A new lease on life

Pires begins second comeback while juggling full-time duties in law enforcement

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (March 8, 2012)Jason Pires will probably be the only person at Twin River on March 22nd with the authority to both start and stop a fight.

A six-year veteran of the New Bedford, Mass., Police Department, Pires will resume his professional boxing career Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 at the Event Center in the main event of “Home Invasion,” the official launch of the 2012 Twin River Thursday Night Fight Series, presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports.

Pires’ life outside the ring has changed a bit since his last fight in May of 2009 (a unanimous-decision loss to Michael Clark). For the past year and a half, the veteran officer has also been a member of New Bedford’s SWAT Team, a promotion Pires had been seeking for quite some time. As a member of the SWAT Team, Pires (22-4-1, 9 KOs) is on call 24 hours a day and could be summoned at any moment to take part in a hostage rescue – or any other high-risk situation.

“I could get that call right now if something goes down,” he said. “It’s a learning process, just like boxing. If you stray away from it, you start to lack. You have to stay on top of it.”

The 37-year-old Pires will face fan-favorite Eddie Soto (12-3, 4 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., in a six-round welterweight bout, one of nine dynamic bouts on the March 22nd card.

“I remember Eddie from the amateurs,” Pires said. “I actually gave him some pointers for his next fight. He comes to fight, and he’ll stand right in front of me, which is good. That’s what I’m looking for. I like guys who’ll stand right in front of me so I can work my jab and try to take them out in the end.”

After losing to Clark three years ago, Pires decided to take a break, not to contemplate retirement, but to rest his weary body, which had just endured four grueling fights in 18 months – including a draw – during his first comeback attempt (Pires had previously sat out five years before returning in 2008).

“I just needed a break,” Pires said. “People don’t realize how much my regular job takes out of me between working details, and overtime. Trying to make boxing a full-time job is difficult.

“I’ve learned I have to space my fights in between. I’m getting older. I can’t fight month-to-month anymore. So much goes into training for a fight that I don’t take any details or work any overtime – nothing. It’s just work and boxing. I actually lose money when I train! But I won’t half-ass it; I want to protect myself and be able to step into that ring and go all out and do what I have to do.”

Pires works the overnight shift with the police department, which runs from midnight to 8 a.m. – four days on, two days off. On training days, he runs four to five miles immediately following his shift, naps until 3, hits the gym between 6 and 8, and then gets ready for the next shift beginning at midnight – a hectic schedule that takes incredible discipline and a genuine love for boxing.

“That’s why I do it,” Pires said. “I have a tremendous desire to be in this sport.”

Pires also trains 24 hours a month for the SWAT Team, which requires practicing his aim at a shooting range for sniping purposes and preparing for rescue scenarios by entering abandoned buildings, along with other physical fitness and agility drills that coincide with his daily boxing regimen.

“Of the 12 guys who tried out, I was one of six who made it, so it’s a great accomplishment for me,” Pires said. “There’s always something going down in New Bedford, so you never know when you’ll get that call. We go right in carrying ARs, handguns – it’s definitely something nice to be a part of.

“It’s just like boxing. You train and work hard, and whatever you put into it is what you’ll get out of it.”

Asked about his long-term goals in boxing, Pires laughs, pauses for a bit, and says, “Right now, it’s one fight at a time.

“Ultimately, it depends on how the fights go. We’ll see what happens down the road. Maybe I can, maybe I can’t. I just want to have a good showing when I go out there. If I keep winning, that’s great. Hopefully, something will come out of it.”

The possibility of competing for another title – Pires is a former United States Boxing Association (USBA) super bantamweight champion and North American Boxing Association (NABA) light welterweight title contender – hasn’t crossed his mind yet. For now, he’s fighting for the love of the sport. Why else would he put his body through such a rigorous daily grind?

“If that shot comes, it comes,” Pires said. “For the time being, I just want to keep winning.”

“Home Invasion” also features the long-awaited return of super middleweight Vladine Biosse (11-1-1, 6 KOs) of Providence, R.I., who will face George Armenta (14-7, 11 KOs), a dangerous veteran from Silver Spring, Md., in a six-round bout. Fellow New Bedford welterweight Johnathan Vazquez (4-1-1, 3 KOs), who is looking to bounce back from a knockout loss to Bryan Abraham in October – the first of his career – will face New Jersey’s Rashard Bogar (3-3-1, 2 KOs) in a four-round bout.

Fan-favorites Alex Amparo (2-0, 1 KO) of Providence and Benny Costantino (7-0, 4 KOs) of West Warwick, R.I., will also return to Twin River following victories in October. Amparo, a middleweight, will face newcomer John Downey in a four-round bout while Costantino, 40, will continue his comeback in a four-round super middleweight bout against Yolexcy Leiva (4-2, 3 KOs) of Nashville, Tenn.; Costantino’s victory over Odias Dumezil in October was his first fight in 10 years.

Unbeaten middleweight prospect Thomas Falowo (5-0, 4 KOs) of Pawtucket will put his perfect record on the line against Ronald Reaves (2-2, 1 KO) of Atlanta, while light welterweight Carlos Hernandez (1-2) of Bridgeport, Conn., will face Robert Brando-Hunt (0-1) of Hyannis, Mass., who is searching for his first professional win. Super middleweight Kevin Cobbs (2-0, 1 KO) of Burlington, Vt., will face Kentrell Claiborne (2-5, 1 KO) of Cleburne, Tex., in a four-round bout. Female welterweight Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (5-1, 1 KO) of Quincy, Mass., will also be on the undercard in a four-round bout.


Tickets for “Home Invasion” are $35.00, $50.00, $75.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location. Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.