Forty-four-year-old boxing legend Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield makes a stop in the Alamo City this week on his quest for an historic fifth heavyweight title. His opponent, “Fast” Fres Oquendo, should provide some stiff competition for the aging icon in the biggest boxing event San Antonio has seen in recent memory.
The undercard for the event features promising young local fighters, including welterweight Oscar Diaz and super flyweight Gabriel Elizondo. Diaz, a Lanier graduate, is coming off an impressive, nationally televised victory over Chris “The Mechanic” Smith that earned Diaz NABA and NABF Welterweight championships. The 27-year-old Elizondo recently defeated Trinidad Mendoza in front of a crowd of 1,243 in La Villita and also holds a NABA title. Hustle and Flow caught up with both pugilists before their big fights at the Alamodome.
The fight takes place at 7 p.m. Friday in the Alamodome. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, at Ticketmaster.com.
What type of training do you do for a fight like this?
Diaz: I wake up early, around 6 in the morning, to go running, and then I hit the gym. I work out with my strength trainer to build me up, get me strong, and keep my energy up. I hit the ring at noon to go boxing and start learning how to fight the opponent we’re fighting and his style of fighting. In the evening, around 6 or 7, I go work out again, and if it’s not the running, it’s the strength training. I work out three times a day and we mix it up depending on what my schedule is.
What is your mindframe when you enter the ring?
Elizondo: I feel real happy to be on the Holyfield card, first of all. He’s a big name, and 30 different countries are going to be watching, so I’m excited for that. To be fighting Jose Navarro, it’s kind of like a revenge thing because I was so hoping to make the 2000 Olympic team and he took me out of there. I have nothing bad against him, though. He’s respected and he’s a great kid. Outside the ring I have respect for him, but inside the ring there will be no respect and I’ll be out to get my revenge.
What does an event like this mean for the San Antonio boxing community?
Diaz: It’s important, and I think that with this card, it’s going to be an exciting fight. To get people into it again you need to bring in great fights where people can come out, show themselves, and want to be a part of it. It’s a great town for fights, everybody loves it. There’s just not enough fights to bring out here. It’s a real big card right here, and it’s the one where I’m gonna show everybody that I’m going to be champion of the world.
Elizondo: I really hope that a lot of people come to see the show to see people like us. It’s been a lot of work for what we do and we need their support for us to expand on what we plan on doing, for us to be the world champions. We need their support and we need to let them know that we have championship fighters in San Antonio. This is our hometown, so we need to take advantage of that, and hopefully they show up for us. It’s just like the Spurs, they all show up and give the Spurs support and go crazy for them and I want them to show up in the Alamodome and go crazy for me and Oscar. That would be great.
Any predictions for fight night?
Diaz: I’m going into the fight tough. I’m an aggressive fighter and I can adapt and change to do whatever I want to do. I think it’s gonna be an early fight. I don’t think he’s gonna be able to stand the pressure and the way I’m gonna fight him. He better be in shape because I’m gonna take it to him. If he wants to win my title, he better be ready for a fight.
Elizondo: The only prediction is victory. I train too hard and I feel that the hard work that I put into it pays off. This is a sport where there have been injuries and death, so may God bless both of us in the fight. May He be with us in the fight, and hopefully we both come out fine.