"Macho" time for Torres
Through all of his creative training in inadequate facilities in a nonboxing town, heartache from long stretches of separation from his wife and son and the self-doubt created by “mismatching” early in his pro boxing career, Juan Torres has found a way to reach the son of the “Macho Man.”
That’s right, the same 30-year-old who has trained for some fights right out of his garage in South Lake Tahoe, Torres has earned a shot at Hector Camacho Jr. on Jan. 30 in Miami.
The bout between the unbeaten son of Hector “Macho” Camacho and Torres (12-4) is a 10-round lightweight bout, headlining a card that ESPN2 will televise.
“I’ve turned down three fights so far, so we were waiting for a fight of this caliber. I have to take tough fights like this now,” Torres said.
After stunning No. 2-ranked World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council lightweight contender Santos Rebollodo last fall, Torres has thrust himself into title contention. Considering he briefly retired from the sport after a highly successful kickboxing career, Torres has exceeded even his own high expectations.
“This is an opportunity and I can’t let it go to waste. It would be a shame to work hard all these years and let it go to waste,” said Torres, a six-time national kickboxing champion. “The boxing thing started out as a fluke. I wanted to retire slowly in the fighting business. Now it has turned into a serious thing where I can do something with it.”
As a last-minute fill-in against Rebollodo, Torres didn’t have the customary luxury of preparing for a specified foe weeks in advance.
“This one is no bigger than the last fight. The only difference is I didn’t know that the last one was big. This one I already know is big,” Torres said. “I can’t afford anymore losses or weak showings at this point in my career, especially on TV.”
This time, as a respected title contender, Torres has known for at least 10 weeks that Camacho Jr. is his next opponent. And the dividends are already showing in camp.
“Juan has a lot of power for this fight. It’s not like a lot of other fights where he has to drop weight so fast that you’re weak when you enter the ring. Once the fight was set, Juan got right on it and got down to 135,” said Alex Fixione, Torres’ longtime friend and trainer.
“I think this kid is going to go down in three rounds.”
To prepare for Camacho Jr., Torres has augmented his daily 8-mile runs by sparring with Edgar Garcia, whose claim to fame is knocking out Auggie Sanchez in one round, and his 195-pound brother Hector Torres, a professional kickboxer.
“Edgar has sacrificed a couple of fights to help me with mine. It’s hard to live with me, but he keeps me in line,” Torres said. “And I’m not taking anything for granted, so my brother has been whaling on me pretty good.”
A battle wound and an escalation in his brother’s aggressiveness have convinced Hector that Camacho Jr. is in for a beating.
“He’s been getting in good shape pounding on me. This is the hardest he’s ever hit. He dislocated my jaw last weekend. I give it three or four rounds,” Hector said. “He’s back to his normal self. Before it seemed like he was fighting using their style and wasn’t very aggressive and was more defensive. He seems to have that killer instinct again.”
Torres believes Camacho Jr., who like his famous dad thrives on dancing and quick flurries, won’t be ready for the step up in competition.
“I feel they’ve been babying him a lot through his pro career, and that doesn’t do you any good,” Torres said.
Before flying to Miami, Torres will train five days at Marron Boxing Camp in Lakeside, Calif., where he previously picked up the pieces of a troubled start to his pro boxing career. Following an 18-month retirement to exhaust a four-year deal with matchmaker Bob Lee, Torres resurrected his fledgling career with new matchmaker/manager Jorge Marron.
“Because of the politics and how everything is run in the sport, I was fed up with it. (Marron) didn’t promise anything more than what I could do for myself, but he had the connections to get me somewhere out there.
“He’s kept to his word. So far, so good.”
Since the switch, Torres has won five of his past six bouts – a turnaround good enough to catch Camacho Jr.’s handlers eyes.
They may be sorry they noticed.
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