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Robert Manzanarez: “Hopefully one day, I can be a world champion.”

Robert Manzanarez
Robert Manzanarez

It was a surprise when, just before Christmas, up-and-coming Robert Manzanarez lost for the first time. The 18-year-old, who fights out of boxing hotbed Los Mochis in Mexico, was earning himself a reputation south of the border. The Mexican circuit is arguably the toughest in the world and a loss or two along the way is almost par for the course. You only need to examine the records of the likes of Orlando Salido, Javier Jauregui and Jose Luis Castillo to see the tough love approach can benefit a fighter as he progresses. On this particular night, Manzanarez faced tough, experienced Alejandro Barrera (a cousin of Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera) in Puebla and though he was winning the fight, ran out of gas and was forced to retire on his stool after six rounds due to exhaustion. The altitude in Puebla should be noted; it’s between 5,000 and 7,000 feet above sea level. It’s the harshest of lessons but one “Tito” now 21-1 (17) will have to learn if he is to advance his career.
Anson Wainwright - You surprisingly lost to Alejandro Barrera. Could you tell us about the fight and what happened?

Robert Manzanarez - The first round was very uneven. I was using my skills and easily connecting punches. I dropped him with a body shot, then he was saved by the bell. While I was in the corner, I noticed I had a hard time trying to get air like I usually do. The second round was again a very uneven round and I dropped him for the second time but the trouble to get air was increasing. That’s when my body started losing strength and my reflexes were slow. In the third, fourth and fifth, I was just hanging in there having a hard time and couldn’t move my legs and my opponent took advantage. In my corner, my coach already knew about my problem since round two when I told him I couldn’t breathe right, so after round five, he decided to stop the fight because I didn’t have any reflexes. I told him not to stop it even though I couldn’t continue because I was very exhausted. But then I realized it was a good decision because it wasn’t fair because I wasn’t physically OK. I couldn’t throw or move; I was just hanging on. He was from Mexico City so the altitude was normal for him.

AW - You previously beat Pedro Garcia back in October. Could you talk us through the fight?
RM- I was excited to be back in the ring. I had a three-month break, so I was very excited to be back in the ring, back in Quintana Roo where I have fought most of my recent fights. The fight only lasted one round. I started working my jab; in the middle of the round, I connected a double-hook, one on the head and the next to the body to KO my opponent.
AW - What are your plans for 2013?
RM - Keep on learning and working hard. I will most likely be moving up to 10-round fights and fight for a youth title.
AW - Who are the key members of your team?
RM – My trainer is Luis Gonzalez; strength-and-conditioning is Omar Zamora and my promoter is Golden Boy Promotions.
AW - What gym do you train at? Tell us about a typical day in training for you.
RM - I train in Los Mochis. I run about 40 minutes. I have a 10-round workout session with sparring, heavy bag and pads. After taking off my gloves, I do sit-ups, pushups, jump rope and different exercises.
AW - What current pros have you sparred with?
RM - Daniel “Canerito” Ruiz and Fernando Montiel.

AW – Please tell us about your younger days growing up in Phoenix, Arizona and moving to Los Mochis, Mexico.
RM - Growing up in Phoenix was more safe than here in Los Mochis. I finished elementary school in Phoenix, then moved to Los Mochis, Mexico. Things here are different; the city is much smaller and has different culture.

AW - How did you first become interested in boxing?
RM - I was seven years old when I went to the boxing gym for the first time back in Phoenix, Arizona. I was a boxing fan. I would watch boxers like Oscar De la Hoya, Julio Cesar Chavez and many others, so I decided to try out boxing and maybe, one day, be a world champion like they did.

AW - You didn’t turn 18 until December; however, you’ve already had 22 fights. Why did you decide to turn pro so early at just 15?
RM - Here in Los Mochis, there was not very much amateur activity, so I decided to turn pro.

AW - Away from boxing, what do you enjoy doing?
RM - I enjoy eating different types of food, especially Chinese food. I also enjoy playing video games and swimming. I also enjoy hearing music.

AW - What are your boxing goals?
RM - Keep on working and learning every day and hopefully one day, I can be a world champion.
AW - Who are your boxing heroes? Who do you look up to?
RM - Oscar De la Hoya, Julio Cesar Chavez, Naseem Hamed, Floyd Mayweather.

AW - In closing, do you have a message for boxing fans who may not know you?
RM - I would like to tell all the boxing fans to support and watch the new generation of young fighters like me and many others.
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at and you can follow him at Anson is also a member of The Ring magazine’s ratings panel.
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