I’ll admit, I’m not a writer. I’m a boxer. A boxer. The word boxer carries so much weight. The definition is, “One who fights with fist as sport”. My profession is to punch people in the body and the face. A boxer usually carries some sort of cross on their back which enables them to dig deep inside and use every ounce of anger and energy to punish the person in front of them. I find it interesting that I grew up in Las Cruces (referred to as the, “City of Crosses”).

Being raised in Las Cruces, I’ve watched our city over the past 25 years. I’ve watched as the people bloodied their knuckles to spread our community across the Mesilla Valley. Our city is made of hard workers; people who have given their heart and broken their backs to give their children a better life than the one they had before. This view of life has built a foundation in my life. From my mother to my trainer, who wouldn’t let me forget the details, I’ve seen that you can’t take a day off to build a better life for your children.

Now looking at today and ahead of me in less than 30 days is the biggest fight of my career. On April 20, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamodome, I will face off against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who is the current undefeated WBC Boxing Champion of the World. I am currently the undefeated WBA Boxing Champion of the World in the same division. The fight will be a unification of championship belts of the division and will bring an undisputed champion to the sport of boxing. The fight will bring in more awareness for my career. The fight will bring in more awareness for the, “City of Crosses”.

As I’m preparing for the fight I begin with 5 am long distance runs followed by morning workouts, afternoon sparring sessions and then a nightly exercise of my trainer’s choice. In between the workouts, I’m constantly juggling family time and managing phone calls and constant requests from my community. My management team has told me that I do too much; that I need to cut down on the speaking engagements at schools, the free guest appearances to fundraisers and the interview requests by the media. My team doesn’t always see the cancer survivor that I’m able to spend time with and their family. My team doesn’t always see the child who I spoke to at a school, that is in an abusive situation at home, show up to PAL Boxing gym to start boxing. While I do acknowledge that my family should receive a majority of my time compared to my other commitments, I have a responsibility to be a role model and give hope to those who are looking for a chance to become bigger than the challenge that is in front of them.

As a boxer with a cross on your back, you have a short window to have a successful career. I have been fortunate to been raised in a city like Las Cruces, New Mexico where I can be appreciative of the hard-working class around me. I’ve been fortunate to have God give me the opportunity to be the “One who fights with fist as sport”, where I can bring hope to those who have a challenge in front of them that they can and will conquer.

AUGUST 27, 2014
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