by David P. Greisman
Tony Luis is getting a second chance, one year later.
In January 2013, the prospect from Cornwall, Ontario, was 15-0 and set to appear on the undercard of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights.” But Luis lost an eighth-round technical knockout to a 13-6-1 opponent named Jose Hernandez, and the defeat also served a potentially significant setback to his career.
He’s fought twice since then, scoring two wins. It’s his next appearance, on Jan. 17, that’ll be truly important. Luis, who’s now 17-1 with 7 KOs, is scheduled to meet undefeated lightweight prospect Ivan Redkach (15-0, 13 KOs, 1 no contest) in Memphis, Tenn., as the main event of Showtime’s “ShoBox: The New Generation.”
Luis spoke with BoxingScene in early January.
BoxingScene.com: What do you know about Ivan Redkach?
Luis: “He’s a tall southpaw. And he brings a lot of punching power to the table. He’s got a good amateur background.”
BoxingScene.com: Have you seen a lot of him?
Luis: “Yeah, I’m watching him right now. I’ve got a few fights of him to study, some early ones and some recent ones, and I’m getting a good look at him.”
BoxingScene.com: How difficult a challenge do you see Redkach as being?
Luis: “He’s probably my most difficult challenge to date. It’s a tough fight for both of us. For me, it’s a battle of height and reach and to neutralize his power, and for him, I’m going to give him a lot of different things that he hasn’t seen him before.
“I’m watching some of these fights that he’s had. The couple guys who have been able to give him more trouble and go the distance were older veterans, and guys that were just journeymen, but they were crafty and they’ve been around. They have little tricks up their sleeve. I’m going to bring some of those same tricks, but with good speed and power. I’m not an old journeyman.”
BoxingScene.com: What does a win over Redkach mean for your career, and what does a loss mean?
Luis: “I’m not thinking about a loss. I’m thinking about a win. It does everything for my career. The comeback, it’ll be exactly a year since my first loss. And Jan. 17, the comeback is going to come full circle.”
BoxingScene.com: What happened a year ago, in your mind?
Luis: “I just fought the wrong fight. I got a little big-headed. I let the numbers get to me. I was 15-0. I had the hype machine behind me just like they’re doing with Redkach this year. I let it get to my head. I thought I was something I wasn’t. I fought the wrong fight. against Jose Hernandez. I fought the wrong fight. I should’ve made that fight a lot easier than what it was, and I didn’t. I just got away from my intelligence and my boxing ability. I started to come right forward and fight his fight.”
BoxingScene.com: So what changes have you made in the gym and in the two fights you’ve had since then?
Luis: “Correcting some of my bad habits. And it didn’t happen overnight. It took a little while. And if I’m not careful, those bad habits can creep up again. Pulling out straight was really the main thing. If you watch that fight with Hernandez, the times that I was really getting caught were whenever I was pulling out straight back from exchanges. It’s just getting back to being myself again.”
BoxingScene.com: How important were those last two fights for fine-tuning yourself?
Luis: “They were good confidence boosters. It was a chance to refine and apply some of the techniques that we’d been working on in the gym.”
BoxingScene.com: Your fight with Redkach will be the main event of a “ShoBox” broadcast. Is it good for you having that additional pressure on you, so that you know you need to perform at the highest level?
Luis: “Absolutely. Absolutely. And the exposure is going to be good because, win or lose, if [promoter] Lou DiBella has any incentive in his pocket to favor his man, Redkach, by decision if it goes the distance, the whole nation is going to be watching and will know what happened.”
BoxingScene.com: The weight limit for the Redkach fight is 135. You’ve been fighting at or above that limit for some time. What is it going to be like making 135 for this fight?
Luis: “It won’t be difficult, because my last fight was Nov. 9, and two days later I went to Florida for about a month. I was Rigondeaux’s chief sparring partner for his fight with Joseph Agbeko. I didn’t really take any time off. I went right back into the gym. And it was while I was in Florida that we started negotiating for this fight here.”
BoxingScene.com: Would you prefer to fight at lightweight or junior welterweight?
Luis: “I’m a natural lightweight.”
BoxingScene.com: Anything else that you want people to know?
Luis: “Enjoy the fight.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at email@example.com Tags: Tony Luis , Ivan Redkach