Mike Anchondo - Antonio Ramirez: A New Beginning?

08.12.05 - By Wray Edwards: Almost eight months ago Mike “The Powerful” Anchondo met Jorge “La Hiena” Barrios in a Super Featherweight bout scheduled for twelve rounds. The match, held at the Miccosukee Resort in Miami, Florida, was to be a world championship event for the WBO title. The whole affair turned into a complete fiasco when Mike failed to make weight by several pounds and was forced to forfeit thousands of dollars to Barrios, and was, in effect, stripped of his title. Barrios, however, would still be able to claim the title by defeating the overweight Anchondo..

The day of the fight, speculation swirled around the inexplicable trouble Mike was in as a result of missing the mark at the scales. Accusations of improper attempts to shave weight, sloppy conditioning methods and conflicts of interest in the training camp had everyone totally amazed how this promising, undefeated, champion fighter had ended up in such a mess. East Side Boxing was granted a recent interview to check on Mike’s progress as he prepares to step back in the ring, resume his Boxing career, and reclaim his championship… this time at 137.

The last time we saw Mike, he was crawling past this reporter in an attempt to get to his corner. He had just been put down for the third time and the ref and Buddy had just seen enough. The fight was stopped, and so, effectively, was the boxing career of this promising talent. Though his early professional efforts were mostly against less than threatening opponents, the last third of his matches leading up to the Barrios match were against credible foes and netted him the WBO SFW title.
Now, eight months after his train-wreck at the Miccosukee Resort near Miami, Anchondo has decided to take up the gloves once again and face his demons in the ring.

ESB: It’s good to see you back in action, Mike. What do you know about this guy Ramirez?

Mike: “Well, he’s pretty much a straight ahead fighter and very rugged. That’s good for me because I want to get right back in the thick of things.”

ESB: “How did you feel as you entered the ring to face Barrios?

Mike: “I didn’t feel much at all. I was numb, dehydrated and not really ready to fight after missing weight and knowing whose fault it was…mostly dreading a pretty much impossible situation.”

ESB: What happened after that terrible night at Miccosukee. What did you do in the days and weeks to come to terms with your first loss?

Mike: “It really didn’t hit me until about three weeks later. I pretty much let myself go. I blew up in weight and went into a deep depression. I didn’t want to have anything to do with boxing and really did a lot of soul searching…and uh, God has created a path for me to follow…and as I do what I need to in the training discipline much has come with ease you know.”

ESB: How long have you been back in training?

Mike: “Three months.”

ESB: Gosh, five months of no direction…how did you get out of the depression and re-dedicate yourself to such a demanding task?

Mike: “As you said, ‘we learn little but arrogance from winning, it is losing which makes us face ourselves’… and that is what I did. Up to the Barrios fight I had pretty much been just going through the motions. You know, when you have so much natural talent and take it for granted, you do not really have a real professional attitude.”

ESB: What do you mean?

Mike: “Even though the conditioner was brought in several weeks into my camp for the Barrios fight, and caused a change I was not expecting…you know, kind of disturbed the training rhythm I had already gotten into, I was not being totally honest with myself or my team. In fact most of my depression was not from the loss, but from feeling bad because I had misled my promoter and manager and others. I take full responsibility for that just as the posters on your article said I should.”

ESB: We sure heard a lot of stories about how you missed weight.

Mike: “I know, but I want to make something really clear. Buddy McGirt is a great trainer and he did everything possible for me to have a successful training camp. He was not able to control some things which happened away from his supervision and he was right when he said, “The proof is in the pudding.” I’m sure he meant by that that there were things others had to do for a successful effort. He did his job. I didn’t hold up my part. He’s a phenomenal trainer.

ESB: What have you learned from all of this…how did you get going again? What happened?

Mike: “After a real personal struggle to figure it all out, I think I learned to mature a bit. You know…grow up…face facts and deal with them. Toward the end of that process I got a phone call from Louis DeCubas. I have a great deal of respect for him and he pretty much took me to task, and then gave me great encouragement which really made the final difference that turned things around and inspired me.”

ESB: What did you do then?

Mike: “I went to Tarpon Springs, Florida to condition back to fighting trim with Leo Thelesittes for a couple of months. The man is seventy-nine years old and he trains right along with me. He’s a living legend, a Sergeant Slaughter…a stone. That’s what I really needed…someone to guide me. He trained Hagler, Duran and many others.”

ESB: Then you moved to Tampa?

Mike: “Yes. I am training with Gene at the Fourth Street Gym in Tampa along with Roger Bloodworth. Gene is a straight forward guy just like this guy Ramirez I’m about to fight.”

ESB: How is your hand speed? That was one of your real assets.

Mike: “Good. Maybe even a little better. We have worked on my stance and also developing striking from more angles.”

ESB: What are your plans after this fight?

Mike: “I’m going home to California for the holidays and then it’s right back to Tampa and training camp.”

ESB: What is your ultimate goal?

Mike: “I had thought about going to college, but have decided to take advantage of my youth and the fact that I have been boxing for seventeen years [ever since he was five] and continue as a professional boxer. Of course I will retire from that some day and then I want to make a difference in the world.

Not just to be a famous boxer, but to affect people’s lives in a positive way. I want to be an example of good sportsmanship and personal responsibility. Much of the money I earn as a boxer will be invested for the future when I can no longer box.”

ESB: It was an honor to speak with you Mike.

Mike: “Like wise. Let’s get together again Amigo.”

The author waited two weeks after the invitation to chat it up with Mike. It took that long to digest the memories of the Barrios fight and to form a solid purpose for the interview. Mike is very well-liked by all who meet him. He is a gentleman and, potentially, a world champion boxer. His recent stumble along the road to success has served to give him an object lesson in responsibility.

Just think back to when you were twenty-three, and ask yourself if you would have been able to competently face what these young men attempt. If nothing else, Boxing demands that one grow up very quickly in every way, or disaster will strike. Any lapse of focus, honesty or heart will expose the fighter to instant retribution. We have all heard the phrase, “The wheels of justice grind slowly but exceeding fine” or words to that effect.

A corollary for the sport of Boxing might read, “The rule of the ring moves quickly and exceeding harsh.” Participating in the sport is an honor hard won. It is fitting that any Boxer who does not respect that is quickly brought low. Boxing thrills us with a series of three minute vignettes which, when taken as a whole, represent battles in a war between our surrogate selves.

Mike (25-1-0, 18KO’s) will face Antonio Ramirez (24-9-6, 17 KO’s) at the Paradise Theater in The Bronx, New York on December 9th.

We root for this or that guy, or both at once as they vie for our adulation and the rewards of their craft. Hopefully Michael Alfred Anchondo has learned his lesson. It would seem he has. We shall soon see as he tests for the proof McGirt holds dear. See you at the fights.

Article posted on 08.12.2005

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