By Jake Donovan
At 26 years of age and having only recently hit six full years as a pro, you’d think that Diego Magdaleno would just now begin craving for a world title shot. To win a championship is every fighter’s dream but doesn’t mean they expect that opportunity the moment they turn pro.
The way the unbeaten southpaw tells it, Saturday’s title fight showdown with Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez is long overdue.
“This fight… it’s been a long time coming,” says Magdaleno (23-0, 9KO), whose 130 lb. title challenge against Martinez takes place Saturday in Macao, China. “I’m just taking it in. Since I’ve been here in China, I’ve met so many people and I’m taking it all in. I have my younger brother (Jesse) here with me so he’s here along for the ride.”
Magdaleno represents the older half of a fighting brother duo, with younger brother Jesse an up-and-coming prospect. The elder Magdaleno hit his stride a year or so ago and has been biding his time waiting for the right opportunity to come along.
That moment has finally arrived, though it requires traveling halfway around the world in order to obtain it. His title bout serves as the opening portion of a show that will air live on HBO2 in the United States on Saturday afternoon. Brian Viloria defends his pair of flyweight belts against Juan Francisco Estrada, while the main event features two-time Olympic Gold medalist Zou Shiming in his pro debut against Eleazor Valenzuela.
It’s quite a star-studded lineup, one that would make most fighters feel like an afterthought by night’s end. Magdaleno fully intends to steal the show and make sure it’s his face and efforts the fans best remember on Saturday.
“They know when I get in the ring I put on a show,” insists the 130 lb. contender. “That’s what I intend to do on Saturday, put on a show. I’m coming after a title. It has my name on it. It’s been in my sight for a while.”
The defending titlist, Martinez stressed during Thursday’s presser his plans of successfully defending his title and taking it back home to Puerto Rico.
“I didn’t come all the way from Puerto Rico just to give up my title,” insisted Martinez, who enters on the heels of a controversial split decision draw against Juan Carlos Burgos in his first defense this past January. “Diego shouldn’t dream about winning my title.”
Magdaleno suggested that only one of the fighters was living in fantasy land.
“Your dream is over,” insisted the challenger to Martinez.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox