One week after its grand opening, Pound 4 Pound Sports Fitness, the new boxing gym on Monterey Street was popping with the sounds of the sweet science.
Whap, whap—swap—pap, pap, pap!
“We’re here to build champions,” said Ruben Guerrero before the day sparring sessions started at the new gym opened by him and his Maricela, parents of former multiple world boxing champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero.
It was tough to tell that fighters Oscar Escandon and Pedro Cruz were sparing. Even with head and body padding, the shots each threw and absorbed appeared, and sounded, like both were fighting at full steam.
“I’d say they’re at 90 percent speed and 50 percent power right now,” Robert Guerrero said.
Like the fighters, Pound 4 Pound looks and sounds like it’s on full power. With the boxing ring, dozens of heavy bags, speed bags, mats, mitts, the new gym at 7648 Monterey St in Gilroy is slick, slim and powerful, just like multiple former world champion Robert Guerrero. It took about seven months to get to opening day, but there’s more to come.
“I’m turning this whole area back here into a full gym, with weights, cardio machines and a place for Crossfit,” Ruben Guerrero said while touring the unfinished back half of the building which had been the Discount Surplus store.
“We get kids from the streets, but we also take in kids from the YMCA and the Gilroy Youth Alliance,” Maricela said. “ We’ve also reached out to local high schools and the Gilroy Department of Parks and Recreation. We want to get kids off the street and keep them out of trouble.”
What makes Pound 4 Pound really pop, is the coaching. Aside from Ruben, who’s been training fighters for 40 years, coaches include former fighters Carol Siracusa and Pat Deleon. The Ghost, when he’s not working to train his 11-year-old son Robert Jr. or away at his job as a fight commentator for Fox Sports, is also a coach.
“It’s so cool, having a world champion around pumps me up,” said Justin Cardona an amateur fighter. “I’ve always looked up to him. He’s my favorite fighter.”
In the meantime, there’s plenty to do, from pro-fighters to budding amateurs, youngsters, the elderly, and regular Joes who are looking to change their exercise routines—anyone can learn to box, for the mind, body and the soul.
“We do something new every day, and I’m here for anyone who comes in the gym,” Ruben said. “In the morning we have kickboxing aerobics for adults. It’s great cardio for the heart, and it gets your blood pumping. It’s an hour of great training.”
As the fighters warmed up for an afternoon of sparring, Gilroyan Jim Balbas got in a morning workout. After a few minutes on the speed bag, sweat poured from Balbas’ body.
“It’s awesome, and if you’re trying to get in shape, coming here is very motivating, and it’s a welcoming atmosphere,” Balbas said. “Where else can a guy come in from the street and have guys like this helping you out?”
Ruben Guerrero has another purpose. He wants to continue to build a boxing legacy out of the youth of Gilroy, just like he did with his kids, just like Robert.
“We want to get people in shape and give kids someplace to go, instead of doing stuff on the streets that can get them in trouble,” Ruben said. “My goal is to build an Olympic team from the young kids here in Gilroy, just like my boys. We want to keep that legacy going. One day, we’ll have a gold medalist from Gilroy.”
While the Guerrero’s want to train a new generation of champion fighters, they are running a business. Full access memberships at Pound 4 Pound costs $120 a month for 6-month or 12-month contracts, $140 for a one-month membership, or $20 to work out for the day. Still, they look for ways to defray the cost to make the gym accessible for those who can’t afford memberships.
Pound 4 Pound, at 7648 Monterey St in Gilroy is open Monday through Saturday. Class schedules and prices can be found at pound4poundgym.com.