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Arnold Barboza Jr. “I’m Not Just Happy To Be There, I am Going To Take Care Of Business”

“I am not just happy to be there, I am going to take care of business.”

These are some of the words that stood out to me from Top Rank super lightweight contender Arnold Barboza Jr, who is on the verge of a world title shot, but he will be quick to remind you a loss will derail all of his hopes and dreams, so his opponent, former WBO super lightweight world title contender, Alex Saucedo, is his sole focus, Saturday, October 17th, on ESPN, live from The Bubble at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I hate when people ask about the future,” Barboza said frankly as his sole focus is upon Alex Saucedo. “All I can control is what happens on Saturday, I didn’t train for the future.”

That brings up a topic not always touched on, but Barboza has had a great career so far, but since it started from the ground up on L.A. Bash Boxing shows, and undercards, Barboza hasn’t had his story heard as often, so a world title to some seems like the easy point of entry for a story. For the journalist in me, I understand, for the fighter, I get how it gets annoying since a lot of writers are not meeting Barboza where he is at in this present moment.

“I went a whole year-and-a-half without fighting because I couldn’t get a promoter to take a look at me,” said Barboza Jr. “I sparred Mike Alvarado when he fought [Juan Manuel Marquez, and Alvarado’s manager at-the-time put a word in for me at Top Rank, said ‘hey, this kid is good’ and went to the fights and met Brad [Goodman] and it was all from there.”

Barboza’s career is unlike most, as he didn’t have a celebrated amateur career, and got signed after sparring Mike Alvarado. He fought quality fighters such as Maximilliano Becerra, Jonathan Chicas, Brandon “Dino” Adams, Johnny Rodriguez, Mike Reed, Mike Alvarado, and Tony Luis. All of whom are formidable. With most of his early fights being on UniMas cards that, let’s be honest, a lot of non-Spanish speaking boxing fans didn’t watch, Barboza is slowly and surely introduce himself to fans across the nation via his ESPN performances.

Barboza is the everyday man, the hard worker, looking to get to the top of the sport, as he looks for financial freedom for himself, and his loved ones, while chasing a world title in the process, and beyond that mastery of the craft of boxing.

“If I don’t beat Saucedo, there are no fights after this, I am going have to get back in line and work my way back up again, this is something I wanted and something that I got,” said Barboza looking to seize the moment.

After Barboza picked up a unanimous decision over Tony Luis in his last bout on August 29th, he was notified that he would face Alex Saucedo on October 17th in the co-main event of Teofimo Lopez vs Vasiliy Lomachenko moments after, finally getting his big fight.

“Once I beat Tony Luis, Bob Arum [Top Rank CEO] came up to me and said ‘I’ll see you the 17th’,” Barboza reflected on how the bout between himself and Alex Saucedo was told to him in the ring after his last fight. “Everyone was telling me the 17th, Saucedo, and I was like ‘okay, cool’.”

Barboza, who spent this camp with his team at the famed boxing institution, The Summit, in Big Bear Lake, California, a boxing gym ran by Abel Sanchez, and that Barboza team used for this camp. Saucedo knows that place all too well as Saucedo used to train there before switching his training camp to Churchill Boxing Club in Santa Monica, California.

“I had a chill camp, a tough camp,” said Baboza Jr reflecting upon his camp. “You know, Saucedo, trained up there, so he knows how it is to train up there. You get up, you run, go to the gym, stretch, do abs, and then you go back to the cabin, go to sleep and then you go back to the gym.”

Barboza, who is trained by his father, saw his father making sacrifices for his son during this camp as well.

“For one week, I felt bad, because [my dad] had to drive up [to Big Bear] and back down, every day, because he had to work at 5 in the morning every day.”

It is a monotonous grind of hard work that Barboza has endured for this camp, but Barboza is making a point of letting it be known he isn’t just happy to be on this stage, he wants more. Yet, with three sparring partners, Thompson Boxing’s Ruben “Ace” Torres, Michael Dutchover, and Golden Boy Promotions’ Luis Feliciano, Barboza had plenty of people in the gym with him.

Barboza also credits his nutrition sponsor, SNAC System, owned and operated by Victor Conte, which has helped him get to the next level.

“I swear ever since I have begun taking SNAC my performances have been changing,” said Barboza enthusiastically about his sponsors. “I make sure I take it every day, I am on-point with SNAC [products]…”

A small editorial, I would like to make is I truly believe in Arnold Barboza, Jr. He is driven, he is talented, and he is making things happen for himself. He has never been someone that was handed anything, and that is one of the many things that makes Barboza such a hard worker in the gym. As Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor look to be moving up in weight soon, Barboza looks to be the guy along with Jose “Chon” Zepeda, and Mario Barrios, as three leading contenders to rule this division.

You can watch Arnold Barboza Jr. take on Alex Saucedo, live on ESPN, this Saturday, October 17th, with the undercard starting at 4:30 PM PST, and the main card starting at 7PM

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle