2012 in review: 2013 can’t get here fast enough

31 12 2012

2012. It’s over. Thank goodness.

I’d rather forget a lot of what happened this year. Lots of dead ends and roadblocks as far as the career. Still dealing with high cholesterol. Working too hard for too little money and missing quality time with loved ones.

But no living in regret. Only moving forward and trying to be positive. It really wasn’t all bad.

This was the year that my first child was conceived. The baby will be here at the end of February or early March, if it goes to term!

This was the year I saw my first Las Vegas superfight(s) in person. It was also the year I watched my Oregon Ducks finally win a Rose Bowl, standing in one end zone on the moist grass of the stadium in Pasadena watching the clock run out on Wisconsin. I lost my great aunt Agnes Romero earlier that New Years Day. It was bittersweet.

I taught/advised for two classes at Arizona State in 2012. Enjoyed both. Working with students was very rewarding. And I always make it a good time.

I traveled to El Paso, Texas, for the first time ever. I could have thrown a rock into Mexico in two places where I was.

2012 took me back to Washington D.C. for work, but also allowed for the chance to see friends and family.

In September I rode a hot air balloon for the first time. Probably the last, too, but I can say I did it and what majestic views I had from the air over the Valley of the Sun.

Over the Valley of the Sun in a balloon.

Over the Valley of the Sun in a balloon.

In the basket up high in the sky.

In the basket up high in the sky.

The view from above Cave Creek, AZ.

The view from above Cave Creek, AZ.


I went to a NASCAR race for the first time. It was actually more entertaining in person than on TV.

My wife really did a lot for us this year. All that and carrying a baby for months.

The year ended, strangely, so similar to how it began. With the Oregon football team. From Pasadena on Jan. 1 to Scottsdale for Fiesta Bowl media day.

2013 will bring major changes thanks to Baby Romero. But they will be welcome changes. It’s definitely time for something different. For my own family being my biggest reason for living.

Wishing a Happy New Year to everyone, and God bless. PS Thanks Mayans for… well whatever. The world didn’t end so I get to see my child grow up!


“The Avengers” was good, and seeing Las Vegas in a new light

12 05 2012

Let’s go with the most recent occurrence first. My wife and I went to see The Avengers Friday night – were we like the last people in America besides the people in the theater with us to see this? Oh well.

Good movie. A lot of action. Funny lines, especially from Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark’s Iron Man. Thor is kind of lame, I like Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, especially when he slammed Loki back and forth like a rag doll.

The Captain America movie was really good, I thought, but his role was pretty secondary in The Avengers. And ScarJo > Pepper Potts any day.

Moving on to Vegas, it’s been a week since the big Mayweather-Cotto fight and I have to say, being in Vegas as a media member with a pass to go places the average person cannot is a much better way to roll. I didn’t see all of the celebrities that apparently attended the fight, nevertheless, it was a lot of work but a pretty good time.

Honestly, Vegas is fun, but it costs so much to go nowadays. You want to feel like you get what you pay for, and you’re really paying a lot for a four-star hotel. Especially during a fight weekend. Cab fares are tremendously expensive and they add up.

Three positive reviews from Sin City: The Trump Hotel just off the Strip near the Wynn is fantastic. Such a nice suite I had, unforgettable. Good cheap eats during happy hour (I was there around 5 p.m.) at Pink Taco at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. I ate very well for about $14.50 including a really good tip for my server. And the Japanese cuisine at Grand Wok and Sushi Bar inside the MGM Grand was a bit pricey but delicious.

Tempura shrimp sushi, beef rice noodles and these lettuce wrap type of things. Solid.

Photos from Vegas:

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Boxing thrives in Phoenix

4 04 2012

I feel confident I can say that boxing is kind of a big deal in Phoenix.

The two nights of pro fights I’ve attended have had good crowds. I’ve been to gyms and seen so many young kids in the ring or hitting the speed bag or working out. Local promoters work hard and those fighters who are barely beginning their pro careers already have followings.

