MONTEBELLO, CALIF---Junior welterweight contender Antonio Orozco led a squad of prizefighters ranging from bantamweight to heavyweight in a media day on Thursday morning.
Golden Boy Promotions staged the meet and greet for Orozco (pictured) and the others who will be fighting on Friday, Jan. 24, at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. Fox Sports 1 will televise the boxing card that includes many prospects and contenders.
Many liken Orozco to a Mexican version of Miguel Cotto with his low crouch and high guard. The boxer from San Diego has risen through the junior welterweight ranks with the usual bumps and grinds expected of most prospects. But the competition stiffened last year and continues with his next assignment: to defeat Miguel Angel Huerta.
Funny thing. Huerta was formerly managed by Frank Espinoza, who now manages Orozco. It’s just one of those quirks that can happen in the sport of pro boxing.
“Yes, they told me a little about him,” said Orozco. “He’s a very tough guy. That’s why they signed him in the first place.”
Orozco will have to find a way to navigate through Huerta’s danger zone.
“The only thing I can do is prepare hard for each fight,” said Orozco, who defeated hard nosed Jose Reynoso last year in Las Vegas.
Former US Olympian Dominic Breazeale (8-0, 8 Kos) returns to Indio, where he’s fought in the past, to meet Homero Fonseca (10-6-3). The heavyweight bronze medalist is managed by Al Haymon and, he says, has no compunction about fighting any of the top heavyweights.
“If they want to give me a shot I’m definitely going to take it,” said the tall heavyweight who recently moved to Rancho Cucamonga.
Coaching the heavyweight is John Bray, a former heavyweight prospect during his day who also coached in The Contender reality television series.
“Dominick is a really grounded person and takes advice well,” said Bray, who sparred with a number of great heavyweights during the 1980s. “He’s a future champion of the world.”
Also appearing on the fight card is heavyweight Gerald Washington, who is more known for being a former linebacker on the USC Trojans football team.
Julian Ramirez (9-0, 6 Kos) has rocketed up the listings of standouts. The East L.A. boxer knows he has a quick opponent in Derrick Wilson (10-5-2),who has tripped up several undefeated prospects in the past, like Braulio Santos and Charles Huerta.
“I’ve been sparring with quick guys,” said Ramirez. “I know Wilson is a little tricky with his speed. I’m ready for him.”
Ramirez said not to expect a laid-back fight.
“I’m an aggressive fighter,” said Ramirez, who is managed by Joel De La Hoya. “I like knockouts. But I know there are guys you can’t knock out.”
Manny Robles Jr.
Robles (4-0, 2 Kos) is a third generation fighter whose late grandfather and namesake was one of the top trainers for many years in Southern California. That’s built in pressure for Robles who fights an opponent who has 12 fights with only two defeats, in Ricky Lopez.
“It’s like any other fight to me,” said Robles,who is trained by his father Manuel Robles II. “They’re saying that I made a mistake fighting him.”
Robles is managed by Al Haymon and said his favorite fighter of all time is former world champion Martin Castillo.
“I loved the way he fought,” said Robles, at Daniel Ponce De Leon’s boxing gym in Montebello. “I liked the way he moved around.”
Others training at the gym, but not part of the media day, include lightweight world champion Miguel Vazquez and Giovanni Segura. One of the trainers at the Montebello gym is former world champion from the 1990s, Alejandro “Cobrita” Gonzalez.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?