Rocky Juarez in ‘must-win’ Memorial Day fight vs. Rene Alvarado
Olympic silver medalist and title challenger Rocky Juarez will end a nearly two-year ring absence against Nicaraguan featherweight Rene Alvarado on a Memorial Day Golden Boy Live! show as Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes salutes the men and women of the Armed Forces with a special edition from the Fort Bliss' Stout Fitness Center in El Paso, Texas.
Juarez (29-10-1, 21 knockouts), who turned 35 in April, was all but retired when he received the offer to face Alvarado (20-2, 14 KOs), a 25-year-old who will be after his fourth consecutive stoppage win since falling by unanimous decision to Jezreel Corrales in January 2013.
"This is definitely a must-win situation. This is a fight where I have already said that if I happen to lose this fight, then that will be it. I'll hang 'em up and just call it quits," Juarez, who his Olympic medal in the 2000 Games, told RingTV.com.
"Before I got the call for this fight, I was already looking into buying and opening up my own gym to start training kids for a living. So I'm planning toward my future. Realistically, I can't fight forever."
Juarez was last in action for an eighth-round knockout of Antonio Escalante in October 2012, ending a run of 0-6-1 that included both a draw and a unanimous decision loss to former featherweight titleholder Chris John as well as a unanimous decision loss to ex-130-pound beltholder Jorge Linares.
"I never expected to be out of the ring for almost two years, but that's just the way that it's happened," said Juarez. "I've been in the gym, and I've been active and busting my butt just for a phone call like this to get myself back into the ring to be able to perhaps accomplish my dream of being a world champion."
Juarez also has suffered defeats to two future hall of famers, a split- and unanimous decision to Marco Antonio Barrera and a unanimous decision to Juan Manuel Marquez.
"Being the fighter that I am, and being a puncher, I always thought that if I could land that one punch, I could finish you. But being a puncher has its pros and cons. That's been my downfall," said Juarez.
"But at the same time, being a puncher, I am always in the fight. I'm just going to go out there and give it everything that I have. I know that I still have more to give, and more to offer."
In addition to Alvarado, who is coming off a ninth-round knockout of Robinson Castellanos in February, there will be action from 24-year-old junior welterweight KeAndre Gibson (9-0-1, 4 KOs) will face an opponent to be determined
The evening will be free for members of the military as several U.S. Army soldier-athletes compete in undercard bouts. The Army's World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) trains and promotes nationally and internationally ranked soldiers who are vying to represent the army and the United States at the Olympic and Paralympic Games guided by head boxing coach and staff sergeant Charles Leverette.
"I have had two family members who served. My nephew, Robert Gonzalez, served in the army, and my cousin, he served in the marines, and I have had uncles that have served in previous wars," said Jaurez. "With God's blessing, they're all okay. They can all sit back on Memorial Day, when it could be my job that day to perform and to let the people who are serving sit back and enjoy the show."