BJ Flores has an interesting story to tell. It's the story of a kid, born into a boxing home, who would go on to a successful amateur and professional career.
It's a story of hard work and determination he hopes will pay off with a title shot sometime next year.
Flores (27-1-1 17 KO), currently rated No.1 by the WBO and No. 3 by the WBA at cruiserweight, will return to the ring this Saturday night in Missouri. He was originally scheduled to face undefeated Egyptian fighter Ahmed Samir.
But Samir pulled out with an injury less than a week before the fight, forcing Team Flores to scramble for a new opponent. Something that left the fighter undeterred.
"It’s part of being a professional. If you’re a professional boxer you need to be ready for whatever happens," Flores said.
His new opponent will be West Virginia tough guy David McNemar (13-1 10 KO), a late replacement and not the fight he was hoping for, but one he will gladly accept. The NABO and NABA cruiserweight titles will be on the line.
"My focus is fighting for the world title and it’s not so much who I’m fighting. I can’t sit around and cry and complain about how it’s not fair and I can’t get ready for him now and it’s too difficult. There's no time for that."
Flores is not only expecting to win, he's expecting to do so in impressive fashion.
"For me it doesn’t matter who they put in front of me Saturday night he’s gonna get beat and knocked out late in the fight."
Flores understands that if he wants to pursue his dream of a world championship, he must first get by the rugged McNemar Saturday night in Springfield, Missouri. He is currently the mandatory challenger for WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck, a fight he hopes to make next.
"Marco Huck is the [WBO] champion there from Germany. And that’s the fight I’ll hopefully have next after this fight and that’s what I’m pushing for."
Unlike many American fighters who are reluctant to travel to Germany for big fights, Flores has no problems with taking on the champ in his backyard. He's confident in his abilities to win the fight either by knockout or, if necessary, decision.
"I’m definitely not opposed to going to Germany. I have no problem doing that. I feel like I can beat him regardless of whether it’s here or there but it’s obviously a little tougher there."
"I think I could outbox him enough to win a decision. I would obviously shoot for the knockout to make sure there’s no judges needed. But Huck is a very, very good fighter. He’s never been knocked out before."
It is interesting that Flores, whose only loss came in another road game fight against Danny Green in Australia, is so willing to fight again on foreign soil. But when you're not the champion, sometimes you have to go out of your way to pursue your dreams.
The loss against Green, in which the contracted weight was 195 pounds—below the cruiserweight limit—remains a sore spot for Flores. He feels the extra five pounds, for a guy who naturally walks around at 215 pounds when not in training, left him at a huge disadvantage.
"I really don't consider that a loss," Flores said.
"I barely make 200 pounds. So to drop an extra five pounds off to where I can barely make the weight is a huge detriment. It was absolutely huge and it definitely cost me the fight. I was a just little slower."
Despite the disadvantages, Flores feels the fight could've gone either way, with all the close rounds being scored for Green in his hometown.
Flores is now promoted by Don King. While he is aware of some of the baggage that King has associated with him, he has had nothing but a good relationship with the iconic, if at times controversial, promoter.
"You can't go off by what other people say," Flores said, addressing the issue of King's past. "He's done great for me and he's working on getting me a big fight after this one."
There will be no big fight after this one, however, if Flores isn't able to get by McNemar on Saturday night. And while he's not looking ahead, he is aware that he has to stay active to remain relevant in the tightly packed cruiserweight division.
"That’s what I’ve tried to do. Fight four times in 14 months, get better, improve, so when I get another shot at a world title that I’m absolutely ready to make the most of it."
Kevin McRae is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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