By Ben Jacobs
The start of a new year usually heralds self-promises coupled with declarations about the 12 months ahead. In the case of Luis Carlos Abregú, the Argentine’s determination can be heard through his voice as he states his intentions for 2014.
After capturing the attention of the boxing world with his stoppage victory over much touted Puerto Rican talent, Thomas Dulorme, Abregú continued his ascent with a solid victory back in Argentina last April over Antoine Decarie before a persistent injury to his right hand saw the end for his 2013 exploits. He subsequently was forced to have an operation to correct the problem and is now training again with view to a return in March.
“My recuperation is progressing really well. I basically have no problems in my hand now,” Abregú told BoxingScene, “I’m punching at around 70% on the bag. I’m doing physiotherapy every day.
“I’ve learned that I can punch a lot better, I haven’t been able to show that for a long time since I injured myself for the first time but now I know how to take better take care of myself and to be fit come fight time. Maybe I wasn’t as careful in the past and I injured myself in a fight. It was against Richard Gutiérrez. I won that fight but when I fought Tim Bradley I wasn’t great because I came into it with problems from the previous fight.”
An extended period away from the ring can be testing times for a boxer, or any athlete that is injured and prevents them from competing in their chosen discipline. Naturally, Abregú admitted to living through difficult moments.
“It has been very difficult for me, knowing that I was number one in the world ranking and not being able to fight is hard. But we’re recuperating every day and getting stronger. The difficult moments made me stronger and I’ll show it when I fight next in March. Then we’ll see how the hand feels and carry on working hard.
“I never stopped training, I’ve always been in the gym and that’s what I’ve been doing whilst I’ve been out of the ring. I’ve also been travelling around Argentina at the times when I couldn’t train. But as soon as I got better I started training again, in fact I’ve just been out running!”
Carlos, as he is usually called, is excited at the prospect of again mixing with some of the world’s best in the 147lb weight class, despite the differences across the promotional divide.
“I’ll fight in Salta, Argentina, where I live. It’s a fight to get a bit of confidence back, and to test my hand out against a good rival, someone with a good ranking. “It’s hard to bring top opponents to Salta for economic reasons but we’re going to try our best to get someone good. I could fight in April, May or June in America, depending how this fight goes. I fight at welterweight and it’s one of the best weight classes in boxing right now with lots of important champions. Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Marcos Maidana, Tim Bradley, Juan Manuel Márquez, boxers who bring a lot of expectation and do well with the television networks. These days it’s very difficult to make certain fights, Top Rank has different boxers to Golden Boy but it would be great if we could all fight each other. Top Rank has guys like Bradley and Márquez who can fight with me.”
There can be no doubting that Argentine boxing has been on the rise for the past few years, nevertheless, 2013 saw contrasting fortunes for some of its better known talents. Following Lucas Matthysse’s defeat to Danny García, rumours on the internet emerged that the power puncher from Patagonia was considering retirement.
“Lucas Matthysse is a friend in boxing. My impression of that fight is perhaps Lucas got too confident. He may not have imagined that Danny García punched so hard. Lucas is a very tough boxer who can take hard shots but he was unlucky that Danny García hit him in the eye and it closed up. But perhaps if Lucas had taken more care Danny wouldn’t have hit him there. I think he took the shot in one of the early rounds and his eye was very inflamed.
“I think he had problems that one feels when one loses. It’s worse when you don’t get support. I realised that boxing is a very unforgiving sport. When I fought Tim Bradley I had friends that after I lost I then didn’t hear from them anymore, and I felt really down. But that helped me mature even more, to be stronger in life and in the ring. I don’t know exactly what happened with Lucas but probably something like what I went through.
“I wasn’t surprised Chino [Maidana] beat Broner, I had a lot of belief in him. He’s a strong boxer, he’s the hardest puncher in the weight class in the world, that’s my view. He punches harder than Mayweather and Pacquiao, or Thurman, all the hard punchers. I can just tell you Mayweather is faster and the best in the world but Maidana is the hardest puncher. Broner never imagined that he would be in front of the hardest puncher in the weight class! Broner didn’t do much else other than try to goad Maidana into hitting him and as soon as he hit him he put him in trouble. Mayweather would never do that. He’d maintain his distance. The only worry I had was that Chino might get tired, but that didn’t happen.”
As for the future, Abregú has a number two ranking with the WBC which could see him attain a world title shot if his plans come to fruition. He wants the fans to know of his will to succeed.
“This year is going to be very positive for me, with lots of expectations,” he affirmed.
“I have it programmed in my head that we’re going to do everything to get a world title this year. I have so much energy now that my hand is better. I’m feeling very good, and it makes me happy and gives me energy to train.
“I consider myself strong and intelligent, someone who can get to the top. If I didn’t do it before it was because of the problems with my right hand. With Thomas Dulorme I showed that if I’m fit I can beat anybody.”