Boxing doesn’t have a league making up a schedule, far in advance, so the ups and downs of matches being made, unmade, re-made and switched up can be dizzying.
It is one most interesting elements of the sport, from the outside looking in, but can be quite trying for the athletes.
They will ready themselves for a test, be this close to the fight date and then poof…the opportunity is lost when, say, a foe is injured in training and pulls out.
Francisco Fonseca was readying himself for a step-up challenge, against Billy Dib, when word came that there would be a change of lanes. The reward factor would now be higher but so would the risk…IBF junior lightweight titlist Gervonta Davis needed a dance partner for the August 26 Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Fonseca said hell yes when asked if he wanted to try and wrest the title from the young sniper Davis, a Baltimore boxer who is seen as the one to take the reins as lead dog in the Mayweather Promotions stable when Floyd really, truly, actually hangs up the mitts after August 26.
I touched base with Fonseca to see what makes him tick and how he’s gotten to this place.
“My two older brothers Jose and Freddy Fonseca are both professional boxers, therefore I started due to their influence,” the 23-year-old Costa Rican told me.
The hitter was born in Nicaragua and boasts that he’s more than merely a boxer. “I’m proud to say that I am a cowboy, who, since the age of seven years old, has been my dad’s right hand, tending to the cattle and harvesting everything (on our farm) and my Mom always making me the best food ever.”
Fonseca, managed by Mario Vega, has three sisters and two brothers. “I was six years old when my mom and dad came to work on a Costa Rican coffee farm. It is very common for people from Nicaragua to make the move in search for a better income and quality of life. I was seven years old, working the coffee farm, when I fell in love with this country to the point that, when my family decided to move back to Nicaragua, I was given a choice and I chose to stay in Costa Rica.”
His amateur record was 60-4 but “at the end of my boxing career, it was hard to get opponents and I had the papers to fight with the national team but I knew I wanted to become a professional boxer because of the example of my brothers.”
What, pray tell, has been Fonseca’s stiffest test to date as a pro? “To be honest, I had control of most of my fights. With my hard work and dedication, I make my work easy, even though my opponents have been good fighters who I have learned from. Yet I would have to say that my pro debut bout (in 2013 versus Eduard Urbina) stands out because, when I got cut, I was stressed but, in the end, I believe I won the fight, even though I got a draw.”
And he wasn’t put off by the switch to Davis from Dib, he said. “I studied Dib for many years. I know his style and I looked forward to fighting him because I saw it as an honor to have this opportunity with a quality fighter like him it and (it was) a direct message to myself that my dreams are truly coming true.” Oh, and before Dib, Fonseca was going to fight Tevin Farmer but that fight fell out because Farmer was shot in his hand. He’s OK and will box again but obviously needed some time to heal.
Vega has raved to me about Fonseca. “This kid is special. The next Alexis Arguello,” he said. “People have no idea. His record has no big names but he’s destroyed every one of his opponents. And he trains like crazy. Ask for 10 and he’ll give you 20. And this switch to Gervonta, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”
If Fonseca beats Davis, who is seen as the leader of the pack in the Mayweather Promotions stable to elevate to superstar status after Mayweather retires, Vega and all can rest assured that fans will have a fine idea of his worth.
You can follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.
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