Getting It On

I had seen him a few weeks past, at a rank exam Jeff Bonugli was conducting at his Green Ghost Academy. David Fuentes was in fine fettle then, as he sparred, one after the other, the entire group  of fighters examining, to include Ray Banda (4-0-0) currently in place to fight Alexander Hernandez (5-1-0) for the 155 pound championship at Best of the Best V in April. Dee Jay evinced no trouble establishing his superiority over those examining. On the evening of January 17, just prior to his fight, I met him with a typical abrazo. I said nothing to him other than “you’ll do well,” but I was concerned because he looked somewhat under the weather. I attributed it to too rapid a weight loss in the days just prior to the fight. It was only after the fight that he explained that he had come down with a cold two days prior to the fight, and had gotten two shots for it. He had given up a day of training, and did not feel at his best leading up to the fight. His opponent, Ray “the Judge” Rodriguez, (5-3-0) on the other hand, came into the cage ready to get it on, and quickly went to work. For the first two rounds, my impression was that Dee Jay was simply working to contain him. I myself wanted more of a stand up game, because Dee Jay is exciting to watch standing up, but it was not to be. Most of the five rounds were spent on the mat. Rodriguez was able to go the distance with the Champ, but if you as the challenger are going to unthrone the man, you have to go more than the distance. What the judges saw was a Dee Jay Fuentes who, although not putting a whipping on Rodriguez, was in complete control of his opponent for the majority of the fight. In what turned out to be a unanimous decision for the champion, one judge went so far as to give the fight to Fuentes, 50-45.  A bit far fetched. The first two rounds looked to be in Rodriguez’ favor, but even then, at no time did Fuentes seem concerned. That again is what the judges saw. Rodriguez was in the fight, just not enough into it. He could not get past what the judges were seeing from ringside, that is, a seemingly unperturbed Dee Jay Fuentes, doing what champions do, controlling the fight. Afterwards, Rodriguez announced his retirement, citing a need to work to support his family. Ray Rodriguez can go out with his head high. Taking on the champion, he was game for five rounds, the entirety of the fight.

Prior to his fight, Middleweight Champ Brandon Farran had voiced his respect for his challenger, Hayward Charles, giving him credit for his high number of submission wins, (ten out of eleven wins by submission.)  Being knocked out by Charles was not likely, he felt. As was expected, given his very aggressive fighting style,  Farran, went into the fight throwing some heavy bombs. Early on, he had stipulated that he wanted an opponent who would give him a run for his money, and he found it in Hayward Charles. He walked into what looked like a hard right hook, and at 1:05, of the first round, having thus set him up, Charles effected a submission by arm triangle choke. The irony is that Farran had intimated that with a fighter like Charles, this very thing was a possibility. But like the outstanding gentleman he is, he was quick to congratulate Charles on his win.  And then, from Hayward Charles came one of the humblest speeches you’ll ever hear from a fighter, something to the effect of “I don’t like to hurt my opponent if I can help it, so I submit him as quickly as I can, doing as little damage as possible.”  I have to admit that I had wanted to see Brandon Farran pull this off, because of his exciting style of fighting, and because I am partial to stand up fights, but after hearing Hayward Charles’ explanation, I figured the win couldn’t have gone to a nicer guy. In a humorous vein, Brandon Farran probably saw it the same way. Two real class gentlemen.

I have previously covered the fight between Jamaal Emmers and Rey Trujillo. See “Facing the Junk Yard Dog, the Aftermath,”  at Texasfighting.org. In that article, as well as another article on the same website, “Experience Matters,” I believe I caught the gist of Rey Trujillo’s feelings regarding the matchup: ““He is a great fighter with great potential and has a bright future, but he was a minnow swimming with a large mouth bass.” That uh, pretty well sums it up.

 

 

JC Fight Promotions: Best of the Best II – A Proving Ground for South Texas Fighters

Luis “the Law” Vega, and D J Fuentes, will be on the same card, come June 14, 2014 at Hero Fighting Championship’s “Best of the Best II” hosted by JC Fight Promotions and Charlie Clark Nissan.

