By Paul Upham: This Saturday night on Showtime Championship Boxing, USA Olympic silver medallist Rocky Juarez, 4-0 (3), will take on Juan Rafael Gutierrez, 5-1-2 (3), in a six-round featherweight contest in El Paso, Texas. Only 21 years old, Juarez says he does not feel any extra pressure being on Showtime so early in his career and that he is in no race with any of the other rising stars to win a world title first.
“It’s good to back on Showtime,” said Juarez. “I feel that I’m an individual. I’m not in a competition against anybody. I’m not in a race, I’m out there to do my job and work my way up in the rankings. I’m not in no race to get a belt. I’m just out there to do my job and get every victory as it comes.”
Manager Shelly Finkel has been very pleased with Juarez’ early progress, hinting that the public has yet to see the real potential of his boxer.
“We made a mistake in the first fight with Rocky. We didn’t know the fellow was a southpaw because he was converted,” said Finkel.
“Rocky did not look as good as people had thought he would. But I think if you watch his last fight, it’s not what they do it’s how they do it at this stage.”
Juarez is currently campaigning at featherweight, which may well be the division in which he challenges for his first world title in the future.
“I’m very comfortable at featherweight as we speak. I’m hoping to be at 126lbs. when I fight for a title. I feel very strong and very comfortable at this weight right now,” said Juarez, who is a very composed, level-headed boxer which he attributes to his extensive amateur career.
“The experience I had in my amateur career going to the world championships twice and winning at the world championships and bringing home an Olympic silver medal, with the amount of fights I had as an amateur is going to help me a lot in time to come when I start fighting opponents from different countries with different styles. That’s one thing that I bring into the ring, I can adjust to any style in there.”
A very mature likeable young man, Juarez predicts big things for his future without sounding over the top or disrespectful to his opponents.
“I am 21 years old and I am young. I hope to have a professional career to the age of 30. I’m just taking my time and not rushing into things. One thing I want to do is if I fall down a step, I have to get right back up,” said Juarez.
“I want to become a legend in the sport of boxing. To become a boxer remembered by their will, their heart and determination in the ring and I feel that is one thing that I bring into the ring.”
The Showtime telecast, headlined by Juan Lazcano vs Julio Alvarez at the Don Haskins Center, will include taped highlights from separate six-round fights pitting Francisco "Panchito" Bojado, 6-0 (6), against Jesse Varela, 19-3 (7), as well as Jeff Lacy, 3-0 (3), taking on Anthony Greeley, 3-4-1 (1).