He’s at the point now where a title shot is looming sooner rather than later.
“At this time, I gotta stay focused for what’s on Saturday,” he says. “After Saturday, depending on how things go, then we can take it another step to another level. But I’m closer than I was last year to a title shot. I think we’re improving at a good pace and I don’t think it’s very far out of our reach to get that opportunity.”
Eric Gomez, Golden Boy’s lead matchmaker, tells Maxboxing, “I’m really excited about him. He’s exciting; he’s ready. I think that he can fight some of these guys that are up there in the ratings, some of these former champions, and he had a little bit of an injury, so we’re taking it easy with him. But I think he’s ready to go. I think the next fight, we’ll get him to fight for some minor title and then try to target one of the guys and then keep moving him up. I see him fighting for a world title some time, early-to-mid-2014.”
Orozco is still just 25 years old and has been a professional for five years, something which Espinoza is mindful of. “I think time is on our side. Antonio is on the right track and we’ve steadily upped his competition. We’re in no rush and that’s the great thing about working with Antonio. He’s an extremely intelligent young man and his trainer understands the big picture.”
What makes Orozco so appealing is his crowd-pleasing style. He’s a guy who sticks his nose in there and gets to work. In his last outing in May, he dismantled Jose Reynoso in seven rounds with a steady, two-fisted attack.
“He reminds me - and I’ve told Frank Espinoza this - of kinda like a young Julio Cesar Chavez, the dad, because he works so great downstairs. He keeps throwing punches but he throws combinations downstairs and upstairs. It’s great to see the way he does it. It’s rare when you see guys like that. Normally, you’ll see some of these fighters, they’ll throw combinations to the head and then they’ll throw left hooks to the body. It’s the typical Mexican style but this kid throws combinations both downstairs and upstairs and he’s very exciting.
“He moves his head very well, kinda the way Chavez would get on the inside and keep moving his head and was hard to hit but at the same time, he kept throwing punches. So I’m really excited about him and he’s just a good kid.”
This is part of the reason Orozco is one of three fighters (alongside Mares and Santa Cruz) who will be featured in the upcoming “Golden Boys” show on MundoFox that will go behind the scenes of their lives in and outside the ring.
“Last week, they did a little filming at the gym and it wasn’t nothing distracting or anything,” said Orozco, who now resides in San Diego but hails from Garden City, Kansas. “They kept their distance. They know I was getting ready for a fight and they respected that very well, so I’m very thankful for that. But yeah, I’m just as intrigued as everybody else about the show. I’m pretty sure after the fight, we’ll have a lot more things going on and we’ll probably go from there.”
The show will provide great exposure for Orozco, who isn’t quite a household name to boxing fans just yet. Typically modest and humble, he states, “This is a great opportunity brought on by Golden Boy, Frank and MundoFox. I’m very thankful and I was one of the lucky ones to be chosen and I think it’ll be a very good experience, not only for me but for the fan-base. They can get a perspective of a fighter outside of the ring.”
“This show will be great for Antonio,” said Espinoza. “He’s a family man, very grounded and the public will get to see what type of person he is.”
But there still is business to be taken care of this evening. Asked what he knows about Hernandez, Orozco admits, “I probably know as much as you do - his name, where he’s from and his record. Honestly, I have not seen any video on this guy but regardless of his record, his age, we respect the guy. We cannot go in there overconfident and we’re ready.
“We’re ready for Saturday night to do what we do and we’re looking for that win.”
Photo © Tom Casino / Iron Mike Productions