Vega will be fighting as a Featherweight in the main event, where he will be going up against Jamal Emmers, whoTexas Fighters will be conducting a first time defense of his Featherweight title.
Defending the title against a tough, and very hungry, Luis Vega, will require everything Jammal Emmers can bring into this fight. Those in the Valley who have witnessed Vega’s ability in a fight will be betting on him. Rest assured, this main event fight will be a memorable one.

Fuentes will be defending his Bantamweight title in the co main event fight against Jose Ceja. Fuentes is old school, stand up, karate kickboxing, with good hands, and devastating spin back kicks that those like myself so appreciate, having drilled such into students of bygone days. This will be a thriller to watch, and to watch closely. Outside the ring, Fuentes is Mr. Charisma, making friends with everyone. Once inside the ring, he is all business.

Among the remarks of commendation to be spoken about the challenger, Jose Ceja, is this; he doesn’t back away from a fight. In a business where fighters try to pick and choose their fights, he takes them as they come. There are those who will question the wisdom of such a determination on his part. “Look,” one will say. “Build up your reputation by taking on fights you can win. You’ll be gaining experience at the same time. What’s the rush?” There is much truth to that. On the other hand, Jose’s take is that you learn the most by taking on and fighting the best. Hurt? He’s been hurt. All fighters get hurt. But if you must get hurt, do so against the best. At 2-0 as an MMA Pro, and 1-0 as a pro boxer, he is coming into this fight as an underdog to take on the experienced and very tough Dee Jay Fuentes, just as he assented a year ago to an offer to fight an equally tough Ricky Palacios, in a fight which never materialized. In agreeing to take on D J, Ceja is taking on a versatile all around fighter. Ceja can box, Ricki Palaciosand comes to the cage eager to fight. He’ll get a fight against D J Fuentes.

Ricky Palacios will also be on this card. He has been fighting on a reality show “Combate Americas” and will be fighting Joel Scott of Beaumont. In a previous encounter, Palacios TKO’d Scott in the 3rd round of their fight. I have written about Ricky Palacios in the past, and of the much potential I see in him. He is a versatile fighter, with hands that thus far have spelled a KO for those who have faced him, in mixed martial arts or boxing. On this note, it is Palacios, and not Jose Ceja, who should have been meeting up with D J Fuentes. This, perhaps, will yet be a fight future.

Another up and coming fighter is a Jeff Bonugli student, Soryu Karate fighter Raymond Banda, who is currently 2-0 as a pro. He will face a strong opponent in Harlingen’s Daniel Duran. I mention Ray Banda because much is riding on him. Can a Soryu Karate trained fighter make good in MMA fighting? I believe he can, particularly if trained by Jeff Bonugli. As I have from the beginning envisioned Texas Soryu Karate, (and I differentiate it from its weak traditional parent in Japan) its parameters go far beyond traditional karate. I shall yet see that. Yes,
much is Jeff Bonugliriding on Ray Banda, but he can handle it. He carries on his shoulders the reputation, not only of Jeff Bonugli as his instructor and trainer, but mine as well, as Jeff Bonugli’s instructor.

We have heard Jeff Bonugli speak of his desire to see to it that fighters are rewarded financially for their hard work and sacrifices. This is true, and there are those who can attest to it, having been recipients of his willingness to give generously. And yet, I would suggest that there may some who would take advantage of such goodness. They have forgotten the value of a simple “thank you”. There is a Spanish saying: “Eres como el azadon, todo para aca’, y nada para alla’…” It translates roughly: “You are like a garden hoe, everything is scraped your way, and nothing goes back in return…” We get the picture, don’t we? Gratitude is a wonderful thing.

Consider that some very tough Valley fighters are in the offing. They are developing, and JC Productions is playing a vital role in such development. And this is it, a financial scholarship, $2,400 monthly for the aid of those who become the best of the best!

