It was the bench of solitude. The black wooden pew rested against a wall of Richard Barrientes Jr.’s burgeoning Pound4Pound Boxing Gym and often elicited derision. Either one or the other would sit there, their head down staring at their feet.
That’s where Richard would send his 10-year-old twin sons, Chavez and Angel, when either one wasn’t doing what they were supposed to do. If they were playing around on the punching bags, they were headed to the bench. If they were clowning around and interfering with others while they were training, they were headed to the bench. If they were roughhousing and distracting each other, they both were headed to the bench.
The rule was simple: Train and take it seriously, or sit down and watch.
And when one twin was banished “to the bench,” the other didn’t let them forget it, with a sideways snarky remark as they went by.
That’s where the competitive edge was honed. That’s where the sibling rivalry to outdo the other blossomed.
It’s led Chavez and Angel Barrientes to where they are today—standing in the wings as the next set of twins to rock the boxing world.
They’re both 17. They’re both staggering 5-foot-11 junior featherweights with extensive amateur backgrounds. They’re both 2-0, with two knockouts.
Chavez, who is older by 13 minutes, is known as “The Beast,” while Angel is known as “AK-47.” They’ll turn 18 on August 3 and will be featured on future PBC undercards.
Richard, their father, is their trainer and Bob Santos, the venerable Northern California boxing manager is handling their budding careers.
Currently, they’re seniors in high school, because Richard wanted that. It was important to him that the boys have girlfriends, go out with friends and go to their proms, that they live like regular teenagers—with the underlying current of boxing discipline at the core.
Too many times boxing prodigies, or sports prodigies, stale early.
Richard did not want that happening to his twins, who are half Filipino and half Mexican. They were born in Hawaii, and were two when Richard moved the family to Las Vegas, where he began the Pound4Pound Gym.