It turns out there is a grandfather clause in boxing. As in, boxers who are grandfathers seldom win. Paul "The Marin County Assassin" Nave, proud grandpa and celebrant of his 51st birthday tomorrow, stepped into the ring Friday night
against a competent, 24-year-old professional boxer.
He did manage to step out, but he did so with a bloody visage and sans his elusive 20th professional victory.
Instead, undefeated Brandon Hoskins earned his 16th win -- and first over a "somebody
." It was a cool and blustery night under the lights at Albert Park in downtown San Rafael. Fog swirled through the quaint municipal stadium and steam billowed off the drenched combatants. It was a dramatic setting for a decidedly surreal event: a boxing match between opponents separated by a mere 26 years.
Even in his more youthful days
Nave was a boxer who absorbed punishment rather than avoiding it, and
battled to hand it back in-kind. This does not equate to a winning
formula when taking on a fighter less than half one's age: On Friday,
Nave's head and body were battered with a brutal assortment of punches.
But, true to form, he dished it out, too. In the second round, he fazed
Hoskins with a left hook, and landed a combination at the closing bell
that put the crowd of 1,200 locals on its feet, cheering for the
But Hoskins had a surprise for Nave. Namely, he was not right-handed.
Nave's corner told SF Weekly
after the fight that they only learned at the last minute that Hoskins is a converted southpaw who fights in a right-handed stance -- meaning his jabs and left cross carried unexpected power. Nave also struggled to make weight at 147 pounds, losing 11 pounds in the last two days before the bout-- including four on the final day.
Each of these would be a handicap for any fighter. But for a man in his 50s, the effect is magnified. The quicker Hoskins landed far more punches than the Marin favorite; Nave's attempt to bridge the difference with haymakers led to a number of awkward misses. And Hoskins' unexpectedly heavy hand opened up a bloody welt beneath Nave's eye midway through the fight. Hoskins spent the rest of the night aiming at it like a target.
Nave fought gamely to the end. As the bell rang at the close of the eighth and final round, both fighters were holding one another up while landing a flourish of body blows.
With the outcome of the bout in the hands of the judges, one had to wonder if Nave's status as a hometown hero, scion of a fantastically successful local family, and promoter of the event -- the list of major sponsors featured the family name at least twice -- would be a factor. But, on this night, the judges sided with the 24-year-old metalworker from Hannibal, Mo. Hoskins won a majority decision -- one judge scored the bout a tie, 76-76, but the other two went for Hoskins, 78-74 and 78-73.
After the fight, as the combatants and their corners milled about the ring, Hoskins' trainer requested Nave sign the gloves the younger fighter literally beat him with. As a fight official hurried everyone out of the ring with a shout of "We gotta go, we gotta go," it remains unclear if Nave will do the same. He has, thus far, remained noncommittal on whether the evening battle under the lights in Marin will be his last hurrah.
In other fight action, Fairfield's Lamont Williams turned around the match in the third round when he turned around Brent Urban's head. The Burlingame boxer was knocked into a faraway place by a crushing right hand, then chased around the ring, wobbling, before the referee halted the bout for a technical knockout. The dejected Urban removed his mouthpiece, spat out a massive quantity of blood, and proceeded to spit out a few choice expletives to boot.
Novato's Marquita Lee won her pro debut against San Francisco's Laura Deanovic with a unanimous decision, while Richmond's Luis Alfredo Lugo earned a majority decision over Hector Alatorre of Tulare.
In the debut match of the night, Jesus Partida of Redwood City and San Francisco's Denis Madriz battled to a draw in their respective pro debuts. Madriz's camp, however, claimed one of the judges improperly scored the final round, in which Madriz felled Partida, nearly ending the fight. They'll likely appeal to the state athletic commission.
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