On October 8, 2010 at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario in front of a capacity crowd one of the rarest of events took place in the main event of the evening. Two combatants of equal skill came to wage war for honor, pride, dignity, and respect. Only one would be left standing victorious. Scheduled for six rounds, these two light middleweights would go toe to toe for 4 of the best rounds of boxing the fans will have ever witnessed in along time. The hometown favorite and unbeaten fighter from Riverside, Alberto “Baby Dynamite” Herrera (7-1-1, 5 KO’s) collided head on with San Diego’s, Chris “The Last Chapter” Chatman. Chris, who trains out of the City Boxing Gym in San Diego under the coaching and tutelage of Manny Melchor former WBC/IBF champion, assisted by Carlos Ferreira and managed by Mark Dion has been a relative unknown in LA-Riverside area. He went into this fight as the underdog and was predicted to lose to the favored pugilist from Riverside. Chatman, is a former US Navy Boxing Champion out of Chicago with a record of 8-1, 4 KO’s his only loss was by way of unanimous decision in front of the hometown crowd of Olympian Demetrius Andrade in Rhode Island on October 3, 2009.
Chris came out battling at the sound of the bell in the first stanza against Herrera and scored two knockdowns in that first round and would later become the victor 2:47 in the fourth frame as referee Ray Corona stepped in to stop the fight. Both of these combatants had much to be proud of. This was truly a real credit to great match maker for Thompson Boxing, Alex Camponovo. This contest was a real credit to the spirit and heart of these two fighters and professional boxing.
What was unique about this fight one might ask? It was this, you will always have an underdog, but an underdog with a chance makes one hell of a fight. After many conversations with boxing fans one comment seems to come up time and time again. The sport needs more fighters with the confidence and guts to go toe to toe with fighters who are truly worthy opponents. They seem to understand the marketing of fighters but fail to understand that great fighters need to be tested, and tested often as was the case in this battle. Both fighters will be the better for it. These are some of boxing best prospects. Provided they haven’t scared the crap out of future opponents who may think they need to be avoided because it will hurt their marketability. Chatman has earned his right to face more opponents the caliber of Herrera.
Testing does not mean just the pretty boys of fighting, and or the local hometown favorite, but real hardcore fighters with balls and the desire to face all comers. How often have we seen fighters with a record of 15-0 fighting someone with a 26-23-0 record? Could it be said pretty often? How about fighters who never quite get that shining light yet because of their location, or actually look very good and perhaps too good, to ever get that break. Boxing is a tough sport and boxing fans realize that to make a great fight both boxers must be willing to put in the training time to perfect their skills, be willing to get into the ring with someone who can really test their heart. They must love to fight, fight to win, and rather die than give up.
Boxing has been given a black eye in the past by fighters who were not willing to go the distance, do the training, and make the sacrifices required of great fighters. How many times have the fans paid hard earned dollars to watch two “shinning stars” give an astounding ballet performance instead of a good nose to nose, blow for blow pugilistic contest who’s sole purpose is to discover who is the better combatant?
We see many fighters being brought along as carefully as a new product line from some high tech firm. Sure they fight, but who are they fighting? Are they real opponents? They all say they’ll fight anyone, any time, any place, but is that true? Too many fighters are brought along by being matched with unworthy opponents and when they finally do get that TV spot and meet someone of equal caliber just don’t do that well. Does the fighter really benefit by this practice? Do the fans get what they deserve for their hard earned dollar? Is the sport of boxing better for it? Are we spectators to the best that boxing has to offer?
Chatman and Herrera have earned their right to fight again and to fight opponents worthy of the class of professional fighters they are. Would fans love to see a rematch between these to titans of the ring? You betcha!!! Herrera will have to go back to the gym and hit it hard and wait for that next opportunity. Chris, with the help, guidance and the expertise of Mark Dion, Manny Melchor, and Carlos Ferreira will have to also be back in the gym preparing for that next fight, and hopefully due to his record not be passed over by those fighters deemed too marketable to face him in the ring.
As of this date Fox Sports has yet to show this main event, the best fight of the night. Why? It’s beyond me; I hope Fox Sports airs it soon so that boxing fans will get the chance to see what terrific fighters these two guys are and what a battle royal it was. Herrera had nothing to be ashamed of he fought with great heart against a great fighter and it so happened the better man won that night. Chris made an outstanding performance and fans deserve to see him again. He’s earned it and as with all great fighters he’ll go toe to toe anytime, anyplace with anyone. So who’s willing to step up and test him?
I have just been informed that Chris Chatman will be fighting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Mission Valley, San Diego, Ca. on November 18th. He will be facing hard hitting Lester Gonzales at the 154.0 lbs weight class for the California State Championship. Boxing fans are in for an opportunity to see this young fighter again.