Tuesday, June 18, 2024  |



Randy Caballero set to return at 122 pounds

Fighters Network

Randy Caballero Interview from Golden Boy Digital on Vimeo.


Randy Caballero has never tasted defeat as a professional but he knows what it’s like to lose.

He can tell you about working his whole life to become world champion and then having the title taken away without a punch being thrown. He knows how it feels to be the butt of jokes in the boxing world and to face those who believed in you and offer contrition.

On Friday night, he wants to show that he can also come back from that.

Caballero (22-0, 13 knockouts) will return to the ring for the first time in 15 months when he faces relatively unknown Mexican fighter Ruben Garcia (15-1, 6 KOs) at the Fantasy Springs Casino, in Indio, California in an Estrella TV broadcast.

The scheduled 10-round fight, which headlines Golden Boy Promotions’ “Estelar Boxeo” card, will be Caballero’s first fight since a disastrous 2015 which saw him cancel two fights due to injuries.

Then with promoters and boxing legends Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins standing behind him in disbelief, Caballero lost his IBF bantamweight title on the scales after coming in five-and-a-half pounds overweight for his fight against Lee Haskins on the Canelo Alvarez-Miguel Cotto card in November.

“2015 was a bad year. We’re gonna leave that behind us and pray to God for a better year,” the 25-year-old Nicaraguan-American boxer tells RingTV.com.

“It’s hard, from being a world champion, you want your career to go higher to the next level,” said Marcos Caballero, the trainer, manager and father of Caballero. “Everything for us just crashed down to the bottom for a reason we’ll probably never know.

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Robert Diaz on Randy Caballero Weight Gain from Golden Boy Digital on Vimeo.

Last year began with much promise for Caballero after outslugging Stuart Hall over 12 rounds to win a major title in Oct. 2014. The married father of three, Caballero also opened up a barber shop in his hometown of Coachella, Calif.

He had surgery in 2015 for a bone cyst in his left foot that required bone replacement surgery which sidelined him for much of the year. Weakness in his calves forced him to withdraw from another date.

What happened between Caballero weighing in at 118.8 the night before the weigh-in of the Haskins fight and when he woke up in following morning at 123 pounds may never come to light.

“It’s something that I will never forget, knowing that I lost so much. Knowing that I lost my world title, I probably lost a lot of fans,” Randy Caballero says.

“I don’t know what happened. People probably won’t ever believe me but I would never jeopardize my career.”

Marcos Caballero remembers the call to his room that signaled the beginning of his son’s nightmare.

“He calls me, ‘Dad, we have a problem. I’m overweight,'” the father recalls.

“So I opened the door and, by that time, he’s already crying and depressed. I said, ‘Did you eat?’ He said, ‘No dad, what would I eat?'”

The moment Caballero stepped on the scale, Haskins went home to England with the title without having to answer a single bell.

Caballero went home to contemplate the future.

“It hurt me coming back home,” said Caballero. “I’d lock myself in my room for days.

“Finally I told myself, I’ve gotta come back out and go for that world title again.”

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Robert Diaz on Randy Caballero Match Up from Golden Boy Digital on Vimeo.

The Garcia fight will be the start of Caballero’s campaign at 122 pounds, a division that has a bit more star power and appeal than bantamweight. There, IBF champ Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg are big draws in the United Kingdom and will face off on on Feb. 27.

There’s also WBO champ Nonito Donaire Jr. and THE RING champ Guillermo Rigondeaux, who have both received exposure on major US networks.

All Caballero can do is look to the future and leave the past behind. He might not have landed at junior featherweight under the circumstances he would’ve preferred but he’d like to make the most of a bad situation.

“I’m excited; 122 is stacked. It’s a weight class that everybody tends to like to watch,” said Caballero.

“Bigger names, probably bigger fights, so I’m excited to see what 2016 has planned for me in this weight class.”


The undercard of the Caballero-Garcia fight will be streamed live on RingTVLive.com and on The Ring TV channel on FilmOn.com beginning at 5:30 p.m. PT. (The entire card will be available on demand on RingTVLive.com after the Estrella TV broadcast.)


Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to THE RING magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.