Prospect or contender? The line is usually blurry...
I asked Hugo "The Boss" Centeno, the 20-0 hitter living in California, who will show off his stuff on Showtime's ShoBox tonight (June 6), what he sees himself as, a prospect or a full fledged contender, which means you are a threat to fight for a title, and win.
"I'm still considered a prospect...but I wanted to fight a guy who is like 26-2, and they agreed, and then he decided not to. I am not dodging anybody. I will take on all comers," he stated on a Thursday phoner.
The comer he fights tonight at Fantasy Springs in Indio, is Gerardo Ibarra, a Texan with a 14-0 record, and 8 KOs.
Does a win over Ibarra, a late fill in for Domonique Dolton, serve to elevate the 23 year old Centeno immensely, make him a must see guy at junior middle? Well, probably not, not unless he unleashes a highligh reel KO shot. Dolton has the better resume of the two...but Centeno, managed by Joel De La Hoya, sounds like he is mindful of the ability to gather a bigger portion of buzz when you put a spanking on a foe. "My prediction is I win by stoppage, in the late rounds. You have to make a statement. I want to make a statement...but a smart statement. Our gameplay is to break him down, and then he will fall apart on his own."
Of his 20 wins, 11 have come early.
Centeno is being overseen by trainer Eric Brown, who works with Paul Malignaggi and Peter Quillin, after his dad, Hugo Sr, bowed out because of heart issues. Dad, just 43, had his third heart surgery two months ago, so they agreed to limit his stress, and have Brown steer the ship. "It has been a bit scary, the surgeries, because my dad has always been my superhero," saidnthe fighter who was christened boss in the gym for way he handled his sparring partners.
As for Ibarra, Hugo, who by the way told me he does not know who THE BOSS, Bruce Springsteen is---SIGH--- the Cali boxer said he knows he had about 120 amateur fights. Thus, he knows he will see a certain level of command of the basics. "It is no easy task. But I am focused and ready to get to work."