Neeco Macias reprises underdog role vs. Marvin Cabrera in Facebook Watch co-feature
The position and place Neeco Macias finds himself in on Saturday is not an unfamiliar one.
The undefeated junior middleweight takes on Marvin Cabrera in the co-featured bout to the Ryan Garcia-Carlos Morales Golden Boy Fight Night main event streamed live via Facebook Watch from Indio, California (6:00 p.m. PT). It’s not his first time fighting at Fantasy Springs Casino or facing a fellow unbeaten up-and-comer or being the underdog against the “house fighter.”
Cabrera (8-0, 6 knockouts) only has half the pro experience of Macias, but the 25-year-old Mexico City native is the favorite due his vast amateur experience (the southpaw compiled a reported 135-15 record). The rangy, 6-foot tall Golden Boy Promotions prospect was a multi-time Mexican amateur champion who put his aggressive style to good use in top international tournaments, as well as the World Series of Boxing semi-pro league.
Macias (17-0, 9 KOs), an irrepressible 27-year-old southpaw from the Antelope Valley-desert area of Southern California, isn’t intimated one bit. He’s prevailed in this situation before. Almost two years ago, the southpaw volume puncher faced Rolando Garza, a Roy Jones Jr.-promoted fighter, on a CBS Sports Net-televised Jones Jr. promotion in Downtown Las Vegas.
Macias, who had recently signed with Sheer Sports Management, overwhelmed the 9-0 prospect to a fifth-round stoppage that was so entertaining he made a fan out of legendary pro-wrestling commentator Jim Ross, who was part of the CBS Sports Net broadcast.
“Jim called me the punching machine in neon green,” Macias said. Coming from the over-the-top performance cultures of the WWE, WCW and NWA, Ross appreciated Macias’ flashy fashion sense (his robe and trunks are always neon green, his favorite color) and “Rooster” nickname, which comes with an imitation and loud call during his ring walk to Alice In Chain’s song by the same name.
The fans that regularly attend shows at Fantasy Springs Casino, where Macias makes his seventh appearance on Saturday, also appreciated the showmanship of his Rooster persona.
It’s a lot more than a moniker or “act” to Macias.
“It’s a mentality,” he said. “Like a fighting rooster, aggressive and to the death.”
Macias brings a do-or-die style to his fights. He puts on suffocating pressure and punch volume that doesn’t seem possible – sometimes exceeding 200 punches per round.
However, he says he’s mellowed out since the Garza fight. He’s not as wild as hell bent to mix it up as he used to be, and he’s slowed his pace to “just” 100-150 punches per round. (Seriously.)
He credits this maturation to bringing in an additional trainer, Ivan Castaneda, to assist his father Al Macias in coaching duties, and also to conducting – for the first time – a full camp outside of the small-town region of Tehachapi where he lives. For the Cabrera fight, Macias relocated to the Los Angeles area and trained at McGirt & Pullmans Gym in Northridge.
“My amateur mindset was if an opponent throws one or two punches, I’ve got to throw three or four,” said Macias, who didn’t start boxing until he was 19 and only fought in about 30 amateur bouts during a two-year period before turning pro. “But I’ve learned with every pro fight and I’m adding more technique to my game.”
Quality sparring at McGirt & Pullmans has aided Macias in his education. He sparred with The Contender participant Shane Mosley Jr. (10-2), unbeaten former amateur star Joey Alday Jr. (8-0) and teenage Israeli sensation David Kaminsky (2-0) in preparation for Cabrera, who is trained and managed by former 122- and 126-pound titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon.
“It’s going to be action packed,” Macias said of the Cabrera fight, scheduled for eight rounds. “Two southpaws going at it.”
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer