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2012 NorCal Boxing Awards: Punch your ballot!

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2012 NorCal Boxing Awards: Punch your ballot!

Another year of Northern California boxing has come to an end, and local historians will look back on 2012 with particular fondness.

Over the past 12 months, seven local pros have held world titles of some sort, with all but one still in possession of their respective belts. (Our definition of a NorCal fighter is one who resides and represents any city from Bakersfield to the northern border.)

The amateur ranks in Region 11, the area encompassing Northern and Central California, yielded an Olympian, a world runner-up, a collegiate champion, and several national tournament medalists.

Even the amount of pro and amateur fight cards increased, giving rise to a plethora of exciting bouts, highlight-reel knockouts and the emergence of new faces.

It is time to recognize the tremendous efforts of those involved by announcing the finalists for CSN’s 2nd Annual NorCal Boxing Awards.

Fans, here’s your chance to be heard by voting on any or all of the categories.

VOTING INSTRUCTIONS:
1) Sign in to your CSNBayArea.com account, or create one.  It’s easy and FREE!
2) In the comments section below, leave the categories and names of the nominees you wish to vote for.  You may only vote once per category.
3) Deadline to vote is WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

The finalist in each category that ends up with the most readers' support will earn one composite vote that will count in the final tally along with the individual votes from our media panel.

EXAMPLE: If Robert Guerrero and Carina Moreno ended up with seven votes apiece among the media panel for Comeback Fighter of the Year, then the readers’ choice would end up being the tiebreaker, since it would count for one whole vote.

For more information on each finalist, go to Norcalboxing.net.  We will present the winners on CSNBayArea.com the last weekend of the year, so read on for your nominees and punch your ballot!


2012 NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BOXING AWARDS
FINALISTS

POUND-FOR-POUND CHAMPION
For the fighter who finishes the year atop the CSNBayArea.com NorCal Pound-for-Pound Top 10 due to overall career body of work plus recent achievements.  This award is not to be confused with the Fighter of the Year Award, which is limited only to accomplishments in 2012.

FINALISTS: Nonito Donaire (San Leandro), Robert Guerrero (Gilroy), Ava Knight (Chico), Karim Mayfield (San Francisco), Andre Ward (Oakland)

MALE PRO FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
For the male professional fighter who has achieved the most success in 2012

FINALISTS: Nonito Donaire (San Leandro), Vicente Escobedo (Woodland), Robert Guerrero (Gilroy), Karim Mayfield (San Francisco), Andre Ward (Oakland)

FEMALE PRO FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
For the female professional fighter who has achieved the most success in 2012

FINALISTS: Ana Julaton (Daly City), Ava Knight (Chico), Melissa McMorrow (San Jose), Carina Moreno (Watsonville)

MALE AMATEUR FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
For the male amateur fighter who has achieved the most success in 2012 (Senior Open division only)

FINALISTS: Antwon Abron (Stockton), Mario Ayala (Sacramento), Eros Correa (San Jose), LaRon Mitchell (San Francisco), Jose Ramirez (Avenal), Gary Salazar (Fresno), Daniel Valdivia (Bakersfield), Brent Venegas III (Sacramento)

FEMALE AMATEUR FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
For the female amateur fighter who has achieved the most success in 2012 (Senior Open division only)

FINALISTS: Brenda Gutierrez (Sacramento), Jasmine Jones (Vacaville), Raquel Miller (San Francisco), Jamie Mitchell (Pacific Grove), Casey Morton (San Francisco), Marina Ramirez (Sacramento), Becky Villagran (Oakland)
 
PRO FIGHT OF THE YEAR
For the most exciting, competitive professional bout in 2012 from start to finish involving at least one Northern California fighter

FINALISTS: Manuel Avila TKO8 Ricky Lopez, Jonathan Garcia KO1 Pedro Arcos, Robert Guerrero UD12 Andre Berto, Alonso Loeza TKO3 Juan Martinez, Roman Morales UD8 Jonathan Arrellano, Joel Diaz Jr. TKO7 Guy Robb, Ulises Soriano D4 Gabriel Pineda

AMATEUR FIGHT OF THE YEAR
For the most exciting, competitive amateur fight in 2012 from start to finish involving at least one Northern California fighter (Senior Open division only)
 
