Regional Golden Gloves boxers ready for Saturday


Regional Golden Gloves boxers ready for Saturday

March 11, 2011
Ryan Maquiana

The 2012 London Games are just around the corner, and boxing fans across America will soon be introduced to the next crop of future stars at next years U.S. Olympic Trials.

This Saturday marks the first step toward anointing the next Andre Ward, as San Franciscos Fight and Fitness Club plays host to the Region 11 Golden Gloves Championship, which will pit some of the best amateurs of Northern California against their Central California counterparts.

The winners will move on to April 2s State Golden Gloves Tournament in Vacaville, whose victors will fight in the National Golden Gloves Tournament in Indianapolis on April 25. It is here where the ultimate champions of each weight division will automatically earn one of the eight coveted spots for the 2012 Olympic Trials.

Among the diverse group of hopefuls to watch include an accomplished Starbucks barista, a converted martial artist, and a former cast member of MTVs Road Rules.
Jose Ramirez, Avenal

As an unofficial halfway point between the Bay Area and Southern California, Kettleman City has become a pivotal rest stop for the weary traveler looking for a rejuvenating jolt of caffeine before continuing the journey down I-5.

What most coffee aficionados might not know is that the guy behind the counter making their caramel macchiatos is the defending national champion at lightweight.

I really don't mention boxing, unless they happen to recognize me and they bring up the subject, says Jose Ramirez of nearby Avenal.

The 18-year-old isnt as anonymous in boxing circles anymore after his magical run through the 132-pound field at the 2010 U.S. Nationals. After winning gold, Ramirez has become a prime candidate to don the Stars and Stripes in London next year.

My goal is to make the Olympic team, win a gold medal, and then turn professional, he said. It would be an honor for me to represent my community and my country with pride.

Ramirez has a lot on his plate. In addition to his barista duties at Kettleman City and training with Armando Mancinas, he somehow finds time to commute to Fresno State, where he attends freshman classes three days a week.

However, dont look for any excuses on Joses end as he marches toward Saturdays showdown with former Philippine national team member Adam Fiel of Vacaville.

I dont really feel the pressure of having a target on my back. I just prepare myself well for all my bouts because I know other good athletes in my weight class are doing the same, said Ramirez.

Joses got a great work ethic, said trainer Armando Mancinas. Youd think after winning nationals that hed slack off a little bit, but now hes more dedicated to his training and schooling than ever before.
Andy Vences, San Jose
Longtime San Jose PAL head coach Candy Lopez has been around the amateur scene longer than all of his current fighters have been alive. When he singles out someone for special mention, its worth a listen.

Andy Vences is a good one, Lopez tells me, pointing to the 141-pounder firing off combinations on the heavy bag. He has some great potential if he can put it all together.

Vences, a nearby Lincoln High graduate who currently attends San Jose City College, has fought his way from practicing kung-fu to becoming a nationally-ranked light welterweight, a reputation he will seek to uphold when he faces Vicente Guzman of Tulare.

Supposedly hes an aggressive fighter coming at me, said Vences. Were focusing on boxing by using the jab and giving him angles.

Much like Ramirez, Vences balances a job in addition to his studies and gymwork, helping pay for his tuition with a job at Subway. As a result, the 19-year-old has exhibited a maturity that has served him well both in and out of the ring.

Its a pretty long road ahead to the Olympics, he said. I think about it as a step-by-step process, and the more you sweat in the gym, the less you bleed in the ring.
Darrell Taylor, Sacramento

Its not often youll find someone willingly give up television stardom for the sights and smells of the dingy boxing gym. For Darrell Taylor, however, the transition to relative anonymity was just what he needed.

Ive been boxing since I was 12, said the 31-year-old, who starred on MTVs Road Rules. But then I was doing shows, drinking and partying, and I got sidetracked with my focus.

Taylor can be hardly be classified as a novice to the sport. Under the tutelage of his uncle, former pro Manny Fernandez, he learned the ropes and found himself sparring with the likes of Andre Ward at Oaklands Kings Gym in 1999.

Andre used to whup my ass real bad, Taylor said, laughing. But I eventually got better.

Alas, the cameras came calling and Taylor put his boxing career on hold until recently, when he hooked up with Sacramento trainer Seifudeen Mateen and fought well enough to earn his spot in Saturdays regional final against Tulares Ruben Mendoza.

Hes a good boxer-puncher with a powerful right hand, said Mateen. With his TV background, he doesnt lack confidence, and hes a winner.

Perhaps Taylors decision to return to the ring is a testament to his renewed resolve as a person as well.

Ive turned down two reality show offers from MTV for this shot at the Olympics, he shared. I realized Im getting too old for that stuff. Ive never had the discipline before to train for four straight months, so I guess you can say Im back to my first love.

