Tough Guys Dance, with Bobby Martinez
From Stab issue 62: One year since his televised career suicide, Bobby reflects on life as a recreational surfer and boxer.
Words by Derek Rielly, photos and video by Morgan Maassen.
If I’m going to be honest, I’ll admit I would’ve thrown Bob Martinez on both covers and on both introductory pages. Even in this world that we inhabit where it ain’t worth anyone’s time unless it’s a Big Spin or a 25-foot paddle-in at FrankenJaws, Bobby feels just a little different.
For one, he comes at us from such an obtuse angle. Mexican, but not exactly born in Mexico, like a third-generation American, and, second, he’s just so anti…anti…it’s hard to exactly pinpoint where the fever comes from, but it’s there. Maybe it’s just that homeboy is a homeboy and he never really wanted to leave the upper westside in Santa Barbara.
The only reason he ain’t on page one, surf, as well as every other page on the wish list, is ‘cause, well, he doesn’t surf for the cameras often and when he does, like four weeks ago when his hometown point, Rincon, lit up, he caught two waves, and then beat it back to the beach and the arms of his gal Cleo and paws of his last-dog standing Rio.
What we do have photos of is of Bob’s love of boxing. And, boxing ain’t nothing but style. You can UFC all you want, but when it comes to the dance, in the ring, between two tough guys, that shit is magnificent.
So, you ask Bobby about boxing and he gets a little poetic, too: “I love the fact that it’s there’s so much to it. All those tiny little movements you just don’t see make a big difference. The way that people move and the things they do with their body to generate power and to generate speed. I feel like there’s so much depth in doing these little things that it’s endless.”
And, the will to survive, he says, there ain’t nothing like it it. Here, let him explain: “For me, when I got hit really hard in the head, it was like you go black for a minute, then you wake up. And, after the blackness your whole body is tingling. It’s like a floating sensation from your head to the bottom of your feet to your fingers. And, then, when you get hit in your body, when it’s a shot you feel, it sucks the life out of you. You just want to curl up in a ball and you can’t move. The pain those guys, the best boxers, go through, there’s no other sport like it. No other sport, whatsoever. No one knows, only the guys know who participate in it. I don’t even know it to the extent of what those guys are feeling! But, what I’ve felt is… is… fucken…
Even Bobby, who trains four days a week, 90 minutes non-stop each sesh, can’t explain it…
“I feel like to b a great boxer you have to be very poor. I feel like fighters who are fighting for something, there’s something deep down in them that just make ‘em tick. They’re fighting their own pain in a sport filled with pain. I just don’t see a normal civilian doing it who has a great life. I’ve never heard of a middle-class or rich person wanting to put themselves through that much pain to get somewhere in life. It’s never been like that and it never will.”