Backyard boxer follows his dream with father's support (Video)
April 28, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated April 28, 2012 at 11:29 p.m.
Going from backyard to boxing ring
17-year-old boxer Jessie Martinez Jr. practices in the family's backyard in a ring he and his father built. Together, the two compete work to build toward competing against other young boxers in the region and from around the state.
On his belt is more than a name. It's a tradition.
Jessie Martinez Jr. wears it in bold white letters across his waist as he steps into the ring against his opponents. They will all know the last name of the boxer who just beat them.
"I don't have to worry about picking up someone else's weight," said the young fighter, 17. "I just have to worry about what I'm doing in my fight, and that's it."
But the fighter affectionately known as Jessie Ray to his family comes from a much more humble scenario. He eschews the pro gym and even a roof to train under.
Martinez practices with his father, Jessie Sr., in the backyard of the family's home on Crestwood Drive, in a boxing ring he, his father and several family friends built themselves. Together.