U.S., Mexico BoxingTeams To Square Off in S.F.

By Jorge L. Ortiz
Updated: August 27, 2005



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SAN FRANCISCO, CA.—Fans who enjoyed the return of the San Francisco Golden Gloves to the city’s downtown last spring will get a chance to watch amateur boxing at a higher level, and this time with American pride on the line.

The U.S. national boxing team and its Mexican counterpart will face each other in a one-day tournament Oct. 30 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, according to the Gloves’ executive director, Santos Soto.

The event will feature bouts in 11 weight categories and include national Golden Gloves champions Daniel Jacobs of New York and Gary Russell Jr. of Washington, D.C., as well as California state champs Santos Soto Jr. and Brandon Gonzales. The younger Soto is a San Francisco native, while Gonzales hails from Sacramento.

“This is a preview of probably the fighters who are going to be some of our Olympic champions and our future professional superstars,” the elder Soto said. “Plus, Mexico’s bringing its A-team.”

Soto Sr. played an instrumental role in bringing back the Gloves to the Civic Auditorium after a 19-year absence — the four-day tournament drew about 10,000 fans March 30-April 2 — and that inspired him to pursue this event.

In his negotiations with the Mexican Olympic Committee, Soto learned how rare a competition this is, as he was told this will be the first time in more than 30 years that American and Mexican boxing teams will meet head-to-head.

The event figures to have a Cinco de Mayo feel to it, what with a mariachi band scheduled to play at intermission in the fight program.

“Even though it’s competition, it’s a celebration of boxing and a friendship between two countries that share so much,” Soto said. “We share a common border, and in many instances we share a common language.”

HillTop Cup redux: Both Sotos were involved in putting together last year’s inaugural HillTop Cup — an amateur tournament pitting fighters from several colleges — and they’re at it again.

The second edition of the Cup will take place Sept. 10 at USF’s Memorial Gym, with the first bout set for 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the school’s Koret Gym. Proceeds go to a scholarship fund for Latino students.

Guerrero on upswing: Despite nearly five months of inactivity because of an elbow injury that has now healed, Gilroy featherweight Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero figures to move up in ranking following Rocky Juarez’s upset loss to Humberto Soto for the WBC interim title (champion In Jin Chi is injured).

Guerrero, who returns to the ring Sept. 16 in Lemoore (Kings County) against an opponent to be determined, is ranked fourth and could vie for an eliminator fight by the end of the year.

Guerrero also could benefit from the IBF’s decision earlier this month to strip the featherweight title from Juan Manuel Marquez, who holds the WBA crown as well, for failure to make his mandatory defense.

“With what happened to Marquez and Juarez losing, the floodgates have really opened up for Robert,” said Bob Santos, Guerrero’s co-manager. “The next step is either to fight an eliminator or to fight for the world title.”

Briefly: Provided both come out victorious in their respective fights of Sept. 10, Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao are in line to meet again, probably early next year. Morales earned a unanimous decision in their sensational first encounter March 19. … A torn triceps sustained during training has forced former champ Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson to pull out of Thursday’s fight against bantamweight contender Jhonny Gonzalez, scheduled to be televised by HBO Latino. Johnson was replaced by Nicaraguan William Gonzalez.