It is a moment of truth, of consequences, when either an affair is born or a repudation and dismissal occurs.
The fighter has been training, doing bags and roadwork, and he’s pestered the trainer to let him glove up for real, do some sparring.
The trainer relents, laces up the lad…and oh shit, the other guy is hitting back, and pretty hard, too!
And either the newbie handles it and falls for the adrenaline rush, or the feeling of getting smacked and attacked and the bumps and bruises which linger for days makes him reconsider.
Maybe soccer is my sport after all…
Jon Fernandez, a 22 year old Spaniard signed to DiBella Entertainment, who fights tomorrow (Feb. 7) on a “Broadway Boxing” card at BB Kings in Manhattan, promoted by Lou DiBella, absorbed the hits…and did it bother him?
“I fell in love right away,” the 130 pounder told me, via a phoner, as he waited for fight night. “I loved the competition, and the first few times I was hit in the face it was kind of shocking, it took me by surprise. But I started to enjoy it.”
The kid grew up in Spain, in Bilbao. His mom looked after him, and three other kids, with Jon being the oldest. He played a lot of soccer, and looked up to mom especially, being that he’s been estranged from his dad for awhile. His uncle got him into the sweet science, at age 14, and Jon accumulated 76 amateur fights, losing, he said, seven or eight.
The pro game called for him, and he jumped in, three years ago. Sergio Martinez, the Argentine who’d moved to Spain to kickstart his fighting career, was a role model. After his fourth pro fight, he met Martinez, the ex 160 champ, and they speak regularly.
Fernandez knows the import, still, despite the world flattening out, of making it in the US. “It is very important for us to fight in the US, and NYC is the mecca of boxing,” he said. “I want to make a big impression, open the door to getting big fights. I hope this year I will call out bigger names, fight bigger fights,” he said. He attempted to fight Miguel Berchelt, but that fight didn’t come about, versus the WBC 130 pound champ.
And what of his strengths and weaknesses? “I consider myself an intelligent boxer, a strategist who knows how to use opponent’s weakness against him, knowing when to attack is a strong suit. My weakness, I’m very hot tempered, and sometimes my trainer, Tinin Rodriguez, tells me to calm down, have a more defensive approach.”
And, does he have a scouting report on his BB King’s foe, West African Fatiou Fassinou (28-8-3; age 31; a lefty)? “He’s a very strong fighter, can take a hit, had several fights in the US, is a lefty..I haven’t had much time to study, we changed opponents a few times. My prediction: win, put on great show, as my slogan is “the best version of myself”… I want to show how hard I was training. Then, I hope that the big fights start coming. Berchelt, Ryan Garcia, all the big names in the division.”
My three cents: You have to like the craving for name foes from the Spaniard, who stands a notable 5-11. Check out that club card in NYC, you might be seeing a future star relatively early on in his run.