By John J. Raspanti
Losing a fight can change everything in a boxer’s career. His or her confidence can be shattered. Promoters might reconsider their investment. Fans can get ugly.
But a loss can also motivate a fighter to work harder.
Super middleweight Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez was undefeated when he rolled into Las Vegas, NV. to face Jessie Hart last year.
He left “Sin City” with his first loss.
Though disappointed, Jimenez, 28, got right back to work. He traveled to Australia to train, and while there, was offered a fight against Francisco Ramon Benitez.
Barely a month had passed since Jimenez had lost to Hart. Fighters normally don’t return to the ring that quickly, but Jimenez had something to prove.
“I was hungry to get back in the ring, and get the bad taste of a loss out of my mouth,” Jimenez told this writer a few weeks after the fight. “Mentally and physically I prepared myself, and wanted to get the win and a victory to bring home so bad."
Jimenez dominated from the opening bell, stopping the Ramon Benitez in three rounds.
The victory was sweet, but Jimenez still thinks about his first loss.
“I’ll hold my performance of that fight with Hart against myself for a while,” said Jimenez. “It motivates me to be at my best, and keep getting better. It keeps me motivated for the next one.
His “next one” goes down this Saturday night at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IND .against Aaron Pryor Jr. Jimenez stopped Dezi Ford at the same venue almost seven months ago.
His fight against Pryor Jr. will mark the eleventh time Jimenez (19-1, 13 KOs) has boxed at the Horseshoe. Being home again, in front of his fans, has Jimenez, stoked.
“I’m really excited,” said the unassuming Jimenez. “I just want to get in there and mix it up, and get another win. I’ve been feeling really good, so I’m excited to get out there under the lights, and have a good competitive fight, with a good opponent. I’m ready for war”
Jimenez and his team have studied some of Pryor Jr’s. previous fights. He’s been training hard to get ready.
“I’ve watched a few of his fights before,” Jimenez said. “My trainers have seen him fight, and have watched his fights. They are working with me on the things they think are best. I’ll watch a couple of his tapes closer to the fight as well.”
At any given job, be it a truck driver or a surgeon, most everyone wants to improve. Jimenez knows the feeling.
“With all the training and my trainers tightening me up, and pushing me in the right direction, I definitely feel like I’ve grown as a fighter,” said Jimenez. “I’ve definitely gotten better with each fight.
Every fight is important in boxing, but Jimenez is determined to make a statement on May 14.
“I’m focused on Pryor Jr,” Jimenez said. “It’s a great fight for me, and I know I can open doors with a win over him. There’s a lot of opportunity with this fight. I’ve done all the right things during this camp.
“I trust my trainers," he said, "I’ve pushed myself to be the best I can be. There’s nothing left to it but to do it.”