PHOENIXVILLE - Besides serving as executive director of the Phoenixville Area Police Athletic League (PAL) and helping serve as trainer for the young boxers in the Civic Center downstairs gym on Main Street, Jimmy Deoria has another important job in the boxing field.
The fulltime Schuylkill Township police officer serves as manager for current professional welterweight boxer Ronald Cruz, 27, of Bethlehem.
Deoria arranges fights for Cruz (20-3, 15 KOs), who just dropped a 10-round decision to veteran cross-state rival Kermit Cintron, 34, of Reading on March 15 at the Sands Casino Hotel in Bethlehem. Cintron is now 35-5-2 with 28 KOs.
Deoria formerly managed middleweight boxer Harry Joe Yorgey of Bridgeport through the PAL amateur program and then when he first turned pro. During that time, back in 2009, Deoria first began conversations with Cruz and started working with him at that time.
The joint venture has continued since then with each side making the 1 hour and 10-minute trips between Phoenixville and Bethlehem as well as numerous telephone calls and emails.
“Ronald is a good role model for the PAL program,” said Deoria. “He is the type of kid who you say, if he can do it, anybody can do it. Ronald came thrugh the amateur program and had limited experience, but he is doing quite well.”
The welterweight division is for boxers in the 147-pound weight range. It is an immensely popular division currently with heavy hitters like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao at the top of the bracket.
“Ronald has come down to meet our kids,” said Deoria. “He signs autographs now and then so it is a real neat thing. They can connect through me and with our PAL program. He has been on television a couple times. He has lived a good life, which is what we try to teach our kids. Stay off the streets and go to the gym every day. Then you can have success in the boxing world.”
Besides booking fights he considers at the proper level for Cruz, Deoria also arranges sparring sessions for the boxer. Deoria also assists regular Cruz trainer Lemel Rodriguez in the corner at sparring sessions.
“I bring my kids down to see his outside sparring,” said Deoria. “That’s pretty much how I’ve been working it. I am behind the scenes. I try to make sure he is treated fairly and gets the right opponents. He is steadily growing. He is a good, solid fighter. He is getting better each time out.”
The 5-foot 8-inch Cruz is currently ranked 18th in his weight class out of a field of 346 boxers in the United States. Cruz was born in Manati, Puerto Rico.
Cruz dropped the decision to Cintron, although many observers felt Cruz landed more solid punches during the bout. Cruz has had his last seven fights at the Sands in Bethlehem.
Cruz won 25 of his 28 amateur fights in a 13-month period from July 2007 through August 2008.
He captured the WBC Continental Americas welterweight championship with a 12-round decision over Prenice Brewer of Cleveland, Ohio, on June 1, 2012 at the Sands in Bethlehem.