FINALISTS: Brenda Gutierrez dec. Tatiana Almaraz, Mark Hernandez dec. Daniel Thomas, Paola Estrada dec. Casey Morton, Gary Salazar dec. Mario Ayala

ROUND OF THE YEAR
For the most exciting, competitive pro round in 2012 from the opening to final bell

FINALISTS: Robert Guerrero-Andre Berto (Rd. 12), Glenn Donaire-Omar Salado (Rd. 11), Jonathan Garcia-Pedro Arcos (Rd. 1), Guy Robb-Joel Diaz Jr. (Rd. 4), Ulises Soriano-Gabriel Pineda (Rd. 4)

KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR
For the most spectacular, stunning, and sensational pro knockout or referee stoppage of 2012 by a Northern California fighter
 
FINALISTS: Nonito Donaire KO3 Jorge Arce, Nonito Donaire TKO9 Toshiaki Nishioka, Vicente Escobedo TKO1 Lonnie Smith, Karim Mayfield TKO5 Raymond Serrano, Moris Rodriguez KO2 Bret De La Torre, Alan Sanchez TKO1 Artemio Reyes, Andre Ward TKO10 Chad Dawson

PRO TRAINER OF THE YEAR
For the pro trainer based in Northern California who has accomplished the most in 2012 with his/her fighter(s) from both a strategic standpoint and through individual development

FINALISTS: Ben Bautista (San Francisco), Eddie Croft (San Mateo), Max Garcia (Salinas), Ruben Guerrero (Gilroy), Virgil Hunter (Hayward), Rick Noble (Watsonville), Brian Schwartz (San Carlos)

AMATEUR TRAINER OF THE YEAR
For the amateur trainer based in Northern California who has accomplished the most in 2012 with his/her fighter(s) from both a strategic standpoint and through individual development
 
FINALISTS: Ben Bautista (San Francisco), Marcus Caballero (Sacramento), Rob Fernandez (San Francisco), Blanca Gutierrez (Pacifica), Candy Lopez (San Jose), Armando Mancinas (Avenal), Rudy Puga Sr. (Salinas), Gilbert Salazar (Fresno)

COLLEGIATE FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
For the collegiate fighter who has achieved the most success in 2012

FINALISTS: Oscar Gomez (San Jose State), Jay Jimenez (Cal), Juan Ramos (Cal), Nargis Shaghasi (USF), Colin Schmitt (UC Davis)

PROSPECT OF THE YEAR
For the most accomplished pro fighter in 2012 who has not yet won a regional belt (minimum 8 bouts)

FINALISTS: Manuel Avila (Fairfield), Jonathan Chicas (San Francisco), Bruno Escalante (San Carlos), Jonathan Garcia (Watsonville), Oscar Godoy (Watsonville), Brandon Gonzales (Sacramento), Omar Henry (Oakland), Stan Martyniouk (Antelope), Guy Robb (Sacramento), Alan Sanchez (Fairfield)

PRO EVENT OF THE YEAR
For the most entertaining, well-promoted Northern California-based pro show in 2012; main event listed

FINALISTS: Vicente Escobedo-Lonnie Smith (May 12), Otis Griffin-Adam Collins (Aug. 24), Robert Guerrero-Selcuk Aydin (July 28), Yoshihiro Kamegai-Jorge Silva (Oct. 6), Paul Mendez-Lester Gonzalez (Dec. 15), James Page-Rahman Yusubov (Nov. 18), Andre Ward-Chad Dawson (Sept. 8)

AMATEUR EVENT OF THE YEAR
For the most entertaining, well-promoted Northern California-based amateur show in 2012

FINALISTS: Aleman Boxing Independence Day Show (July 7), Beautiful Brawlers 2 (Aug. 25), King’s Gym Holiday Showdown (Dec. 8), Northern California Junior Olympics (Apr. 22), Pacific Ring’s Showdown in Oakland 8 (Nov. 10), United Combat Association’s Battle of the Badges (Mar. 31), Velarde’s T.C. Show (Aug. 11)

CROWD OF THE YEAR
For the pro or amateur venue with the best overall atmosphere and fanbase of 2012

FINALISTS: Aleman Boxing Club (Fresno), Fairfield Sports Complex, HP Pavilion (San Jose), King’s Gym (Oakland), Oracle Arena (Oakland), Pacifica Moose Lodge, S.F. Ring of Fire, Sacramento Doubletree Hotel, Sacramento Four Points by Sheraton, Velarde’s Training Center (Fresno), Woodland Community Center

