By Fransciso Salazar
Unbeaten junior welterweight contender Brandon Rios has added embattled strength and conditioning coach Angel "Memo" Heredia to his training camp in preparation for his bout on Saturday against Mike Alvarado, Rios advised BoxingScene.com.
Rios will be taking on Alvarado in an anticipated rematch for an interim world title belt at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. In their first bout, Rios stopped Alvarado in the seventh round of a very close fight that saw a tremendous ebb and flow between the two Mexican-American fighters.
Heredia came to work with Rios earlier this year and has been staying in the Oxnard area, where Rios lives and trains.
Prior to working with Rios, Heredia was the strength and conditioning coach of Juan Manuel Marquez leading up to Marquez’s third and fourth fights against Manny Pacquiao.
Aside from being known for working with professional boxers, Heredia has been embroidered in controversy prior to working with Marquez and now Rios. Heredia admitted that he provided performance enhancement drugs to Olympic sprinter Marion Jones and was a government witness in the BALCO case against Victor Conte.
Despite what Heredia has been involved in, Rios’ camp sought out Heredia because of his strength and conditioning regimen in and out of the gym.
As far as Rios is concerned, he sought out Heredia to assist in his physical preparation, which includes working with footwork and conditioning.
“I’m working with Angel because he’s helping me with my power and conditioning and nothing else,” said Rios (31-0-1, 23 KOs). “I never did morning runs and conditioning work until I worked with Angel. I feel a lot stronger because of the endurance work we’ve done. I feel great because of it.”
Reporter’s note: Early last month, Rios began working out and running on the track of Channel Islands High School in Oxnard, where I teach. Rios would arrive at the track between 6:30-7AM, work out, and leave before school began at 8AM. The three times I saw Rios work out, Heredia was there working with him on various drills, including the medicine ball, side-to-side movement, and the elastic band.
Francisco A. Salazar has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County Star newspaper. His twitter handle is salazar_soccer and could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org