All in the Family: Exclusive Q&A with prospect Jerry Belmontes06/02/2010
(Editor's Note: This interview was conducted in 2009 prior to Belmontes' win over Atencio. For a full, updated bio, click on Belmontes' name or visit the "Fighters" section of this site. He's coming off a win over Gill Garcia in front of a hometown crowd in Corpus Christi, Texas.)
Twenty-year-old Jerry Belmontes possess the kind of energy and hunger one would expect from an exciting young prospect. And with eight fights and as many wins under his belt, the featherweight--who's been boxing for 11 years--will need to maintain that level of intense focus in order to remain undefeated and progress to the next level. Of course, ability isn't everything. To rise in boxing, the Corpus Christi, Texas, native will have to show dedication and effort. Top Rank checked in with Belmontes before his Aug. 29 fight in Grand Prarie with fellow Texan Tommy Atencio to talk about his training regimen, what he learned about boxing from his father, and the art of staying calm in the ring.
Top Rank: How did you get started in boxing?
Jerry Belmontes: I wasn't really into boxing, I was more into baseball. My older brother was in boxing, and one day my dad, in the summer, just took me over [to the gym] and I saw him sparing. From there on, I loved it.
TR: What is it that you love about boxing?
Belmontes: I love the traveling and the training--the way you get in shape.
TR: Is there anything about getting in the ring that excites you?
Belmontes: What gets me [excited] in the ring is the hype. I really like the hype--the motivation that people give you. When you're fighting in a crowd of people cheering your name, now, that's nice.
TR: Who was your mentor growing up?
Belmontes: My dad was a professional boxer.
TR: Was your dad a featherweight?
Belmontes: No, he was a welterweight.
TR: What did he teach you?
Belmontes: He taught me everything he knows--the combinations, the footwork.
TR: Is he still in your corner?
Belmontes: He's still in my corner.
TR: Talk about your training regimen.
Belmontes: At six o'clock in the morning I run five miles. Then I train for three hours. I just hit the speed bag, jump rope, hit the treadmill, hit the stair-master, spar, and hit the heavy bag.... I'm thinking about moving to Houston in about a year-just to get more training and more sparring. Because down in Corpus [Christi], I don't really have that, and that's the thing I'm really lacking right now.
TR: You mentioned one thing you're lacking. What are some of the other things you'd like to improve on in terms of your boxing game?
Belmontes: Know how to stay calm, don't move around that much, and that's about it.
TR: Elaborate on the "stay calm" thing.
Belmontes: I get excited, and I bounce up and down a lot. I hit and move, hit and move, instead of me planting my feet, staying there, and hitting a target I can hit.
TR: Describe your fighting style.
Belmontes: My speed is great. I'm a tall fighter for my weight division. And I'm a great counter-puncher. I love using the jab--that's my main thing to do.
TR: Do you plan on staying a featherweight, or would you like to move up eventually?
Belmontes: My goal is win a belt at this weight, defend it about two or three times, and then move up in weight class.
TR: What is your ultimate goal?
Belmontes: To be a world champion--and stay undefeated.
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