JC Fight Promotions - Best of the Best II

J&C Productions: “Go for broke”

Jeff Bonugli and Chris Lopez
[Jeff Bonugli and Chris Lopez]
The problem with a $50,000 contract is that it is a lot of money. When you tell a fighter he will be given $2,500 a month to help him train, it is to his mind, too good to be true. If they only knew that Jeff Bonugli has already helped some fighters do that very thing! Even their attitude has been, “too good to be true,” and they walked away from it. They’ve gone someplace else to take up the fight game, and we wish them well. For others, less money is more in tune with what they’re used to. For Jeff Bonugli, this has been most frustrating!

When you look at it with clear vision however, you will realize that this is no free ride. There is a catch, and this is that once you have the contract in hand, you have to work to keep it! It is what you’ve been doing all along, and that is train, train, train! You will be doing what you’ve always done, but now you’re being paid to do it. You win the contract because you have trained to be better than the rest. You keep the contract because now you train even harder, to stay on top. What is so hard to understand? You are being paid to devote yourself full-time to training! And on top of the $2,500 monthly fee will come any prize money won fighting for JC Promotions. In a word, only the best need apply.

So, you fight and you lose. You then lose the monthly stipend, right? Maybe. That’s what the contract says. Can there be an exception? If your fight turns out to be a slam banger, where you fought all the way through like the champ you are, and people were on the edge of their seats all the way through the three rounds, and the other fighter gets the nod, my guess is that Mr Bonugli will see it as instead of one champion in the ring, there were two, and he just isn’t gonna throw you to the dogs. He’ll want you on the next card. After all, in the MMA game, there are fighters and there are great fighters, and most great fighters have some losses under their belt, but they’re still great fighters.

Case in point is on the next card, and that’s Cody Williams. He’s had some losses, but Cody puts lots of substance onto any fight card, because losses notwithstanding, Cody is a winner, a champion. He’s a contributor to any card. He’ll take on the best, and when Cody gets into the game, if he doesn’t get it over quickly, there will always be one heck of a brawl. The likes of Cody Williams is what Mr. Bonugli is looking for on his cards. Think about that, you naysayers.

I have known Jeff Bonugli since the day he walked into my dojo in 1974. This thing about his wanting fighters to earn enough to live on, maybe that sounds corny to some, but I’m here to tell you that is how Jeff Bonugli operates. He means it. But again, he’s not giving any fighter something that fighter is not willing to work for. He’s about helping hungry fighters. And he is about exerting the type of influence which will cause other promoters to have to pay up. Look around you. You can see that is already happening, and you can thank Jeff Bonugli for that.

Yes, a week from now is payday in Harlingen. Jeff Bonugli sees this as a ticket for some hungry fighter to the UFC. It is up you really. When all is said and done, this is about attitude. Be an optimist. Believe in yourself and gear up mentally. Winston Churchill, that tough old British Bulldog who energized the fighting spirit of the British people during World War II, put it this way. “I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.” We wish you the very best. Go for broke. (Cristobal Lopez)

