Golden Boy's eyes to be on Vasquez
One step at a time.
That's how Monessen native Sammy Vasquez Jr. is taking his professional boxing career, but his next match March 2 is a big one.
It's going to be showtime for Vasquez, so it's fitting that the match is at the world famous Apollo Theater in New York City's Harlem section.
The fight will be on the undercard of Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime Championship Boxing's Daniel Ponce De Leon versus Jayson Velez WBC Featherweight Championship match.
Golden Boy Promotions, based in Los Angeles, Calif., was established in 2002 by former champion, Oscar de la Hoya, and is one of boxing's most active and respected promoters, presenting shows in venues around the country on networks such as HBO, Showtime, and Fox Sports Net.
“I know how big of an opportunity this is for me,” Vasquez said. “As good as it feels, it's just like any other fight. I can't think of it as more than what it is.”
Vasquez's father, Sam Vasquez Sr., has taken part in a conference call with Golden Boy representatives. Golden Boy is interested in signing Vasquez Jr. to its stable of fighters.
“Before they sign me, they want to see me fight,” the younger Vasquez said. “They want to see the kind of presence I can bring, which is understandable. They're not going to invest any money in something they haven't seen.”
Vasquez Jr.'s rumored opponent for the fight is Larenzo Wilson, who will be fighting his first six-round fight.
“We're still waiting for commission approval so nothing is official yet,” Vasquez Jr. said. “I don't really know much about him, but I have to worry about me.”
Vasquez Jr. said he's ready to go and has been patiently awaiting his next opportunity to step into the ring.
“I've been sparring non-stop 45 minutes at a time,” he said. “No breaks. I was supposed to fight at the end of January and that never happened. I was supposed to fight at the end of February and that never came to be. I've been ready since the end of December. This is a tough game ... it's the only money I make. It really helps having the support of my fiancee, the girls here (in Colorado) and the family and friends back home. I'm just really blessed.”
The elder Vasquez has taken up the task of putting a charter bus on the road to Harlem for the fight.
“He said if he needs to take two, he'll take two,” Vasquez Jr. said of his dad. “I'd really like Golden Boy to see the fanbase and it can really help to get me on television faster. Boxing is all about the fans. They either love you or hate you. When they love you, they want to see you win. My fans, we're like a family. We treat each other like we've known each other for over 10 years. I know Team Vasquez will be there, even if it's not in person.”
Television is where Vasquez Jr. sees himself, and he thinks it will be in the near future.
“Some of these guys on TV now ... I know I can better showcase my skills as a fighter,” he said with confidence. “This is a good opportunity for me, but it's just another fight. Whether it's in Vegas, New York, or California, my job is to go out there, do my best, and win.”
He also knows what Golden Boy is looking for.
“I have to go out and show my skills, regardless who they put in front of me. I have to look like a professional, that's my job,” he added.
The pressure of putting on a show with the opportunity to be signed to a big promoter hasn't added any weight on his shoulders.
“It really doesn't bother me that much, mostly because of the class of fighters I've been around,” Vasquez Jr. said. “I've gotten encouragement from former champions and their coaches. I just can't let it go to my head. I don't want to psyche myself out.”
Vasquez Sr. said Golden Boy won't be the only set of eyes taking a close look at his son in March.
Cameron Duncan and James Prince, both of whom have large operations in Las Vegas, will also be in attendance to check out Vasquez Jr.
“I'm going to be myself, the fighter I've always been,” Vasquez Jr. reiterated. “It's just like me going out there and fighting in front of my dad. I know I'm going to impress them.”
Anyone interested on riding the charter bus to Harlem for the fight can contact Vasquez Sr. at 724-797-8694. Cost for the bus ride and a general admission ticket is $100.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2667.