament. Of course, even if Ali had not spent a considerable amount of time in Houston, he would still have always been connected to us via the October 30, 1974, Rumble in the Jungle, where he knocked out our own George Foreman in the eighth round. For this unlikely win alone we may have never forgotten the name of Muhammad Ali, but we were privileged enough to have him compete in Houston four times throughout the 60’s and 70’s, beating Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams, Ernie Terrell, Jimmy Ellis, and Buster Mathis. His refusal to be drafted into the military and ultimate indictment took place in Houston as well as he had temporarily resided in Houston at that time.  

Ali also filmed many scenes of the movie “The Greatest” in Houston in 1976, but his GREATEST contribution to our great city and local boxing legacy took place in 1971, when he promoted and participated in a sparring match with Houston boxer, coach, and youth advocate Reverend Ray Martin Sr. The sparring match was heavily promoted and was Ali’s way of supporting Reverend Ray Martin and his Progressive Amateur Boxing Association (P.A.B.A). Martin had established The P.A.B.A. in Houston’s Third Ward, as a means to keep our local youth off the streets, away from drugs and in the ring, and at the time did not have very much support or recognition both locally and nationwide. The sparring match took place at The Houston Astrohall, where Ali was “knocked down” by Martin three times. Ali not only pretended to be knocked down three times during the match to help bring support and recognition to Reverend Martin, he also would continue to promote the Reverend and The P.A.B.A. by “calling out” Martin on television and radio whenever he was in town, saying he wanted a rematch with the Reverend and that the Reverend had “Got lucky and knocked me down”! The Champ would also claim he had slipped and promised to send, “The good Reverend to heaven by seven”!  

This kind, generous, and extraordinary act was just one of many of the genuinely GREAT things that Ali did in his lifetime but it left a lasting legacy of love and positivity that continues to bless Houston, and in particular Houston’s Third Ward to this day! Ali’s generosity, heart, courage, and love for his fellow man is what made him “The Greatest” above any of the many accomplishments in boxing he achieved, in my opinion, and I hope this article helps people understand the true GREATNESS of Muhammad Ali!  



Coach Santos Montemayor

magnolia ywca boxing team, magnolia y golden glove champions, houston golden glove champions, houston boxing legends, coach santos montemayor, davis martinez jr, oscar trevino, fred garza, terry torrance, jesse baraza, johnny juarez, rosie montemayor, elias gomez, oscar rodriguez, joel ramirez, abraham espinoza,

Magnolia “Y” Golden Glove Champions

Here is a photo of one of Houston boxing’s legendary coaches, Coach Santos Montemayor, with a few of his 1960’s and 1970’s Golden Gloves Champions. Coach Montemayor trained his boxers out of The Magnolia YWCA for many years before retiring and definitely has been a lifelong, positive influence on many in the Houston area and The Magnolia Barrio in Houston’s East End. Since I’ve been researching and interviewing some of the old-timers in Houston boxing history, I’ve heard lots of impressive things about Coach Montemayor and his Magnolia “Y” boxers. I hope to be able to write up a full article on Coach Montemayor at a later time and maybe even an interview. Here is Coach Montemayor with some of the boxers he has made lifelong connections and friendships with, at a dinner held in his and his wife’s honor, given by one of his boxers.  

All of these fighters participated in The Houston Golden Gloves at least once. Four in the photo won The Houston Golden Gloves at least once. Several in the photo won twice and David Martinez Jr and Oscar Trevino won a total of 4 and 5 times! There are at least 6 ex-Magnolia “Y” Golden Glove Champions not in the picture, as well as Joe Louis Valdez, who we highlighted before, not pictured in this photo but trained by Coach Santos Montemayor.  Pictured in this photo along with Coach Montemayor and his wife Rosie are, David Martinez Jr, Oscar Trevino, Fred Garza, Terry Torrence, Jesse Baraza, Johnny Juarez, Elias Gomez, Oscar Rodriguez, Joel Ramirez and Abraham Espinoza.