COMEBACK FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
For the male or female fighter, professional or amateur, who has best overcome adversity away from the ring in 2012 to achieve unexpected success
 
FINALISTS: Glenn Donaire (San Leandro), Robert Guerrero (Gilroy), Stan Martyniouk (Antelope), Carina Moreno (Watsonville), James Page (Pittsburg), Andre Ward (Oakland)

ROLE MODEL OF THE YEAR
For the fighter most exemplary to the Northern California community in 2012

FINALISTS: Vicente Escobedo (Woodland), Robert Guerrero (Gilroy), Ava Knight (Chico), Karim Mayfield (San Francisco), Paul Mendez (Salinas), Andre Ward (Oakland)

UPSET OF THE YEAR
For the most improbable and impactful win by a Northern California underdog in 2012

FINALISTS: Antwon Abron-Joseph Mitchell, Jonathan Alcantara-Walter Sarnoi, Robert Guerrero-Andre Berto, Karim Mayfield-Mauricio Herrera, Melissa McMorrow-Susi Kentikian, Carina Moreno-Susi Kentikian, Moris Rodriguez-Jonathan Chicas, Alan Sanchez-Artemio Reyes

MANAGER/ADVISER OF THE YEAR
For the Northern California-based manager/adviser who has done the most to put his/her fighter(s) in the best position to succeed in 2012 (minimum one show in the region)
 
FINALISTS: Ben Bautista (San Francisco), Eddie Croft (San Mateo), Kathy Garcia (Salinas), Repo Ric (Sacramento), Bob Santos (San Jose/Gilroy), Herb Stone/Johnny Nava (San Francisco)

PRO PROMOTER OF THE YEAR
For the professional promoter who has done the most for Northern California fans in 2012

FINALISTS: Don Chargin/Paco Presents, Golden Boy, Goossen Tutor, O.P.P. Presents, Paul Nave, Uppercut Promotions

AMATEUR PROMOTER OF THE YEAR
For the amateur promoter/gym who has done the most for Northern California fans in 2012

FINALISTS: Aleman Boxing (Fresno), Blanca Gutierrez/BabyFace (Pacifica), Caballero’s B.C. (Sacramento), Pacific Ring Sports (Oakland), United Combat Assocation (California), Velarde’s T.C. (Fresno)

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
For the person in the sport, participant or non-participant, who most deserves recognition for their contribution to Northern California boxing  

FINALISTS: Paris Alexander (San Francisco), Michael Dallas Sr. (Bakersfield), Charles King (Oakland), Candy Lopez (San Jose), Paul Nave (San Rafael)


CSN Bay Area Boxing Insider Ryan Maquiñana is a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and panelist for Ring Magazine’s Ratings Board.  E-mail him at rmaquinana@gmail.com, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.



Former Stanford star scores winning goal for USA in Gold Cup victory

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USATSI

Former Stanford star scores winning goal for USA in Gold Cup victory

SANTA CLARA -- As the victorious American players bounced so hard the podium shook, medals round their necks, a beaming Bruce Arena in the back raised his arms to the air right along with them as gold confetti began to fall.

The U.S. resurgence is off to an impressive start since Arena returned late last year. Another CONCACAF Gold Cup crown, and now on to more important business: qualifying for next year's World Cup.

Former Stanford star Jordan Morris scored a tiebreaking goal in the 88th minute, and the United States beat Jamaica 2-1 on Wednesday night for its sixth Gold Cup title and first since 2013.

Jozy Altidore's goal on a 28-yard free kick in the 45th minute beat backup goalkeeper Dwayne Miller after Jamaica captain Andre Blake left early with a hand injury.

Je-Vaughn Watson tied the score when he got away from Morris for a 4-yard volley off Kemar Lawrence's 50th-minute corner kick.

Morris, who left nearby Stanford in his junior year, has won the 2015 NCAA title, the 2016 MLS championship with Seattle and now the 2017 Gold Cup. He got the breakthrough goal with a 14-yard right-footed shot after Gyasi Zardes crossed.

"I was nervous. It was my guy that scored on the goal, so I was trying to make up for it any way that I could," Morris said. "Obviously. I take responsibility for that. But luckily I could put one in the back of the net."

