Local Coach Howard Mena is doing his part to keep the community kids off the streets, phones, and internet and in the gym.
Mena and his assistant Coach Joe Rodriguez, dedicate most of their free time to the gym and the amateur and professional boxers that compete out of their gym, as well as youth and adult boxing enthusiasts that just love a great boxing workout.
Both coaches travel locally and nationally with their fighters to amateur and professional bouts and coach Rodriguez also volunteers his time to work as a USA Boxing official at home and around the nation.
Mena’s Boxing Club has a family atmosphere and a qualified coaching staff that can help you with all your boxing needs. From just getting in shape and learning self defense, to fighting for a professional world title.
Please enjoy this link to a great article/interview written by Kelsey McCarson for The Sweet Science. The article/interview was written in April 2019, before Regis “Rougarou” Prograis won his WBA 140 pound title in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Regis is set to fight IBF champ Joshua Taylor in London on October 26 for the WBA and IBF titles, as well as the Muhammad Ali trophy in The World Series of Boxing final.
In the interview we get to know a little more about Benton and his background in the sport of boxing, told in his own words. Mentored in boxing by his father Bill Benton along with the late Al “Potato Pie” Boulden, he has become one of the most sought after and savvy trainers in town.
Benton is also known as one of boxing’s good guys, who approaches boxing as his job, while respecting the game and all of it’s constituents.
Born in 1949 in Houston, Texas, John Alvarado began his boxing journey as a young teen and was active as an amateur and professional boxing coach until his untimely death in 2006.
He started boxing as a young teen at The Red Shield Boxing Club in downtown Houston. The Red Shield Boxing Club was a precursor to The Salvation Army Boxing Club and the original Houston location that Alvarado trained at was also the first boxing home of 1972 bronze medal Olympic Champion Jesse Valdez. Although he never fought professionally, Valdez is still considered one of the best boxers ever to have been born and raised in Houston, Texas.
Alvarado boxed for The Red Shield Boxing Club but would later tell his sons that he didn’t have the discipline at the time to be consistent, so he boxed off and on until he joined the Army the late 60’s. It was while serving his country as a military policeman that Mr. Alvarado would develop the love for discipline that would later shape his life as a successful man, father, and boxing coach.
After honorably serving his country in The United States Army, John lived for a while in Alaska, where he was last stationed, then returned back home to Houston after also living in California briefly. His love for boxing never waned during his military service and once his sons John III and Steve became six and seven years old, he began training them in boxing and also enrolling them in martial arts classes. After a while the martial arts classes became to expensive and John decided his sons would focus on boxing.
He then decided to take his sons to the original Ray’s Boxing Club, which was in owner Ray Ontiveros’ garage. The “gym” was a spartan setup with a few heavy bags, a large mirror, a speed bag, sit-up bench, and a homemade ring. Although that gym was small and void of any fancy equipment, many amateur and professional contenders and champions were made there. This was undoubtedly a testament to the “old school” approach to boxing that coaches Alvarado and Ontiveros believed in and taught.
There at Ray’s Boxing Gym, Alvarado trained his sons and also worked with the many Northside boys that came in and out of the gym in the early 80’s, including this writer. Alvarado’s sons John and Steve then began training and competing as much as possible, sometimes every weekend, winning many local and state tournaments. While speaking to Steve Alvarado, he estimated that both he and older brother John had somewhere between 230 and 250 amateur fights before turning pro. While coaching at Ray’s Boxing Club, Mr. Alvarado also helped out with the day to day training of Frank Stambaugh, Gary Simons, and Joe Garcia, who would later challenge Termite Watkins, and Jermaine Taylor.
Later after moving his family near the Salvation Army Boxing Club on Aldine Westfield, he began coaching his sons and the boxers there alongside another great coach, Mr. James Carter. While coaching at The Salvation Army Boxing Club, Alvarado would also be instrumental in the training of Kenneth Walker and three-time World Champion Reggie Johnson. Alvarado would also later play an important role in helping Johnson win his second world title as a professional, training Johnson for that training camp and working his corner on fight night.
Alvarado worked with many boxers from the Houston area at different times in their career including Edward “Pee Wee” Parker and former Texas State and World Boxing Council (WBC) United States, Super-Welterweight Champion Chase Shields.
Alvarado was a strict boxing coach who taught his fighters that discipline and a systematic approach to boxing was vital for success. He believed that a boxer should develop his talents and style based on his individual physical and mental strengths and attributes, rather than a certain “style” of boxing. His favorite boxer was Salvador Sanchez, but he also spoke highly of Jesse Valdez, Sugar Ray Robinson, Roberto Duran, and Bernard Hopkins.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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”.