Hot prospect Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez remembers exactly how he acquired his showy nickname.
“I got the name when I first started going to the gym with my guy Don,” (ranking middleweight contender Don George), Jimenez told this writer during a telephone interview. “I was coming in, staring at my phone, looking in the mirror, and he was like ‘look at Hollywood’. The name just stuck and before you knew it I became Hollywood to everyone else. I like it.”
Jimenez, 26, also likes to fight. He’s undefeated in 10 professional bouts, scoring seven of those wins by knockout.
Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even sure he wanted to fight for a living.
“Boxing was something I was always interested in, something I wanted to get into, but just never really got around to,” said Jimenez. “Once I was done playing football in college and had some more time on my hands, I got in the gym.
“I never really had an idea of becoming a pro boxer, but I just had fun doing it, and liked learning something new,” he added.
Jimenez grew up watching boxing with his grandfather. He also liked a certain movie that almost everyone (especially this writer) enjoyed.
“I'd watch Ali, Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, and Arturo Gatti,” Jimenez said. “As corny as it sounds, Rocky was a favorite boxer. Those movies were great and really exciting to watch.”
Most fighters are not overly fond of training camp. The hours are long and the work hard.
ButJimenez enjoys the experience.
“My favorite part of the sport is the training,” said Jimenez. “You go through these long grueling camps, day in and day out. That's where everything happens and it comes together.
“I like looking back at my training camp after fights and thinking about how everything came together, the good days and the bad days, and how the little things during camp all helped me win the fight,” he said.
How about the bouts themselves?
“I love the fights,” Jimenez said. “I feel like it all slows down for me in the fights, and I just have fun in there, while entertaining the crowd and giving them their money's worth.”
Jimenez prefers up tempo matches.
“My style is a little different I think,” said Jimenez. “I fight orthodox, and I can box outside, but I also like to get inside and mix it up. I like to pump my jab and pick my shots; I bring a lot of intensity in the ring with me.
“I think my style is aggressive, but I listen to my trainer, and follow our gameplan. I move around a lot, and I think I have a fun style to watch, I always make it entertaining,” he said.
On June 8 in Hammond, Indiana, Jimenez will put his undefeated record on the line against veteran Richard Starnino, the nephew of former champion Vinnie Paz.
Does Jimenez believe he can stop the tough old pro?
“He’s been in some tough fights with some good guys, but I think I can catch him,” Jimenez said. “I throw hard punches from all angles, and I think I can wear him down and catch him with the right shot."
By day, Jimenez is a proud member of Union Local 63. He’s an iron worker.
On June 8, he’ll be bringing a different kind of steel.