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Interviews with Diego De La Hoya and Pablo Cesar Cano: Golden Boy Stable Mates Look to Move Forward in Their Careers

By: Sergio L. Martinez

Tonight, the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California is hosting a card presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event is headlined by Mexican veteran welterweight Pablo Cesar “El Demoldedor” Cano with the co-main event featuring rising super bantamweight prospect, Diego “Golden Kid” De La Hoya. Both men have a lot riding on their respective fights.

In the case of Diego “Golden Kid” De La Hoya (8-0-0 with 6 KOs), the 20-year-old Mexican prospect is facing perennial contender, Manuel Roman (17-3-3 with 6 KOs). The fight is scheduled for eight rounds and is by far the toughest test of De La Hoya’s fledgling career, something that is not lost on the fledgling Mexican bantamweight.

Speaking to Boxing Insider, Diego said, “We know that [Manuel Roman] is very experienced and he’s had the opportunity to challenge for a world title, but we feel that I’m ready as I’ve got a lot of amateur experience and I’m fully prepared for this fight.”

Diego’s amateur involvement was extensive. as the fighter had the privilege of competing with the Mexican national team and represented Mexico in many national, international and world competitions. The Mexicali, Baja California, De La Hoya competed in 250 bouts and ended his illustrious non-paid career with a record of 240 wins and 10 losses. Although these fights were not at the pro level, it is understandable why De La Hoya leans on such valuable experiences coming into this fight.

Most people realize that some things that may be seen as a blessing for one are a curse for another. In Diego’s case, at this stage in his career, his curse is the fact that the most recognizable thing about him in the “De La Hoya” name. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 30 years, Diego’s cousin is iconic boxing legend: Oscar “Golden Boy” De La Hoya. Although it would be easy for the “Golden Kid” to cloak himself in his cousin’s shadow (after all, “Golden Boy” and “Golden Kid” translate to the same thing in the Spanish language), Diego clarified that this is just not the case.

According to the fighter, “I never asked or wanted to be called [Golden Kid] but some journalist during my amateur days gave me that nickname and it stuck; I can’t get rid of it. I’d rather just go by my name with no nickname, but that’s how I’m known.”

“I was influenced by my father and not my cousin and I really didn’t even know my cousin too well when I was growing up,” De La Hoya continued.

“I want to be known as my own man and want to earn everything on my own merit, not like [Julio Cesar Jr.] Chavez; I don’t want things given to me because of my famous last name. I’ve won my fights without the help of my cousin.”

This is exactly the kind of talk and determination one likes to hear from a young, up-and-coming prospect looking to make his bones in the hardest of sports.

In stark contrast to the rising Golden Boy Super Bantamweight, Mexican welterweight warhorse Pablo Cesar Cano (28-4-1 with 21 KOs) is attempting to make his way back to the top of Contention Mountain. In his path, Cano must get past the Dominican Republic’s hard punching assassin, Juan Carlos “Merengue” Abregu (18-1-0 with 17 KOs).

Although only 25 years of age, Cano is a classic Mexican boxer in that he turned professional at the tender age of 16 and is a nine-year veteran of the sport. The first five years of his career saw Cano improve his skills and establish himself as a viable prospect/budding contender with an undefeated record in his first 24 contests.

In September of 2011, Cano received a last-minute opportunity when he was offered a fight against Mexican legend Erik “El Terrible” Morales for the vacant World Boxing Council Super Lightweight title.

This battle would ultimately change his professional career. After nine grueling rounds, Cano would succumb to the relentless pressure of Morales and failed to come out of his corner in the tenth. Although it was the first loss of his career, it is one that Cano recalls as a true blessing in disguise. Speaking to Boxing Insider Cano recalled, “No one in my team wanted me to take that fight as I was called late. I felt like one can’t pass on an opportunity to compete for a world title as you never know if it will happen again so I took it.” Pablo Cesar added, “It was a great learning experience for me and I felt that the boxing public saw my potential and the fact that I come to fight; I am willing to fight and gave everyone a great and brutal show. [Erik Morales] is a legend and I gave him a tough fight.”

Cano bounced back from his first defeat with three straight victories before getting another world title shot against Paulie Malignaggi in October of 2012. Pablo Cesar dropped a split decision against the slippery Malignaggi. Since then, Cano has won 2 of his last four, dropping a decision loss to Shane Mosley and stopped on cuts against journeyman Fernando Angulo.

Regarding the past three years, Cano gave this assessment: “I’ve had some unfortunate things but I’ve been able to compete at the world level against guys like Malignaggi, Morales and Mosley and I’ve have learned a lot along the way. I’m only 25 years old, I believe that I’m in my prime now and I’m feeling great. I’m ready to move forward and challenge for another world title, soon.”

Pablo Cesar enters his thirty-fourth professional contest on the cusp of becoming a gatekeeper should he drop another loss. The win will not be an easy one by a stretch of the imagination, as Abregu is a limited but deadly puncher and everyone who has seen Cano fights knows that the Mexican is all-action and is there to be hit.

Cano is cognizant of the daunting task tonight and feels that he will be engaged in a war.

“[Juan Carlos Abregu] is a very experienced amateur, is a former Olympian, can really punch, has fast hands and is very strong. Still, I feel that my experience at the world level, coupled with my skills, power and boxing ability will be the difference and I expect to be victorious in a high-action fight,” Cano explains.

With so much riding for Diego De La Hoya and Pablo Cesar Cano tonight, boxing fans are sure to get treated to a great night of action from the main and co-main events. With the recent public defections of prominent fighters from the Golden Boy stable, Cano and De La Hoya will need to step-up and make some noise to remain relevant in this business. Although both are still very young, they are also very talented, so now is the time to make statements about their current place in boxing.

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