The only thing worse than the two-year layoff for Jesse Barboza was the fact his last fight ended in a disappointing draw, leaving the former three-time New England Golden Gloves champion with a lot of free time to think about what had went wrong.
"I had two years to deal with it," Barboza said. "It drove me nuts."
Barboza (5-1-1, 3 KOs) finally got the sour taste of his mouth last November when he returned from his hiatus with a unanimous-decision win over Kevin Franklin in Providence, R.I.
Now Barboza’s comeback is about to come full circle as he prepares to fight at Twin the River Casino on Friday, March 15th, 2013 under the guidance of his first - and only - promoter, Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports.
"I love CES," said Barboza, who’ll face Altoona, Pa., heavyweight Jeramiah Witherspoon (2-2-1, 1 KO) in a four-round bout on the undercard of "Unfinished Business" at Twin River.
"I love how they do things. When you go somewhere else and work with other people, it makes you appreciate having a team around you where you can say, ’Hey, can you get this done for me?’ and it gets done with no questions asked."
Three years ago, the Barnstable, Mass., native stepped out from under the shadow of his own amateur success and began his professional career with a, second-round knockout win in nearby Plymouth. With a hard-working promoter and a dedicated management team in his corner, Barboza had everything a young fighter could ask for - most importantly, stability.
Within nine months, the former Golden Gloves standout was 3-0 with three knockouts, but everything went sour when he lost for the first time in his career to to then-unbeaten heavyweight Winston Thorpe at Twin River. Communication between he and his manager broke down, and Barboza soon began switching trainers on a routine basis in search of the right fit.
"Sometimes you hit bumps in the road and people aren’t always ready for that," Barboza said. "The lack of communication had as much to do with me as it did with them. I should’ve just told them I wasn’t comfortable with this fight, or that fight ...
"Sometimes when you tell people you’re not ready for a certain fight they think you’re a coward," he continued. "That’s not how it is. People were dogging [super middleweight world champion] Andre Ward for a long time wondering when he’d step up. Look at him now. You always want to fight tough guys, but, at the same time, you have to make the right decisions. The risk has to match the reward."
The 10-round main event of "Unfinished Business" features the rematch between Providence, R.I., super middleweightsJoey Spina (26-3-2, 18 KOs) and Peter Manfredo Jr. (38-7, 20 KOs), who’ll face one another for the first time since 2006. Also on the undercard, Providence’s Alex Amparo (5-1, 3 KOs) will look to avenge his first career loss when he faces Woonsocket, R.I., veteranJoey Gardner (10-5-1, 1 KO) in a six-round super middleweight rematch. Gardner beat Amparo by unanimous decision in November.
February 14, 2013