Jonathan Chicas stood in the back of the 3rd Street Boxing Gym in San Francisco at 5:30pm last Tuesday afternoon. The mood was jovial as Chicas introduced me to other professional boxers in the gym, talking about the strength of each. Jonathan Chicas is a man who dealt with juvenile court problems in his adolescence only to find boxing could steer him in a direction of fitness and structure that refocused his life and created a tireless worker.
It was Chicas’ third workout of the day, yet one of the most important as he was fine tuning aspects of his craft, after sparring earlier in the day. Earlier that day, Chicas had gone through tough sparring with a top contender and looked no worse for wear as he smiled about the experience. It is with great pride Chicas told me who he sparred and simply smiled when I asked how he fared against each foe. For Chicas, July 18th can’t come soon enough as he is looking to put on the performance of a lifetime in his hometown of San Francisco, CA at the SF Armory in the Mission District. The fight will be broadcast on national television on Fox Sports 1
Chicas, a proud El Salvadorian, who still visits his native country yearly, was raised in San Francisco, CA and wants this night to be special. Chicas has been working with Oscar Rivadeneira, the 1980 Light Heavyweight Champion and feels that the teachings of Rivadeneira will be the difference that will take him to the next level.
“I have one of the best trainers. I met him at Straight Forward Club (the former Ben Bautista run boxing gym in San Francisco). [Rivadeneira] just moved here and was looking for work and he got a job there. I am very lucky.” On top of the technical instruction, Chicas has added a new element to his training, strength and conditioning coach, Mike Bazzel which has helped with his explosiveness and especially the left hook. The end result is Chicas is on a two fight KO streak, something he hasn’t had going since December of 2011
“I feel that my punches are more accurate over the last two fights.” Chicas stated when asked what had changed. Watching Chicas practice his left hook was like watching a man bushido practicing his technique to kill. It was beautiful, tactical and violent all at once. Multiple times people in the gym would stop their workouts to see who was making all that noise in the ring.
Yet it is not all sunny skies and optimism for Jonathan Chicas. The harsh fact is that no matter where he goes, his knockout loss to Moris Rodriguez in December of 2012 still lingers over his head. Moris Rodriguez is a heavy handed puncher, who struggles against boxers and excels against people who meet him head on. He got the best of Chicas in a wild exchange in the third round. Rodriguez also is a slightly above .500 fighter, which didn’t help matters much.
Since then Chicas’ opposition has been a bit tame, with the exception of Rodolfo Armenta, who posed a lot of the same problems Moris Rodriguez had, but Chicas stopped him in the first round. It was a jab-straight-left hook that dramatically altered the course of that fight. It was Chicas’ first real solid punches that landed. Chicas overjoyed ran laps in the ring as the crowd roared. It was as though Chicas had not just shown his power that some questioned, but to a certain extent, he showed people he could fight power puncher with his style.
Chicas is going to be on Fox Sports 1 for the second time and, quite frankly, he did not live up to expectation in his first outing on the broadcast. Chicas took on Joaquin Chavez, a man who had never been stopped and had a good fight getting the win, but not one that created a name for him on TV. Chicas knows this and his preparation is now ten-fold. At 13-1, six of those wins coming by knockout, Chicas is on the fringe of being a regular on your television screen. He demands you know his name. Chicas has never had anything easy in his life and as I watched him hit the double end bag I saw his fast hands throwing six punch combos without missing a bit. I understand just how much work he has put in.
It is Jonathan Chicas’ moment to make a name for himself on the biggest fight card in the Bay Area this summer. Chicas will face a tough test in undefeated Manny Robles, a frequent feature on Elie Seckbach videos, as well as a highly acclaimed prospect. The fight has the making of being one of the most competitive of the summer and also is a fight that puts one fighter in the position to challenge for a regional title while the other regroups.
For those who have been harsh on Jonathan Chicas, they should fall silent now. Chicas is taking his toughest test to date in his hometown and when others may have opted for an easier fighter to look good in front of friends and family. As Chicas finished up his final workout of the day, I found it hard not to cheer for this man who created his own destiny and forces himself through a hellish schedule of training that many would not want to try. For Chicas, this is both an introduction on the major stage, as well as redemption. Too many have doubted his ability since December of 2012.
Tickets will be available shortly on PacoPresentsBoxing.com or 3rd St Boxing Gym in San Francisco or Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos, CA.