Puerto Rico's Francisco Palacios - Under The Radar, Above The Rim

francisco palacioBy Vivek Wallace: Puerto Rico has long been known for its role in the world of boxing. When we think of some of those dominant characters of the past and present that hail from the island, the usual identity resembles someone small in stature, yet big in power, and perhaps even bigger in ability.

Aside from Johnny Ruiz in 2003 and Carlos De Leon in the 80's, this talented island has failed to produce a competitive name in any of the heavier weight classes to add to the ranks. Eager to change that is a man who continues to fly under the radar, yet play well above the rim, as evidenced in his still unblemished career record of 19-0, with 12 KO's serving as the proverbial cherry on top.

Humble by nature, yet brash in appeal, a recent conversation with the talented WBA Cruiserweight Fedelatin Champ revealed several answers, while posing just as many questions to those contemporaries who fill the ranks beside him..

Promoter Don King recently won a purse bid that will guarantee the cruiserweight his shot at the highly coveted WBA strap. His opponent is set to be the credible Herbie Hide (48-4, 43KO's). When asked for his thoughts on Hide, the humble Puerto Rican was both respectful and realistic in saying "I know he's a veteran and an ex-world champion, but he has never been in the ring with someone like Francisco Palacios". He completed his thoughts by stating that he isn't "looking past" Hide, but his "versatility and skills will be enough in the end to get the job done".

As the conversation evolved, we touched bases on some of the formidable talent in a cruiserweight division that seems to be deeper than many around the sport know. When asked about some of those bigger names, Palacios chimed "to tell you the truth, I can't take anything away from guys like that (referring to Huck, Erdei, Cunningham, and Green). Many of the big names in the division are champs and they earned it the hard way".

Never one to downplay his own talents, he concluded his sentence in saying "I've remained humble and let them have their spotlight all of this time while I took my baby steps....but now, I'm ready to walk into the picture and give the media a reason to say my name a little, as well".

Few have taken note of his efforts because despite his success in the ring, Palacios isn't one to toot his own horn or try to bring attention to himself. When asked what he plans to do to change that, the answer was short, definitive, and unequivocal, as he stated "the only way I can change that is by continuing to win in the ring".

His opportunity to step onto the scene and give the media a better reason to recognize his talent appears solidified, but this golden opportunity could be in jeopardy of fading to bronze rather quickly if his scheduled opponent (Herbie Hide) doesn't stop living up to his name. To date, there has been no official response from Team Hide relative to the looming showdown, but the purse bid has been won by Don King and this date with destiny for Palacios can't be denied.

With or without Hide, Palacios remains a man on a mission with a statement to make. Back in his hometown of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, as his level of success has grows, the locals are very vocal in their request to see him fill a venue in the place where it all started for the crafty fighter.

The countless charitable acts for misguided youth and veterans of the military haven't gone unnoticed, but the one thing those locals care to see most would be the first crowned Puerto Rican cruiserweight champion since the great Carlos De Leon. The wait to reach this point may have taken long, but by the end of the year, that wait may very well be over.

As of now....few speak his name....but soon enough, that will all change. Remember where you heard it first.

Stay tuned.

(Francisco Palacios would like send a God Bless to the nations of Haiti and Chile. He would also like to thank his Mother, Legacy Fitness, sponsor FlipStar, all sparring partners, trainers, and management team, as well as the many fight fans and media for the undying support)

Article posted on 11.03.2010

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