by David P. Greisman
The wide scorecards don’t quite indicate that Zachary Ochoa had a battle at times with Luis Alberto Cervantes this past Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
It wasn’t unexpected, Ochoa said afterward.
“I knew he was going to come out tough. Never been stopped before [NOTE: Cervantes had been stopped once before, in the bout just before this one]. Has 17 fights. He’s a veteran. So as soon as I got in there, I didn’t really take advantage. I didn’t say to myself, ‘Oh, he’s in trouble, I’m going to knock him out in two seconds.’ I took my time, did what I had to do.
“My legs cramped up a little bit, but the thing was, I said ‘F*** it, I’m in the Barclays Center, let me give everybody a show. Let everybody know I ain’t no p*ssy,’ you know what I’m saying? And I dug down and fought my heart out, that’s what I did. I know I could fight off the ropes. I’ve been working on that in the gym. As you could see, when I was on the ropes, he wasn’t really landing anything except some body shots, really. When I did push forward, it was the same exact thing. I could fight forward, I could fight going backwards.”
There was a moment in the fight when Cervantes hit Ochoa with a low blow, and after a brief break put his glove out as a sign of apology and sportsmanship. Ochoa responded by not touching gloves and instead landing a flush right hand.
“The ref said fight. Protect yourself at all times. What happened with Floyd [Mayweather] and Victor Ortiz, you know what I’m saying? Once the bell rings, he’s going to go like this [puts his hand up] and I’m just going to rock him. That’s what happens. That happened in my third fight. The guy came out, ding ding ding, he went to touch gloves and I knocked him out in the first round. … [This shot] was really from the outside. It didn’t really have so much oomph on it.”
Pressed on the question of whether it was poor sportsmanship, Ochoa responded:
“Ain’t no sportsmanship as soon as the bell rings. No sportsmanship. After the fight, before the fight, yes. As soon as the bell rings, there’s nothing like that.”
As for the rest of the fight, Ochoa said he wasn’t concerned about being caught clean by Cervantes.
“I got a good chin, and I train hard for this. Me and my trainer, we put in a good training camp. If I get hit with a good shot like I do in sparring sometimes, I can take it very well and I can keep fighting.”
And he felt he handled his Cervantes and the situation his opponent presented well.
“I knew he was going to come out aggressive,” Ochoa said. “That’s what he does. He has 17 fights. A strong guy, he can take a shot. I hit him with a lot of shots and he didn’t go down. I wobbled him a little bit but he didn’t go down. So I knew he was a tough guy and I couldn’t take advantage of that and let go of all my shots, get tired and just be flat the whole fight.”
Pick up a copy of David’s 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 firstname.lastname@example.org