by David P. Greisman
The loss less than a year ago was but a bump in the road, yet Denis Douglin says it also put him on the right track.
Now, about 11 months after he suffered his first pro loss with a shocking technical knockout against Doel Carrasquillo, the junior middleweight prospect says he is better prepared for his Jan. 6 bout against Steve Martinez on the season premiere of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights.”
Douglin, a 23-year-old out of Marlboro, N.J. with 13 wins, 1 loss and 8 knockouts, is in against an undefeated foe. Martinez is 11-0 with 9 knockouts.
BoxingScene.com: You’re fighting next week, kicking off the “Friday Night Fights” season with a bout against Steve Martinez. What are your thoughts on that bout?
Douglin: “It’s a great opportunity. Steve Martinez is undefeated, 11 and 0. We both won the nationals in the amateurs, so I know he’s a good fighter. He has an extensive amateur background. It’s just a good opportunity for me to showcase my skills and show what I’m trying to accomplish in the junior-middleweight division.”
BoxingScene.com: Do I understand correctly that you’re familiar with Martinez?
Douglin: “Yeah, we pretty much grew up together as far as boxing goes. I grew up boxing out of New York, and he grew up there, so I’ve seen him fight a bunch of times and he’s seen me a bunch of times. We’ve sparred once, so we’re pretty familiar with each other.”
BoxingScene.com: How do you size him up as a fighter? You said he’s good…
Douglin: “He is a good fighter. I think he’s real good. I think that after this fight, he’s going to be able to bounce right back. He’s just not going to beat me next Friday.”
BoxingScene.com: Speaking of bouncing back, did you expect to be fighting on ESPN2 on “Friday Night Fights” in just your second fight since your loss last year?
Douglin: “I didn’t expect the loss last year, so I expected to be at this stage either way. So I’m thankful that the loss only slowed me down for a couple of months, but then I got right back on pace. This is where I’m supposed to be. I’m supposed to be on TV. I’m going to be a world champion. So the loss gave me a lot more focus. I’m going a lot harder in the gym. I’m actually thankful for it now.”
BoxingScene.com: And how do you as a fighter go about doing that — how do you make sure that a defeat doesn’t leave you defeated? How did you make a good thing out of what could have been a bad thing?
Douglin: “Because I was able to recognize the mistakes that I made in preparation for that fight. I didn’t train hard at all. The camp I’m having right now is probably the hardest camp I’ve had since I’ve ever been boxing. I didn’t even train half as hard as this, so that’s one major reason why the fight doesn’t really upset me like that — because it wasn’t me giving my all and then losing. I feel like that would be hard to come back from.
“But knowing that you train 50 percent, you’re partying, you’re not going as hard as you normally go, then you lose, all that does is tell you that you can’t do that. So it didn’t really upset me at all. It just got me refocused.”
BoxingScene.com: I imagine you’d prefer never to lose, but do you think it’s better that you had this happen earlier in your career as opposed to later?
Douglin: “Definitely. I’m glad it wasn’t a televised fight. It happened early. I feel like I learned a lot more from that loss. So I’m glad it happened early in my career. And nobody really knows who I am yet, so they’re going to get to see me pretty much nationally for the first time now. And I’m going to put on a good show, so it worked out.”
BoxingScene.com: You talk about putting on a good show — are you looking for a knockout, or just to win impressively?
Douglin: “I’m just looking to win impressively. The knockout, if I’m able to get it, then I’ll go for it, but I’m not going in with the mentality of I’m going to knock him out, because, like I said, he’s a great fighter. I’m not going to underestimate him at all. So we’re just going in to fight. If the knockout comes, I’m definitely going to take it, though.”
BoxingScene.com: You said nobody knows you right now. When people watch you in the ring, why should they remember the name of Denis Douglin?
Douglin; “I have a great background story. I have a great history. And I’m a great exciting fighter. I mean, there are thousands of fighters out right now in boxing, but you follow the ones who are exciting, the ones who have great stories. I feel like I have both. My mom is my trainer, which is something that people haven’t seen before. … I’m a really good, explosive, entertaining, come-forward fighter. So it’s always going to be an action-packed fight with me. I bring the fight.”
BoxingScene.com: What goals do you have for the rest of 2012? What do you want to come after this fight?
Douglin: “As far as 2012, I don’t have any yearly goals, but I just know that I want my end result to be that I’m a world champion. So right now I’m focused on Jan. 6. We’ll take the fights one fight at a time. Right now I’m 100 percent on Jan. 6, and then after that we’re eyeing a world title and just going toward that direction.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]