The heavyweight division has always been a fan favorite in the boxing world.
Who doesn’t like to watch the big guys go at it with their formidable knockout power?
Entering the ranks in this weight class, is rising star Alexander “The Great” Flores (6-0, 4 KOs), just 21 years old.
After making his professional debut in March of 2010, the unbeaten boxer who resides in Southern California was just inked by Roy Englebrecht Promotions to a exclusive new five-year promotional contract. This signing was the first of its kind by the Hall of Fame promoter Englebrecht, if that gives you any indication of Flores’ potential in the ring. Alex will be fighting Thursday, December 1 in Orange County, California in the latest installment of their “Fight Club OC.”
So how has the new collaboration been going?
“Being signed with Englebrecht is going really good!” Flores relays to me. “They have a great team and they’re keeping me busy!”
The tall lanky heavyweight certainly does have plenty of potential. He stands out in the crowd for his imposing height and his wholesome good looks. I’ve seen the slugger fight in his pro debut and also a year ago at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello. I caught up with Team Flores just last month after witnessing his latest victory at San Manuel Indian Casino in Highland.
On this night, Alex had an early night when his opponent Chad Davis was stopped with a Flores’ uppercut that broke his nose.
What’s next for the undefeated 21-year-old?
He will lace up this Thursday at The Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center, the popular “Fight Club OC” series presented by Roy Englebrecht Promotions. Englebrecht and matchmaker Whit Haydon will showcase their heavyweight in the main event of a seven-bout live boxing and MMA card. Flores will face off against 27-year-old Kelsey Arnold (4-8-2, 2 KOs) from Lexington, TN. This Orange County show is right on schedule to be another sell out with additional bleacher seats that have been added to accommodate the crowd. And if things go as planned, Alexander “The Great” will add to his winning ledger. This will be the promotions’ last show of 2011 and they plan to go out with a bang.
“I’m looking foward to this Thursday and getting back in the ring and fighting,” Alex tells me a couple of days before his bout.
Could this Latino boxer–and fresh face in the sport–be the next great hope in the U.S. heavyweight division?
He works hard in the gym and is one to watch. I also saw him spar with popular heavyweight Chris Arreola before the Arreola–Aguilera fight back in May. While Alex is polite, smiling and friendly outside the ropes, he hammers it home once inside the squared circle. Both he and his trainer/manager Michael Love are ready for more and with the Englebrecht signing, the camp is poised and headed to the top.
While the towering Klitschko brothers rule the heavyweight division, boxing fans in the U.S. have been clamoring for a star of their own to one day become a world champion. Flores is a relatively new pro fighter just heading into his seventh bout as a professional prizefighter so time will tell if he can be the one to wear the heavyweight crown. But for now, the local favorite will no doubt inject some excitement into the heavyweight division in and around the Southland.
The success-minded young man already has a good head on his broad shoulders. Flores has taken college courses and tells me he is part owner of three boxing schools. The heavyweight balances work and training as an owner and instructor at Elite Boxing Academy in Pomona, where he enjoys helping people reach their top potential.
Hoping to make it all the way to the elite rank in his division, the Mexican-American warrior also aims straight for victory.
Flores is enthusiastic about this week’s battle and his fanbase continues to grow.
“The fans are gonna see and action-packed fight,” the boxer-puncher promises.
One team member who sings his praises is veteran matchmaker Whit Haydon. The SoCal matchmaker has seen a lot of talent through the years; he raves about this heavyweight full of potential.
“When I saw his pro debut I was shocked how young he was–and how good he was,” Haydon says in our conversation right before today’s weigh-in. “I’m real big on the kid; he is awesome. Alex is an accurate puncher, a very good boxer with great head movement. He’s an excellent combination puncher and he’s got a ‘motor’ too–he moves well for such a tall fighter. I really believe in him.”
I have personally known Whit for several years now and he is not one to waste praise on any fighter unless he means business.
I mention to Whit that I saw Alex spar Chris Arreola. The matchmaker confirms that Flores has sparred with many older, more experienced champs. “We sent him over to the Hasim Rahman camp and they just loved him,” Haydon adds. “Rahman was very impressed with Alex.”
With just six pro bouts under his belt, Whit says the team will keep their young charge busy in the next few months while continuing to test his skills on the canvas. “I believe his chin has already been tested in his fight against (Serhiy) Karpenko,” Haydon reveals. “We are in a full battle mode now! Our aim is to keep him really busy and hopefully get a shot at a youth world title in the future.”
In Thursday night’s battle, scheduled for six rounds, Flores will weigh in today around the 225-230 range.
But Haydon says he’s in great cardiovascular shape–and the young heavyweight is an inspirational story to boot. There is more than meets the eye in this heavyweight’s past. And the scales tipped higher when Alex was first starting out.
“He was a fat kid who came into the gym to lose weight,” Whit explains. “Alex was over 300 pounds. He weighed over 100 pounds more than he does now but I have absolutely no qualms about his conditioning. And he really is an inspiration to others.”
After a brief amateur career, Flores turned pro. Having fought the “battle of the bulge,” the newly-disciplined and focused teen next set his sights on a new career as a professional boxer.
“He really is inspiring,” his matchmaker states, “and he is so likable too. It will be exciting to watch his career grow, especially in the next couple of years.”
Keep your eye on Alex Flores as he continues to fulfill his potential.
Photos by Michele Chong and Team Flores