By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
“I painted my first oil painting when I was 9. I just love art. I love the history of art ... all the great painters. That’s one of the things that I love about boxing — it’s an art form: the sweet science.
“I’ve done all kinds of art — landscape, abstracts. And then I got really into birds. For one year, I got really into painting nothing but owls. In oil ... some acrylics. Another year, I got very deeply into clowns. I would paint happy clowns, sad clowns. To me — my art is very personal. I relax by painting.”
Tovar Martinez, who is as quick with a smile or a joke as he is with his jab, is more reserved when it comes to discussing his boxing career. “I had a very short career, only three professional fights. Sometimes I wish I could go back and do it differently. But there are no second chances in life. And there are no regrets either.”
Tovar Martinez continued to work in professional boxing for several years, sparring with professional fighters, including world champions. At 27, he started working as an administrator for the World Boxing Council. Before long, he was supervising matches all over the world and ran several world-championship bouts. But having a wife and kid at home didn’t jibe with globetrotting for the WBC. Coaching enabled Tovar Martinez to work closer to home and realize his true calling.
There is an economy to Tovar Martinez’s speech — he chooses his words carefully and applies them deftly, like a good fighter picking his shots in the ring. But when it comes to the most intimate experience of his life, the floodgates open.
“I delivered my little baby girl,” he says, smiling. “She’s 5 months old now. My second wife, April, was pregnant and the baby was coming. She said, ‘Call an ambulance!’ She wasn’t going to make it to the car. She was scared and in pain. And she let out a yell ... I’ll tell you, I’ve never heard anything like that before in my life ... I get chills now just thinking about it. I knew I had to do this — now. I had called 911, but when I heard that yell, I dropped the phone and came to her side. It’s do or die. If I panic, the baby dies. Maybe April dies. I said, ‘Do not faint, baby ... push ... push ... you have to push, baby.’ By the fourth push, the baby’s head came out. By that time, I was in the zone. Something happened to me, and I honestly think that God was there with me. I was just so focused. With a little help, she came completely out, and in two to three seconds after she came out, she was crying, which was the most beautiful sound I’ve heard in my life. That sound was telling me that my baby was alive and well.”
Photo by Kevin Scanlon
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