Francisco Palacios: Eye Of The Tiger, Heart Of A Lion
By Vivek Wallace: Boxing's cruiserweight division remains under the radar, yet in many ways above the rim. Lower weight classes stay hot like fire, and even the dreadful heavyweight ranks have found a way to remain relevant, but oddly enough, the cruiserweight division remains beneath the shadows with few contenders able to break the mainstream circle. Eager to separate himself from this pack and make the cruiserweight division relevant again is a man whose profile alone could be enough to do the trick. A Bronx born, powerful Puerto Rican contender with everything to gain, nothing to lose, and a personality that beams like a boombox on the corner of Trinity Avenue leaves very little else to promote. And that's without mentioning the wicked left-hook.
Article posted on 01.10.2010
That man, of course, Francisco Palacios.....also known as "The Wizard".
Recently, I had a an opportunity to catch up with Francisco, and a few of his thoughts were intriguing to me, but I get the impression it's actually his fellow cruiserweights who probably need to hear this the most. Below is an unedited chop of what the Bronx native had to say:
VW: Hey champ, in only a few days, you're scheduled to step into the ring for what will be your final match before you face WBC cruiserweight champion, Kryzstof Wlodarczyck. How was fight camp?
FP: Camp was phenomenal. It was great. I got the whole team back again, so that was nice. I have some great sparring partners, I handled my physical training and my roadwork, so I'm ready to go. It's been a long time since I've been in the ring, so I'm ready to let my hands fly.
VW: Your opponent is Donnell Wiggins. Not the biggest household name by most standards, but he has 40 professional fights and has been in the ring with some quality opposition himself. What are your thoughts on him?
FP: I never take no fight lightly because one fight leads to the next, and every next leads to something bigger. He's tough enough to get in the ring with me, so I have to believe he's tough enough to hit me and try to take me out in the ring. To me, it's the biggest fight of my life, I can't take lightly.
VW: You're now the WBC top contender, and a victory this coming Saturday night in Panama will solidify your quest for a shot at a cruiserweight strap. Is there any idea when you'll actually get that shot if you are victorious Saturday night?
FP: Negotiations will start immediately. Purse bid will be October 20th if no agreement is met (in principle) between the two camps. But the plan is to stage the fight in the 1st quarter of the new year.
VW: When you look around the cruiserweight division, there's a few contenders worth talking about and that wasn't always the case. I'd like to say a few names, and I'd like to get your thoughts on those guys. I'll start with Guillermo Jones:
FP: Good guy, respectful guy, good talent. I would love to face him. That fight could bring major glory to the cruiserweight division again.
VW: Steve Cunningham....
FP: Another gentleman, great fighter, tough fighter. I'm ready to do it whenever he's ready.
VW: Lets cross the pond, quickly.....Marco Huck
FP: Good fighter, but really basic. A 1, 2, puncher. I would love to fight him, where ever he wants. His backyard or mine.
VW: Danny Green....
FP: I've never really watched him fight, to be honest. But like I said before, anyone my team puts in front of me I'll fight. It doesn't really matter.
VW: Before we wrap up the interview, I'd like to know your thoughts on the pending mega-fight we have coming up in Dallas, between Margarito and Pacquiao. Who do you like and why?
FP: I'm really not a huge fan of either man for different reasons, but Margarito is a bigger fighter and although Pacquiao is faster and very strong, Margarito has handled much bigger southpaws, and handled them well. I really wouldn't be surprised if Margarito won that fight. Pacquiao is good but there's a cap to everything.
VW: Last thing I wanted to ask you.....I know you're pretty big when it comes to charity work, and so forth. Have you been doing anything lately for the locals?
FP: Yeah, we recently wrapped up what we call BASE CAMP, which is another project for designed to help foundations for kids with cancer. Me and some of our local talent did some boxing, 8 rounds per matchup, and the money we generated went to the foundation. It's amazing stuff. I'm all about consciousness of the community, so it's just another project we setup for that purpose. Also, I've been pretty busy lately preparing for the fight, but we'll be back out to do more work at the Veterans Affairs clinic in Orlando, too.
VW: You know, I think that's great, man. So often in this sport, outsiders will look at a boxer and all of his trinkets and cars, and think these are just some selfish dudes that knock people out and spend a lot of money. It's good to see ambassadors of the sport like yourself who actually fight for a cause. Obviously you have family to help support, and things you like as well, but your mission remains defined, and you'll prosper even more because of that. That's great, bro. Keep elevating. Before we wrap up, do you have any last words for the fans and readers?
FP: I just wanna thank all my supporters, my family, my team, and above all else, God. Without him none of this would be possible.
(ESB would like to thank Team Palacios for a job well done, both in sport, and in life......Best wishes, and keep your eyes on the prize til' the dream is realized!)
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at email@example.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace).
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