Hispanic Heritage Month: Mexican American artist works on new mural, showcasing famous boxing legends

ALIEF, Texas – A Mexican American artist is working on a new mural during Hispanic Heritage Month that showcases famous Mexican boxing legends along with an aspiring one.

Franky Cardona has been painting since he was a child. His most recent work includes a mural of the late Mexican music icon, Vicente Fernandez.

Cardona said a father in Alief contacted him several weeks ago to paint a special mural inside his garage that he planned to turn into a boxing gym for his son. The artist said he was instantly on board.

“[To have] a Mexican American father that’s raising a Mexican American son to fight, to box, something that’s part of our culture for a long time, hire a Mexican American muralist, I just thought it was super dope,” Cardona said.

Cardona said he’s been working on the mural in between other products for the past several weeks.

On one wall, Cardona painted a mural depicting famed Mexican boxers Julio Chavez and Canelo Alvarez. On the opposite wall, Cardona painted large portraits of Ralph Narvaez, an eight grader with dreams of becoming a professional boxer.

The portraits feature some of the 13-year-old’s accomplishments, such as his first glove and golden gloves.

Ralph’s dad, Jonathan Narvaez, said it was always the plan to turn his garage into a small boxing gym for his son, but one upgrade led to another.

“We noticed it was hot in here. We needed an A/C,” Jonathan said. “We plugged the A/C and the breaker tripped.”

Jonathan said he was always a fan of Cardona’s work and knew he wanted the muralist to do the project. On Friday, Ralph got to see what his dad had been keeping a secret in the garage for several weeks.

“It’s nice. I love it,” said Ralph. “I don’t have to wait for the gym to open or close. It’s my hours, you know. So I could be in here whenever I want. Whenever I need.”

Ralph said he loves boxing and hopes to one day become a world champion. Jonathan said his son has always been a fighter.

“He was in the ICU I believe two years ago,” said the father. “He fought through that and continued fighting so she’s a fighter at heart.”

Jonathan said he wants the gym, inspired by Mexican greatness, to show his son that he believes in him and his dream.