‘Mono’ talks, youth listen

Mono receives the City of Westmorland award from Xavier Mendez, Westmorland City Council member and one of Mono’s former boxers.

WESTMORLAND — The City of Westmorland honored Ernie Fierro Wednesday for his thirty dedicated years to Westmorland and its youth, as demonstrated through his countless hours involved in his boxing and mentoring program, Boxing Against Drugs.

Fierro is known as “Mono” by most locals.

Boxing Against Drugs or B.A.D was started by Fierro in 1985 after he returned to the Valley from his professional boxing career. He started it up to open a place for the kids in the community, setting up in the Westmorland Youth Center, now commonly referred to as Mono’s Gym. Over the years many a robust young boxer has come out of the gym, and some boxers under Fierro’s guidance have even moved on to take part in state and national tournaments around the country. He has also helped many young athletes get grounded in life lessons and make changes for the better in their own lives.

Westmorland mayor Mary Ann Smith stated that Fierro is “someone who inspires and motivates our youth to take direction in their lives through Boxing Against Drugs.”

Fierro is widely known for watching over the students of Brawley Union High School as a security guard and all around substitute. According to Fierro, he still substitutes at the High School today. Fierro’s timely advice and personal style spawned a slogan in 2008 that quickly caught on among all those who knew him: “Mono’s talking, we’re listening.”

“I don’t do it because of the rewards,” said Fierro, “I do it because I feel good and I’m glad I’m able to do things for the kids. If I see a wrong, I want to make it right for them.”