Brazilian star Esquiva Falcao makes his pro debut tonight
Prior to the 2012 Olympics in London, only one Brazilian fighter had earned a medal – Servilio de Oliveira, who earned bronze in the 1968 Mexico City Games.
In 2012, not only was this feat surpassed with the South American country earning both a silver and bronze, but it was achieved by two brothers, Esquiva and Yamaguchi Falcao.
Tonight, the silver-medal winning Esquiva Falcao makes his professional debut in a six-round bout on a small club show in Hawaiian Gardens, Calif. The card will be televised by UniMas in the United States. More importantly, the bout will be televised on Brazilian network SporTV as part of a lucrative television deal that was struck when Falcao signed a deal with Top Rank at the end of 2013.
For Esquiva, making the decision to turn professional was a difficult one.
“I had many proposals to become pro, but also I had some proposals to stay as an amateur from Brazil's government with some good money,” Falcao told RingTV.com on Friday after weighing in ahead of his fight against Joshua Robertson.
“That's why it took so long. When Top Rank made the offer, it was very good, and that is when I decided to turn pro. The money was good, the signing bonus was good, and Top Rank is a great promoter and we trust in them because we are sure they will take me to the top of the world.”
Not since Acelino Freitas has a Brazilian fighter had this much buzz. For Freitas, a good but not spectacular amateur, it took many years into his pro career before he received the recognition that currently befalls the two medal winning brothers.
In a very odd situation, the two brothers signed deals with rival promoters in boxing's Cold War. Yamaguchi signed with Golden Boy Promotions in October while Esquiva signed with Top Rank a month later.
This means there is almost no possibility the two brothers will share the same card at any time in the immediate future. According to Esquiva, it isn't something that weighs heavy on his mind.
“We have a very good and healthy relationship,” said Esquiva.
“We train together, but he decided to go with Golden Boy, I decided to go with Top Rank, but we are still close. I wish the best for him and that he becomes a world champion. We both fight in the same weight division but we would do like the Klitschko brothers, we would never fight each other.”
Despite this declaration, the two brothers do mix it up in the gym with each other on a regular basis and it always is of a very competitive nature.
As far as extending that competition into the paid ranks, Esquiva already has a leg up on his brother who made his professional debut a shaky one a month ago. Yamaguchi fought to a double disqualification with Argentinian Martin Fidel Rios, resulting in a no contest.
Esquiva hasn't had a chance to speak to his brother regarding the result of the fight yet, but shared with RingTV.com his thoughts on the bizarre circumstances.
“I think that first of all, the first round was okay and my brother won,” said Esquiva.
“The referee screwed the fight. If my brother kept his cool, he would have knocked the guy out in three rounds but he is so passionate and the pressure of the Brazilian crowd, responsibility in the pro debut, he let the emotion take over I think. That was the mistake. That is why we decided I would fight outside Brazil a good number of times first.”
Esquiva comes across as the more mature and down to earth boxer while his brother is more boisterous. Esquiva will fight a six rounder in his first bout, and manager Sergio Batarelli shared that his expectation is for his fighter to make moves at a quick pace.
“We plan two fights at six rounds, two fights at eight, and then we will go 10,” said Batarelli.
“But it depends how he looks in the fights. After tomorrow night, we already have the next date set [on the Pacquiao-Bradley undercard]. Our plan, he is going to be going 10 rounds very quickly.”
Esquiva already has plans to move to Las Vegas after having prepared there with renowned trainer Miguel Diaz prior to his debut tomorrow night. Though expectations are high for the 24-year old Esquiva Falcao, he's got the right team around him.
How will Falcao celebrate a likely victory tonight? How else? By going to Disneyland.
Photo by Al Applerose / Arqangel
Mark E. Ortega is a contributor to renowned boxing publications RING Magazine and Boxing Monthly, northern California newspaper Martinez News-Gazette, as well as the managing editor at BehindTheGloves.com.