Miguel Espino; “I am a real fighter!”
INTERVIEW By Benny Henderson Jr (April 19, 2007) Doghouse Boxing
This Saturday night April 21st at Palma High School on Salinas, CA, the former Contender contestant Miguel Espino 14-2-1 (5) takes another step at solidifying himself as the real deal and not just a reality series competitor in the fight when he takes on once-beaten Russian Sergey Stepkin 17-1 (9) in a 168-pound showdown.

The slick style Californian participated in the first season of the reality boxing series ‘The Contender’. In his first outing Espino lost a disappointing decision to Peter Manfredo Jr. but left an impression and just one year later stopped is former contestant Jonathan Reid in five rounds. Since then the twenty-seven year old pugilist has banged out five consecutive W’s and looks to gain another victory this Saturday night, all the while breaking out from the reality series status to a bona fide fighter.

Read on to see what Espino had to say on his breaking out of a reality series fighter status and the reason why he fights on, enjoy.

Benny Henderson Jr.: First off give the readers your thoughts on your recent victory.

Miguel Espino:
It felt great, it felt good going ten rounds, I felt very comfortable. I did really well, I think they should have stopped it, they was thinking about stopping it and I though they were but they did not. But all and all it was a good ten round experience in getting my feet wet in getting ready for my up and coming fight.

BH: What statement do you feel you have made with your last few fights?

Well definitely that I am a real fighter and not a reality boxer like Larry Merchant was saying during the Calzaghe vs. Manfredo fight. I have been in the game for quite some time and have always fought real guys, it is not reality TV boxing like Larry was talking about, I am a real fighter and I am going to continue proving that.

BH: That was actually one of my questions, during the Calzaghe-Manfredo fight, to me, which I could be wrong, but either way it seems as if Larry Merchant was pretty much downing the series not giving “The Contender” contestant much credit. Give your thoughts on his comments, and do you feel as if you are breaking away from that reality series label?

Yes pretty much, he did good job of ripping the reality series, saying “The Contender” was just a show and this and that, it is what it is, and people may think what they want. Obviously Manfredo didn’t do “The Contender” justice, but all and all I am going to be the one to prove the commentators wrong. I am going to continue moving forward, continue winning and looking sharp and impressive. They cannot say anything about it if I continue doing that.

BH: Do the comments put a little spit in your eye and rocks in your guts adding fuel to your fire?

Well, you know I cannot blame them honestly, I like Manfredo, he is a good kid and all but all and all they were doing their job, that’s what they get paid to do to analyze the situation and Merchant has been around the game for quite some time, so you cannot really blame him for saying that. If Manfredo would have looked sensational then he would have had others things to say and he would have said it. It is what it is, I respect his opinion, and everybody has them. There are only a couple of us left that has to make them feel different about the show.

BH: Let’s say if you were in Larry’s shoes and was commentating the fight between Calzaghe vs. Manfredo, what would have been your comments on the bout?

Throw punches, (Laughs) you are fighting for the super middleweight championship of the world, you go out there and do not respond for forty five seconds, I do not know what Manfredo was thinking. I do think it was a premature stoppage but you have to throw punches, I guess he was thinking about that big payday he was getting.

BH: What are your thoughts on a match-up against Sergio Mora?

With all due respect and honestly I do not think the public would really appreciate that fight, all though it would be a good fight. Once again, after the performance of Manfredo being the hero of the show, people would probably be like…not another contender guy. I do not think people would tune in to see it, Sergio is not a very crowd-pleasing fighter, he is more like Hopkins type of fighter, very technical. As far as he and I, I do not think it would sell; it would be a good fight though.

BH: I was doing some research on you and came across that your mother is legally blind?

Yeah man, she has always had bad eyesight, but she had been legally blind for a good eight to ten years now, she walks with a walking stick. I am wanting to save up because there is an operation for her in Cuba, it is experimental but people have done it, I am trying to save up some money so we can that surgery for her.

BH: So more or less you are not just fighting to become world champ but to provide for your family as well?

Yes, most people say you are not married, you do not have kids and I say, yes I have two kids, I have my mother and my sister who seems more like a daughter to me. My father is not with us anymore so I am the man of the house; I have to pay the bills so aside from boxing I have a part time job to help out. What this all boils down too is that I am the man of the house, as far as income goes I am the sole provider, I do fight to prevail and to move forward to be financially stable for my family.

BH: Give us three goals that you want out of this whole boxing gig.

To be financially stable, to own a home and to be champion of the world.

BH: If you could send out a message to the fight world, what exactly what would you tell all about Miguel Espino?

Don’t doubt me and if you do doubt me, I plan on proving everybody wrong with my abilities and work ethics, I am at a different level now. Those non-believers step up and give me a chance and I will make you a believer, that’s all there is.

BH: Is there anything you would like to add in closing?

Congratulations to my trainer John Bray, he just opened up his own gym with his partner Sammy in San Fernando. It is a beautiful gym, it is getting a lot of kids off the streets and in the gym training with Bray and others, it is great for the kids and the community of San Fernando.

I would like to thank Miguel Espino for taking the time out for Doghouse Boxing, and a thanks goes out to Mario Serrano for setting up another interview.

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