On a night when boxers, trainers and fans alike are on the edge of their seats with every punch thrown and every blow absorbed, Josh Crespo remains the coolest guy in the room.
Crespo’s approach is equal parts apathetic and unapologetic. With little amateur experience and no noteworthy titles or achievements to speak of, the New Haven, Conn., featherweight turned pro in 2011 at the age of 23 intent on testing his natural-born ability and seeing where this crazy boxing journey would take him..
If he loses, so what? Crespo’s never been one to let what happens inside the ring define who he is or what he’s accomplished. A high school dropout who lived out of his car for nearly two years, Crespo has since earned his diploma, landed a job with the West Haven Board of Education and won four fights as a pro, including an upset victory over decorated amateur Wei Qian Xian last October.
“I’ve had a lot of difficulties,” admits Crespo (4-2-3, 2 KOs), who returns to the ring Saturday, Oct. 17th, 2015 on the undercard of CES Boxing’s “Gold Standard” card at Mohegan Sun Arena.
“Me stepping into the ring is the easiest thing because I’m pretty sure what’s going to happen there. In life, a lot of times, I don’t know what’s going to happen the next day. I don’t know what the outcome is going to be. I don’t know how it’s going to end. In the boxing ring, regardless of everything, I have control of the situation.”
Crespo’s succeeded by not putting too much pressure on himself or setting the bar too high, which isn’t to say he doesn’t care. Under the guidance of trainer Brian Clark, he’s made a living taking the tougher fights, many against undefeated prospects with more amateur experience. His reputation and how he’s remembered is important to him.
Asked if he considers himself a throwback fighter, Crespo paused briefly and said, “This is just me, in general, with things in life.
“I don’t mind a challenge. I don’t mind failing. But I’m going to give it a good try while I’m at it. I’m not here to make a couple thousand dollars. If I go out there and fight, I’m going to put on a good performance and get a win, cause an upset or something like that. That’s the kind of thing I thrive off of.”
Even with what he everything he dealt with as a teenager, Crespo has no regrets, and he approaches his boxing career with the same attitude. Turn down a fight today, regret it tomorrow. With that mindset, he’s never backed down from a challenge.
“I’ve never been an Olympian or won any Golden Gloves or anything like that. Since I’m not one of those guys, I figure I can just go out there and get in with whoever I can and see if I can make it to the top,” Crespo said. “If not, that’s fine, but I’m not trying to make an illusion for myself that I’m going to turn pro or be a world champion or be undefeated.
“When I retire from this sport, I’m never going to have any regrets.”
Crespo admits boxing may never be his full-time job, but continues the pursuit because of his love for the sport and his ability to control what goes on inside the ring. It’s the antithesis to those unpredictable days when he never knew where his next meal or next dollar would come from.
“I know when I get into the ring I know I’m going to fight a four- or six-rounder and I know who I’m going to fight,” he said. “When I’m in there with that person, I know they’re going to hit me and I’m going to hit them. I’m trying to win, he’s trying to win. That’s as far as I know. A lot of times in life, you don’t have that know. I feel like I’ve used a lot of examples of what’s happened to me in the ring to help me outside of the ring. I think I have matured a lot through fighting.”
Whatever happens, happens. The one thing that’s certain is Crespo will walk away with no regrets.
“I don’t want to make things up in my mind. I don’t want to set myself up for something that’s not real,” he said. “As of right now, I’m going to look at it as something I’m doing as a hobby. But I’ll take it as far as I can. I haven’t reached that turning point yet. I’m definitely trying to find out.”
Tickets for “Gold Standard” are priced at $25.00, $50.00, $125.00 and $200.00 (VIP) and available for purchase online at www.cesboxing.com or www.mohegansun.com, www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254, or at the Mohegan Sun Box Office. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
The 10-round main event, promoted in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Artie Pelullo’s Banner Promotions, features Providence, R.I., native and former junior middleweight world champion Demetrius Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs) against Argentinian Dario Fabian Pucheta (20-2, 11 KOs) for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA) International Titles, Andrade’s first fight in 16 months.
“Gold Standard” also includes the return of world-rated lightweight “Hammerin'” Hank Lundy (25-5-1, 12 KOs), No. 15 in the WBC, fighting for the WBC’s vacant Continental Americas Title in a 10-round bout against Nicaraguan vet Carlos Winston Velasquez (23-21-1, 13 KOs).
Saturday’s event will also be a showcase for New England boxing with undefeated Worcester, Mass., junior middleweight Khiary Gray (9-0, 7 KOs) and New Haven, Conn., featherweight Josh Crespo (4-2-3, 2 KOs) featured on the undercard in addition to the United States debut of unbeaten Canadian super middleweight Nathan Miller (6-0-1, 4 KOs) and the Mohegan Sun and CES debut of Bronx, N.Y., light heavyweight Mike Marshall (1-0, 1 KO).
For more information on “Gold Standard” visit www.cesboxing.com, follow @CESBOXING on Twitter and Instagram and “like” the official CES Boxing Facebook fan page.