When you think of Oklahoma you think of a musical , or if you are a keen American historian you may know Oklahoma is the place where the native Americans where sent after being evicted from there home lands back in the 19th century , but in amongst all that Oklahoma has a proud boxing history . It was a misdemeanour to take part in prize fighting until the 1970s , an unpopular law , so the good people of Oklahoma simply ignored it . the very first Championship boxing bout took place in the city when Denmark’s Battling Dane defended his world title . Officially the next boxing bout that took place in the city was in the 1970’s but it is known that the most important Heavyweight Champion ever Jack Johnson fought in Oklahoma , the very first ever black heavyweight world champion , so has Sugar Ray Robinson and George Forman . But Oklahoma like many cities has struggled to become a relevant boxing city as it didn’t have a Boxing Commission until 1999 .
After years of struggling to find professional boxers for the city to get behind it now looks like they finally have a young talent to throw there support towards . Alex Saucedo (24) has already been compared to the legendary Arturo Gatti , a comparison that the boxing world does not throw around lightly , but if anybody happened to catch Alex Saucido’s last fight against Lenny Zappavigna you can see why he is well on his way to earning the comparisons , and the Oklahoma crowd love it .
I asked Alex what it was like to win such a dramatic fight against Lenny Z .
” This was a very tough fight because both of us wanted to win because we knew the winner would go and fight Maurice Hooker for the WBO World Title . Both of us didn’t want to go down so it became a war . Im just happy that the fans enjoyed the fight and i came through it and thats all that really matters . ”
At just 24 Alex is still learning the finer points of boxing but that night in the sooner state he proved he had the heart of a lion which means he is half way there to becoming a champion . I asked Alex if he had watched the fight back and what had he learned from that night that will push him on to the next level .
” Watching it back he caught me with a good shot in the fourth but i stuck in there and that definitely gave me vital championship experience for the next upcoming fight against Hooker . Me and my trainer (Abel Sanchez) sat down and we watched the fight back together . We were able to see what i did wrong but we also seen a lot of what i did right . Right after Canelo vs GGG fight he will be waiting for me up at Big Bear . I am already training here in Oklahoma City so when i get up there we can work on the finer things and we will be training really hard for this next fight . ”
When I was watching Saucedo/Zappavigna fight on TV it was astonishing the noise coming from the Oklahoma crowd , something that you don’t really hear from an American live audience. There was a point in that fight where Saucedo looked to be on the brink of going down as he was hurt badly by Zappavigna and the 24 year old has no doubts about what kept him going.
” In that fourth round i just knew i couldn’t go down in front of my people . That is why I do all this training, to prepare for situations like that but the support of the crowd pushes you up and I loved that, I loved that all those people came out to support me and I appreciate everyone of them ”
Next up for “El Cholo” is WBO World Champion Maurice Hooker who is coming off a fantastic win against Terry Flannigan. It was widely expected that this fight would be shown on Eddie Hearn’s new online platform/partner DAZN but after Hooker/Saucido went to purse bids it was Top Rank who coughed up the money for there man with a whopping $1.6m. I asked Alex what it was like to be backed by your promotion team with such a big bid to secure the fight for him in front of his home fans in Oklahoma .
” Hooker is a very good fighter , he may even be the best fighter I have ever faced and thats why he is the world champion . It’s great that Top Rank and ESPN have shown this faith in me and it means a lot. I told them to get ready because i am going to give them some great fights .
Sometime when you interview a fighter you get the feeling it is just a job to them but with Alex Saucedo you can tell that this lad wants to go to the top. When talking about a very hard fight he had recently Alex was the one who brought up all the things he done wrong in that fantastic victory. His fight with Hooker will take place on 16th November in Oklahoma. Here in the UK it will be shown live on Boxnation , and trust me you will not want to miss this fight .
This Interview was took from our podcast ” Beat To The Punch” check it out on radio blog
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