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A cut above the rest

SANTA FE, N.M. — When not laced up in big, oversized mitts fit for knocking the head of the guy on the other side of the ring, Brandon Holmes snips and clips his way across guys’ heads.

The latter activity is heading to center stage soon for Holmes, as soon as he meets Gene Perez on Saturday in Cold War III at the Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino.

Holmes, 9-0 with six victories via knockout, will be putting his boxing career on hiatus while he focuses on his other career as a barber.

“This is going to be my last fight for some time, if not for good,” said Holmes, a Santa Fe High School graduate. “I really have to make this one count and finish strong.”

As a single father with a young son who turns four next week, and a budding and growing career with the scissors, Holmes said it was just time to step out of the ring for a while.

Brandon Holmes cuts Aaron Martinez's hair at his grandma's styling salon. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

Brandon Holmes cuts Aaron Martinez’s hair at his grandma’s styling salon. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

“When I was younger, I was looking into fashion and different trends, and what a better fit is there than barbering?” he said. “Now I’m glad I chose it. It’s not even like work to me. It’s like art. You come in and you work on them, and they leave better than they came.”

Holmes has been pretty artistic in the ring, as well, as he’s carved up his opponents with rare aplomb. This bout will be a rematch against Perez after the two met in September, a fight in which Holmes handily out-pointed the veteran. Perez is a last-minute replacement, Holmes said, because a fighting contract could not be reached with the originally proposed opponent.

But that’s OK with Holmes as he prepares for what could be final ring clash.

“Right now, I see how things are, I spread myself a little thin,” he said. “I give everything my all. I’m a single dad. I have that. Then training. Keeping up with my clients.”

It helps that he works with his grandmother and the shop, Georgie’s Men’s Hair Cutting, is next door to where he lives.

“She’s been there for quite some time and I want to get established there,” Holmes said, adding he moved there from another barber shop in November.

Georgie Lucero, left, cuts Bill Haskett's hair while her grandson, Brandon Holmes, cuts Aaron Martinez's hair at Georgie's Hair Styling in Santa Fe. After a match Saturday night at Buffalo Thunder, Holmes is leaving the ring to focus on his barber skills. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

Georgie Lucero, left, cuts Bill Haskett’s hair while her grandson, Brandon Holmes, cuts Aaron Martinez’s hair at Georgie’s Hair Styling in Santa Fe. After a match Saturday night at Buffalo Thunder, Holmes is leaving the ring to focus on his barber skills. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

“There’s nothing like working next door to where you live and working for your grandmother,” he said. “She specializes in specialty cuts. I’m trying to soak up as much as I can from her and put it in my bag of tricks.”

Holmes described it as an old-fashioned barber shop, complete with the candy-striped pole and wood paneling.

“She wanted to make it not like a salon, but make it like a shop where a man would be comfortable,” he said. “It’s got a nice classic look.”

Holmes first picked up the clippers several years ago when he realized that working at a grocery store was just that: work.

“That really wasn’t cutting it,” he said. “I really have to do something that I wanted to do, something that was more interesting.”

Although the potential end, or least a pause, in his boxing career may be imminent, Holmes said he’s tried not to ponder it.

“I haven’t thought too much about that,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll feel empty or if I’ll feel satisfied. I love boxing. I can’t tell you how much I love it. But I really feel this is an appropriate decision to make right now.”

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