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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Contender Winner - "Dreams come true."

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.
Somewhere over the Rainbow

Sergio Mora is a Millionaire Tonight.

Sergio, Mora beat Peter Manfredo tonight in the nationally televised conclusion match-up of NBC's most recent reality series, The Contender. Peter Manfredo came to the fight with an impressive ranking of third in the world. Peter grew up around boxing rings all his life and came back with something to prove when he lost the very first fight to Alfonso Gomez. His father was a great boxer in his own right. The man was able to take a beating a he could give as good as he could get. In the end, skill speed and power delivered by the Latin Snake proved to be the winning combination; Mora came to box, Manfredo came to wrestle.

I really thought the final fight would end up being a show down between Alfonso Gomez and Sergio. Alfonso is going to be a force to recon with in the future. He is a smart fighter who does not back down. His combinations are as beautiful as they are methodical. As with Sergio Mora, Gomez' boxing skills prevailed over Jesse’s power. Nevertheless, this battle showed Jesse Brinkley was a worthy opponent. He is a smart kid and packs a hell of a right. For his efforts, Alfonso Gomez is Two-Hundred-Fifty-Thousand dollars richer. I still maintain the finial fight should have been between Alfonso and Sergio.

I know some people find Boxing to be a brutal sport and there is no doubt that severe damages often manifest themselves much later in Boxer's lives. All I can say in response is these young men did what they had to do. This match provided them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty. Their courage is a testimony to the human spirit. There is no doubt these kids came up from the lowest ranks of society and out of America's mean streets. It is a different world where they come from. Life in a poor neighborhood is about survival and having the ability to defend your-self has its rewards. Jesse Brinkley said it best, "Shut up, Put up or go home."

Tonight, these young men earned their right to take their shot at winning a million dollars and a brand-new Truck. They showed a lot of heart and the better fighter prevailed. I respect these young men for their efforts. I have seen countless kids such as these who had the skill but lacked an opportunity. They never figured out a way to escape poverty. While the victory is compeling and filled wth emotion, the reality is actually sad; poor kids fight and people pay to see it.

I particularly admire these kids level of intelligence, commitment to their families and a whole lot of heart. Their respective personalities were nothing like the fictional character portrayed by Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky movie series.

Sergio Mora is a street-wise kid from East LA with a love for literature. Tonight, he proved his mettle with a convincing defeat of the East Coast powder keg from Providence, Rhode Island. Sergio is a brilliant kid and stands as a perfect example of what kind of people live in the barrios across America. All Sergio needed was a chance. Sergio referenced Brazilian Writer Paul Coelho’s, The Alchemist and rightly drew the analogy between himself and the central figure in the story, a Shepard named Santiago. Reflecting on his journey to the million-dolllar fight he found what Santiago did in the end; all the answers lie within.

Sergio said, “I have a chance to change her life. I have a chance to save my brother’s life. I have a chance to change my life.” My hope is that Sergio uses this win as a stepping stone to something other than a career in boxing. I hope this kid uses his money to acquire a much coveted University education. I hope he invests his winnings wisely. One thing is for sure, his mother will not be cleaning rich people's homes come tomorrow morning. Fortunately, Sergio has escaped a life of povery. Unlike children growing up in the same neighborhood as he did, his yet-unborn children will not have to rely on the myth of 'No Child Left behind.' Never mind that California and moreover, the United States have turned their backs on the poor people in this country because money fails to follow federal mandates. Sergio relied on what every kid in East LA has been forced to rely on; wits, courage and self-determination.

Congratulations Sergio - Dreams indeed do come true.


At Tue May 24, 09:18:00 PM MDT, Blogger Scott said...

Awesome fight, both fighters deserve to be congratulated!

At Tue May 24, 09:30:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Yes Scott - I wish they could all have won a million dollars. I feel bad for the kid who committed suicide though. These kids are facing serious adversity. the upshot is two kids made it out of the slums.

Be Safe

At Tue May 24, 11:58:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was happy for Sergio because he showed a lot of heart by fighting trough adversity. Sergio sustained a bad cut over his left eye, which nearly cost him the fight. I agree with you Scott, both fighters deserve to be congratulated. I could only imagine how difficult it was for every fighter to compete against each other despite the fact that they lived with one another troughout the series.

At Wed May 25, 08:04:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...


That's the appeal of boxing. It is one man against another. There is still potential for a dirty fight but truthfully. There is a certain beauty in showing up to a fight prepared to meet a worthy opponent.

Please don't get me wrong; I do not love fighting. Anymore, I consider it a necessary evil. I have found words can pretty much avert most physical confrontations. While, in my younger days, I was quick to rise to any slight or insult. These days I pick my battles. I am much slower to anger. I don't go around looking for a fight. However, I will definitely finish it once it is started.

It s kind of amusing that I have gone through great efforts to cultivate all this education and I have, as a necessary requisite of my line of work, acquired discipline and restraint but, one thing is true in my case; when push comes to shove - you can take the kid out of the barrio but you cannot take the barrio out of the kid.

All that aside, I am glad my son is not like me in that regard. He pretty even-keeled and laughs at me when I am ready to 'throw down.' I grew up in the lower class. My son was raised in the middle class.

There's an educator named Ruby Payne that wrote a book called, "A Framework for Understanding Poverty" - that book is incredible - it pretty much explained why I react the way I do to threatening situations. In my law enforcement years, I found that book to be pure wisdom - because, with the exception of white collar crimes - a disproportionately large number of offenses perpetrated by young, poor and males; socially, they operate different social constructs. They come from neighborhoods, 'the mean streets' if you will, where fighting skills are not only part of every day survival but are determinants of social standing within that subset of the population. Unfortunately, what works on the mean streets can have disastrous, if not deadly consequences with police where a survival skill can be misinterpreted as defiance.

I used to take great pains to bring that issue to light. Like it or not, Police or any other Law Enforcement personnel represent a different social class - the middle class. As such despite the reality that most police come from the ranks of the poor, they belong in the middle class – that is how they are acculturated and that is the mentality they adopt for their paradigm in dealing with life. Like people who ‘get’ religion, they become it’s most ardent supporters,willing to defend it to the death if neccessary – I think because it represents a shift away and stepping up from the social class of poverty. So, interactions between the majority of offenders and police are clashes of culture. Once my offenders realized that and I realized that, we had a place that we could work from. We were able to communicate more effectively. I called it treating them with dignity. They called it treating them with respect. Similar words but very different underpinnings.

At Fri May 27, 10:28:00 AM MDT, Blogger Lorena said...

I love this post! I also was very impressed by all the fighters and I have never been into boxing accept the men in the show caught my attention for how humble and big-hearted they were. I was rooting for Sergio and was happy he won :) Alfonso and Sergio - that would have been a good fight. I'm glad they both won that night.

"Mora came to box, Manfredo came to wrestle." That is what I noticed but I couldn't put it into words!! I mean they seemed to be attaced to each other the whole night :) great writing.

At Fri May 27, 04:16:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Thank You Lorena,

I'm not much of a fighter ... anymore - However, I did come out of the mean streets of Albuquerque. I am luckier than most, because the lion's share of people who came out of my neighborhood ever made it past their twenties and if they did, they ended up in and out of jail as well as prison.

I hope you keep stopping by.

Be safe,


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