"Being an Olympian means being the best at what I do
and representing my country." - Vicente Escobedo
It didn't take long for Vicente Escobedo to find a big time promoter and a big time trainer to guide him once he announced that he was going to turn pro. Escobedo signed with Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, and signed up Joe Goossen as his trainer.
Escobedo made the 2004 U.S. Olympic team, and made it to the field of 16 before losing a decision. He has drawn some comparisons to a young Oscar de la Hoya because of his classic boxer-puncher style, a style that a lot of folks think can translate into a solid professional career. On Saturday February 19th, Escobedo won his pro debut in impressive fashion on the Bernard Hopkins-Howard Eastman undercard, finishing off Abraham Verdugo in the second round with a devastating one punch KO. He hopes there will be many more to come.
Escobedo took some time to talk with me at the Staples Center, and here is what he had to say:
TOM DICKEY: How was your Olympic experience?
ESCOBEDO: Oh God, it was wonderful. It was really everything that I expected. It just felt good for me going over there and representing my country. It's something that I will never forget, and no one can take that away from me. Of course I didn't win a gold medal, but I'm always going to be an Olympian.
TD: You guys were doubted by many going over to Athens. Did you feel that you and the rest of the guys had a chip on your shoulder?
ESCOBEDO: You know I felt very confident in our team, it's just that we did have a bad rep, because everyone seemed to be against the United States, because of the war. But we didn't let that bother us, we came there to win no matter what. I'm really happy that we came out of there with a gold medal from Andre Ward.
TD: Do you still keep in touch with your Olympic teammates?
ESCOBEDO: I've seen Andre Ward here at the Staples Center and I got to attend his pro debut here. My other teammates I also still keep in touch with.
TD: What attracted you to Golden Boy Promotions?
ESCOBEDO: I felt very comfortable with them. Talking to Oscar, I felt his promotions were top notch, and he was very trustworthy with me, and loyal. I felt this was the right way to go, and I definitely feel that I made the right choice.
TD: I know Brian Viloria is your roommate. Being a former Olympian did he give you any advice on turning pro?
ESCOBEDO: He told me to be careful and to check everything out. He told me to get a good manager and trainer, because it's totally different now. He told me always be ready and prepared, and always train hard, because this is a totally different game now.
TD: What do you hope to accomplish in Boxing?
ESCOBEDO: I would love to become a champion, definitely. Right now it's just about getting the experience, getting the fights, building up my record and learning step by step. When the time comes to fight for a championship, I will be ready to take advantage of the opportunity.
TD: Besides the obvious differences, like headgear and getting paid, what are the biggest differences between the Pro and Amateur ranks?
ESCOBEDO: It's the business end of it, it's a business now. Money is involved, and there are so many more people involved with it, and many more people that are involved with me.
TD: If there is one thing you could change about Boxing, what would it be?
ESCOBEDO: That's a tough question. I love the sport and would love to see it flow easier, and get some of the bad elements out. I would like to see everything go well, and just clear it up. I would like to see fighters have no problems with their contracts. I would like to see every fighter get their fair share.
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