Remembering Rob Quijano, A Boxing Writer Gone Far Too Soon.
Coming up on the Northern California boxing scene is a thankless grind. Sure, you get lucky and see the occasional star-like Andre Ward, but mostly, you’re set to see a lot of pitfalls, inevitable declines and just flat-out bad boxing. Covering boxing in Northern California is a way to learn the sport, because staying in Northern California solely will be a dead end for a future in the boxing business, unless you know the right people, and that takes traveling. So, in short, if you go to enough shows you better learn the sport, because the business of the sport is more than likely not rolling through the major cities of our region.
I first met Rob Quijano, who wrote for Boricua Boxing, he was friends with Erik Killin, a great boxing photographer, and the first person in Northern California who opened doors for me on the club level, and would often be in the same circles as Mario Cabrera Jr., and Jerry Hoffman, Hoffman sadly isn’t with us anymore either.
Quijano was the first one to the event, and took notes of the fight. Something that still amazes me to this day, as the fights were often one-sided, and a commitment to professionalism at the local level – is always something I take note of, if I see it.
My fondest memory of Quijano was his undying passion and belief in fellow Puerto Ricans, especially fighters, case and point Wilkins Santiago, a hard-luck Ohio fighter who had hit the slammer, gotten out and was training at Virgil Hunter’s gym. Quijano waked him to the ring waiving the Puerto Rican flag for his bout against Luis Alfredo Lugo in 2014 at the Pleasanton Fairgrounds. In small market club shows, any level of theatrics will go a long way, and seeing Rob walk him to the ring was one of the more notable things of that year.
This is sadly becoming far too common, losing people I know, in the middle of this pandemic.
“A Separate Peace”, by John Knowles, first explained to me loss, and then as it resurfaces time-and-time again, I often think back upon the words from that book.
“Nothing endures, not a tree, not love, not even a death by violence.”
It was morbid when I was 16-years-old, but now it is far too real. Sometimes sheer honesty feels brutal and harsh, but it is actually kind and true, and it is prepping you for harsh realities ahead of anyone.
This now marks the second year in a row, I have lost a friend in the media during Christmas, last year it was my good friend, Cynthia Saldana, and now this year it is Rob.
I don’t know what happened, I don’t want to speculate, I just want people to know it happened, and know he meant a lot to the boxing community.
For an example of his work, look at his piece on San Jose, California boxer, Arturo Quintero, in which you can see how he covered the sport.
For fight fans in the Bay Area, and Northern California, this is very sad news. We miss you already, Rob. – Lukie.