About thirty pool enthusiasts and boxing fans gathered inside
Garlic City Billiards
– some played, some just donated – in support of Robert
Knocking Out Leukemia
campaign with all proceeds going toward the Leukemia and
GILROY – Joe Garza can tell all his friends he went toe to toe with world champion boxer Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, and survived.
Garza didn’t just survive, he beat the Ghost.
Guerrero isn’t used to losing, in fact, he rarely suffers a defeat. But he gladly took his lumps at an 8-ball pool tournament fundraiser Wednesday night at Garlic City Billiards.
“I didn’t mean to do that, Robert,” Garza quipped after knocking Guerrero out of the tournament, taking two straight games against the champ. “I don’t have to play anymore. I have bragging rights.”
Jokingly, Guerrero smiled, “He took those rounds, didn’t he?”
About 30 pool enthusiasts and boxing fans gathered inside the local hang out – some played, some just donated – in support of Guerrero’s “Knocking Out Leukemia” campaign with all proceeds going toward the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for blood cancer research.
It was the second fundraiser in two weeks, the first, a wine tasting event in San Jose, which raised $2,000, publicist Mario Serrano said.
Wednesday’s event raked in $1,040, Serrano added.
“Every little bit helps,” he said. “We just want to create awareness.’
Aside from the $20 tournament entrant fee, there was a silent auction, with the main attraction a boxing glove autographed by Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton.
Bob Tapella, owner of Garlic City Billiards and longtime Guerrero family friend, opened his doors and played host for the event.
Ken Maeda, who came from San Jose, assisted in organizing the tournament bracket, noting that this was the easiest $20 donation he has made.
“It’s a good cause,” Maeda said. “Robert is always such a nice guy, the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.”
Some patrons stopped in just to give money, tossing cash into the bucket, saying a friendly hello and off they went.
Guerrero’s wife Casey, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007 and underwent a bone marrow transplant in February, was in attendance as well. The couple mingled with guests, all expressing wishes for a continued recovery.
The fundraising efforts of Guerrero and his camp are in coordination with the 2010 Man and Woman of the Year crusade organized by The Silicon Valley and Monterey Chapter of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“It’s not even about the Man of the Year for me,” Guerrero said. ” It’s about giving back to what helped save my wife’s life.”
Gift certificates for Bruce’s Tires were donated by Eric Howard and raffled off. Three bottles of wine from Sarah’s Vineyard also went to one lucky winner.
Guerrero hinted at a possible lightweight bout on July 31. Nothing is confirmed but Guerrero said it was “in the works.”
The fight would be the under card to the Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz showdown at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Guerrero was dominant in his first lightweight fight, picking up a technical knockout victory over Roberto Arrieta on April 30.