This must be the season for WCB to reconnect with boxers we haven’t seen in MORE than a minute. While visiting the Maywood Boxing Gym prior to interviewing the Mayor of Maywood Boxing, Mando Huerta, I spotted a young man I immediately recognized. I remembered him mainly because his name is the same as my wife’s. This was René Anaya, whom I recall training with coach Shark at LAYAC. The old former jail that stood alongside the railroad tracks was run by one of the BEST guys I ever knew, he presided over the amateur coaches meetings, Mr. Johnnie Flores. Though in his late seventies at the time, this guy had loads of spunk and energy. Flores was a great trainer in his day as well, listing the outstanding Irish heavyweight Jerry Quarry as one of his MANY outstanding fighters. Talk about coming along at the wrong TIME, THAT was Quarry. Jerry was a (I’ll just SAY it) tough ass White boy. He COULD brawl and WOULD. My late great friend, Smokin’ Joe Frazier told me, “aside from Foreman, Quarry was one of the HARDEST punchers he ever fought”. Wanna’ see some REAL shit, YouTube Frazier’s fight with the Irishman. Joe said “Butch (my nickname), that was the FIRST mf that made me back up in a fight”.
But back to that gym for a minute. That was a STRANGE place. After it was no longer used as a prison, loads of movies were shot there. Rumor had it that the place was haunted and at night, you could hear voices as well as the cell doors closing and opening. Why ANYBODY would be THERE at night is a MYSTERY to me. But the place was a hotbed of activity for the amateur kids as well as a place where they held boxing shows.
I remember Anaya as a very talented kid and seemed to have a possibly bright future in tha’ game. Anaya was a pre teen at the time. Here’s the exchange that WCB had with Anaya.
WCB: Man, where the HELL have YOU been and what’s going on in your life?
RA: Well, I’m trying to get my boxing career restarted, I’ve been away for seven years, I was incarcerated (I thought he was gonna’ say, I was in CARSON) but now, I see it as a setback for a MAJOR come back. I was supposed to make my debut last month but I had to have shoulder surgery and now I’ve been back training for two weeks and just waiting for a new date. I plan on debuting at ’47 and then dropping down to ’40.
WCB: Is this where you always train?
RA: Yeah, I train here most of the time; my trainer’s name is Pablo Rubio. I also train at Santa Cruz’s gym in Montebello, tough guys out there, Don.
WCB: So when ’s your debut again….
RA: We’re looking at August, just waiting for my coach to tell me.
WCB: How old are you now?
RA: I’m THIRTY now, Don, can you BELIEVE it, man?
WCB: Time FLIES, doesn’t it? We coaches tell you guys time goes by fast and sometimes you guys don’t believe it. You guys think, “I’ve got plenty of time”, but that’s bullshit, there’s no such thing as, ‘plenty of time’. And I’m SURE you know, you have NO fk off time.
RA: I have NO time to waste Don, I have to catch UP with time. That’s why I’m training harder than I EVER have. I know where I’ve BEEN, where I’m AT and WHERE I’m trying to go.
WCB: Do you have a family….
RA: I have a family, I have a beautiful wife that waited for me the whole time I was incarcerated.
WCB: Man, that IS unusual.
RA: I have two kids, a son and a daughter and man, I’m just ready to make a comeback.
WCB: OK, young man, let me know when you’re gonna’ fight, we will BE there and if you know ANYTHING about my writing, I ‘say it like I see it’.
RA (laughing) yeah, I know Don and I’ll definitely let you know and I appreciate you talking to me and doing this.
WCB: My pleasure young man, handle your business.