Getting into a boxing ring in front of thousands where everything can go wrong at any second is pressure.
Getting into a boxing ring also being labeled a "super prospect" doesn't make it any easier. But that's what 2009 World Amateur Championships Lightweight Silver Medalist and former Olympian Jose "Sniper" Pedraza is handling remarkably well, thus far.
22-year-old Pedraza (2-0, 2 KOs) has already headlined a show in New York City and is one of the young fighters on the lips of boxing insiders as a certain future champion.
In the first of a series, he sat down for Five Across the Lip: Five Quick Questions for the members of Team Puerto Rico.
When did you start boxing?
I started boxing when I was little about 12 years old because it looked fun and its a great sport. I've always been involved in sports. When I started boxing, I was also a runner with the Puerto Rican National Team and then left it to only do boxing.
Tell me about your life in Puerto Rico.
Well my life is all my family and boxing. What I do is go to the gym everyday and stay home with my family. One of my favorite hobbies is to run. I find it liberating. I live in Cidra, Puerto Rico, with my wife and my kid and we've got another on the way.
Describe your boxing style.
Well, my style is basically to move laterally, avoid punches and connect punches. I think that's what I do best in the ring is move laterally to avoid punches.
Name a few boxers you admire and tell me why.
I admire Felix "Tito" Trinidad for being so humble and giving glory to our beautiful country. And I also think he was a really great boxer. I also think Mayweather is out of this world and his ability is unparalleled.
What do you know about your next opponent?
Basically, not much. Judging by his record he seems that he can withstand punishment because his fights have all gone the distance. I saw a video of him of YouTube and he seems like a good fighter.
Team Puerto Rico's Next Appearance:
Back-to-back, on June 10 and 11 (Friday and Saturday before the 2011 National Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday) at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City, Gary Shaw Productions and DiBella Entertainment will present Boricua Invasion I and II, featuring members of Team Puerto Rico Boxing, the eight-man team of Puerto Rico's future ring stars.
Friday's Boricua Invasion I will feature the unstoppable welterweight on everybody's "one to watch" list, Thomas Dulorme (11-0, 10 KOs) vs. former world champion DeMarcus Corley; Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico's highlight-reel welterweight KO specialist Kenny "Battlestar" Galarza (14-1, 14 KOs) vs. Puerto Rican compatriot Irving Garcia and the future superstar already fighting in main events after just two bouts, Jose "Sniper" Pedraza (2-0, 2 KOs). The main bouts of Boricua Invasion I will be televised on ESPN Friday Night Fights.
Saturday's Boricua Invasion II will feature four more members of Team Puerto Rico: featherweight Luis "Orlandito" Del Valle (12-0, 10 KOs) vs. Dat Nguyen; junior middleweight Jonathan "Mantequilla" Gonzalez (12-0, 12 KOs); and light welterweight Hector "El Flaco" Sanchez (19-1, 9 KOs) vs. Vincent Arroyo. Also scheduled for action are Team Puerto Rico light welterweight Jorge "Machito" Maysonet Jr. (3-0, 2 KOs); plus a special off-TV appearance by Puerto Rico-born light welterweight Gabriel "Tito" Bracero (15-0, 1 KO) of Brooklyn. The main bouts of Boricua Invasion II will be broadcast live on Showtime: The New Generation.
Tickets for Boricua Invasion I on Friday, June 10 are priced at $175, $125, $75, $45 and are available through Ticketmaster.com, charge-by-phone, or at any Ticketmaster outlet. On Friday, doors will open at 6:00 pm and the action starts at 6:30.
Tickets for Boricua Invasion II on Saturday, June 11 are priced at $200, $150, $85, and $55 and are available through Ticketmaster.com, charge-by-phone, or at any Ticketmaster outlet. On Saturday, doors will open at 7:00 pm and the action starts at 7:30.
For VIP Package tickets to both nights, please call DiBella Entertainment at 212-947-2577.
The Roseland Ballroom is located at 239 West 52nd Street in New York City.