By the time he gets to Phoenix – back to Phoenix, that is – Jose Marrufo hopes to be a professional boxing champion.
Even in these crazy, hazy days of boxing title proliferation, not many 22-year-olds can boast of such a thing – especially a 22-year-old with a pro record of four wins, two losses and one draw.
Tonight at the new McKernan Events Center in the South Valley, Marrufo will face Albuquerque’s Josh Torres for the vacant World Boxing Council United States National Boxing Championship in the welterweight class.
It’s a relatively minor title, but a title nonetheless, with a bright, shiny belt awaiting tonight’s winner.
Based on all available comparisons, the young Phoenix fighter rates as a prohibitive underdog.
Torres (13-3-1, six KOs) has 10 more fights, nine more victories and has fought the tougher competition. Though Marrufo has won his last four fights, after not winning any of his first three, he has yet to beat anyone with a winning record.
Yet, Marrufo said he has been in the ring with far more accomplished fighters than Torres – if only in sparring.
“I came ready,” Marrufo said after Friday’s weigh-in. “When I saw (Torres’) record, when I saw who I was fighting, I started training harder. We had a great camp.
“I got bigger sparring partners; I’m talking about Orlando Salido, Timothy Bradley.”
Those are impressive names to drop. Salido is the current WBO featherweight champion; Bradley is a former world champion whose only professional defeat came at the hands of Manny Pacquiao.
Marrufo said he has never seen Torres fight, but will rely on the instructions of his trainer.
“My coach is the one who studied (Torres’) videos. … We’ve already worked on everything.”
Born in the Mexican state of Sonora, Marrufo has lived in Phoenix virtually his entire life. He works part time and has a year-old son, Axel.
“That’s what I work hard for,” he said. “I do this for him, my family. That makes me train harder.”
An upset of Torres, Marrufo said, would “open a lot of doors. I’ll try my best to make it to a bigger level.”
Word out of Phoenix was that, before his arrival in Albuquerque, Marrufo had talked a bit of trash. There was none of that at Friday’s weigh-in.
“We’re two professionals,” he said. “We know what we’ve got to do.
“Our work is in the ring, and we respect each other. It should be a great fight.”
The bout is scheduled for eight rounds. Torres weighed in Friday at 141.2 pounds, Marrufo at 140.6 – well below the welterweight limit of 147.
For tonight’s eight-round co-feature, Las Vegas, N.M., boxer Arturo Crespin (11-3-1, four KOs) weighed in at 165.6 pounds for his bout against Tucson’s Augustine Renteria (10-25-6, three KOs).
Renteria weighed in at 166.8, above the contracted weight, and was required to lose eight-tenths of a pound within two hours. He did so.
This is new territory for Crespin, who normally fights at the junior middleweight limit of 154.
Three other bouts, all four-rounders, are scheduled.
- Belen’s Gene Perez (1-1) faces Albuquerque’s Jose Osorio (0-1) in a featherweight bout. Perez came in six-tenths of a pound overweight but lost it within the required two hours.
- Albuquerque’s James Martinez (1-1, one KO) will meet Rio Rancho’s Dorian Dixon (0-1) in a junior middleweight bout. Martinez came in 1.6 pounds heavy, was unable to shed the excess weight but agreed to forfeit a portion of his purse. The fight will go on.
- Lightweight Alex Holguin (1-1) will face Marcel Cloud (0-1), who in the past has been listed as both from Roswell and Hobbs. He now is listed by boxrec.com as being from Albuquerque.
Holguin weighed 134.8, Cloud 133.4.