Ten questions for WBC Continental Americas light welterweight champ Donald Camarena (16-1, 9 KOs) of Denver, Colorado, who spent more than a month as a sparring partner for Floyd Mayweather Jr., while he was preparing for his recent fight with Sharmba Mitchell.
A southpaw like Mitchell, Camarena was brought in to work as many as eight rounds a day with Mayweather.
One of the hottest prospects in his division, the 23-year-old was 15-0 as an amateur and his only loss as a pro came via eight-round unanimous decision to Louis Antonio Arceo, who was also unbeaten at the time.
Trained and managed by Aurelio Martinez of Denver, he has no promotional ties.
TheSweetScience.com: What was it like sparring with Floyd Mayweather?
Donald Camarena: We went a different number of rounds each day. It depended on what they wanted to do. Sometimes we’d go six rounds, sometimes eight, sometimes four. We went three or four days a week.
TheSweetScience.com: Did you learn anything from him?
DC: Oh yeah, you always learn something from someone like that. He didn’t offer me any pointers, but he said I was a real good fighter and was going to be a world champ one day. Roger Mayweather said that he hasn’t seen anyone give [Floyd] work like that in a long time.
TheSweetScience.com: You were in Las Vegas when you were working with Mayweather. What kind of daily routine did you have?
DC: I’d get up in the morning and run about three or four miles, I mean I wasn’t getting ready for a fight. Then I‘d go to the room and lay down. Then I’d go to the gym and spar and do my regular workout. They’d close the gym and Mayweather would come train at 3 p.m. He was a cool dude. I got along with him fine.
TheSweetScience.com: Are they going to invite you back?
DC: Yeah, when he fights Zab Judah or Winky Wright. He says I fight similar to Winky Wright.
TheSweetScience.com: What do you know about Friday’s opponent, Bocanegra?
DC: I know he beat Daniel Attah. He’s a typical Mexican fighter. He’s a brawler, comes after you. (Editor’s note: Bocanegra scored a seventh-round TKO over former world-ranked contender Attah in 2003.)
TheSweetScience.com: Your only loss was to Arceo by decision. Did you learn anything from that loss?
DC: Yeah. I learned to be careful where you take your fights at. I thought I got robbed, but you can’t cry over spilled milk. If you look at it now, his record is going down and mine is going up. We tried to fight him again, but they didn’t want it.
TheSweetScience.com: How difficult is it to sign for a big fight without a big-name promoter backing you up?
DC: It’s been kinda tough. The fight is here and then they pull out.
TheSweetScience.com: How did you get involved in boxing?
DC: I was messing up, hanging around with the wrong crowd and getting in fights, so my mom made me go into the gym one day. I took off from there.
TheSweetScience.com: What’s your best asset as a fighter?
DC: My conditioning. I’m always in shape.
TheSweetScience.com: You‘ve fought on TV three times now. How do you like it?
DC: It’s cool. Better than recording the fight yourself with a little camcorder.