Jermaine Taylor tried to clear with a header and the ball was knocked by Clint Dempsey with a leg back to Morris. It was the fifth international goal for the 22-year-old Morris, who tied 16-year-old Canadian Alphonso Davies for the tournament lead with three goals.

"That was like a dagger in the heart," Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore said.

The U.S. extended its unbeaten streak to 14 games (9-0-5) under Arena, who became the first coach to win three Gold Cup titles.

"Bruce brought in a new energy," goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "He just gave us a tremendous lift."

U.S. captain Michael Bradley earned the Golden Ball at the tournament's top player.

The Americans had a chance in the 19th minute when Altidore's swerving 30-yard shot was parried by Blake, who dived left and then beat Kellyn Acosta to the rebound at the 6-yard box. Acosta collided with Blake and appeared to kick the keeper's right hand before Jamaica's Damion Lowe cleared. Blake's hand was wrapped but he couldn't continue and was replaced by Miller four minutes later. As Blake left the field, he acknowledged the cheering fans with a wave of his left hand, then later emerged for the medal ceremony with his hand bandaged after receiving seven stitches. Nothing was broken.

"It was a very unfortunate situation. What to say? Very sad situation," Whitmore said.

Altidore put the U.S. ahead with a curling shot past Miller's outstretched right hand into the upper corner of the net just beneath the crossbar, his 39th goal in 108 appearances.

Lawrence, who scored in a 1-0 semifinal win Sunday against Mexico, took another corner kick in the 75th minute moments after Alvas Powell's shot from close range deflected off Graham Zusi - a sequence that had Howard yelling at the defense.

Using a lineup with about half its regular starters - the rest are in preseason with European clubs - the U.S. reached its record 10th final. The Reggae Boyz were a surprising final opponent after they stunned Mexico in a semifinal Sunday to reach the title match for a second straight time.

With 18 of 22 starters from Major League Soccer, this was a rematch of the 2015 Gold Cup semifinal won 2-1 by Jamaica at Atlanta. For the first time since replacing Jurgen Klinsmann in November, Arena kept his lineup unchanged. He inserted the 34-year-old Dempsey in the 55th minute.

Chunks of turf came loose yet again at Levi's Stadium, the $1.2 billion, 3-year-old home of the NFL San Francisco 49ers. The field has been an ongoing issue.

The Americans hope for momentum built during this run as they prepare to resume World Cup qualifying. The U.S faces Costa Rica in a rematch of the Gold Cup semifinal on Sept. 1 at Harrison, New Jersey, and play four days later at Honduras. The hex concludes against Panama on Oct. 6 in Orlando, Florida, and at Trinidad and Tobago four days after.

"We're not worried one bit about World Cup qualifying today. I can promise you that," Bradley said. "This was about a group of guys winning a trophy and that's been the only goal."

Arena already was looking ahead.

"We're a long way from qualifying for a World Cup, and that's the objective, for sure," he said.

Instant Analysis: Casilla blows it in ninth, denies Melvin of 1,000th win

Instant Analysis: Casilla blows it in ninth, denies Melvin of 1,000th win

BOX SCORE

With two swings, the Blue Jays delivered an absolute gut-punch to the A’s on Wednesday night.

Justin Smoak hit a two-run game-tying homer off Santiago Casilla in the ninth. On the next pitch, Kendrys Morales swatted a walk-off shot to give Toronto a stunning 3-2 victory at the Rogers Center.

That once again denied A’s manager Bob Melvin his 1,000th career victory, which the A’s seemed poised to celebrate. Rookie Paul Blackburn also had a much-deserved victory snatched away from him after he threw seven scoreless innings.

Oakland has dropped three straight north of the border since giving Melvin career win No. 999. A lack of offense doomed them in the first two games of this four-game series, and they got precious little scoring Wedesnday. But Marcus Semien’s two-run homer in the fifth seemed to be all the offense they would need, and the A’s took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

Blake Treinen handled the eighth to get the ball to Casilla, who’s had a turbulent ride as the A’s closer after signing a two-year deal to return to Oakland in the offseason. Wednesday’s meltdown accounted for his sixth blown save. He entered the night tied for third for most blown saves in the American League.

The A’s are short on late-inning options after recently trading Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals.