David Hopper of 8CN caught up with junior middleweight prospect Hugo ‚ÄúThe Boss‚ÄĚ Centeno Jr. (19-0, 10 KOs). The 22-year-old from Oxnard, California stands 6-feet-2 and has a 78-inch reach. Centeno is signed with Golden Boy Promotions and managed by Joel De La Hoya, the older brother of Oscar De La Hoya. He will fight undefeated prospect Julian Williams (13-0-1) on Sept. 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The scheduled 10-round bout will be part of a tripleheader that includes a welterweight rematch between Shawn Porter and Julio Diaz and a Badou Jack-Marco Antonio Periban super middleweight showdown. The action will be televised live on Fox Sports 2.
DH: How are you doing?
HC: I‚Äôm doing well.
DH: I heard you just got done with training for the day.
HC: Yeah, I just got done with some intense physical training right now.
DH: How‚Äôs camp been going?
HC: It‚Äôs been going great. We‚Äôre training extremely hard, harder than ever before actually, picking it up a notch.
DH: Are you training in Oxnard, California?
HC: Yeah, I was actually born and raised here in Oxnard, California. It‚Äôs where I also train. A few days out of the week I‚Äôll head over to the Wild Card Boxing Gym [in Los Angeles] and get sparring there.
DH: Have you been sparring with some well-known boxers?
HC: Yeah, I‚Äôve been sparring with Wale Omotoso. His nickname is ‚ÄúLucky Boy.‚ÄĚ His last fight was with Jesse Vargas. It‚Äôs some great work. He‚Äôs teaching me a lot. He has a lot of experience as well.
DH: Your upcoming fight with Julian Williams will be your second scheduled 10-rounder. In your first 10-rounder this past March you won a unanimous decision over KeAndrae Leatherwood. How was your conditioning in that 10-round fight? Did you feel fatigued at all in the later rounds?
HC: No, believe it or not, I was still ready to go a couple more rounds. I felt great and my conditioning was great. I feel like my conditioning will be even better for this fight. Like I told you, the training has been phenomenal. I feel like the conditioning that I have right now is ready for a 10-round fight.
DH: Williams comes in to the fight undefeated as well. He is coming off an 8-round unanimous decision victory over veteran Joachim Alcine. What do you think of the boxing abilities of Williams? Have you got a chance to watch much film of him?
HC: I‚Äôve only gotten to watch a couple fights of his. I haven‚Äôt watched his most recent fight. I do know he‚Äôs a smart fighter. He‚Äôs a straight up stand-up guy. He‚Äôs not in there to mess around or hug or fight dirty. He‚Äôs a straight up clean fighter and so am I. We‚Äôre going to go in there and give the crowd a great show. He comes to knock you out. He‚Äôs a power puncher. But I have a good game plan for him. Me and my team have come up with a good game plan, and I‚Äôm excited.
DH: Do you expect Williams to be the toughest challenge of your pro career so far?
HC: Most definitely, I don‚Äôt want to say it‚Äôs a big step up but it‚Äôs a step up. All my fights I train like it‚Äôs going to be for a world title. I don‚Äôt take no one easily or lightly. I train hard for every single fighter.
DH: Your fight will be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas just two days before the biggest boxing event in years, Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez, takes place there. I would imagine there‚Äôs a good chance for a big turnout for your fight with all the fans in town. Talk about what it means to you to be fighting professionally at the MGM Grand for the first time.
HC: I‚Äôm excited. I‚Äôm extremely excited. I can‚Äôt thank my manager enough for giving me this great opportunity. I can‚Äôt wait. I know it‚Äôs going to be some great exposure. Like I said earlier, I‚Äôm extremely excited for this fight. I‚Äôm really looking forward to giving the crowd a great turnout.
DH: In your last fight you KO‚Äôd Isaac Mendez 46 seconds in to the first round. For the boxing fans who missed it, talk about your performance in that win.
HC: Yeah definitely, I came in and felt him out a little bit. He tried coming at me with some wild punches. I saw my openings to the body and I took it. He tried to fight the body shot and he just couldn‚Äôt take it and he went down. The ref counted him out and that was it.
DH: You have now been a professional boxer for about three and a half years. How do you feel like you have grown and improved as a pro?
HC: I‚Äôve learned a lot of little things that make a big difference from when I first started. I first started coming out a little wild not having to worry about the later rounds. I feel like I learned how to develop and by conditioning well for the 10-round fights and 8-round fights, just a lot of little things that make a big difference. I‚Äôm sparring with all these world champions, such as Peter Quillin, [Saul] Alvarez when he was getting ready for his last fight with Austin Trout, Sergio Martinez, Alfredo Angulo. I‚Äôve gotten to work with all these guys and it‚Äôs just awesome. It‚Äôs helped me a lot.
DH: With you and guys like Brandon Rios and Mikey Garcia fighting out of your hometown of Oxnard, the city has become a boxing hotbed. What‚Äôs it like being a part of that?
HC: It‚Äôs awesome being a part of this hotbed that‚Äôs going on right now in Oxnard. I take more honor in fighting in it to know that I‚Äôm from here. I was born and raised here in Oxnard. I‚Äôm not coming in from anywhere else. It‚Äôs an honor for me to be able to represent my hometown.
DH: Have you worked with trainer Robert Garcia at all?
HC: No, I haven‚Äôt worked with him at all. It‚Äôs just been me and my dad since Day 1. I started boxing when I was 7, and it‚Äôs been me and my dad the whole way. It‚Äôs worked. It‚Äôs been going great.
DH: You have a rangy, lanky build with a 78-inch wingspan, which is longer than most junior middleweights. Do you feel like your reach advantage makes a difference in your fights?
HC: I do. I‚Äôm also taller than most of my opponents and since I know how to use it to my advantage, once I find my distance against an opponent I feel it works to my advantage great.
DH: Other than the obvious goal of eventually winning a world title, what are your goals in boxing?
HC: That‚Äôs my main goal, but just to fight the best. I don‚Äôt feel like I‚Äôll be able to call myself one of the top world pound-for-pound fighters if I don‚Äôt fight the best and beat the best. To call myself the best I want to beat the best. I want to fight whoever is a world champion when I get there.
DH: As I mentioned before, your fight will kick off the Mayweather-Alvarez weekend. Do you plan on attending the Mayweather-Alvarez fight?
HC: Yeah, I‚Äôll give my manager a call and see if he can set something up, and I‚Äôll go check it out and see if it‚Äôs still possible. I know the fight is sold out. Most definitely I‚Äôll be sticking around for the weekend.
DH: What is your prediction for the fight?
HC: Like I was telling you earlier, I‚Äôve gotten the chance to work with Alvarez and he‚Äôs an extremely strong fighter but I feel Mayweather is too quick on his toes, his boxing skills are too superior, and I feel like it‚Äôs going to be a long night for Alvarez.
DH: Do you see Mayweather taking another unanimous decision?
HC: Yeah, I feel like it will go to a unanimous decision for Floyd.
DH: Boxing seems to have a loyal fan base but its popularity is nowhere near that of more mainstream sports like football and basketball. From your observation and experience, what are some things you feel need to happen in order for boxing to become more popular?
HC: Honestly, I feel like this whole Top Rank-Golden Boy feud needs to come to an end because there are just fighters within Golden Boy fighting each other or fighters within Top Rank fighting one another. I feel like since they‚Äôre the two biggest promotional companies and they should fight one another like how it used to be. They keep all the world titles to themselves. All the titles stay within Golden Boy or whatever titles are with Top Rank stay with Top Rank. It‚Äôs not really calling themselves the pound-for-pound fighters if they‚Äôre not fighting the best.
DH: In order for the sport to really prosper the best have got to fight the best and the promotion companies really need to put their differences aside so that can happen.
HC: Most definitely, I feel like that would bring the sport a little more together. Like you were saying, with the loyal following that boxing has they see what‚Äôs going on.
DH: Anything you want to add or say to your fans?
HC: Yeah, I want to tell my fans thank you for all your support and all the people who have followed me from Day 1, I truly appreciate it. I want to thank my friends over at Crosscountry Mortgage. They‚Äôve been helping me out a lot. I truly appreciate all the help my whole team has given me. My Twitter and Instagram is @HugoBoss805. My Facebook is Hugo Boss Centeno.
It is one of the pressing questions regarding the Premier Boxing Champions fights this past weekend. Why hasn‚Äôt Danny Garcia looked good since he beat Lucas Matthysse? Many, including myself, thought Matthysse held the firepower not only to out punch Garcia, but to even knock him out. Before their respective fight, Garcia had fought Zab Judah in April 2013 and for the first time looked vulnerable post his big knockouts of Amir Khan and Erik Morales. Garcia governed the early latter, but Judah was able to bully Garcia in the later rounds and open a few wounds. After the final bell, Garcia was declared as the winner. Lucas Matthysse on the other hand, obliterated Lamont Peterson in three, only a few weeks later. Garcia, who was present at the fight was shown in the crowd, looking rather dead-eyed and fueling speculations that he feared a matchup with Matthysse and a fight between the two was unlikely to happen. But Danny proved us all wrong, he fought Matthysse that September and won convincingly and even knocked down the hard-hitting Argentine. However, since then, Danny has looked a tad mediocre in two of his last three fights. Considering how these fights have went, it should be agreed upon that ‚ÄėSwift‚Äô has gotten maybe a little too ‚Äėhook happy‚Äô in there, as his left hook was the formula for the biggest wins of his career. He does very little else, but stand flat-footed, use little head movement, wait to throw one of his signature ‚Äėno-look hooks‚Äô and hope to get lucky. He fought Mauricio Herrera in a coming out party to an all Puerto-Rican crowd but wasn‚Äôt able to deal with the awkward and crafty style of ‚ÄėEl Maestro‚Äô for a greater part of the fight. Garcia spent most of his rounds sporadically landing or swinging at air versus Herrera, who even with little power, was successful in leaving Garcia bloodied in the end. Surprisingly, Danny Garcia was awarded the victory. The Rod Salka fight that followed isn‚Äôt noteworthy enough to talk about, because it shouldn‚Äôt of even happened in the first place. A total mismatch that many have found hard to even give any credit for. Moving on, here we are and the Lamont Peterson fight has just happened. Peterson made the same mistake as Zab Judah, of not being active enough in the early rounds, but stayed mobile and disallowed Garcia the ability to ever really land any decent punches on him. He also further exposed the flaws of his opponent, one being his inability to cut off the ring against anyone who won‚Äôt just stand in the pocket and allow him to tee off. Needless to say, the late rounds came and suddenly Peterson was turning the heat on and bossing Garcia around the ring, once again leaving his face a bruised mess. But someway, somehow, despite the obviousness that he simply chased and was ineffective for a huge percentage of the fight, Garcia‚Äôs hand was raised in the end. Its possible that Garcia has gotten very reliant on his devastating hooks to pull him through, but it has become apparent that his recent victories leave many questions unanswered as well. And considering he doesn‚Äôt seem to be a fan of giving rematches, I doubt we‚Äôll ever get any of those answers. Danny has won too many of his recent fights, by the skin of his teeth for him, his fans, or anyone else really, to be confident that that ‚Äė0‚Äô on his record will stay for much longer. A move up to welterweight may not be the solution either, bearing in mind that the opponents only get bigger, stronger and considering how Danny has struggled to beat relatively ‚ÄėB‚Äô fighters a class lower, there‚Äôs a question mark attached to a shift up in weight. But hey, Garcia has defied the odds before, who says he can‚Äôt again? All that can be said is that if things don‚Äôt change, ‚ÄėSwift‚Äô will meet his maker in the ring at some point very soon.
On May 2nd, 2015, yes you heard it right, May 2nd, the same night as the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao mega fight; Rite Hook Promotions and The Hard Rock Casino Biloxi are bringing boxing back to the Gulf Coast with Biloxi "Sweet Science 3‚ÄĚ live boxing and Mayweather vs. Pacquiao live streaming on a 35ft screen. Together we have an event that is unlike most live boxing events. Rite Hook Promotions in conjunction Phil Juliano, his experience in the casino industry along with his vision to bring boxing back to Biloxi made this event possible. Combined with Robyn Smith, Director of Entertainment at the Hard Rock Biloxi, this event will solidify the Hard Rock as a new player in live boxing on the national level. We will kick-off this Spring 2015 series with a hard-hitting main event featuring Tampa's undefeated Radivoje "Hot Rod" Kalajdzic, 17(11)-0-0 currently ranked in the Top 40 in the world. He is a Serbian, undefeated prospect that should start to step into the "prime time" boxing scene very soon. Rite Hook has hosted fighters such as Willie "El Mongoose" Monroe who will fight GGG as the main event May 16th. Hot Rod is on a similar path to becoming a world champion. He is a slick athletic fighter with KO power and is always enjoyable to watch. In our co-main event Mike "Concrete" Bissett, a Biloxi native who fights out of Tampa, will be in action. He is a durable cruiserweight that is not scared to fight anyone. Even with a record of 8(6)-7(4)-0 which may be deceiving due to the level of competition he has face in his professional career. He will be matched against fellow boxer-puncher James "King James" Johnson of Louisiana. Johnson is a veteran fighter with 73 fights under his belt. There are 4 welterweight prospects that will complete this card. Manny Woods Jr. (12)4-3(0)-0 also a resident of Tampa is ready to step back in the ring in preparation to advance in rankings in one of the most talent filled divisions in the sport. Bobby Bryant 15(9)-0-0 from Memphis is scheduled to make his return to the ring after a 3 year layoff. Eric "Babyface" Johnson 9(4)-0-0 from the Roy Jones Jr. camp is ready to display his Roy-like skills which always seem to be a problem for his opponents. Local professional Tom "Hitman" Howard 8(4)-2(0)-0 will also be in the action. Hard-hitting heavyweight and dual sport professional prospect Tony Johnson Jr. 1(1)-0-0 will be in the ring and ready to make his opponents night a short one. Johnson is fighting live on Spike TV April 10th against Alexander Volkov who is currently ranked as high as #3 in some professional MMA rankings. He will be back in the boxing ring May 2nd as he wants to fast track the boxing rankings also. He has showed promise in training camps working with world champions in sparring. With his confidence at an all time high, Johnson will be a force to reckon with in the world of boxing for years to come. So remember the name Tony Johnson Jr. Cameron Springer 5(2)-0-1 from Atlanta will be ready to put it all on the line. He is a hungry young fighter with an excellent amateur pedigree. This fight is brought to you by Rite Hook Promotions in conjunction with Kevin Dever of Reved Entertainment, New York and Ivan Echevarria, director of marketing and owner of Pier6 Promotions, Tampa. Tickets to the live fights including the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao stream, priced at $35, $50, $65, $90 and $125, are on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com, the Hard Rock Box Office, or by calling (228)-217-5555. For more information, visit www.ritehookpromotions.com, www.hardrockbiloxi.com, or follow us on Twitter at @Ritehookpromo.
Hello ladies and gentleman, Smooth Cat is back!!!! Today I want to touch on a legend in the sport of boxing, Roy Jones Jr. He has accomplished almost every goal he wanted to achieve in his career, but still has one goal he hasn't accomplished yet. That's winning a legitimate Cruiserweight championship. As we all know he isn't exactly the same fighter he once was, when he amazed the boxing world with athleticism that was rivaled by no one. But those days seem so long ago. Actually it has been an extremely long time since we have seen Roy at his very best, but with that being said, his mission will continue this weekend against Paul Vasquez. This will be the second time he's fought in 22 days. We all ask, why Roy why? He's already a first ballot Hall of Famer, he was voted fighter of the decade for 1990's, and has won championships in multiple weights classes. So after reading a recent interview of his, Roy is quoted saying "I don't want to get to heaven and have God say you could have won a world title at 46." He's motivated to put his name in the record book with another accomplishment that will further add to his already great accomplishments. Honestly, Roy doesn't need the Cruiserweight title to validate anything, but when you're a fighter and you're motivated to do something, that fire inside of you can be your worst enemy in some cases. In this situation, the fire in Roy might I say, is very inspirational, but in all honesty this recent run of wins Roy is on, has him actually believing he's reversed the effects of father time, who is an opponent who's undefeated against all fighters who have stuck around too long. I wish the great Roy Jones Jr. the best of luck, as a huge fan of his, but he needs someone to truly let him know that enough is enough already. He is an excellent commentator for HBO, where he does great work of covering fights, and giving the broadcast team the point of view of a fighter. I can't speak for everyone, but I'm sure that I can't be the only one, who doesn't want to see this legend stretched out on the canvas unconscious! With that being said, I know he isn't going to stop until he gets the fight with Marco Huck, the current "Man" of the Cruiserweight division. If that fight gets made, maybe, just maybe, Roy Jones can turn back the hands of the clock one more time and put on a vintage performance, resulting in him possibly pulling off the upset against Marco Huck! Regardless of what happens, as a true fan of boxing, I just can't help but worry why is Roy Jones Jr. hanging on too long?
8CN‚Äôs David Hopper caught up with Baltimore-based boxing promoter Jake ‚ÄúThe Snake‚ÄĚ Smith. The 49-year-old Maryland and DC Boxing Hall of Fame member has owned and operated Baltimore Boxing Club and promoted fights for more than 20 years. DH: Please give the readers who aren‚Äôt familiar with you a brief introduction. JS: My boxing name is Jake ‚ÄúThe Snake‚ÄĚ Smith. I started boxing when I was 12. I had a 39-4 amateur record and an 11-6-2 professional record. I was Maryland light heavyweight champion and super middleweight champion. This was is in the ‚Äė90s, late ‚Äė80s. I‚Äôve promoted over 200 some fights in the pros and amateurs. I‚Äôve owned a boxing gym, Baltimore Boxing, for 23 years. DH: Talk some about the card you‚Äôre promoting on Friday, March 27. I heard that it was nearly sold out. Are there still tickets available? JS: We‚Äôre pretty sold out. I‚Äôll still be trying to sell some at the door as long as the fire marshal doesn‚Äôt come up. [Laughs]. I expect about 1,200. DH: Does Baltimore have a thriving amateur boxing scene? JS: I‚Äôve been doing shows for over 20 something years now. Just after I finished fighting pro I took my clientele with me. It just keeps getting better. In the last six months to a year, boxing has been going crazy. My kids have been real busy. DH: Do you feel like you will benefit from the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and boxing returning to network TV in that that should create more interest in the sport? JS: I‚Äôm thinking it‚Äôs opening up a lot of doors. MMA has helped boxing a lot too. It‚Äôs opened up a lot more eyes to contact sports like boxing and wrestling. Now that they‚Äôre seeing how exciting boxing is, all the fans from MMA are starting to lean more toward boxing. DH: That‚Äôs an interesting point because many say that MMA has been pulling fans away from boxing. But you feel like it‚Äôs had the opposite effect? JS: Oh yes, indeed, it did at first, without question. I just can‚Äôt stand the way MMA people bang boxing and say how it‚Äôs bad and dying and all this stuff. But it did bring more attention to the sport of boxing. A lot more eyes are coming on to boxing because of the standup game. With MMA and boxing you wanna see somebody get knocked out. MMA you get on the ground and roll around and whatever they‚Äôre doing, I not into it. DH: What are some of the things you enjoy most about promoting amateurs? JS: When you‚Äôre doing the pro stuff, when money gets involved, it really makes things a little shady. Not really shady, but a little greed gets involved. In amateurs they‚Äôre competing for a trophy and they‚Äôre not lying down in the ring so they can get paid or throwing the fight. These guys are fighting because they want to win and they want to do something with their life. It‚Äôs more relaxing. DH: Are you able to predict which amateurs will turn out to be good pros? Of course, some amateurs have more of a pro style, and some standout amateurs end up not having much success in the pro ranks. JS: Yeah I feel as though I have a pretty good eye for that. I‚Äôve been doing this since I was 12 years old and it‚Äôs an everyday thing for me. DH: What are some characteristics of the amateurs who turn out to be good pros? JS: You definitely have to be able to take a punch. You got to have speed. The obvious is basically what it is. You have to have all those things. You have to be a bit of a character too if you want the public to really like you. DH: What‚Äôs your prediction for Mayweather-Pacquiao? JS: I‚Äôm probably gonna change my mind 10 times before the fight but right now I‚Äôm going with Mayweather. I would love to see Pacquiao but I think Mayweather will pull it off. I hope it‚Äôs an exciting fight because I know everyone‚Äôs expectations are real high on this. I don‚Äôt think it will be a good fight, I think they‚Äôll be feeling each other out too much. Either way I think it‚Äôs gonna help boxing no matter what. If it‚Äôs a great one, boy, I‚Äôll have to open up a few more gyms I think.