The pride of Framingham, MA Danny O’Connor will fight in front of a national audience this Friday when he takes on Brooklyn’s Gabriel Bracero in a battle of undefeated prospects. The fight, scheduled for 8 rounds, will be the co-feature on Showtime’s “ShoBox: The New Generation” series live from Laredo, TX. It’s a chance for O’Connor to display his abounding boxing ability to the world; a chance he embraces. “You know, I just continuingly waited for this opportunity. I feel sometimes I’m underrated as a fighter and a lot of people overlook me, so I just patiently kept waiting and working hard and chipping away and finally got my opportunity. Now I’m just excited to let the world know who I am.”
O’Connor (14-0) has steadily worked his way up the ladder since turning pro a little over two years ago. A National Golden Gloves Champion as well as an alternate on the USA’s 2008 Olympic Boxing Team, Danny was a quick study in the fight game, starting at the fairly late age of 16. Danny credits his quick learning curve to the tireless hard work and dedication he put in. “It’s one of those things that was really self chosen. I loved boxing ever since I put on a pair of gloves. It was pretty much my decision to do that, and boxing was just the sport that I took to the most out of all the ones I played. I definitely didn’t have as much experience as the other people but I kind of made up for it by working hard and staying focused and just learning as much as I could, whenever I could.”
“Irish” Danny found the transition from the amateur’s to the pro’s a smooth one. “I always had more of a pro style than an amateur style anyway, so the transition into a pro wasn’t too much of a difference. It was really only the obvious things: smaller gloves, no headgear, and more rounds; longer rounds. That’s the only thing that you really have to get used to.” A natural lefty, O’Connor’s ‘hit-and-don’t-get-hit’ style from the southpaw stance is most easily compared to that of former lightweight champ Paul Spadafora. It’s a style that has brought him the ‘W’ in each professional bout thus far.
In facing Bracero (14-0), Danny will find another undefeated fighter vying to reach the next level. Because of this, Danny has taken no short-cuts, knowing how dangerous an undefeated fighter can be. Come fight night, he’ll be ready for anything Bracero presents him with. “He’s a tough kid, he’s in good shape, throws a lot of punches, he’s a righty, and you know he’s 14-0 too, so that tells you something right there…undefeated. I think no matter who you’re fighting, there will always be adjustments because you never really know what exactly is going to happen until you get in there. I definitely think there will be adjustments that I’ll make. You know, I’m a smart boxer. There are just things that I’m gonna have to do on the fly. I’ll just think smart.”
Another adjustment in Danny’s life has been that of fatherhood. He recently became a Dad…his boy Liam was born just a few weeks ago. It has given him a new perspective, and something entirely different to fight for. “It’s a privilege; it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I think a lot of people who fight are motivated for different reasons; and you know, the love of a child…to be motivated by love I think you really don’t have any boundaries…you have no limits and you can do anything.”
If Danny pulls out the win Friday and does so in fashion, many more opportunities may come his way within the next 12-18 months. The Jr. Welterweight division is one of the deepest in boxing, and although both O’Connor and Bracero are little ways off from challenging the cream of the crop, it’s a goal worth setting. “You have so many top-name people and you know I just hope to one day be in the position they are in; having a world championship belt and having a good name when spoken of. The dreams that I have as my career is starting to progress, those are the things that I hope to achieve. Hopefully if I can keep working hard and continue to do what I need to do, one day I’ll be in that position to be a world champion.”