On May 21, the Brawley Cattle Call Arena played host to the returning “Original & Baddest Battle of the Badges,” run by the La Gente Car Club.
This year, twenty-four fighters from all over the Imperial Valley, San Diego and Yuma, took part in the formerly annual boxing event. They represented groups like the Calexico Parks & Recreation Department, San Diego County Fire and the San Luis County Sheriff’s department near Yuma.
Proceeds from the event will go to the club’s youth boxing program, the Brawley Parks & Recreation department and the Brawley Police Athletic League.
The Battle of the Badges shows were the main fundraiser for the Brawley PAL, but shrinking budgets and time constraints have limited how much the organization can do. Brawley PAL, for example, sponsored traveling teams
In recent years, a group out of El Centro has run their own “Battle of the Badges” events. The phrase “Battle of the Badges” is not trademarked and any organization that has public safety officers participate can use the name.
Every fight of the evening consisted of three, three minute rounds.
The evening’s event began with Marcos Contreras (IC Sheriffs) defeating Jesus (Calipatria Fire). The second bout saw George “Pollo” Herrera from the US Border Patrol defeating Manuel Zavala from Chakawalla State Prison after three rounds.
Bout three had Marco “El Diablo” Valenzuela (Calexico Rec) defeat Gerardo Jubera (San Luis Sheriffs) with a second round KO while Joseph “Jo Daddy” Perez (US Navy) knocked out Calipatria Fire’s Bobby Duenas in the first.
The fifth fight had Antonio Lucero earn a third round decision against Luis Aguilar Jr. of the Westmorland Fire Department. This was followed by David Ramirez (Calipatria Fire) earning a decision over Jose “Nightmare” Rodriguez from Calipatria State Prison.
After a brief intermission, fight seven had US Marine Frankie Mejia lose to a first round knockout from Aaron Barrios (Calipatria State Prison). Fight eight had Jake “The Snake” Denson from La Gente defeat Felipe Lopez after a third round decision.
Angel “Green Machine” Valenzuela (Calipatria State Prison) took a split decision victory over Jesus Gonzalez (El Centro Police Department) in fight nine, followed by a second round forfeit as Eric Cueto (IC Fire) refused to fight against Calexico Rec’s Guadalupe Valenzuela.
In the semi-main event of the evening, Ricky Garcia (IC Fire) took an unexpected victory over Michael “Paqueton” Duffy (U.S. Army).
The Main event saw Ralph “Valley Boy” Ezpinoza (IC Sheriffs) defeat David Payanes of the San Luis Sheriffs department.
Judges at ringside included Steve Stodelle, Lupe Navarro and Franco Figueroa Jr. The referee was Franco Figueroa and the announcer was Antonio Camacho with ring girls “Yulianna” and “Taylor” on hand as well.