Damian "Devo" Frias (19-4-1, 10 KOs) and his trainer, John David Jackson, are finishing up preparations for his nationally televised co-main event against top junior middleweight contender "King" Carlos Molina (19-5-2, 6 KOs) this Friday, August 17, at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma.
Presented by Warriors Boxing and Tony Holden Productions, the blockbuster night of boxing will serve as the ESPN Friday Night Fights season finale for 2012 (10 PM Eastern on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3) and also features a super middleweight co-main event between Chicago's Don "Da Bomb" George (22-2-1, 19 KOs) and powerful Colombian slugger Dionisio Miranda (21-7-2, 18 KOs).
Frias and renowned trainer Jackson have been putting in the hours at Contenders Gym in Sunrise, Florida, trying to ensure that a surprise Frias victory will propel the 35-year-old late bloomer to where he wants to be in boxing.
Cuban American Frias is an elusive southpaw with good technical skills. He is coming off the biggest win of his career, a nine-round stoppage of then 22-1 Henry Crawford last September.
Why would you take a fight against Carlos Molina, the most dangerous spoiler in the division and maybe in all of boxing?
I'm a fighter. To be a fighter, you have to be willing to fight. I also find myself with no fights, so I'm up for the challenge and willing to take a chance to get where I have to go. I do this for my family. I train hard and work hard and I don't want to waste anybody's time. I have to take fights like this that nobody wants.
Why do you think you have problems finding fights?
Probably because I'm a Cuban southpaw.
Tell me about your start in boxing.
I came into boxing at 25 with no amateur experience. Only had 3 amateur fights. I'm learning on the job. When I was young, I was always into football and baseball and then I had an incident in my life where I lost eight years, so to turn it around, I wanted to do something with my life, so I walked in the gym and took it from there. I enjoy competing.
You're coming off a big victory in your last fight. Tell me about it.
Henry Crawford. People say it's my biggest win, but I had time to prepare myself for him and I knew who I was fighting and what I was getting into. I got a chance to study him and stuff like that. I do better when I have time to prepare.
Have you had enough time to prepare for Molina?
I had enough time to get ready for Molina, plus I've seen him fight enough times. Me and him are pretty much on the same side of the fence. He's proven himself, but let's be honest. They bring him in to lose like they do to me and you have to turn it around on them. I know exactly what's going on.
What do you think of Carlos as a fighter?
He's a good fighter and he's been in with some good guys. He's a difficult, hungry fighter and I have a lot of respect for him. But I have to beat people like him to get where I want to go.
What would a victory over Molina mean to you?
It'd mean a lot to me, personally. I hope I do so well that some promoters see me and want to bring me back and help me get where I want to go. I feel like I belong in the top 10 or top 15. I feel I paid my dues and put in my work.
You started late in boxing, so how have you managed to become as good as you are?
I've been in the gym with a lot of great fighters: Andre Berto, Chop Chop Corley, Zab Judah, that Aydin guy that just fought Guerrero, you name them. Breidis Prescott. Randall Bailey. I've sparred with all those guys, so I've been around a lot of world champions and I've been able to pick up a couple tricks or two.
Tell me about your new trainer John David Jackson.
John David is more my style. He's a southpaw fighter like me. In his days he was elusive. I do that at times. We have a good relationship. I've learned a lot from him. He's a cool, humble guy. He's the type of guy that will not only explain to you how to throw the proper punches, but also why you should throw it that way. He's very technical.
How do you picture this fight going on Friday?
I picture working on my jab. I always picture my fights going the distance. I picture me winning a good, hard, tough fight.
Tickets are priced from $35.00 to $65.00 and are available at the Buffalo Run Casino Box Office or online at stubwire.com.
Barthelemy Co-Promoter: 'The Kid is a Monster!'
Miami-based Richard Dobal, co-promoter of streaking super featherweight prospect Rances "Kid Blast" Barthelemy (16-0, 11 KOs), says despite his fighter's increasing profile and popularity, he is not taking anything for granted heading into Saturday's fight.
Miami via Cuba's Barthelemy will take on Guadalajara, Mexico's Alejandro "Soma" Rodriguez (14-6, 7 KOs) in the co-feature of Warriors Boxing Promotions' August 18 boxing event entitled "Miami Warfare II" at the MACC at the Doubletree Hotel in Miami, Florida, and broadcast live on Telefutura's Solo Boxeo Tecate.
In the night's junior welterweight main event, Colombian slugger Breidis Prescott (25-4, 18 KOs) will face colorful New Yorker Francisco "Gato" Figueroa (20-4-1, 13 KOs).
