By Sean Crose
“I’m fully happy,” Jayson Velez tells me.
Those generally aren’t the words one is used to hearing from a professional boxer…but he means it. There’s lots of intelligent fighters out there, and even quite a few who come across in interviews as being quite at lease. Velez, however, truly seems to be just what he says he is fully happy.
“You know,” he adds, “I’m focused.”
Perhaps that’s the secret to the man’s happiness. For the Puerto Rican super featherweight’s record is an impressive 22-0-1 with a telling sixteen knockouts. Not that Velez is completely satisfied with where he is at the moment.
“My defense is good,” he tells BoxingInsider.com, “but not good enough.”
Velez clearly aims to look his best when he fights Daniel Ramirez (15-2) on Thursday’s Golden Boy Fox Sport’s 1 card (airing live starting at 10 P.M. EST). “I’ve been working on my defense,” he says, “getting better with my jab.”
One thing about Velez is that he’s fun to watch. That’s something extremely important to today’s fans, especially with Mayweather fatigue potentially setting in. “I like to box,” he admits, “but I like to fight, too.”
An interesting thing about watching Velez fight is that one can’t help but notice he doesn’t like to stop swinging. Of course there are many who believe the man who gets the last shot in an exchange wins that exchange, but Velez seems utterly determined to not let a foe get the last word in during combat.
Maybe that’s why Velez’ last bout, against Evgeny Gradovich, was nothing if not an action-oriented affair. The bout ended in a draw, but Velez isn’t overly concerned with a rematch – at least not at the moment. “It’s not something I must do,” he says seriously (Interesting Side Note – our conversation occurred the day before Gradovich lost to Lee Selby in England).
One thing Velez is very concerned with is his training. Some fighters famously take it easy in between bouts – Ricky Hatton being the best, or worst, example, depending on how one looks at it. Velez simply isn’t in the same vein as those boxers.
“I’ve been training since January,” he tells me. “They called me for this fight, I was ready.”
Velez’ newest opponent is undoubtedly looking to get his own career back on track after losing to another Golden Boy fighter, Eric Hunter, last November. “This opponent hits to the body,” Velez says of Ramirez. “Be careful, I don’t want to underestimate him.” Nor, however, is Velez overly concerned about fighting Ramirez on Thursday. “We have a plan,” he says.
A plan is a good thing, of course, especially when one fights in the weight realm Velez does. Vasyl Lomanchenko. Nicolas Walters. These are indeed big names with big talents behind them. And they’re only a single small division away. “Eventually, I want to be the best fighter out of my division,” Velez says. “I have no favorite opponent. I can fight anyone.”
Right now he’s got Gonzalez to look forward to. And if that works out, who knows? Velez has talent, an interesting style and Golden Boy is giving him a solid platform to work off of. The future may well be a bright one. Velez himself certainly believes it will.
“I will be champion,” Velez declares.