By Hesiquio Balderas
Not a typical fighter and not a typical person, Dante Jardon is the complete opposite of what a Mexican professional boxer is expected to be. He comes from a middle class family, where there was enough food on the table and plenty of support from his parents. He used to play soccer on a very important Mexican team. He also practiced swimming. His father and now deceased mother were were very supportive, taking care of young Dante and taking him to practice for the different sports that he was involved in.
But right after a practice session of soccer, his life changed completely, as he was walking around the Tacubaya´s streets in Mexico City. He saw a familiar face in a Jewelry store and that person was mobbed by a crowd chanting his name ‘’Finito’’ ‘’Finito.’’ It was one of Mexico’s greatest fighters of all time - Ricardo Lopez.
‘’When I saw him for the first time it gave me the chills, I couldn´t believe there was this guy I saw on TV and he was so famous and people loved him. I knew who he was because he was at his peak and I wanted to say hello to him. I did and then I told my mother that I wanted to try boxing the very next day," Jardon told BoxingScene.com.
And he did, he started having success in the amateur ranks, winning tournament after tournament, and then wanted to turn professional. And that is when the problems started.
"I realized right away that this was what I wanted to do, so turning pro was a natural for me. I quit on soccer and went pro, but I was a big puncher and a lot of opponents were turning me down days before our scheduled fights. They were claiming injuries that didn´t exist, and not too many promoters wanted their fighters to fight me, so inactivity was a big factor and a huge disappointment, until I met Oscar and Ricardo Maldonado, that there changed everything,’’ said Jardon (17-1, 15KOs).
The Maldonado family are more famous for taking Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera to superstardom, and creating a family bond in the way that they are doing with Jardon at this moment.
"It was a blessing finding them. Right after we met I started to fight more often, winning fights and getting excited about my career. Now I thank God. I hold the WBO and WBC (interim) Latino super featherweight titles and the WBC Youth world super featherweight title as well. I couldn’t feel any better right now. My goal is to become a true world champion at 130 pounds and to unify all of the belts. I want to fight tough fighters and I don’t want a title shot without earning it.’’
Dante is getting there the hard way, unlike Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Canelo Alvarez - two title holders that are heavily punished by the critical comments of the fans and the media, because there is a strong belief that neither boxer did much to earn their respective titles. Jardon is earning his reputation, fight by fight, just like in the old days when fighters were known for their in-ring abilities and not by their publicity.
‘’I feel so happy that the people are saying positive things about me, and the media too. I just went to a TV show and this is all new to me. My feet are on the ground and all I want is to fight, to give a good show and I think after that the people will accept me. But I want the best available opposition out there. I don’t want an easy fight. My style is that of a technical boxer who likes to brawl and I think the fans like that’’
Jardon is defending his WBC Youth championship against Adrian Tellez this Friday in Mexico City but he hopes for bigger and better things and plans to target all of the world champions at 130.
‘’I want to be a world champion, that is my dream. I don’t want to be a rock star, or an actor, or a daddy´s boy. I want to be remembered as a real fighter just like my idols ‘’Finito’’ Lopez and Salvador Sanchez. The show business [part of boxing] is not for me. My business is in the ring, and I have the discipline, the courage, the hunger and the punch to achieve that,’’concluded Jardon
For comments to Hesiquio Balderas you can contact him on twitter.com/kikoBalderas [email protected]