From the Vault: Follow the Balderas brothers’ boxing careers from youngsters to pros


“Their father and I were concerned,” said David Balderas, uncle to Jose and Karlos and the brother of their father, Zenon. The boys were put on a diet of boiled eggs, fruit and vegetables and they were able to make weight. However, once at the Desert Showdown in Coachella, considered one of the top youth boxing contests in the nation, the boys were still struggling with their weight and conditioning. 

So, after their second-round fights, the boys needed some extra training. “They had to cut some more weight to make the championship fight,” David Balderas said then. That meant a three-mile run the day before the fight… in triple-digit weather in the desert. The boys had run three miles just about every morning for two months leading up to the tournament, but this was different. 

“We ran in the morning,” David Balderas said. “It still was 115 degrees.” David Balderas, a former boxer himself, was in decent shape but not able to complete the run that morning. “I had to quit,” David said. Jose and Karlos, meanwhile, finished the run. 

“I was just really tired,” Jose said then. 

“I just fell asleep right after,” Karlos said. 

The brothers continued rising up the youth boxing ranks. By early 2010, Karlos was a seven-time national champion. Fresh off a win at the Silver Gloves Regional Tournament, Karlos said he and Jose “train every day” and were readying to move up to the 85-pound weight class. 

“The Balderas brothers follow the same routine weekday after weekday,” a Times article from sports writer Kenny Cress from Jan. 28, 2010 said.”School at Santa Maria High for Jose. School at Arellanes Junior High for Carlos. Then it’s homework, training, dinner, and, possibly, more homework.”

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