It’s Reckoning Time! Three Title Winners Will Each Get $50,000 Contracts

JC Productions
JC Productions: Jeff Bonugli, Charlie Clark, Chris Lopez

When Jeff Bonugli came to me in 1974, he was nineteen, fresh out of Canyon High School in New Braunfels, Texas. That took some guts in those days, as he was a White boy coming into what was at the time the rough area of town, into a dojo peopled by some as rough characters. Anyone who could fight in New Braunfels trained in my dojo. In the previous decade, New Braunfels had put out two Heavyweight Texas Golden Gloves champs, Robert Mesa and Cheche Rios. Jeff was very aggressive, and from the beginning was always in the winner’s circle. In between tournaments, he would lead others of my students to make fighting rounds to other schools in the San Antonio area. He, along with others of my future Black Belts took on jobs as bouncers in a local night club, where they could put their skills to work. Even as a Brown Belt, Jeff was entering and winning in the Black Belt Division, but in my mind, one of Jeff’s greatest fights, point or full contact, was at George Minschew’s Karate Olympics in Houston, around 1976. The fight was for the championship of the Heavyweight Green Belt Division, and Jeff was pitted against a powerful, and raw boned, Dino Holmsley out of Beaumont. With Dino as an opponent, Jeff was more than well matched. When I see the up and coming Ryan Spann, fighting in JC Productions “Best of the Best” mixed martial arts event, February 1, 2014, in Harlingen, I am reminded of Dino Holmsley. Ryan is the same kind of powerful fighter. My high estimation of Dino was not only in his versatility of technique, because he had that aplenty, but rather because he was also a skilled street fighter, and without question, very tough. In one of the hardest fought fights of the night Jeff came out on top, and in so doing, cinched my estimation of Jeff’s abilities. Dino was also a bouncer, and while in the performance of that duty, was killed breaking up a bar fight in a Houston nightclub. Dino Holmsley was as tough as they come. Nothing but respect for a true warrior to the end. Jeff applied his aggressiveness to business, eventually becoming General Manager of the largest car dealership in San Antonio, currently a partner of a large dealership in the Valley, and now JC Productions. His search for fighters willing to fight for $50,000 dollar contracts is a true fact. Jeff Bonugli, always a warrior, has shown all along that he truly cares for his fighters. The time of reckoning has arrived and, as any warrior, he plans to go down fighting.

J & C Productions
J & C Productions – The Best of the Best
Three $50,000 dollar contracts that will be going out to our Title Winners and a Brand New Car will be given out to someone in the Crowd that night.
For VIP table paper tickets please call Daniel with J&C Productions at 956-622-9053

Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios Making a Comeback for JC Productions “Texas Pride” MMA Event

jc promotionsA New and rejuvenated Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios is making his comeback in Beaumont Texas at the Montagne Events Center, with Jeff Bonugli’s JC Productions “Texas Pride” MMA event on Saturday, September 28. Comeback? Yes, following some tough times in his life, some of them self made, what follows now is a comeback. He’ll be fighting a very tough Jose Ceja who is currently 1-0 as a pro MMA fighter and 1-0 as a pro boxer, which will make for a very interesting fight, considering that El Gallero favors stand up, and boxing in particular. While I am personally a friend to both of these boys, the odds stand in Ricky’s favor, but by no means should he be complacent. Jose will come to fight, and he comes undeterred by the stats, which show Ricky 6-0 as an amateur, 2-0 as a pro, and 1-0 as a boxer, all fights won by KO. In Jose’s favor is the fact that he can box. I’m partial to either of these boys. Expect a slug fest. I would be very surprised if either of these boys take the fight to the mat.

Fighter Spotlight: ‘Jose Ceja’

Jose Ceja – Photo via Jose Ceja’s FB

Port Arthur’s Jose Ceja, a tough young man with a penchant for deep thought, made his professional boxing debut this past Saturday night at the South Padre Convention Center, fighting a four round Welterweight bout against Ramiro Balli. It was a fight which saw Ceja work the body well. Nor did he neglect the head in a bout which saw Balli in trouble in the second round, and against the ropes much of the time, under the barrage of punches Ceja rained down on him. In the end, the judges voted Ceja a unanimous win in this, his pro boxing debut. Ceja won his pro MMA debut this past March in JC Production’s “El Orgullo del Valle” in a mostly s standup brawl against Mission’s Rene Gonzalez. Ceja also won that bout by unanimous decision. Both Balli and Gonzalez will aver to the fact that Southpaws, and Ceja in particular, can be difficult to fight. As in his boxing debut this past Saturday, the MMA judges gave the fight to Ceja, unanimously. Ceja, who fights with the intent of receiving his young sons approval, trains in Los Fresnos at the Green Ghost Academy with Jeff Bonugli and at United MMA whenever he is in Port Arthur.

On June 21st, Ceja will be on the MMA card for the second of four MMA events this year promoted by JC Production’s“El Orgullo del Valle” to be held at the Pharr Events Center. Cody Williams will be the main event of the night at that “Pride of the Valley, ” MMA event June 21st, and he will be pitted against D’Angelo de Souza Vieira. Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios will meet Jay Dee Martinez in the co main event. A lot is at stake, as fighters are vying for the $50,000 contracts to be issued in March 2014 .