Pro boxing career is next stop for Maldonado

Having recently won the regional Gold Gloves competition, Guillermo “Memo” Maldonado – a talented 165-pound amateur boxer who graduated from Enumclaw High School in 2004 – has decided to go professional next month.

A light-heavyweight who moves about a boxing ring with the deft grace of a ballerina but throws sledgehammer punches, Maldonado appears to have the boxing world’s equivalent of the Midas touch – nearly everything he has attempted has turned golden.

The reason could stem from what his parents ingrained into his psyche since early childhood, when he was growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“My folks repeatedly told me that if you are going to do something, never do it halfway. Always give it everything you’ve got,” said Maldonado, whose amateur record is 38-7.

“That is what I like most about boxing, you almost always get out of it what you put into it,” Maldonado said. “It is simply mind over matter. You push yourself to what feels like your limit and then you go a little beyond that.

“I can’t wait to go pro, because I am going to be getting paid for doing something I am good at and I love to do,” he said. “What could be better than that?”

While supremely confident, Maldonado is not naive enough to think he can be king of the ring forever. So, he is learning a trade by working at Enumclaw Auto Rebuilders in addition to attending auto body classes at Green River Community College, where he earned “Student of the Year” accolades in 2011.

Maldonado was discovered by Buddy Hallowell, who was exercising at the Enumclaw Wellness Center, saw Maldonado working out and recognized his promise and desire.

“Right away I saw the eye of the tiger and heart of a lion in Memo,” said Hallowell. “Greg Haugen, who was then the manager of the Boxing Barn on the Muckleshoot Indian Nation, saw him and he liked his spirit as well.”

Flip the calendar ahead seven years to the present time and Maldonado is being trained by the tough and burly Chissie Spencer, who is currently handling two of the best boxers in the region – Maldonado and his sparring partner Jorge Villa, who is just a bit heavier at 178 pounds and gives his pugilistic pal all he wants and more.

Spencer said the best weapons in Maldonado’s impressive arsenal are not only his devastating body punches, but also stunning jabs that bring bouts to an end once an opponent drops his hands.

“You can shake off head shots because amateurs wear cushioned helmets to avert serious injury,” Maldonado said. “But you can’t shake off blows to an exposed midsection. Those tend to get your opponent’s attention and leave a lasting impression.”

Maldonado can be poetry in motion as he bobs and weaves with an internal rhythm as smooth as spun silk. As he has learned boxing technique and honed his skills under the watchful Spencer, Maldonado has become an athletic artist, displaying his flashing, flickering glove arrangements in the boxing ring.


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