By John J. Raspanti
After a disappointing draw against Aaron Pryor Jr. in his last fight, Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez returns to action October 8th at Horseshoe Arena in Hammond, IN, against veteran Miguel Cubos.
Jimenez (19-1-1, 13 KOs) believes he defeated Pryor Jr. last May.
“I felt really good that night,” Jimenez told this writer on the phone a few days ago. “It definitely threw me off how tall (6’4”) and how long he was. I knew he was tall, but I didn’t expect him to be running away the whole time. I didn’t spar with anyone that was quite like him.
“I had him going backwards the entire fight,"said Jimenez. “I was making the fight. I might have ran after him in that fight as much as I ran to prepare for it. I was going one hundred miles an hour."
The ringside judge’s verdict that the fight ended in a draw, surprised Jimenez.
“I was pretty confident that I had everything I needed to do to win that fight,” said Jimenez.
Jimenez is eager to meet Pryor again.
“After the fight I asked for rematch,” said Jimenez. "My promoter reached out to him. It didn’t happen. No hard feelings. It was a fun fight. It was good fight for both of us. The fight was a barnburner. But still disappointing. I really wanted the title.”
Jimenez and Pryor were fighting for the vacant WBC vacant Continental Americas super middleweight title.
The 29-year-old Chicago native already owns one title. He captured the UBF All America title last year when he flattened Francisco Ramon Benitez in Australia. Jimenez dominated from the opening bell.
The victory was an important one for Jimenez. A few months before, he suffered the first loss of his career against Jessie Hart. Shaking off the disappointment, Jimenez got right back to work. He won his next two fights by knockout.
Jimenez is a rangy fighter with a good jab. He believes his lifelong love of sports, and his training, help him in the squared circle.
“I’m always in great shape,” said Jimenez. “My athleticism helps me in the ring. I always prepare for a dogfight. My trainer, Sam Corona, is one of my strengths. He always has a game plan for a fight.”
Jimenez doesn’t like chasing his opponents. He prefers the ones, like him, that come to fight.
“That dog in me comes out,” said Jimenez. “I’ll take three or four punches to land one.”
Jimenez is an ironworker by trade. He readily admits the difficulty of juggling two demanding jobs.
“It’s tough,” said Jimenez. “I work sun-up to sun-down and then head to the gym.”
Jimenez will have the week off leading up to his October 8th) fight. He’s grateful for the support from his company and fellow employees.
“You have to stay strong mentally and physically during training camp.” Jimenez said of preparing for a fight. "You have to stay focused. Cutting weight isn’t easy. It’s about being a professional athlete. The people around you are very important."
After a brief amateur career, Jimenez jumped into the pro ranks six years ago. He’s steadily worked his way up the rankings.
“I think I’m getting better with each fight,” said Jimenez. “You can learn from a loss. You pick things up and get better. Every experience improves your craft. I’m always pushing myself to improve. “
Jimenez is confident his upcoming fight will be a good one.
“I like to give the fans their money’s worth,” Jimenez said. “Cubos will be right front of me, just how I like it. It should be a good scrap!”