Escobedo hoping to follow in the footsteps of boxing's Golden Boy
One night before Oscar De La Hoya, boxing's biggest draw, was securing a megabucks rematch with Floyd Mayweather, up-and-comer Vicente Escobedo was grinding out a win over Roberto Arrieta.
Originally Published: May 6, 2008By Robert Morales | Special to ESPN.com
Craig Bennett/FightWireImages.comVicente Escobedo, left, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Oscar De La Hoya.It was about 9:45 p.m. Saturday in Carson, Calif. Oscar De La Hoya was speaking at the postfight news conference after his easy victory over Steve Forbes at Home Depot Center. Vicente Escobedo's name came up. De La Hoya was asked whether he saw some of himself in Escobedo, a lightweight from nearby Woodland, Calif. Escobedo does, to a degree, resemble De La Hoya in sheer appearance. His style is similar to the one used by De La Hoya. His promoter is from East Los Angeles. And, like De La Hoya, he boxed in the Olympics. "Vicente is a young fighter who has a lot of potential," De La Hoya said. "He's a fighter who had a great amateur career. He's a well-spoken kid who's climbing the ranks. The difference between him and I is that I went to the Olympics and was fortunate enough to win the gold.
It takes a little more time [to rise the ranks without a gold-medal pedigree]. But he's getting there with every fight. And with Nacho Beristain in his corner, I feel he will become champion.
-- Oscar De La Hoya, on Vicente Escobedo's rise through the ranks
Escobedo admitted he has yet to regain all the fire he had before he lost to Jimenez. That is spelled out loud and clear in his record. He has won eight in a row, but whereas his first nine victories were all by knockout, he has just two knockouts in his current eight-win streak. "But little by little, it's coming back," Escobedo said. Escobedo left some with mixed feelings Friday. Although De La Hoya believes Escobedo will become champion, many reporters who saw him fight Arrieta were more of the "maybe, maybe not" mind-set. Escobedo is very good. He has solid technique and power in both hands. But he was hurt to the body by Arrieta in the fifth round. He weathered the storm nicely and was never in trouble after that. However, Arrieta came in with just 10 knockouts in 43 fights, a very poor knockout ratio of less than 25 percent. It makes one wonder what's going to happen when Escobedo gets in with a real killer. On the plus side, Escobedo is a fighter with tremendous discipline. Beristain may or may not be a better fit for Escobedo than Roach. But in Escobedo's mind, Beristain is, and to move 2,000 miles from home to train with Beristain is the strongest sign of commitment. Whatever happens, it's doubtful anyone scrutinizing Escobedo will be able to say he wasted his talent. He'll get the most out of his. Time will tell whether it's enough to bring him achievements similar to those of De La Hoya, his Mexican-American idol. Robert Morales covers boxing for the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty ImagesWhen it comes to recovering from a loss, Escobedo can learn from Oscar De La Hoya, right.