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“Hollywood” Jimenez rebound shows his character

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By John J. Raspanti 

When Mike Jimenez was stopped by Jesse Hart on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout in Las Vegas, NV last May, he could have done what a lot of fighters do, disappear. Losing was something Jimenez had never experienced.

At the time, his fight with Hart was the most important of his career. The loss was painful.

“It (losing) definitely hurt my pride a little bit, but that was it,” Jimenez told this writer via email. “It was a learning experience for sure. I knew I could have pushed it more in the fight and done better. So I learned about myself in the fight. I can hang with a guy like that.”


Instead of hiding out, Jimenez, 28, went right back to work, traveling a bit farther than his gym in Chicago, Ill.

“My good buddy Brian Vera was in Australia training, “Jimenez said. “My new friends and the Dunn family, contacted me, and gave me the opportunity to come down, and train hard.”

A few weeks after arriving in Australia, Jimenez was offered a fight against undefeated Francisco Ramon Benitiz. It had only been a month since his loss to Hart, but Jimenez seized the moment.

“I was hungry to get back in the ring, and get the bad taste of a loss out of my mouth,” said Jimenez. “Mentally and physically I prepared myself, and wanted to get the win and a victory to bring home so bad. I had to rebound from the fight."

When Jimenez stepped into the squared circle to face Benitiz, he was loose and focused.

He dominated from the opening bell, stopping the Argentinean in three rounds. As jubilant as he was in victory, the experience seemed surreal without his trainer Peter George, and other members of his team.

“Not having them with me was super weird,” Jimenez admitted. ”It’s always different being away at camp, and training as a part of another camp. But, I just showed up to the gym, trained and sparred hard, did my job. We kept in touch, but coming back to the corner was different, for sure. Luckily, the guys were super cool, and we worked together well.”

In retrospect, it shouldn’t be that surprising that Jimenez bounced back so quickly. He’s done that his entire life. Jimenez supplements his income by working full-time as an iron worker in Chicago. He’s proud of the job he does, but readily admits how difficult it is juggling two time-consuming occupations.

He makes it work.

On November 25, Jimenez will return to a venue he knows very well, the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. His opponent that night will be Thomas Awimbono (25-4, 21 KOs).

The fight will mark the tenth time Jimenez (18-1, 12 KOs) has boxed at the Horseshoe. Being home again, in front of his fans, has Jimenez stoked.

“I’m excited and anxious,” said the unassuming Jimenez. “I don’t know too much about Thomas Awinbono, except that he is a tough customer who has some pop, with twenty-one KO’s. I’m training hard, pushing myself hard every day with strength and conditioning, my full time job as an Ironworker, and training. So regardless, I know I’ll be ready.

“It will be a good scrap,"he said. "I’m just anxious to get it on, and take this guy out! This will be a huge career moment for me, and I will make a statement.”


- TO WRITE FOR DOGHOUSE BOXING: E-mail John now at: marlow_58@hotmail.com
John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at: marlow_58@hotmail.com



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