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[Previous entry: "Kostya Tszyu: Enjoying Life, Making Appearances!"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "New England Ringside Radio Network"]

07/25/2005 Archived Entry: "Family Man & Hwt. Contender Oquendo Anticipates Fighting Likes of Peter, Scott, Ruiz, & Others Soon!"

Family Man & Hwt. Contender Oquendo Anticipates Fighting Likes of Peter, Scott, Ruiz, & Others Soon!

By Juan C. Ayllon

FresOquendoDavidDiaz (77k image)

Fres Oquendo (left) with jr. welterweight contender, David Diaz (Juan C. Ayllon photo)

CHICAGO – Nearby, several laborers worked on renovation work, as heavyweight contender Fres Oquendo walked into JABB Gym. Wearing blue jeans, an open stylish, blue shirt with white stippling over a white tank top, and a silver belt buckle with the insignia, “D&G”—for Dolce and Gabanna, he looked in decent shape. However, junior welterweight contender and former Amateur Nationals teammate David Diaz intimated that he'd put on a few pounds as he smiled mischievously and patted Oquendo on the belly.

Oquendo, at 24-3-0 and 15 knockouts, is looking to get back into the mix of things in today’s wide-open heavyweight division. After a controversial points loss to IBF Heavyweight champion Chris Byrd in September of 2003—a bout many felt that he won—he fought a cautious and somewhat listless bout against WBA champ, John Ruiz, and was stopped in 11 rounds on April 17, 2004. He has not fought since, prompting some to whisper how this lack of ring activity could prove detrimental, if not disastrous.

Fres Oquendo was slated to fight on the under card of the Lamon Brewster-Andrew Golota WBO heavyweight championship bout this last May, but after extricating himself from promoter Don King’s contract, arrangements fell apart quickly.

Following a long search, Fres is now with a new promoter, Lou DiBella, seeking to get his career back on track.

As several boxers drilled to the intermittent electronic chirps that marked off rounds, Fres Oquendo granted this writer an exclusive interview.

On what he is doing these days to stay in shape:

FRES OQUENDO: Oh, I’ve been just maintaining, looking forward to getting back in the ring, and—you know—just staying in shape.

You know, I’ve got a good eating habit, I’m very health hazard of what I eat, what I put in my body. I eat in the mornings whole wheat bread, egg whites; a lot of vegetables, good steak and a little seafood. And [I do] a lot of calisthenics just to keep my shape and form. And just looking forward to getting that boxing match!

Right now I’m just doing like three miles of three days a week and two miles, like 200 meters--like eight or ten 200 meters dash runs. Each 200 [meters] would be like a minute and 30 seconds.

On his use of weights and the argument against weights by old school purists:

FRES OQUENDO: No, nowadays, this is the “Modern Age”. In weights, as long as you don’t overdo it—like no Mr. Olympia-type training regimen—you should be okay, especially us heavyweights. In a lot of weights [i.e., weight classes], that’s a different occasion there. But, as far as heavyweights, you know, we not only depend upon speed and skills, but also slight power. So, as long as it’s not too much, it should be okay.

I do a lot of light weight training with dumbbells, a lot of running up and down the stairs, a lot of stair work. So, you know, I keep my conditioning in form. So, you know, not really no heavy weight training just yet.

On his sparring regimen:

No, I haven’t been sparring. I’m just right now taking it day by day and negotiating some fights up and coming with my new promoter, Lou DiBella, and just at the moment just maintaining until we get that right date and fight.

On concerns voiced by some regarding inactivity in the ring, as well as when he’s coming back:

FRES OQUENDO: My last fight was actually a year and I believe a month or two ago, against, of course, John Ruiz for the heavyweight championship of the world. So, you know, thank God for my namesake. You know, so once I get a fight or two, I’ll get in the mix of things by fall. By fall, by fall, [I] guarantee you!

Ah, they [DiBella, et al] threw out a couple of names, like Malik Scott, some prospects, let’s see, some other guys. But, a fight like that, a co-main event on HBO’s “[Boxing] After Dark” fights and, you know, one of them up and coming prospects, you know, Sammy Peter, to name a few, and move on after those fights.

On whether he’s thinking seriously of fighting Sam Peter:

FRES OQUENDO: Yeah, yeah. After a good two fights tune-up, I think I’ll be ready to take that next step ‘cause, you know, been there and done that and been in those situations of course with Clifford Ettienne , Ducan Dokiwari, you know, just to name a few.

[Editor’s note: Oquendo stopped Ettienne in eight rounds in March 2001 and won a unanimous decision over Dokiwari in January 1999]

On who the “monsters” are in the heavyweight division these days:

FRES OQUENDO: In all reality, it’s the guys that I want rematches with, which is John Ruiz; you know, a lot of people knew that wasn’t me and I’m looking forward to erasing that old chapter and showing people the “real me.” And also, Chris Byrd: the verdict is out on him; the whole world knows it was injust with the decision and those two fights are really on my horizon for rematches.

Well, right now, like I said, I signed with a great promoter; he’s had great faith in me. I’m looking forward to getting a couple of fights in, a nice little HBO After Dark date, like a Malik Scott, you know, Sammy Peter, Calvin Brock—whoever—and then the title with Vitali Klitschko, Chris Byrd or John Ruiz, the champion.

On distractions surrounding his bout versus John Ruiz:

FRES OQUENDO: Oh yeah, my former manager of mine, who’s Tito Trinidad’s dad’s financial advisor; when they first retired, they [asked] for him to manage my career. And it hasn’t been the best thing for me as far as him managing me, a guy that has never been into boxing. But, out of the loyalty to Mr. Felix Trinidad, Sr., I did it and it’s been a negative result from this character, Jose Ramos.

On his amateur Nationals experience with David Diaz:

DavidDiazSparring1a (55k image)
David Diaz (left) works the mitts with Mike Garcia (Juan C. Ayllon photo)

FRES OQUENDO: Me and David, we won the National Golden Gloves in Little Rock, Arkansas and that was a great feat by two fighters from this little gym called Hamlin Park, which is the park that we represent, [from the] Chicago Park District. And I thank the Chicago Park District for actually grooming me and David for what we are today.

On his kids and their playing sports:

FRES OQUENDO: I have five, three boys and two girls: Maya, 13; Naeem, 12; Solomon, 10; Fres, seven; and Jayda, five.

I’m very “Dad first”—you know, I’m “home first”—and I love my kids. They’re my inspiration, my motivation, what I am today. And, I have them in all sports: my kids play basketball, football, baseball; my daughter’s in dance academy—my oldest and youngest daughters. And, I feel very great and happy, and very humble for the people who’ve been assisting me and my wife and having my kids perform in these sports.

On how he set money aside for real estate investments from his ring earnings:

FRES OQUENDO: Oh, yeah, not only that I’m a world-class athlete, you know, thank God I invested my little money, got my feet wet in this real estate venture, [and have] been very successful. [I] Really thank my family, my brothers, for advising me, for making the right moves in investing my money right, not just like other fighters like Tyson, Michael Nunn and others, just to name a few that made millions and ended up being broke. And I don’t want to be one of them victims in the future. So, with five kids, once I get this little money, I invested it real well and I’m looking forward to doing it again after my career’s over with—or, during my career.

On advise he would offer those just starting out in boxing:

FRES OQUENDO: Well, they’ve got to be very focused, they really want to be determined, they really want to be hungry and want it. It’s got to be in their heart and soul. You know, if they really want to succeed, believe in their talents that God’s given them, and be very positive and listen to their mentor. Listen to your coaches, ‘cause they only mean good for up and coming world prospects.

And, thus, Oquendo bides his time as he awaits the court’s verdict on his managerial woes, and moving on with his career. Although he’s anxious to get back in the ring, he’s living one day at a time, enjoying his family and the joys and challenges that each day brings.

All photos by Juan C. Ayllon, Copyright 2005

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