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Calderon Is P.R. Boxer Of The Year, Other Notes

By Gabrielle Paese

January 24, 2003
Copyright © 2003 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved.

They're not the Grammys, but they have almost as many categories. The Puerto Rico Boxing Commission opened the envelopes this week on the 2002 awards and as expected, Ivan Calderon was named Boxer of the Year. The 105-pounder (14-0 with 3 KO) fought on everybody's undercard in 2002, closing out the year with two fights in December. Calderon, who fought seven times in 2002, is in line for a title fight in 2003, according to his promoter, Peter Rivera. He won the NABO (a regional) title in December on the Miguel Cotto-Ubaldo Hernandez undercard by defeating Nicaragua's Lee Sandoval.

Evangelista Cotto, trainer to Top Rank prospect Miguel Cotto, his nephew, was named Trainer of the Year. Miguel Cotto earned Prospect and Comeback of the Year honors while Best Boxing's Peter and Ivan Rivera were named Promoters of the Year. Fight of the Year: Who can forget Angel "Avispa" Chacon's upset over John Michael Johnson on Oct. 27 on the Sugar Ray Leonard fight card in Guaynabo. Most Dramatic Fight of the Year was no contest. Alberto de Jesus Trinidad came back to knock out Rafael Sierra in the third round of their undercard fight on Don King's Little Giants fight card in Carolina Aug. 24.

Castellvi and Vargas make NCAA headlines

University of Tennesse's Vilmarie Castellvi blew past the competition last week to win the Kickoff Classic in both singles and doubles in Las Vegas. Castellvi started the season ranked fourth in the NCAA. She was a silver medallist for Puerto Rico at the 2002 Central American-Caribbean Games in El Salvador.

Meanwhile, Penn State freshman Luis Felipe Vargas has already won the all-around competition in his school's first two gymnastic meets of the season in West Point and Army.

Florida blows whistle on Miami Christian

The Florida High School Activities Assocation blew the whistle this week on three Puerto Rican players recruited for the 2002-2003 school year basketball season by Miami Christian. Guillermo Diaz, Carlos Berrocales and Raul Orta were all declared ineligible and the organization is waiting for the school's basketball coach, Arturo Alvarez to show proof of the players' eligilibity. Diaz played both basketball and volleyball in the last school year with Bayamon Military Academy.

Expos ticket sales brisk

"Season" ticket sales for the Montreal Expos' 22-game homestand in San Juan for 2003 continued at a brisk pace since the sale started on Saturday. Promoter Antonio Munoz is virtually guaranteed of a sellout, although individual game sales have not yet started.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking source involved in the Montreal Expos' visit to San Juan revealed this week that Major League Baseball officials have virtually locked in Washington, D.C. as the city of choice for the Expos' scheduled move in 2005. You hear right, 2005.

According to the source, San Juan would again be a candidate for an Expos "season" in 2004.

Puerto Rico gears up for Caribbean Series

With the goal of sending the best two teams possible, Puerto Rico baseball teams general manager and former winter league president Joaquin Monserrate Matienzo organized a week of practices for a pool of available reinforcement players and pitchers.

With Venezuela out of the Feb. 2-7 classic due to political problems in that country, Puerto Rico will be fielding two teams ˆ the Mayaguez Indios and the Caguas Criollos, both of whom are still battling it out for the league title.

Monserrate Matienzo said his goal is to line up the best reinforcement talent available, especially to shore up both bullpens.

Puerto Rico's teams are traditionally short on pitchers at the Caribbean Series, with the island fielding more position players than pitchers in the major leagues. Because of the Winter League agreement with the major league's and the big leagues' desires to rest their hurlers' arms, few star pitchers get clearance from their clubs to see action in the local winter league or the Caribbean Series. Two cases in point this season: Joel Pineiro and Javier Vazquez.

Pitchers are going to be at a premium for this Series as Puerto Rico needs to fill out both Caguas and Mayaguez's rotations. Mayaguez has great native talent in Enrique Calero, who has had a steady season while Caguas has Jaime Navarro, Omar Olivares and Angel "Chimilon" Miranda.

Veteran Luis "Mambo" De Leon has already been assured a position on the rotation, mostly because he will break the Caribbean Series record for appearances this time out with 14.

The Caribbean Series gets under way with opening ceremonies Feb. 1 at Carolina's Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium.

"Igor" bio book published

Texas slugger Juan "Igor" Gonzalez was honored this week with his first biography written in Spanish by longtime personal aide Luis Rodriguez Mayoral. Mayoral has previously written biographies about the life of Roberto Clemente. The book chronicles Gonzalez's career with Texas and his one-year stints with Detroit and Cleveland as well as his return to Texas in 2002. Mayoral said the book is expected to be out in an English translation later this year. Proceeds of the book's sale go to charity in Gonzalez's impoverished Vega Baja neighborhood of Altos de Cuba.

Gabrielle Paese is the Assistant Sports Editor at the San Juan Star. She is the 2000 recipient of the Overseas Press Club's Rafael Pont Flores Award for excellence in sports reporting. Comments or suggestions? Contact Gabrielle at

Her Column, Puerto Rico Sports Beat, appears weekly in the Puerto Rico Herald.

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