Click photo to enlarge
Sy Sherman with his father, Matt, in their Salinas home Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. Sy Sherman is a 9-year-old with a rare form of liver cancer who is being raised by a single father and has received cancer treatments at Lucile Packard Hospital at Stanford. Sy and his dad, Matt Sherman, live in Salinas, but they have roots and family in San Jose/Santa Clara. The family is rallying around Sy to help him fight his cancer, for which he has now been through multiple rounds of chemo. (Photo by Patrick Tehan/Mercury News)

Watsonville's Oscar Godoy and Jonathan Garcia will be among the six local professional fighters showcased in a boxing event Saturday night in Salinas. But the centerpiece of the event will be 10-year-old Sy Sherman, a rabid little fan from Salinas.

Sy is afflicted with hepatocellular caranoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer, and he wasn't supposed to live long enough to see the show. His doctors estimated that he might have three more days to live. That was a couple of weeks ago.

If he can find the strength and energy to match his iron will, Sy plans to sit ringside with his parents to watch Salinas middleweight Paul Mendez (10-2-1, 4 KOs) fight in the 10-round main event for the International Boxing Association super middleweight championship, and Garcia (9-0, 7 KOs) in the six-round light-welterweight co-feature.

Also there to put on a show will be the World Boxing Organization's former No. 1 welterweight contender, Jose Celaya, light welterweights Jonathan Chicas and Preston Freeman -- all of Salinas -- and Watsonville welterweight Godoy.

Godoy (8-2) will go up against Javier Gomez (13-9) of Tijuana, Mexico. Garcia will put his undefeated record on the line against Rodolpho Armenta of Rio Rico, Ariz.

The 7p.m. event at the Storm House, a 15,000-square-foot indoor soccer arena, is co-promoted by Oscar De La Hoya (a huge Sy Sherman fan) and living legend Don Chargin of San Jose. But, for all intents and purposes, this is a Garcia Boxing show. Salinas residents Max, Kathy and Sam Garcia, and their stable of fighters, adopted Sy as a sort of team mascot a long time ago, not too long after he was diagnosed at age 8.


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They flew Sy and his parents to Los Angeles earlier this month to watch a big HBO fight as VIP guests of De La Hoya.

Just before takeoff, Matthew Sherman, Sy's father, asked him if he was scared.

"Dad, I have cancer -- airplanes don't scare me anymore," Sy told him. "The plane will get me closer to the angels."

De La Hoya sat right next to Sy throughout the boxing show, treating him like royalty. The day after, Sam Garcia took him to Disneyland.

Last February, when Garcia Boxing product Eloy Perez fought for the WBO world super featherweight championship against Adrien Broner, another HBO show, Sy was the guest of honor in St. Louis. In fact, he led the Perez entourage to the ring on worldwide television, proudly carrying one of Eloy's title belts.

Sy can check that dream off his bucket list, but it was just one of many he still wants to toss in. Even now, when he's almost entirely bedridden, Sy is full of life, and determined to enjoy every minute as much as he can. He's very determined to make it to Saturday night's show.

It's also on his bucket list, along with living to be 100.

Dennis Taylor can be reached at dtaylor@montereyherald.com or 646-4344.

If you go

Solo Boxeo Tecate

What: Professional boxing
When: 7p.m. Saturday (doors open at 6 p.m.)
Where: The Storm House, 185 Maryal Way, Salinas
cost: Tickets $25-$65, available at The Storm House and 2 Steps Ahead fitness gym in Salinas, through Kathy Garcia at 261-3214 and at tix.com.
Learn more: sy-story.blogspot.com