|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire|
12/24/2004 Archived Entry: "Fighters “Macho” Miguel Hernandez and Al “Speedy” Gonzales Sound Off on Chicago Boxing and Opportunities!"
Fighters “Macho” Miguel Hernandez and Al “Speedy” Gonzales Sound Off on Chicago Boxing and Opportunities!
By Juan C. Ayllon
Miguel Hernandez (left) does dumbell curls while Gonzales (right) looks on
(Chicago, IL): Just three days before Christmas, cars on frozen Pulaski Avenue whiz by the fastidious Team Doctors Treatment Center. Inside from the cold, headlining local boxers “Macho” Miguel Hernandez and Al “Speedy” Gonzales visit chiropractic consultant Dr. Stoxen, a popular figure among local fighters whose clientele includes a veritable “Who’s Who” list in Chicago boxing.
Middleweight Miguel Hernandez (14-1-0, 9 KO’s) is in to work on “core” abdominal exercises that—in conjunction with a special diet recommended by the doctor—have helped him add zip to his punches and trim down from a bloated 220 pounds several years ago down to his current 160 pounds. Junior welterweight Al Gonzales (16-1-1, 7 KO’s) is visiting for treatment on his shoulder, the lingering remnants of his last bout—a unanimous decision victory—little over a week ago. Hernandez works slavishly on white steel weight machines trimmed in blue leather in a roomful of uniformly colored, modern equipment on a charcoal-blue carpet; afterwards, he curls dumbbells for his biceps along a mirrored wall lined end to end with dumbbells atop a horizontal rack that runs the length of the wall. In a side room, Gonzales reclines on his side atop a training table as Dr. Stoxen’s expert hands work out the kinks in his shoulder girdle.
Following their respective activities, both Hernandez and Gonzales granted an exclusive interview to the Cyber Boxing Zone. Effusive Hernandez spoke primarily about the Chicago boxing scene and its ‘Second City’—as in second rate—mentality when it came to boxing, while soft-spoken Gonzales spoke briefly about his recent sparring experiences in Las Vegas.
On Chicago’s boxing reputation:
MIGUEL HERNANDEZ: Chicago boxing has a bad reputation: as soon as we leave Chicago, people think we’re going to lose!
Look at [Andrew] Golotta: He won the last two fights, but did he get it [decision wins]? He beat [World heavyweight champs] Chris Byrd and Ruiz, but he didn’t’ get the decisions!
[Pointing to Al Gonzales]: I had him winning when he fought Demetrius [Hopkins, undefeated brother of Bernard Hopkins, the undisputed World Middleweight Champion of the World]! He’ll fight anybody!
AL GONZALES: Yeah, but the people know what they see!
MIGUEL HERNANDEZ: Yeah, that’s right. Everyone—trainers here don’t think we can make it—they think the best we can be is opponents. They think if we leave Chicago, we are going to get our ass whupped.
[To make things worse] In Chicago, we have lots of friends. Some of them, we don’t even know! Some people try to take you away from training.
For us Chicago fighters, we’ve got to help each other [so that they] respect us as a ‘fight town’ instead of [as] ‘opponents.’
[On the plus side, top world rated and undefeated junior welterweight contender] David Diaz is an example for us Chicago fighters. Freddie Cuevas and “Torrito” Angel Hernandez are, too. They take fights; they fought top guys on [venues like] HBO. “Torrito” fought [world champion] Winky Wright and wasn’t in the best of shape, but he got a split decision loss.
That’s a slick fighter [Winky Wright]. He earned the spot He beat [Fernando] Vargas, but they gave it to Vargas. He had to earn his spot.
With Freddie Cuevas, they called him two weeks before to fight [promising and undefeated middleweight contender] Jermaine Taylor. He went the distance with Jermaine Taylor!
On promotional complications in Chicago:
Over here, we have two promoters in Chicago [Dominic Pesoli of 8 Count Promotions and Bobby Hitz of Hitz Boxing Promotions] and they’re going to be in the fight game a lot longer than we are. Bobby Hitz is trying to make money. Dominic is trying to make money, us fighters are trying to make money. It’s a business.
If “8 Count’s” fighters and Bobby Hitz’ fighters can get along and spar with each other to prepare for a fight, then they [Pesoli and Hitz] could get along and it would make things a whole lot easier for us fighters in Chicago! Right now, there’s politics and everything. People might pull out, you can’t fight guys who fight for the other promoter and so forth.
[Editor’s note: Hernandez cited the example of a possible rematch for his only loss, a decision loss to Chris Troupe, who was 5-0-0 with 3 KO’s at the time; Hernandez was 6-0-0, with 5 KO’s]
There won’t be a rematch: He fights for Hitz and I fight for 8 Count. However, I won the fight! It was close. It could have been a draw. Still, I showed that I could take a punch and I could give it back!
