Amateur boxing still is alive and well in Baytown.
Jesse Davila is aiming to not only help his own career, but also the profile of Almaraz Boxing, 706 N. Alexander, No. 8, with a recent string of successes.
On June 15, Davila, a super welterweight at 152 pounds, recorded a win over DePriest Johnson during a “Crown the Champions” event in Texas City.
Davila is now 15-3 with two knockouts, with the win. The fight was sanctioned by USA Boxing.
Davila is coached and trained by Pete Almaraz.
A lifelong resident of Baytown, Davila, 22, has boxed for just under 10 years and might have done it even longer if not for initial hesitation.
“I always liked boxing, but I was just too shy to join the gym,” Davila said. “My dad convinced me at 13 and ever since then all I did was boxing, go to work and school.”
The sport always drew him in as he watched the sport with his family since he was a little boy.
Boxers tend to carry a high-level of personal aggression, but Davila believes he is the antithesis of that common theme.
“When I am in the ring, sparring or training, they ask me if I get mad when I get hit, but no,” Davila said. “It takes a lot to get me mad. I just enjoy it. Boxing is an art. You can’t play boxing. You can play football and basketball, but not boxing.”
His recent win over Johnson would be considered an upset.
“I fought one of the top guys in Houston,” Davila said. “Everyone expected me to lose and I won pretty convincingly.”
The fight was more of a “show” where Davila said the promoters recruited top and up-and-coming Houston-area boxers to be a part of the event.
Almaraz has been involved in Davila’s life for the past decade.
“He is very dedicated especially these recent years,” Almaraz said. “With this fight he has shown what he is by beating a tough opponent. It was his toughest fight yet as he came off the ring with his belt. He trained for this fight like no other sparring our other great Boxer Guillermo Almazan and professional boxers from Houston like Jimmy Strickland who is undefeated.”
Davila started boxing with Almaraz Boxing in 2014. He currently works as a pipefitter while taking courses at Lee College.
“We are training him harder than ever,” Almaraz said. “I was also his coach at another gym and I have been there since he first started boxing. He is a great kid who will someday be a champion coming out of Baytown.”
Davila has his eyes now set on Alex Donis, who is considered a top fighter in his weight class.
“We’ve been trying to fight him,” Davila said. “He is the best boxer in the Houston area.”
Davila will keep fighting and has another one set for late July, but the details are still to be determined.
He is still weighing his options about becoming a professional, but he is taking a pragmatic approach.
“It’s up to me,” Davila said. “If I wanted to be a pro, I would have to quit my job and it takes a lot of dedication. If I went pro and I got knocked out in my first fight and I quit my job? You have to be 100 percent. It’s a hard decision. If I want to make a living getting punched in the face.”
A win over Donis could push him closer to that choice and maybe bring more sponsorship and promoters.
“I have to keep training and stay in shape – not eating pizza and burgers,” Davila said. “That’s the one thing I hate – dieting. That’s one thing that’s hard to let go, the food.”