I remember first meeting Diego. He was a tall “Rico Suave” pretty boy who wanted to give my class a try. I was pretty pumped because I was building a pretty good program at the time and was continuing to grow. I was curious to see what this pretty boy could do.

Diego was fast, strong, and had natural athletic ability. He was sharp as a tac on the mitts and started developing a “boxer’s” style. Diego was light on his feet, led with the jab, and blasted you with combinations. He became one of my studs. I officially had a boxing “wrecking crew” that included Jason, the Jacobs, Nico, little Nico, Tim, and Albert.

We were worked our butts off. We trained hard and had intense sparring sessions. They started developing into great fighters. It was an awesome sight seeing how much we supported one another. So I broached the subject of competing to my wrecking crew. Jason was my first competitor, then the Jacobs and Diego followed.

I remember getting Diego ready. Nico, Albert, Diego, and I swapped punches with one another round after round. Diego was my “boxer,” Albert was my “brawler,” and Nico was a little of both with some added power. We all made sure Diego was in great fighting shape. And in shape he was.

The day of the fight I was a nervous wreck. Diego was the second fighter I had ever coached enough to get to the level of competing. At the time I was still getting used to molding boxers. I had all these thoughts swirling in my head. Did I prepare him enough? Spar him enough? Give him enough mitt work?

I loaned Diego my amateur boxing uniform and walked him to the ring. Diego stepped up. He won. So did Jacob. I was super proud.

The fondest boxing memory I had of Diego was during one of our sparring sessions. It was like any other day where Diego and were going at it. That was until I dropped my right hand while attempting a left hook. and then it happened. BAM! I dropped right on my ass and flat on my back from a vicious left hook. At first I did not even know how I ended up on the canvas. Then it hit me. Diego dropped me like a bad habit. I was surprised but then ended up having a big smile on my face. I was proud. Proud he was my boxer.

Good luck to you and your family Diego. You’ll always be one of my original boxing studs. I’m proud of you my friend. Roll with the punches of life in Arizona. But just make sure you counter with that hard left hook...

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