By Jake Donovan
Daniel Lozano is well aware of his perceived industry status as an opponent for hire. All he asks in being viewed as such is a chance for a fair fight.
It finally comes this weekend, even if by accident.
On paper, Lozano steps way up in class as he faces former super flyweight titlist Carlos Cuadras this Saturday at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla. The bout is on the non-televised portion of Masayuki Ito’s super featherweight title defense versus Jamel Herring live on ESPN, but comes right on time for the squat boxer from Bowling Green, Fla. who was already training for an eventually canceled fight when he got the call for this bout.
“I’m excited for this fight,” Lozano (15-6, 11KOs) told BoxingScene.com. “Looking at our records, I’m not supposed to come close to beating him. He’s a big puncher and a former champion, who probably just views me as an opponent. But the thing about me, I’m one of those guys you hope doesn’t come prepared.”
It was close to being the case for the fight Lozano originally agreed to, versus Stephon Young last month in Lafayette, La. The bout was scheduled for the undercard of a World Boxing Super Series doubleheader, until bantamweight titlist Zolani Tete suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw from his WBSS semifinals bout versus Nonito Donaire.
Young was a designated tournament alternate and stepped up to replace Tete, leaving Lozano without a fight. In retrospect, it worked out for the best.
“This all worked out in my favor, if I’m being honest,” admits Lozano, whose full time job with a road pavement company has him working up to 70 hours per week at times. “I wish boxing offered me the type of pay where I could sit back and not have to worry about anything else.
“So for that (canceled) fight with Stephon Young, I was in shape but not in boxing shape. Once that fell through and my people called me with the chance to fight Cuadras, I was able to build on where I was and wound up with a full training camp for a change.”
Strangely, it was a short notice fight which helped revive Lozano’s career after having lost three straight. The 29-year old accepted terms for an unplanned rematch with David Carmona on one day’s notice, in fact coming of what considered retirement to score a stunning 2nd round knockout in their July 2017 sequel.
The shocker helped Lozano avenge a decision defeat to Carmona two years prior in the Telemundo Super Flyweight tournament finals. Three months later came another career defeat avenged, outpointing Ricardo Rodriguez whom—like Carmona—had outpointed him two years prior.
The latter victory remains the last time Lozano’s hand was raised in victory, having suffered back-to-back knockout losses to budding bantamweight contenders Ricardo Espinoza and Joshua Greer in a winless 2018 campaign.
“The fight with Greer, that was definitely one where I never gave myself a fair chance,” admits Lozano, though not making excuses for the loss. “Joshua is a great fighter, but that was a fight I took after barely training at all. Working 14-15 hour days, coming home exhausted at 7am, by the time I’m getting to the gym there aren’t sparring partners there to help me for a fight like that.”
Cuadras (37-3-1, 27KOs) is by far the most accomplished boxer Lozano has faced to date, but the former 115-pound king is also just 2-3 in his last five starts. The 30-year old from Mexico—who trains with top-shelf cornerman Rudy Hernandez in Southern California—rebounded from back-to-back losses with a win over Ricardo Nunez last October.
However, it’s his other win among his post-fight stretch which leaves Lozano confident of his shot at an upset.
“Going back and watching his fight with David Carmona, Cuadras was hurt at least twice,” Lozano notes of their March 2017 clash at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where Cuadras barely escaped with a 10-round majority decision. “Carmona has power you have to respect but isn’t a big puncher.
“Even at this weight, one punch can change a fight for those of us blessed with punching power. Knowing his style so well and benefitting from real training, it would be such a huge accomplishment to know that I beat a long reigning champ who isn’t too far from being on the top. It would open more doors for even biggr fights—ones where I can enjoy a full training camp and not just take on the fly.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox