|Interview with Carlos Rivera: “El Rayo” Looking to Shine
Interview by Brandon Estrict, DoghouseBoxing.com (May 8, 2009)
This Friday, May the 8th, from the A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa, Florida, a late-bloomer Featherweight prospect by the name of Carlos “El Rayo” Rivera, 15-3-2 (5), looks to extend his unbeaten streak and take another step forward when he battles former word title challenger, Alex “Ali” Baba.
Though his record doesn’t reach out and grab you right at first, Rivera is a solid fighter in search of opportunity and has come up in the game, as they say, the hard way. He was certainly never handed anything. He’s the definition of a Fighter, and this coming Friday, he will continue to punch his own ticket on his quest to a greener pasture, the broader boxing plains, if you will.
Earlier this week, El Rayo was kind enough to take a few minutes from training camp and speak with Doghouse Boxing on his upcoming fight.
Brandon Estrict: Thanks for taking the time, Carlos. Everyone has their own unique path, so I’ll start with the generic question; how did you get started in boxing?
Carlos Rivera: Well, you know, I come from four brothers and one sister, I’m the oldest and we used to fight a lot! My mother, she’d get really upset and we had a gym a few blocks from the house, so one day she just said, “You guys need to stop beating on each other, if you want to fight, the gym is right there why don’t you really go fight..”
So from there, we all went to gym, my 3 brothers and I all got involved. I’m the only one though that actually stuck with it and it took me a long time to get serious, you know? I wasn’t looking to make a professional career out of it then, so I didn’t end up starting my professional career until I was 26.
BE: Fairly late to turn pro…
CR: Yeah, when I was younger, I was a foster kid and you know…My mom was gone and I kept going through different temporary homes, and it was so tough for me, you know what I’m saying? And then finally, I graduated from High School so I was on my own and years later, when I was more comfortable with things around me, at 25 years old, I said you know what? Let me try this, it’s better late than never, plus I had always trained as a kid. So I trained and just decided to go pro.
BE: No amateur experience?
CR: I tried it but I didn’t like the way the amateurs were, throwing all these crazy punches you know, and that wasn’t for me. So I ended up only having 5 amateur fights and I think I was something like 3-2 and, that was it. I figured let me step it up, I’m getting older I was 26 by the, and that’s just how it was. I went pro and I’ve been hanging in there.
BE: You last lost a fight in 2007. In your very next fight after that loss, you got a draw, and since then, you have won 6 straight bouts, 2 coming by way of Knockout. What did you learn in defeat that has you on the roll you’re currently on today?
CR: Well, I got into this game and I didn’t get into it because I needed money or anything like that, I just wanted to prove myself, just show that I could fight, I could do it. I could’ve got involved when I was younger but I didn’t, so I’m here now doing my thing and I’ve realized that this Boxing game is more a business. So I stepped up my game, I changed my trainers, got a different Management group, just changing my whole outlook and strategy. It was also then I got with Jimmy La Garco from 4th Street Boxing Gym(Port Richey, Florida) and….he’s the best, he’s just got me focused, just totally focused and finally I’d say around my 15th or 16th professional fight, I just became very confident and comfortable in the ring.
BE: Your opponent this Friday, Alex Baba is a former World Title Challenger. He currently fights at Bantamweight. Is he coming up for this fight or are you going down, and if he’s coming up do you feel like your size will be too much for him?
CR: Yeah, I believe he is coming up, the contract ranges about 127 lbs. I know I’m coming in at least at 125 lbs. I might just surprise everybody and come in at 124 lbs. so there’ll be no weight issues or anything after the fact, you know how that is. About the size, well I am a big Featherweight. I’m 5’8”, a Southpaw, I like to fight inside and I’m good outside, but it depends. I don’t go in there looking to KO anyone, I go in there to win. The KO comes, it comes you know what I’m saying, I just go in there to do what I’ve been trained to do. Throw my punches, keep my hands up at all times and protect myself….and just fight, you know, and be a great sportsman.
BE: How has camp been going for this fight and what have you been working…
CR: (Cuts in) Tough! The sparring has been all different types of people, I’m getting every style and variety of boxing. I’m not taking any chances. I know he likes to fight inside, so I’ve got some fighters I’m working with from lower weights, trying to improve my handspeed. I’m just working with them, then I’ve got fighters that come inside all day, and fighters who like to box and move all day. I’ve had a good taste of all of it, to make a good salad, we just mix it in with all different types of meats!
BE: So are you looking at this as your biggest fight?
CR: I guess, you know, I take it the same way I take it into every fight, you’ve got to fight. That’s it, ain't nothing against him, I’ve got respect for him for getting into the ring, any man that gets into that ring is a man. So I’ve got a lot of respect for him, he’s had a lot of fights, but I’m just here to do what I’ve got to do and that’s fight.
BE: So what does this fight mean to you going forward? Say, if you win this fight and look impressive doing it, what would be next and what are some of the things you’re looking to accomplish?
CR: Well, I definitely, I’m 31 now, I just want to be champion. I just want a belt man, I just want to get an opportunity to fight for a belt. I don’t even care if it’s a made-up belt! (Laughs) I just want to experience that feeling, and that’s what has pushed me and motivated me.
BE: I can definitely dig that, and I wish you all the best this coming Friday. In closing, is there anything you want to say to Boxing fans and the readers at Doghouseboxing.com?
CR: I’m thankful for everybody for coming out and supporting me, I definitely always, and always and always will entertain, I’m an entertaining fighter and never overly cautious. And I want to thank you for giving me this interview.
BE: Alright, I want to thank you for taking the time, and once again, best of luck this Friday Night!
CR: Thank you and take care.
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