49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan takes pride in speed of offense

49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan takes pride in speed of offense

SANTA CLARA – If there is any validity to Matt Ryan’s complaint that former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan struggled getting play calls to his quarterback in a timely fashion, it is difficult to find much evidence.

The past two seasons, only three teams went through an entire season without the play clock expiring on offense. The Falcons under Shanahan went without a delay-of-game penalty both of the past two seasons. The Denver Broncos of last season were the only other offensive unit in the NFL that was not penalized for the play clock hitting :00.

“Any play-caller that you talk to that’s usually one of the most important things and something I pride myself on a lot, is how quick can you get a play call into a quarterback,” said Shanahan, who will remain the playcaller for the 49ers while also serving as head coach.

"And the quicker you do the more comfortable it is, not just for him but the entire offense. They’re not panicked. They’re being able to move to the line. And with me as a coordinator personally, I try almost every situation to get it in as fast as possible. And I can be honest, there’s sometimes I do better than others. There are sometimes I don’t do it as good. There’s sometimes I do it real good.”

Shanahan said he took a lot of pride in the fact that the Falcons avoided any delay-of-game penalties the past two seasons. He said Ryan deserves credit, too.

“I was really proud of those guys on offense, which is a lot of credit to Matt and the rest of the guys, that regardless when we did get it in, two years straight without a delay of game and being the only team to even do that one year I think was a pretty impressive task,” Shanahan said. “We did a good job of that as a whole.”

In a recent interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, Ryan was critical of Shanahan’s timeliness in delivering the play calls in the Falcons' collapse in Super Bowl 51. (It did not appear the Falcons' offense was scrambling to get to the line of scrimmage and get the ball snapped after the built a 28-3 lead.)

“Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan told Prisco. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.”

Shanahan said on Thursday that he wants his offense to play fast. Shanahan said he sets his offense so there is no need to audible out of a play if the defense is geared to stop the primary option on a particular call.

“If it’s not the perfect play, there’s usually four other options that you’ve just got to adjust to and either get an incompletion or get a smaller gain,” Shanahan said. “But, it’s not, ‘Hey, if I don’t call the perfect play, you check and get us into the perfect play.’

"I’ve been in systems like that and it’s just what your opinion is, and there’s really no right answer, but I was pretty happy with how our system worked in Atlanta. And I’ve been confident with players playing fast and not putting so much pressure on them to fix every play that the coordinator calls. I like to put a little more on myself and I want them when I do call a bad play, we’ll give you an answer."

Shanahan will continue to call the plays from the sideline. Quarterback Brian Hoyer said he insisted on working on the radio communication during the offseason program. Hoyer played in Shanahan's offense in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns, and he said that experience should help him relay the calls more smoothly to his teammates in the huddle.

"I kind of have a method of I want to be just outside the huddle when the play is coming out," Hoyer said. "I don’t want to be in the huddle trying to give the play while he’s talking to me. I want to hear him say the play in my helmet, take a second, get in the huddle and then call the play.

"Back in Cleveland when I was just learning the system I was just trying to repeat what he was saying, get it to the team and then as I’m walking to the line of scrimmage think of the play. Whereas now, I hear the play coming in and I can paint a picture of what Kyle is trying to emphasize on that play, and then relay it to the rest of the offense and break the huddle and go. We’ve been doing that I think pretty much since day one is using that coach-to-quarterback communication.”

Report: JaVale McGee will re-sign with Warriors


Report: JaVale McGee will re-sign with Warriors

JaVale McGee isn't going anywhere.

McGee will re-sign with the Warriors, according to ESPN's Chris Haynes.

Soon after the news surfaced on Twitter, JaVale posted on Instagram:


A post shared by Javale Pierre McGee (@javalemcgee) on

When teammates become mentors--- 💭🗯💬

A post shared by Javale Pierre McGee (@javalemcgee) on

Golden State could only offer the big man the minimum of $2.1 million.

In 77 games (10 starts) with the Warriors last season, he averaged 6.1 points and 3.2 rebounds.

McGee appeared in 16 of the Warriors' 17 playoff games (he did not see action in Game 5 of the NBA Finals), averaging 5.9 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting over 73 percent from the field.

As of now, Golden State has 15 players with guaranteed contracts:

Steph Curry
Kevin Durant
Draymond Green
Klay Thompson
Andre Iguodala
Shaun Livingston
Zaza Pachulia
David West
JaVale McGee
Pat McCaw
Nick Young
Omri Casspi
Kevon Looney
Damian Jones
Jordan Bell

McGee was reportedly unhappy with the Warriors for giving their entire $5.2 taxpayer mid-level exception to Nick Young.

The 29-year old reportedly met with the Clippers and Kings, and was seeking a contract above the minimum.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller