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Gabriel Bracero looks to avoid a steppingstone label

Photo credit: Team Puerto Rico
Fighters Network

Gabriel Bracero had a hell of an opportunity when he met Paul Malignaggi on July 30 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. But he was flat, pancake-style. No pep, no zest, none of the fire you’d hope and expect to see in his highest profile contest to date. Bracero, a Brooklyner who lives in Pennsylvania, seeks to prove he still has much to offer, that the 10-round unanimous decision loss to the Showtime analyst was a mere hiccup, not a career death rattle.

The 35-year-old with a 25-3 (5 knockouts) mark will try to prove it when he meets Jose Ramirez (18-0, 13 KOs) on Dec. 10 at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California. This tango will headline a card, which will run on UniMas.

“I know that wasn’t me in the ring with Malignaggi,” said Bracero, who is trained by New York City fight game royalty Tommy Gallagher. “I throw punches in bunches. The world knows that wasn’t me…All I had to do is what I do, throw effin’ punches and it would have been done. Simple.” The flatness was aided by a re-hydration scheme which made him bloated and immobile, he says. He’ll be back to basics for the Ramirez fight, he declares.

As for Ramirez, a Top Rank Promotions prospect/fringe contender, a win over Bracero arguably carries him to contender status.

“We can expect a huge turnout once again,” said Top Rank executive Carl Moretti, speaking to the popularity of Ramirez in Fresno. “Bracero, as usual, will give everything he has and Ramirez has to get through this, and look good doing it, in order to take the next step in his career.”

And frankly Bracero needs to win to remove himself from being labeled a steppingstone sort. I asked longtime Team Bracero crew member Rich Komissar about the importance of this outing. “I’m sure Top Rank is looking at Gabe as just that, a steppingstone,” Komissar told me. “This kid goes nowhere if he can’t beat a Gabriel Bracero, right? Gabe is a good test for him. Gabe will do just that…Test him and beat him! Gabriel does not see himself as a steppingstone nor a gatekeeper.” So he thinks Bracero can rebound and not be the flat fighter he was versus Paulie? “I’m hoping,” Komissar, a Jersey resident, whose dad co-founded the Starrett City Gym, continued, “I didn’t expect the subpar showing versus Paulie. I was very surprised, myself. Gabe knows what is at stake here.”

When Bracero is right mentally, not letting himself get distracted, he has a better chance to win. Komissar says they have been chatting, talking about that, about focus and getting into the right mental frame. “He has all the tools to beat this young man,” said Komissar, sharing the Yogi Berra quip, (Boxing) is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.”

Watch how it gets sorted out on UniMas.


When Michael Woods is right mentally, not letting himself get distracted, he has a better chance to…waitaminnit, was that coffee flying past my window? Look! It’s a space monkey! Uh…what was I saying again?

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