By Ryan MaquiŮana
Vicente ďChenteĒ Escobedo is intent on fulfilling the promise that had Golden Boy signing him out of the amateurs in 2005 as a 23-year-old U.S. Olympian.† After nine quick wins, the native of Woodland, Calif., found his road to professional stardom rockier than he expected, with an upset loss to Daniel Jimenez in 2006 compounded by subsequent defeats to Michael Katsidis in 2009 and Robert Guerrero in 2010.
Now 30, Escobedo (26-3, 15 KOs) has reinvented himself as a junior lightweight, descending from 135 to 130 pounds and forging his path to a world title shot this Saturday on HBO against Adrien ďThe ProblemĒ Broner (23-0, 19 KOs) in the unbeaten boxer's hometown of Cincinnati.
BoxingScene.com caught up with Escobedo and discussed his newborn daughter, the journey back to relevance, and his mindset toward the biggest fight of his career as he tries to solve ďThe Problem.Ē
BoxingScene.com: First off, congratulations on the birth of your daughter, Milana Sky.† How has that changed the complexion of your training camp, especially regarding your mindset for the fight with Broner?
Vicente Escobedo: Thank you.† My wife and baby have been with me throughout my training camp, and itís been great.† I see my daughter in the morning, and itís motivation.† I want her to be set for life when Iím done with my career, and a win here on Saturday will help me accomplish that.† This is definitely a coming-out party for me.† I plan on shocking the world, especially with how hard I worked to get here.
BoxingScene.com: Speaking of your road back to the top, you have reinvented yourself at 130 pounds after spending most of your career at lightweight.† Tell me how youíve progressed in your past few fights at 130, and why you feel youíre a different fighter today?
Vicente Escobedo: I feel much stronger at 130.† My power has carried down.† I think Iíve finally found my home in his division.† Also, I feel like Iím more of a complete fighter.† [Juan] Ruiz led with his head, and I didnít want to get headbutted, so I had to adjust because heís really awkward.† With Lonnie [Smith], I was so amped up and I wanted it so bad.† He brought the best out of me and I knocked him out.† Here, you have HBO, which is worldwide, and Adrien Bronerís definitely going to bring the best out of me on July 21st.
BoxingScene.com: Ironically enough you were in the same position Adrien Broner is now.† That is, you were being touted by Golden Boy as the next big thing, but you had a couple setbacks, starting with your upset loss to Jimenez, and the subsequent losses to Katsidis and Guerrero.† What was going on in your mind when you had to regroup, and how has it driven you back here to a title shot?
Vicente Escobedo: There are some people out there that kind of forgot about me, which is fine.† I have to prove to everyone and prove to myself that I am one of the top fighters out there.† When I lost to Jimenez, it put me in a bad place.† It took me awhile to get over it and move on.† But I wouldnít trade it for anything.† I wouldnít change it.† It made me the fighter I am now, and Iím better for it.
BoxingScene.com: Could your experiences in the sport be an advantage in some way against a fighter like Broner who has breezed relatively through his competition as of late?
Vicente Escobedo: Thatís the advantage I have over Broner, because Iíve experienced a lot of things in boxing he hasnít.† Iíve been at the bottom.† Iíve been knocked down.† Iíve experienced bleeding, cuts, headbutts, you name it.† I know I can adapt to a lot of things that Bronerís never experienced.† Iím 30 years old, but I still feel great.† Heís still young, and heís got a long way to mature, and weíll find out how stronger I am mentally and physically on July 21st.
BoxingScene.com: Of course, Broner most noticeably struggled against Daniel Ponce de Leon, who remains the only man to take him to 10 rounds.† Youíve gone that same distance or longer 10 times.† What do you think about Broner never having been that deep before?
Vicente Escobedo: When I step it up in the later rounds, the question will be how he will deal with getting into deep waters.† If he thinks heís going to knock me out early, heís going to have a hard time doing that.† Weíll see if he can adapt when Iím still standing.
BoxingScene.com: If it goes the distance, are you concerned about fighting in his hometown of Cincinnati and getting a fair decision?
Vicente Escobedo: Not at all.† It doesnít matter to me whether you fight in Vegas or California.† My old trainer Nacho Beristain used to tell me, ďChingasos are chingasos.Ē† In other words, punches are punches, no matter if youíre in Vegas, Sacramento, or Cincinnati, so Iím not worried.
Actually, with his hometown fans and everyone cheering him on, and all the attention heís getting, the pressureís on him.† My whole thing is to go for one thing, and thatís the belt.† I have nothing against Adrien Broner, but I want what he has.† I think if we finish strong, and finish impressively, I wonít have to worry about the judges getting it right.
BoxingScene.com: Broner has made a name for himself by being outspoken, but it feels like heís been a little more reserved for this particular fight.† Why do you think that is?
Vicente Escobedo: He knows what I can do.† He definitely knows.† Heís 22 years old.† When I was 22 years old, I didnít think I was better than anyone else, but I did feel confident.† I felt like I was on a high.
Thatís kind of how heís feeling right now.† He feels like heís the man.† Heís on a high right now, and he thinks heís the next Floyd Mayweather, but he knows what I can do, and itís time to give him a reality check.† Heís a tough fighter, but Iím going to send him back to reality.
BoxingScene.com: How do you disrupt a physically gifted fighter like Broner, especially in terms of his speed and defense?
Vicente Escobedo: Timing and patience.† You have to time him.† Heís got quick hands, but with the right timing and right punch, you can hurt anybody.† You canít be overanxious or overconfident.† I respect his skills.† He has power.† But in that ring, you canít respect anything.
BoxingScene.com: Your trainer, Joel Diaz, is coming off formulating a gameplan for Timothy Bradley that resulted in an upset win over Manny Pacquiao.† How confident are you in Joel to do the same for you on Saturday?
Vicente Escobedo: Iím very confident in my trainerís gameplan.† What makes Joel such a good trainer is that heís been a fighter at this level before.† So has Antonio [Diaz].† From the first day I met Joel, his plans have been perfect, and I have no doubt in my mind that at the end of the day, I trust him to come up with the right plan to beat Broner.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to the fighter to execute.† Itís all about which fighter is going to be perfect for one night.† You have all these months of training, and Iíll have one night to prove I can do it.
Ryan MaquiŮana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com.† He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28. Tags: Adrien Broner , Vicente Escobedo , Broner-Escobedo , Broner vs Escobedo