Interview With Hot 122-Pound Prospect Roman Morales, In Action on Friday Night Fights March 7th:
ProBoxing-Fans spent some time talking to unbeaten super bantamweight prospect Roman Morales to discuss his career, his future, and his upcoming ESPN-televised bout against tough Russian Khabir Suleymanov March 7 on Friday Night Fights. Morales, from the little-known Central California town of San Ardo, has packed in 17 fights into a 3-year career that has seen him score some nice wins and already emerge on the precipice of contender status. In a division that is picking up steam, Morales will have some chances coming soon to get right in the thick of things.
Here’s what the undefeated Morales had to say:
ProBoxing-Fans.com: You’re coming up on a key spot of your career and starting to get more exposure, with the quality of your opposition picking up. What’s your mindset as you approach this pivotal part of your career?
Roman Morales: To keep fighting tougher opponents and climb up the ladder and get better fights.
You’re fighting Khabir Suleymanov on ESPN Friday Night Fights on March 7. You’ve fought on a couple cards together at Chumash Casino. Have you seen him?
RM: Yeah, I’ve seen him once I think it was. He fought on the same card as me and he lost. He seems like a really tough opponent, a good veteran.
You’re not looking past Suleymanov obviously, but is there one fight you would like to get?
RM: Well, the thing about that is we try to stay focused on whoever we fight next, like my opponent I’m gonna fight on the 7th. Actually, a long time before, a fighter I wanted to fight later on in the future was Abner Mares. I’d like to fight him in the future–that would be pretty awesome. I just don’t really think about that much now. My coach will tell me “Hey you’re gonna fight this guy next. Stay focused on him.”
You’re going to be fighting in a ten-rounder on March 7. Your last fight was your first one to go ten rounds. How important was it to get that fight under your belt to prove to yourself you can go ten rounds, so maybe you can focus more on boxing and not on pacing yourself?
RM: It feels really good to know I can go ten rounds. I keep training hard. I’ve been sparring really good, going 10-12 rounds. I feel good and I hope I feel the same way in the ring as I do in sparring. I’m pretty sure I will. I’ve been training really hard for this fight and I’m ready.
You’ve fought a couple really good fighters already. You tasted the canvas a few times. In a way, are you glad that happened so you know you can get off the mat to win and overcome adversity?
RM: I think it’s a good and a bad thing. First of all, I shouldn’t be getting caught like that. But it is a good thing. It teaches me to keep my hands up after throwing combinations. I haven’t been hurt in a way where it was like, “whoa, I’m hurt,” but those are good lessons that happened. I’ll be improving in my future fights.
ProBoxing-Fans.com: Were you a boxing fan growing up?
RM: No, not really. I wasn’t. I didn’t pay much attention to boxing when I was growing up.
ProBoxing-Fans.com: So what got you into it?
RM: Well, my coach was a boxer. He was a boxer in Mexico when he was growing up. He had his own place here in San Ardo and there were some kids who were interested in it and they kept nagging him to coach them, to let them fight. Well, my coach eventually gave into it and started training them. San Ardo is a small place so I heard about it and pretty much started going with my friend. It was something to do and we went. I tried it out and fell in love with it.
You’ve been active, with your 18th fight coming up in just over 3 years as a pro. Has that activity helped you and do you want to keep it that way?
RM: Yes I do. Actually, I love to stay active. I don’t like to spend a lot of time away from the ring. It’s a really good feeling when I’m in there and I want to keep it that way. I want to stay active.
ProBoxing-Fans.com: What do you think is your biggest strength in the ring?
RM: My biggest strength is, well, me and my coach practice a lot on the body shots. And I think that’s one of my biggest strengths. I work the body a lot and it helps me a lot with most of the fighters I have to fight. Some of my knockouts have actually come from the body shots. We’ve been working on it so much that it’s been showing in the ring. I just love going to the body.
ProBoxing-Fans.com: A lot of people have never heard of your hometown San Ardo. Tell us a little about it.
RM: Yeah, it’s a small town. The population is about 500. Nothing really happens there. There’s only 3 stores–really small stores. If you need anything, like groceries, you gotta go out, like 20-30 minutes away, either to Paso Robles or King City, for groceries, clothes, anything. It’s a good town. It’s pretty peaceful there. Everything’s good there, people are really nice.
Do you think that helps you focus on your boxing, that there’s no distractions in your hometown?
RM: Yeah. There’s a lot of people who tell me “You’re doing good, Keep it up. Don’t give up. You’re doing a good job.” A lot of goodwill relations. I’ve known everybody since I was a little kid.
You switch from orthodox to southpaw a lot. What do you think that does for your boxing?
RM: Sometimes, it gives confusion to the opponent. But I really don’t think about it when I’m up there. I just switch out of nowhere without even thinking about it. I just kept practicing and practicing in the gym and it just became natural. I got so used to it. But sometimes I don’t do it and my coach just tells me to stay orthodox and keep working. But it is confusing to some.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
RM: I want to be a champ. Me and my coach, we’re gonna be pretty up there. I want to stay humble and just stick to boxing and keep on staying undefeated.
Thank you for joining us Roman. We’ll see you at Pala on the 7th.
Roman Morales: Thanks. I appreciate it.