Dobal knows a blue-chip prospect when he sees one. The Miami native has been in boxing for over 25 years. Before becoming a promoter, Dobal served as a fighter, a trainer, and a manager. He's run training camps for world champions and done public relations and matchmaking as well. He started Richard Dobal Productions in 2004 and changed the name to Bad Dog Productions in 2006.
Bad Dog currently promotes or co-promotes undefeated Cuban featherweight and 2004 Olympian Luis Franco, Barthelemy, #9 middleweight Jose Miguel Torres, and recent world title challenger Eromosele Albert.
What do you know about Rances' upcoming opponent, Soma Rodriguez?
He's a tough guy coming in from Mexico and he's not a last-minute replacement. He's had two months to prepare. I'm sure this guy is coming to fight; and I'm sure he's coming here to win. He's gone the distance and beaten who he's supposed to. It's a good test. Rances is #6 in the world. These are the fights that he needs in order to go to the next level.
How do you feel about Rances' progress thus far in his career?
It's been a little frustrating because it seems that every time you're dealing with Cuban fighters, when the subject of their amateur background comes up, everybody backs off. We have a lot of difficulty getting opponents for Rances because he is often mistaken for his brother, who won a gold medal. Guys do their research and back out. Even still, we've moved him at a good pace. He's got 16 fights so far. We're satisfied. He's fought all over the place. He knows how to fight in somebody else's backyard. Give credit to Chico Rivas, our matchmaker. He's given us as many different looks as we could possibly get. Rances has been in with movers, boxers, southpaws, brawlers. He's had a taste of everything.
How do you feel about his development as a fighter?
I think he's a little ahead of where we pictured him at this stage. You have to credit his managers, who made the investment to send him to live in Vegas because of the lack of quality sparring in Miami. A big part of the plan was to have him training with Miguel Diaz who has trained so many world champions. We felt that was crucial and it has been. He's gotten great training from Miguel.
How did you come to sign Rances?
We signed Luis Franco and just a week into having him, he says 'I have a friend I know from Cuba. He's not an Olympian, but he was in the Cuban program. His brother is a former Olympic gold medallist. I'd like you to take a look. We said 'ok we'll look at him.'
Sure enough, he brought us a diamond in the rough. He's 5' 11" and punches with both hands. He's also fast and he can box. He had ample amateur experience both in Cuba and here in the US.
When Luis brought us this kid, our jaws dropped. He's like a miniature Tommy Hearns. That's what we both thought immediately. So, we signed him and partnered up with Leon (Margules of Warriors Boxing) and we're very happy. It's been a great partnership so far that will hopefully lead to bigger and better things.
Rances is a guy who has the height, length and youth on his side, he could conceivably be a champion in three divisions. This kid is a freak of nature physically. He makes 130 no problem. He's strong as an ox. He has to spar with kids much bigger than himself. He looks up to other big little guys like Diego Corrales and Tommy Hearns and patterns his game after them.
You took a gamble by taking on another undefeated fighter in Hylon Williams on national TV and it paid off impressively (Barthelemy won via unanimous decision). Tell me about that decision.
It was a calculated gamble, but we were confident and ready for the challenge. They both had identical records. They both had big amateur records, and both had blazing speed, but we felt the size difference was the one overwhelming advantage and we were right. That's the same advantage we'll have with anybody at 130 lbs. I doubt anyone will match Rances in size. Darryl Peoples, The President of the IBF, saw him fight in Quebec made the comment that the kid is a 'monster.' Darryl is right. I have never seen a guy so big at 130 lbs.
Also scheduled for action that night will be a host of local and international prospects and contenders including super middleweight Roberto J. Acevedo 5-0 (3 KOs) of Bayamón, Puerto Rico, in a four-rounder vs. TBA; light heavyweight bomber Vilier Quinonez 3-0 (2 KOs) of Cienfuegos, Cuba, who will fight a six-rounder vs. TBA; undefeated light heavyweight Yunieski Gonzalez (8-0, 5 KOs) of Havana, Cuba, who will fight a six-rounder vs. TBA; and middleweight Leosvy Mayedo (2-0, 2 KOs) of Miami, who will fight a four-rounder vs. TBA.
Tickets are priced at $75 ringside/$30 general admission. A limited number of VIP tables are also available. Please call (954) 985-1155 or (786) 553-3895 to purchase tickets.
On fight night, doors open 6:30 and the action starts 7:30. The MACC at the Doubletree Hotel is located at 711 NW 72nd Avenue in Miami.