In the minds of most people, spring break should be spent vacationing in a southern, warm-weather location with sunny skies overhead, ideally the beach.
Sometimes, though, the exact opposite is what happens.
Noe Mendoza Jr. of Weslaco, a 2016 Texas A&M graduate, started the Texas A&M Boxing Club in College Station almost two years ago. Noe Jr. and his father, Noe Mendoza Sr., served as coaches and took three of the club’s A&M students to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana during the past week for the 2018 USIBA National Tournament that involved boxers from more than 25 colleges.
The temperatures there were cold with snow on the ground — not the ideal setting for a spring break — but it was a milestone event for the club as its boxers fought at a national tournament for the first time.
Noe Jr. is now employed by A&M. He is the president and founder of what is considered the university’s first boxing club. He plans to enroll in the A&M Law School in the near future.
“My dad planted a seed in me while boxing in the amateurs in our gym at Las Brisas Boxing Club (in Weslaco),” said Noe Jr., who is a 2012 Weslaco East graduate.
Noe Sr. is the one behind Las Brisas Boxing Club, which always has stressed academics, he said.
“Our plans (for the A&M and Las Brisas clubs) are coming to fruition,” Noe Sr. said. “We push academics at Las Brisas Boxing Club, where passing grades on report cards pay (club) membership fees.”
The three fighters from A&M who competed at nationals last week were Ethan Clary of Killeen, Francisco Lara of Houston and Noah Douglas of Georgetown. Two of them reached the semifinals and the other was eliminated in the opening round.
“It has been a rich learning experience for us all, athletes and coaches alike,” Noe Jr. said. “Competing at the national level has exposed our team to the quality of collegiate boxing. The University of Illinois did a tremendous job in hosting the tournament and welcoming other teams.
“Our boxers have made Texas A&M history in its 140 years of existence,” he added. “Our program will continue growing for future Aggies. With this new experience, we’ll know what to expect in the future and we look forward to someday bringing Texas A&M its first collegiate boxing championship. Our goal is to gradually revitalize collegiate boxing and even the playing field for boxers to convert into student-athletes.”
Weslaco super lightweight Jose “JP” Prado earned a second-round knockout victory against Gene Perez on the undercard of Saturday’s Route to Glory boxing show at Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Prado improved to 9-2-1 with four KOs, while Perez, of Belen, New Mexico, fell to 2-12-1.
The Weslaco fighter was coming off a majority decision loss to Shoki Sakai in Pharr on April 22, 2017.
Mixed martial arts fighter Carlos Diego Ferreira (13-2), who fights out of Pharr, is scheduled to go against Igor Paiva, a Brazilian who now lives in Texas, just like Ferreira, on April 7 at the Richard Borchard Fairgrounds in Robstown. It will be a 180-pound title fight at the Pro Grappling Superfights (submission only). For more information, go to www.garciapromotions.com. Ferreira is coming off his upset victory Feb. 18 at UFC Fight Night 126 in Austin.
Mixed martial arts fighter David “Deejay” Fuentes (13-10) of McAllen is scheduled to battle Erik “Goyito” Perez (17-6) in a rematch on April 20 at a Combate Americas show in Monterrey, Mexico. Fuentes defeated Perez in STFC 11 in McAllen on May 28, 2010.
The STFC 46 mixed martial arts cage fighting show is scheduled May 18 at McAllen Convention Center. For more information, call (956) 562-2622 or (956) 414-8698.