Interview With Welterweight Prospect Joey Hernandez
By Brad Marchetti (Sept 15, 2010) Doghouse Boxing  
Exciting South Florida stylist Joey “Twinkle Fingers” Hernandez is an on the comeback trail, after suffering the first loss of his career in February to local enemy Ed Paredes, 25-3-1, 16 KO’s, by fighting October 19th from The Hard Rock in Florida. Hernandez wasn’t himself against Paredes and feels that a much needed move up to Jr. middleweight will be one of the main recipes for improvement.

The stocky 25-year old returned to the ring four months after his KO loss to Paredes to notch a dominating 1st round
stoppage, over journeyman Ike Ezeji. Now that the ring rust has been shaken off a focused Hernandez is again ready for the big stage against either Carlos Molina or Daniel Edouard October 19th from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Joey Hernandez, 16-1-1, 9 KO’s, is a speedy southpaw that packs the house for his shrieking local South Florida army for all of his bouts. The Flashy Hernandez built a local following as an established Florida amateur going 38-5 before turning pro in December of 2006. The Miami-born Cuban, Hernandez is an aggressive boxer/puncher with fast hands, smooth agility and sound boxing technique. Hernandez is a versatile fighter that can stick and move with fast combinations outside or can stand his ground with some power. Hernandez is a good defensive boxer that makes full use of the ring with quick feet and sudden bursts of punches. At times, Hernandez loads up on his punches and is vulnerable to counterpunches but he is still improving. Hernandez had displayed a solid beard prior to the Paredes knockout loss and he should be more durable at 154 Lbs.

Hernandez has strong bloodlines for boxing with his father being an influence in his education the sweet science, since playing in the sandbox with G.I Joe’s. Hernandez’s dad, Joe Hernandez Sr., is a smart boxing man who has helped guide his son’s career. Unfortunately like most father & son boxing partnerships, the relationship has recently strained. Joey has expressed that he loves his father and wishes to rekindle their relationship and move forward, both as a man and prizefighter.

Hernandez has achieved local headliner status from the bottom of the paid ranks, which is a testament to his heart and ability. Back in the old days, world champions wouldn’t even be granted a title fight until they had fought long enough to earn a stain on their records. Nowadays, a defeat in boxing is supposedly disastrous but I am not buying into that fluffy theory. Below is an interview with the perpetually smiling and brutally honest Jr. middleweight from Miami, FL

Q: What is a normal daily training regime in the life of “Twinkle Fingers”?

My normal daily routine is just like everybody else. I get up early when training and eat well. I train three times a day. I mix in strength and conditioning, running and hard gym training consisting of bag, jump rope, plyometrics, speed bag etc.

Q: At what point in your career did you know that you would be able to make it as a pro?

To be honest with you I did not know I was going to make it until after my 7th pro fight. I fought at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on the undercard of the Edison Miranda fight. They told me I was fighting a Bahamian that didn’t know how to fight. It turned out to be the fight of my life and I found out the guy was 88-3 as an amateur and a Bahamian National Champion. They tried setting me up to lose and I left with the W. Coming up in the sport I have always had lots of critics that would say: My dad had his own money. I was not hungry because I was raised the right way in school getting a diploma and going to college. I lacked discipline. I couldn’t punch etc… A promoter (family friend) told my dad before my 7th fight that I shouldn’t fight because I’m gonna get hurt and I would never be a champion. My own father called me a club fighter after I would ask him to get me on big undercard fights that he knew about. All of these things added up and I started believing them as a young kid coming up but I’m here and I’m going to be here until the wheels fall off!

Q: What made you change your life and become serious about boxing after quitting as a teenager?

I was a great amateur with a record of 38-5 with all of my losses coming in major tournaments: Golden Gloves, Junior Olympics, Ringside Nationals etc... I started young with my first fight at 14 but had been around the sport since I was an infant. My greatest victory was in 2002 against Rock Allen who represented the United States after I beat him in the 2002 Golden Gloves. After the Allen win though it was all downhill. Two months before going to the USA championship in Jan. 2003 I hit rock bottom. I started hanging with the wrong crowd, making easy money and doing lots of drugs. I caught four different legal cases in three and half years. I was on house arrest, probation and ballooned up to 215 lbs. After a couple of years messing up with the wrong people boxing was not even a topic of conversation anymore. I didn’t even watch the sport. I would tell people I’m going to box again and they would start laughing at me. I still remember being in the kitchen and my mother goes “Wow Joey you are fat”. I gotta be honest with you I started crying. I had given up completely on life. Friends and family never thought that I could ever do it again but GOD had different plans for me. I started working with local welterweight prospect Gil Reyes who at the time had a fight coming up. We went to the gym one day and he told me,” Joey you can fight. You have the hands even though you’re heavy so keep coming. I kept coming and 7 months later Dec. 2006 with no amateur fights to get my feet wet, I was at the Miccosukee Indian Gaming Resort for my pro debut. From there I climbed the ladder the hard way. I made only a petty $800.00 for my first fight. (Olympians make $8,000-$10,000).