On what fighters make in Chicago:
Al’s and David’s [David Diaz’] last fights were off TV. That [Diaz] fight was a war! That would have been “Fight of the Year” [had it been televised].
A 10 round fight averages $4,000, $5000. In my first pro bout, I made $800. Anybody that’s signed with a big promoter with a big amateur career, they make a lot more money.
We fight for the love of the sport. That’s why our fights are the best fights; in those off-TV fights, we fight hard because we’re trying to get on TV.
[By comparison] Oscar De La Hoya got paid 30 million dollars to lose to [Bernard] Hopkins! You call that a loss? I don’t call that a loss! I’ll take a shot like that to the ribs for 15 million—that’ll buy a whole set of ribs!
AL GONZALES: [Laughing] Yeah, that’s right!
MIGUEL HERNANDEZ: We’ll be lucky to get one million dollars.
[Gonzales nods somberly]
MIGUEL HERNANDEZ: Hell, I’d run down the street yelling if I made 500 [thousand dollars]!”
On Hernandez’ upcoming January 14th bout against a yet-to-be announced opponent:
There were two guys I was trying to get: Ryan Davis, who’s got a good record [18-3-2, 8 KO’s], he didn’t take the fight; the other guy wasn’t ready.
It’s harder now to get fights now that I’m fighting 10-rounders. It’s much harder to not be able to prepare for a specific fighter. So, I’ve got to spar with southpaws, heavy [hitting] guys—basically anybody. But, I have faith in 8 Count. I have faith that they’ll pick a good fight for me.
On getting to his current position in boxing:
I want to thank Dr. Stoxen and Sam [Colonna, his trainer] for their help. I am now fighting at 154, junior middleweight, to 160. I started out weighing 220; my first Golden Gloves fight was at 175. My next Golden Gloves was at 165. My first pro fight was at 164. But since then, it’s been ’60 and under.
On his support network and fellow rising stars:
[Retired fighter who fought for several world titles, as well as Hernandez’ former manager] Rocky Martinez has been in the fight game a long time. He’s willing to help people so they don’t make the mistakes he did. Things like, ‘Should you take it [a match] now?’ or ‘It’s not worth it.’ Rocky has made his money. He’s a smart businessman.
My manager is Ronnie Garcia. Still, Rocky and Ronnie are still talking. Rocky still gives me advice. I’ve known Ronnie since I was a young kid. He gave me financial help to realize my dreams.
I’ve got a good team: Dominic, Ronnie Garcia, Sam, and all the fighters—“Speedy”, David [Diaz], ‘Torro’ [Angel Hernandez], Freddy [Cuevas]. If I get a chance to fight out[side] of Chicago, I’ll go in the best shape possible so I can win.
[Moreover] I think we’re in a good position, all of us fighters. Helping each other, I think we’ll go a long way!
On training with former 154 lb. world champion, Shane Moseley as head sparring partner prepping for his rematch against current champ, Winky Wright:
My trainer lied to him [Moseley] and told him I was a southpaw. After we sparred, I said to him, ‘I have to tell you the truth: I ain’t no southpaw. He said, ‘That’s alright. You’re hired!’ He was a good guy. They were trying to put me on the under card, but they couldn’t.
[In regard to our sparring sessions], it was good; it made my style so good! He hit me hard, but he said that he didn’t swing too hard because I was a lighter weight; he said he was holding back some. Swinging at him felt good because I’m in with a f*** [expletive] top dog!
[Now] I feel like I want to fight southpaw. From working with him, my defense got better, slicker. I just hope to get to work with him again.
On Top Pound-for-Pound Fighter, Former WBC World Lightweight Champion, and Top junior welterweight contender, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.:
As soon as I got to Las Vegas, I trained at the gym. Floyd Mayweather heard that I was a tough fighter. He came around the gym and said, ‘Where’s ‘Speedy’ at? I heard he was a bad mother f—!’ [expletive] I had already gone home to Chicago. Now, he wants me to go up there to spar with him for his next fight. I’m leaving on Monday to go spar with him in Las Vegas!
MIGUEL HERNANDEZ: I want to thank Cyber Boxing Zone for the great interviews and you, personally [Juan C. Ayllon] because you’re a hell of a guy! You can help change boxing in Chicago, too!
Miguel Hernandez is scheduled to fight next in Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on January 14th against a yet to be announced opponent. Al Gonzales will be fighting highly touted Oscar Diaz (18-1-0, 11 KO’s) on February 4th at the Foxwood Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut on the same card that fellow Chicagoan David Diaz will be fighting dangerous knockout artist, Kendall Holt. Don’t miss either show!
From left to right: Miguel Hernandez, Dr. Stoxen and Al Gonzales pose in front