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More than one mission awaits Frank Galarza

07
Apr
Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime

Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime

There are two Franks.
One is genial, possessing a smile you can’t wipe off with a baseball bat, and then there’s the other one I heard when I got on the phone, the man headlining “ShoBox” on Friday night.
That’s Gameface Frank and his answers are a little curt and that smile isn’t so quick to appear. But after about 20 seconds, after I called Frank Galarza aka “The Brooklyn Rocky” about his take-no-prisoners tone, smiling Frank was back.
The 16-0-2 (10 knockouts) junior middleweight, promoted by Lou DiBella and Felipe Gomez’s New Legend Boxing, chuckled and told me that he’s ready to rumble and give the fans who will pack into Brooklyn’s Aviator Sports Complex in a stellar show.
You are the headliner, right, Frank?
“I would be the headliner even if I wasn’t,” he stated and then I chuckled because I realized how far he’s come over the last couple years, how everything is coming together, his talent, his confidence, his inner peace and self-belief.
He is a contender right now; Galarza knows – and he gets it – that as long as he keeps taking care of business, as he expects to against his 13-2-1 (9 KOs) foe from Belgium, Sheldon Moore, big things are near on the horizon.
“I do realize that,” he told me. “I actually do and as long as I keep taking care of these guys and keep winningÔǪ”
Galarza is now at a stage in which he has a rep; YouTubes of KO wins have potential foes pricing themselves out of potential scraps. “Everybody pulls out or asks for ridiculous amounts of money,” the 29-year-old Brooklyn resident shared.
He looks around and he sees some of the other 154-pound prospects and fringe contenders getting TV bouts and now he knows he can hang with them. The kid is too humble, with eyes too wide open to state that he knows he can take them down, but he isn’t wrong when he says on any given night, he can rumble with, say, a Charlo and give him a lesson on how an old-school boxer can still exist in a different day and age. “I see the Charlo brothers, Julian Williams, Glen Tapia, I know I can be in there with those guys and I can beat them. I don’t see anyone that’s not beatable. I’m better than a lot of these guys.”
I mentioned that in the not-too-distant future, I could see a Glen Tapia vs. Frank Galarza match-up being a much anticipated HBO B-side fight. “A-side, B-side, C-side, F-side, ref-side, it doesn’t matter to me,” Galarza said. “I was a talking to trainer recently and he said that fighters nowadays are so worried about who they are fighting and all that stuff. They don’t want to fight anyone and, in his day, he was fighting guys with a hundred fights. Just put me in the ring! It’s about fighting the best and if you consider yourself the best you have to fight the best. [Roberto] Duran, [Sugar Ray] Leonard, guys of that era, you fought the best and you can’t claim to be the best otherwise.”
Preach, Brother Frank, and let me join that choir! Amen!
Speaking of, Galarza isn’t a preachy sort; he keeps it close to his heart. But he’s a churchgoer and credits his faith in keeping him on message. Props to him because he does it the right way, doesn’t use religion as an excuse to judge. Manager AJ Galante opened a gym in Danbury, Conn., and Galarza is building his “Youth Fight Forward” program there, talking to kids in danger of going off the rails, telling them they can get back on a righteous track. They see him, a former street dude, once up to no good, headlining on ShoBox, and it helps them believe. They come from homes where faith is limited to a negative slant, where faith is found in the darkness and sadness and the ugliness of the world, and Galarza’s arc can open their eyes. “These kids can do the same thing,” he tells me. “And my faith is always there and I know I’m no better than anyone. I’m equal to everyone.”
All due respect but I disagree. Galarza is not equal to everyone. He’s making his march into the 154-pound ranks; his boxing skills and self-confidence have flourished and he’s on my watch list moving forward because his old-school fighter mentality is what the sport needs to remain relevant. Social media yappers who go out and fight in a “Skills pay the bills” manner aren’t going to build our moribund fan base. But mark these words, FIGHTERS like Frank Galarza will.
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