|Daniel Maldonado: “I’m bringing heat and a lot of pressure!”
INTERVIEW By Benny Henderson Jr - A.K.A "Big Dog" (Oct 30, 2006)
On November 17th at the New Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, the hard hitting Kentuckian Daniel Maldonado, 19-2 (13), returns to the ring to face his toughest challenge to date when he squares off against the reigning IBA featherweight champion Jose Alberto Gonzalez, 14-2 (6), in a scheduled twelve-round clash. ‘The Sandman’ plans on bringing the pain in entertaining fashion.
After pounding out a 52-10 amateur record, earning him five consecutive Indiana Golden Gloves titles from 1995 to 2000, Maldonado opened up his professional career in late 2000, stopping Ohio native Carl Carlton in the first round. In his second go-round, Daniel stepped up and faced fellow Kentuckian Shea Simmons (4-1 (2), at the time) earning himself a third round knockout.
Maldonado continued his assault on the usual suspects winning the Kentucky State featherweight title in the summer of ’02, defeating Terrell Hargrove with a ten-round unanimous decision. In February ’04, Daniel traveled to Florida to face
the then-once beaten Panamanian Whyber Garcia, who was coming off seven consecutive knockout wins. ‘The Sandman’ dismantled Garcia with a ninth round TKO, taking his NABA & WBC Latin American featherweight titles in the process.
Maldonado was smooth sailing, defeating all in his path until falling to his first defeat at the hands of Jesus Salvador Perez in early ’05, dropping to the canvas three times in a shocking first-round TKO loss. After back-to-back victories and well on his way to his nineteenth win, while ahead on the scorecards, Maldonado was caught in the seventh round against Armando Cordoba, suffering his second defeat. But now with this decisive upcoming match-up against Gonzalez, Maldonado feels one big win will erase his past shortcomings and secure a brighter future. And ‘The Sandman’ is set to bring defeat to his opponent come fight night. In this exclusive interview, Maldonado talks about his upcoming do-or-die bout. Enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: I would like for you to give the readers your thoughts on the IBA featherweight title match-up you have coming up against Jose Gonzalez.
Daniel Maldonado: Well, I am up here in a training camp that I have never experienced before. I have never been in a camp that has put me through what I have been through the past eleven days. I have never trained like this in my life so I already know that I am going to be that much more of a better fighter, a complete fighter in this fight. I am going to bring heat and a lot of pressure. I am going to bring some thunder. Now there is going to be some excitement in this fight. Gonzalez is not a pushover. He is not a chump by any means but I myself believe that the heart and determination that I have will blow through this. I am doing this for my family, my four kids and my wife. This is my dream. He (Gonzalez) won this title and defended it once so he can always go through and say that he as a champion, but it is my time. I am going to make it plain, come November 17th, that I am the champ.
BH: What do you know of your opponent, Jose Gonzalez?
DM: He likes to box and stay on the outside. He likes to stay in control of things and sets the pace, but what he does not know is that I am setting the pace. He is going to have to really get down with me in this fight. I hope he is in shape and ready because I am coming. I will leave everything in the ring come November 17th.
BH: What weaknesses do you see in your opponent and what strengths (of Gonzalez’) do you feel could pose a problem?
DM: I am going to go ahead and be perfectly honest. He doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. He is a good boxer. My hat’s off to him. But I am just training for that perfect guy. I am training too to set a pace that no man should have to fight. With this pace, I don’t believe any man can stand in front of me.
BH: You were smooth sailing at the beginning of your career but ran into a few bumps in the road against Perez and Cordoba. Although they were losses on your record, did you take anything constructive away from the bouts that you feel can play a positive effect on your future career?
DM: I tell you what I did do: I did my pouting that night, of course like any fighter would do, but I might even acted a bit arrogant, at first, blaming others, but the bottom line is I am a professional and I learned from both of those losses. I learned that I am not invincible. I learned that any man could get knocked down. I learned to be more patient now and to keep my hands up, be a little more defensive. Now in the Cordoba fight, hey, I just got caught. He caught me with a late round punch, I was winning every round and I just got caught. Bottom line, I just can’t take anybody for granted late in a fight. I thought I had it won hands down and he turned it all around. And that’s what you have to love about boxing. The fight isn’t over until the ‘fat lady’ sings.
BH: How important is this match-up to you and your career?
DM: It is everything. This is for the IBA ‘world’ title. My kids are going to be able to go to school and say that their Daddy is a ‘world champion.’ This is what I have been training for. This will be the icing on the cake. I have been in camp and I really miss my kids. They ask me if I am going to being that belt home and I have to. There is no accepting a loss in this one. I am bringing the belt home.
BH: What separates you from the other super featherweight prospects in your division?
DM: Ah well, I am the only Mexican hillbilly I know. (Laughs) I live in the country and I am a Mexican. I do the farm and the whole nine yards. I own my own roofing company. Right now, I have the opportunity to go out there and give it my best. I never had the opportunity that some fighters had to be in a good training camp and facility. I really feel I had made it this far with a good heart and conditioning and now I have the complete package. People have not seen anything yet.
BH: What has been the hardest aspect of being a fighter?
DM: Before, I thought it was the training and then I got to where I thought it was the eating part. But to be perfectly honest, it is being away form your family. If any of these fighters out there have a family then they know what I am talking about. Being away from my wife and kids are killing me so the way I see it, I cannot sit up here and train ‘half-butt’ when they are at home without a father and husband and having to deal with everything that we have going on in our house. I have to give it 100% or I am cheating them and that is something I can’t do. I can’t cheat them.
BH: If you could send out a message to your opponent, what would it be?
DM: I would have to say, “Give it your best, man.” because I am not looking for no slouch come November 17th. I want to win this title fair and square. I want it to go down as ‘Fight of the Year.’ and I am going to make sure that we are candidates in this fight so give it your best.
BH: Is there anything you want to add to or say in closing of this interview?
DM: I love the fans and if they are there, and I have already said this once, if the fans are there and he gets that ‘Ooh!’ on me, you can believe that I am going to get my ‘Ahh!’ back.
I would like to thank Daniel Maldonado for taking the time out to speak to the Doghouse.
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