There hasn’t been a real big name in the ring from here since Michael Carbajal, but Jose Benavidez Jr. looks to be on his way to stardom and there are plenty of young pros coming up.

But what really convinced me that boxing is in good standing here is when I humbly accepted  an invitation to attend an afternoon of amateur fights at the Victory Outreach Center in west Phoenix this past Saturday. I didn’t know what to expect going in, but the place was completely packed and people were being turned away at the door. Seriously. Every seat.

It was Arizona fighters vs. California fighters, for the most part. Some thirty or more fights featuring young punchers from ages 8 to 22.

Michael Carbajal was introduced before the first fight.

My friend Juan introduces Michael Carbajal to the crowd.

The first fight was between two girls, 11-year-olds, in the 90-pound weight class.

If you didn’t think they took boxing seriously, then you didn’t see Alexis, the kid from Phoenix, began sobbing when she reached her family in the seats. The judges ruled that her opponent had won the fight and she stood tall and left the ring, but the tears just flowed and her family wrapped her in warm embraces.

It almost made me tear up, too.

Two 8-year-old boys were next, and a guy who must have been related to the smaller one kept yelling “Go Pacquiao!” The smaller boy was clearly the fan favorite and fought hard, but the judges awarded the decision to the bigger kid, and there were a few boos.

I thought to myself that the future of boxing looks pretty bright here. So many clubs and young fighters.

The best fight I saw before having to duck out to go to work was the one between 110-pounders Edgar Ortiz and Abraham Zamora (below). There was a standing-eight count, a furious rally of punches in the third and final round and ultimately a stoppage of the fight. People were really into that one.

All in all, I was glad to be there. And impressed by the turnout and devotion to the sweet science.

Many reasons to like September

31 08 2011

As we bow out of August and roll into September, why not start this with an Earth Wind and Fire classic?

I like September because it reminds me of the first signs of autumn, except where I live the leaves don’t change colors or fall off, but at least I have that memory from being in the Pacific Northwest.

I like September because college and pro football are getting started.

I like September because baseball playoff races get exciting.

I like September because of Labor Day, even if I haven’t had one off for a while. Someone’s cooking somewhere, and I’m eating!

I like September because there’s usually a big boxing event in Vegas every year in the month. This year it’s Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz. I hope Ortiz flattens Pretty Boy Floyd and shuts his ever-yapping mouth. Time for him to be humbled.

Speaking of boxing, did you see what Oscar de la Hoya revealed?  Wow. I’m not surprised about the marital infidelity, but the drugs and alcohol were shocking to me. Always had a lot of respect for Oscar and I hope he gets help for his issues. He made bad choices but he’s human and America loves a comeback, right, Michael Vick/Plaxico Burress fans?

I like September because it’s my sister’s birth month. But I miss being around more often for her celebrations. Sorry, Shelli.

I like September because soccer in the U.S. is heading down the stretch, and just getting going around most of the rest of the world.

Hope everyone had a good August — mine was very busy — and wishing you all a happy September.



Noche de Boxeo Profesional en Arizona

12 06 2011

I have always liked boxing. It takes precision, talent, skill. It is a sport of passion and interaction with fans. It is part of my Mexican heritage, as Mexicans and Mexican Americans — Latinos period —  have a grand tradition in the sport.

Saturday night my wife and I went to Wildhorse Pass Casino in nearby Chandler to see a young man I wrote about earlier this month, Jose Benavidez Jr. When I interviewed him, he struck me as pretty polished and well-spoken for being only 19. He also seemed hungry (for a title) and humbled by the support of his family, friends, fans and management team.

There were five other bouts on the card, and having not been to more than a couple of fight nights, this one was pretty good. It had elements of a Vegas-style event — passionate fans, round card girls, loud (and) good music, grand entrances and most important, quality fights with some good young talent coming up in the game.

Benavidez won his fight, despite having two injured hands. Good to see so much support for a local kid from Phoenix who has a bright future.

Here are some photos video from last night at the casino…

Alexis "Beaver" Santiago (left) vs. Carlos LuQue. Beaver got a unanimous decision.

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