Fres Oquendo: "DiBella has gotten me feeling positive and focused"
INTERVIEW By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (February 15, 2006)
It has been almost two years since the fast fisted Fres Oquendo, 24-3 (15), has stepped in the ring. With setbacks, let downs and the harsh politics of boxing, the Big O will finally return on February 16 at the Manhattan Center in New York City under new promoter Lou DiBella. The long time contender will face off against the tough Brazilian Daniel Bispo, 16-2 (10), in a ten round heavyweight clash.
The Chicago native was well on his way to a major title defeating the likes of Duncan Dokiwari (UD6), Clifford Etienne (TKO8), and George Arias (TKO11), but was side swiped with a horrible decision losing his title bid to reigning IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd in September of 2003. In his last outing in April ’04 Oquendo lost to the former WBA champion John Ruiz is a sleeper of a bout by eleventh round TKO. But now with the time off the rejuvenated heavyweight is on a mission to seek out and destroy his opposition to gain the prize of heavyweight champion.
Although the politics of boxing had taken Oquendo away for a bit, the Big O feels that his clean living and daily workouts will have no ill affect on his style and performance. What will the future hold for the former NABF and WBA Fedelatin heavyweight champion Fast Fres? Can he climb to the top once again and hopefully get a fair shake this time around? He thinks so and he is ready for war!
Read on to see what Fres had to say about his time off, the boxing game, his new promoter Lou DiBella and the future, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: Fres, first off thanks for taking the time to speak to the Doghouse, once again it is a pleasure to speak to you. The last time we spoke was December of 2004, you were looking for a bright 2005, a whole year has passed since that time with no ring time, your last bout in the ring was in April of ’04, what has been going on in that period of time with your career?
Fres Oquendo: It is a pleasure also. Unfortunately I was victimized by the corrupt system of the politics of boxing. It comes in with the dictatorships of management and the promoters etc. and I am prettier sure you are familiar with my history. There was a lot of things going on and I made some moves that weren’t that wise as you can see and it has idled my career but I have turned over a new leaf and I am looking to expand my horizons with Lou DiBella
BH: How much do you think the lay off and setbacks have affected your mental state of the game?
FO: Not a lot. It may have enhanced it for the simple fact that I am a clean living gentleman, I have kids and a family that keeps me motivated. I invested my chump change into properties and real-estate and that’s what got me by day by day. Going through all the turmoil’s of the sport and the threats of having me sued and the Don King situation where I wasn’t paid, you know the old record that comes with Don King so I was a victim of that. But thank God I have gotten my release, my freedom and now I am liberated and have my mind focused and like I told people in the past your mind has to be in the game. Look at the Ruiz fight, bar none my talent is better than his but my focus and my state of mind wasn’t up to par for the simple fact I was mentally distraught.
BH: You will be taking on Brazilian Daniel Bispo the sixteenth of this month, seemingly a good opponent for your first bout back. What do you know of your opponent?
FO: I really don’t know much other than he is a southpaw and I have always had great success with southpaws like Dale Crow, Chris Byrd, etc. I have always fought well against them with my orthodox style, so it is going to be very interesting, he has a great record and coming from the other part of the world facing his biggest challenge with a big name as myself. It is a nice little test for me and I am looking forward to erasing the old memories and refreshing people with the new.
BH: Do you feel ring rust will be a major factor?
FO: No, for the simple fact of what I was saying earlier I live a clean life, I don’t drink or smoke and I work out everyday and I have my mind on positive aspects with my family and I stay in shape. The lay off did me pretty good, you’ve got to remember I have been boxing since the age of thirteen so I needed a little break from the game and I guess God must have done it for a reason with all the tribulation, I just healed my mind body and soul.
BH: Looking at the heavyweight division what state do you see it in, and what will bring back the fire in your opinion?
FO: I am so motivated I dominated Chris Byrd even though he got the decision, he’s the number one guy now. Hasim Rahman and James Toney is pretty dominant in the heavyweight division and stuff like that motivates me. Just like this other heavyweight champ Lamon Brewster, I take nothing from him a great warrior and great heart but you know fighters like them used to fight on my under card, he got beat by fighters that I dominated like Clifford Etienne, he took his undefeated record so you know things like that lights up my firer and motivates me. Also I am still young and I am still in my prime.
BH: I know it is a bit premature but realistically how many fights do you feel that you need before you are ready for another run for the title?
FO: Let’s say three.
BH: What do you see in your future working with DiBella?
FO: Ah man better than ever, they are very honest this is the first time in my career that I am sure of it in the business aspect. I got a very honest contract this time and DiBella has gotten me feeling positive and focused.
BH: I want to throw some names out to you and fights as well and would like to get your predictions and thoughts if possible. Rahman versus Toney, what do you see going down in that bout?
FO: It will be an interesting fight, Toney has that style and Rahman is a hard working heavyweight but not that high of a skill level but enough to give James some trouble, but I give Toney the edge.
BH: Byrd versus Klitschko II?
FO: It will be very interesting, the last couple of fights Wladimir has taken some nice head shots so he isn’t the same Klitschko that fought Byrd the first time but I give the edge actually to Byrd. I think Byrd has that elusive style that Klitschko is going to have problems with.
BH: Have you seen Nicolay Valuev, and if yes, your thoughts on that monster?
FO: I haven’t seen him but I heard he messed up Ruiz but then I heard that he really didn’t win but you know how the politics of the game goes. He’s a freak of nature and he won’t last long in the game.
BH: Your opinion on WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster?
FO: He has a lot of heart and very courageous with decent skill but like I said there isn’t to much threat out there so until I get into the mix of things I guess he will be hanging around there with his nice little belt for the moment until I get up there.
BH: Out of all the names I just threw out to you, who do you see being a good opponent for yourself?
FO: I think it would definitely be interesting to fight the winner out of the Rahman versus Toney bout, I would like to fight either one of those two guys, it would be very interesting style wise.
BH: Is there anything you would like to add or say in closing of this interview?
FO: I would like to say thanks to all of my fans and South America, Central America, Panama, Nicaragua of course my country Puerto Rico, New York, Chicago. Getting all the positive feedback for my return to the ring and I look forward to showing my true abilities, and I would like to thank you all, Doghouse Boxing for giving me the opportunity to express myself to the people.
I would like to thank Blake Maxey of DiBella Entertainment, Inc. for the hook up on this interview as well as Henry Oquendo and Fres Oquendo for their time, it was great appreciated. For more information on DiBella’s fighters please visit: www.dbe1.com.
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