Q: What aspects of your boxing game have gotten better since turning pro?

My ring experience has gotten better. I don’t have many rounds (56) so I believe every fight is getting me better and better. I’m boxing more and sitting down on my punches much better.

Q: On ESPN Friday Night Fights you recently lost the first fight of your career to local South Florida rival Ed Paredes in a rematch. In the first fight you fought to a draw but in the rematch you were KO’d. What happened leading up to that bout?

What did not happen going into that fight? (Laughing) I laugh because it’s crazy how i stepped into the ring and certain things before the fight just were not right. I found out I had a 6 month Yr. old Baby five weeks before the fight like something out of the Jerry Springer Show, From one day to the next I became a father. I had to man up because it’s not the baby's fault. My dad and I have one of those relationships that just doesn’t mix well for boxing. I don’t know why because he was my best friend. I guess I am a little hard headed and so is he so we don’t mix well with business. We haven’t spoke for about 7-8 months now. Three weeks before the Paredes fight we got into a big argument. I had tears in my eyes and told my dad I didn’t want the fight. I didn’t need it, I already beat him but my dad called me this and that. This was all in front of my mother as my witness. It got ugly and I don’t even want to talk about it because guns were involved. I got mad due to the fact that he was friends with my trainer. I fired my trained (trained alone) because I wanted to prove that I could beat that bum alone with no trainer!! I don’t know what I was thinking. We had a pre weigh-in a week before and I weighed in at 161 lbs. The ESPN Promoters told me, “ Joey you will not make the weight you have 6 days to lost 12lbs,” I was already dehydrated coming down from 177 in about 2 weeks. We had signed a contract stating if I was even 1 Lb. over 149 I would have to give up 50% of my purse ($25,000) which means I would have left with $12,500. That was not going to happen because I had a mouth to feed. I did not eat for 4 days and was living on caffeine pills. I made the weight but I don’t know how because it was like a dream, I couldn’t even talk. What happened, happened, I can’t changed it. I remember the first time we fought I fought Paredes at 152 Lbs so he knew I couldn’t make that weight! People that know Joey Hernandez know that was not me against Paredes. I was brawling. I’m a slick boxer and I never do that. I was not there at all and even at 60% I would of gotten up I just couldn’t. I wasn’t knocked out it was more of a shock!!! Before I retire one day I want to fight him again and I’m willing to sign a contract that if he beats me I don’t want to get paid!!

Q: Boxing is a tough game how do you pay the bills when you are not in the ring shining?

Boxing is a tough game. I work as a sales man selling roofs and making commissions. Thank GOD it has gone very well. Last year I sold a $1.7 million dollar roof and made an $80,000 commission. That was my first HBO purse! (Laughing) I love the hustle work!

Q: Joey how have you grown both personally and professionally since becoming a paid fighter?

I feel I had to change my ways, not saying I’m perfect, but I’m a role model today, a professional and personally a better person in this crazy life. It changed my inner feeling about life, fighting for a living is not an easy choice, not something normal to do. There is no degree that you need to achieve to step in the ring, its desire, balls and whole lot of courage to be the best!

Q: In three words describe what you bring to the game of boxing?

at UFC 118 UFC president Dana “Lily” White will pit his lofty UFC empires reputation up against professional boxing. Former UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture will throw blows against former boxing champion James Toney. The future boxing Hall-Of-Famer is looking forward to the opportunity to expose the lack of boxing acumen displayed by most UFC pugs as a 5-1 underdog. Couture is not the worst boxer that I have seen and his two-legged takedown will he a tough obstacle for the fat but brilliant stylist Toney to overcome. This will be interesting while it lasts and should end in a stoppage. The Randy Couture vs James Toney
UFC Betting Odds have Couture at -700 on the Moneyline.

Toney has logged over 618 rounds in the ring and most sharps have the opinion that he is damaged goods. Toney is still a half decade younger than Couture however and could prove that the sweet science still holds precedents over MMA. James possess excellent boxing technique and 4 Oz gloves crashing into Randy Couture's melon could be a recipe for disaster. A tune-up however would have been a much wiser choice for Toney than taking on a well-schooled veteran like Couture who will hold a big edge in cardio in Toney's 1st MMA bout. Couture is not a slick fighter but he has enough intelligence to go for the takedown as soon as he has an opportunity to use his wrestling. The Randy Couture vs. James Toney UFC Betting Odds have Toney as a +350 underdog. The Randy Couture vs James Toney UFC Betting Odds Over/Under is at 1.0 Round with the the OVER at +225.

Couture is an elite wrestler and should be able to manhandle Toney on the mat. When the fight is standing Couture can hold his own but Toney is likely to bust open some of the scar tissue on Couture’s face or knock him dead with a few shots. Toney is a boxer but he is a nasty brand of boxer. Toney is not only a master technician but also a granite chinned throwback fighter that is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with anybody. James is not what he once was but you have to like his chances to spoil Dana White's ego driven circus show.

Play: James Toney +400 UFC Odds Moneyline.

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