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Claudio “The Matrix” Marrero: “I WILL become world champion!”

By Anson Wainwright

After a standout amateur career that saw him fight in many of the top amateur tournaments around the world, Claudio "The Matrix" Marrero decided It was time to make the move to the paid ranks in September 2010. The 22-year-old super featherweight has since raced to an impressive 8-0 (7) and hopes he can fast-track his career due to his extensive amateur pedigree from his days back in the Dominican Republic. Marrero currently resides in Miami, Florida along with Juan Carlos Payano, a 7-0 (4) super bantamweight, who also left their homeland last year. Here’s what the rising star had to say.
Anson Wainwright - You fought back in your adopted hometown of Miami in April and scored a four-round stoppage. Can you tell us about the fight and what you thought of your performance?

Claudio Marrero - The fight was sort of like fighting at home in the Dominican Republic, crazy refs, crazy styles. [Hipolito Rivera] was tough. I had a short time to train for that fight developing a new pro style, so I boxed and won.
AW - When are you looking at fighting next? What is your schedule for 2011?
CM - My next fight is late September 2011 in Mexico. We are looking to stay busy, more importantly, develop as a pro and perfect my style and condition for 12 rounds.
AW - Can you tell us about your team? Also, where do you train?
CM - My manager and trainer is Herman Caicedo, a longtime coach in this sport. He is very aware of making subtle changes in my pro style and get conditioned for 12 rounds. I know how to fight. He and I are working very hard along with my teammates, Juan Carlos Payano, Joey Hernandez, Humberto Savigne, Jesse Cruz and Shannon Briggs. These are the guys Herman trains. We are very lucky to have such a great team. I am a promotional free agent. German is looking for a good fit for myself and Payano as we speak. Our boxing gym is in Miami, a private gym for our team, owned by Herman and our strength gym is Elite U. Josh and Nick are our coaches there and our track coach is Nelson Rodriguez from Miami also. We have a great situation here, championship-level training.
AW - Can you tell us about your youth growing up in the Dominican Republic?
CM - It was very poor; my father did a great job raising me with great morals and values which I thank him for daily. I learned to box by ten years of age and decided to make it a future for me. I saw that you could one day travel and maybe even go to the Olympics.
AW - How did you first become interested and take up boxing?
CM - My father took me to a gym only after he instilled all the basics in me first. He would not have me be a punching bag for anyone. This is common practice at home. Fresh meat is abused daily, so you either quit or get good enough to stay there and train.
AW - You had a very good amateur career. Can you tell us about it and what tournaments you won?
CM - I competed in a lot of tournaments over the years, Caribbean Games, Central American Games, Pan American Games, World Championships, etc. Don’t know exactly how many but well over 300 fights.
AW - How happy are you with your progress and the move to the pros so far?
CM - I am pleased so far; I do know that I have more to learn. Herman is doing a great job of teaching and making the switch to the pros smooth so far. He has a lot of experience with champions, Shannon Briggs, Lou Del Valle, Yuri Schell, Joey Hernandez. Therefore, smooth so far.
AW - What top fighters did you fight in the amateurs and how did you do? Also what pros have you train/sparred with and how was the experience?
CM - Too many great fighters to name but the most decorated was Guillermo Rigondeaux. We fought twice. I lost both but I was a child, 16 and then 17. I lost by one point and in Cuba. Pretty good, I would say for a kid coming up. As for pros sparred, there has been Andres Ledesma, Mauricio Pastrana, Yoandris Salinas, Juliano Ramos and a ton more. And a ton more to come, I’m sure!
AW - How did you get your nickname?
CM - My nickname is “Matrix.” The reason is I am very hard to hit and sometimes I defend the punches in “Matrix” form. I see them coming in slow motion. My friend Henry Rivalta gave it to me.
AW - What are your goals in boxing?
CM – I, of course, WILL become world champion! My immediate goal is to win a junior world title. I would like to begin stepping up the level of competition to match where I am as a pro today.

AW - What boxers did you like to watch when you were young and who do you enjoy watching today?
CM - My hero and idol was Pernell Whitaker. I also enjoyed Julian Jackson, Ray Leonard, Michael Nunn and of course The Prince [Naseem Hamed]! Today, I watch [Yuriorkis] Gamboa, [Manny] Pacquiao and all the relevant champions out today. I try to learn from them all.
AW – Finally, do you have a message for the boxing world?
CM - Yes, I am working very hard daily, sacrificing not seeing my wife and son back home but all this is for a bright future. I am looking forward to bursting out and giving my fans now and future fans a great performance every time. I am learning the sport and the business as a pro daily, thanks to my trainer/manager Herman Caicedo. Therefore, I am aware of the pitfalls to come and try not get caught in them. And thank you for the interest in the interview and your time. I hope to give you many more and soon as a champ!


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