Josh Torres’ taste of the big time came with a price tag.
He’s willing to pay the price to get back there.
Torres, an Albuquerque professional boxer with a 12-3-1 record and five victories by knockout, will step into the ring tonight against Mexico’s Francisco Lira (a verifiable record of 4-3 with two KOs) in the eight-round main event of a card at Hotel Cascada.
A five-bout professional card, preceded by an amateur card in the afternoon, will be staged outdoors.
Today’s forecast is for a high temperature in the mid-80s with a chance for thundershowers.
In November, Torres – until then strictly a local and regional fighter – took a fight against unbeaten prospect Dusty Hernandez Harrison at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden. The Duke City fighter, nicknamed “Pit Bull,” drew praise for his determination but lost by a wide margin on the scorecards over 10 rounds.
Torres, 24, wants another shot – not necessarily at Harrison, not necessarily at Madison Square Garden, but at a chance to become a fighter of national stature.
A victory over Lira tonight likely would constitute only a baby step toward that goal.
If so, he’ll take it.
“It just bumps me up one step closer to another big fight, another big opportunity,” Torres said. “I was very close last time and came up a little short.
“I feel that these kind of fights are gonna prepare me, sharpen me up and keep me motivated to accomplish the ultimate goal in getting to that next level.”
Getting to that next level might involve a step down, as well.
Torres, who has campaigned at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds for the past five years, weighed in at 140 pounds Thursday for tonight’s bout.
He’s curious to see, he said, whether fighting at the 140-pound junior welterweight limit would make him a stronger fighter in his quest for that next big opportunity.
Lira, from Agua Prieta, Sonora, weighed in at 140.8.
MEEK LIKES THE PROS: El Paso boxer Tim Meek, who trains in Las Cruces, is scheduled to face Albuquerque’s Frankie Quintana tonight in a four-round, super middleweight bout.
Meek, whose family also owns a home in Sunland Park, has represented New Mexico in national amateur competition. He’s 2-0 as a pro, with two knockouts. The fight will be Quintana’s pro debut.
“I love the professional game,” Meek said before Thursday’s weigh-in, noting that the professional super middleweight limit of 168 pounds is three pounds higher than the division in which he competed as an amateur.
“It seems small, but those three pounds are like life and death,” he said. “I really appreciate the weight difference.”
Meek said he also likes the generally slower pace of the pro game, in which pure volume of punches is less important than in the amateur ranks.
“It’s a slower game, more technical,” he said. “… It’s more my style.”
Meek has the advantage of training at the Las Cruces Police Athletic League gym, under the tutelage of trainer Louie Burke. Among Meek’s teammates are Las Cruces’ Austin Trout, a former professional world champion; El Paso’s Abie Han, a pro middleweight with a 22-1 record; and Las Cruces’ Siju Shabazz, a former Golden Gloves national champion.
“Those guys are like my benchmark,” Meek said. “I know if I look good against Abie, Austin and Siju, I know I’ll be good in my fight.”
Meek, 26, is getting a relatively late start on his pro career. But Burke said Meek’s work in the gym with the aforementioned trio should give him a head start.
At the same time, Burke said, he’s working to instill in Meek a style more conducive to success in the pros.
“When you’ve had as many fights as (Meek) had as an amateur,” Burke said, “sometimes it takes a while to break those habits.”
DOCUMENTARY: “Tapia,” director Eddie Alcazar’s award-winning documentary on the life of Albuquerque boxing legend Johnny Tapia, will be shown at the KiMo Theater on Thursday as part of the Albuquerque Film & Media Experience. Tickets, priced at $10, are available at kimotickets.com.
A feature film on Tapia’s early life also is being planned.