By Chris Walker
The undefeated lightweight prospect hungers for glory and giving fight fans the kind of matches they’ll never forget.
“My cousins would toss me a dollar or two to box with other kids,” Karlos Balderas recalled.
Mastering his fighting prowess courtesy of entertainment-seeking family members, Balderas, one of boxing’s finest prospects, has been fighting for as long as he can remember.
Now 23, the soft-spoken Californian, a product of Pompoc, a region about 150 miles northwest of the Los Angeles fight hub, aims to further boost his career credentials and make himself a household name in the city of angels.
Balderas (9-0, 8 KOs) appreciates the big stage, especially considering the humble environment that shadowed his adolescent days.
“I grew up with nothing but love around me,” beams Balderas, a wariness evident in his voice despite a recent relaxing vacation in Mexico. “My parents spent some time incarcerated so I basically grew up with my grandparents.
“But as you may know, staying at a grandparent’s house, that means the home is usually full all the time. It wasn’t just me they took care of. I had uncles and aunties there, all my cousins. I had everything I needed there but I’d still get into trouble and that’s why I started boxing as a kid, because I was told by my dad that it would keep me out of trouble.”
Balderas’ plunge into competitive combat saw him explore a variety of tournaments and trials, with the bulk of his excursions ending positively. Carlos made up part of the 2016 American Olympic team that was hopeful of restoring the famed nation’s summer games reputation.
Despite not medaling, Balderas was the recipient of the attention garnered by previous Olympians who were eliminated early, such as Miguel Cotto. He quickly inked a promotional deal with Richard Schaefer’s Ringstar Sports after resisting several other attractive offers.
“I wanted a medal so bad,” admits Balderas. “The plan was to always turn up at the Olympics and do my best but despite my inexperience, I definitely believed I had the talent and dedication to make a name for myself there.
“ I want to be a champion but I always want to be in entertaining fights against the biggest names. ”Undefeated Lightweight Prospect – Karlos Balderas
“Errol Spence Jr. at the Olympics before me is someone I look to because I remember how well he performed and how well that people spoke about him and you only have to look at where he is now. An Olympic medal would’ve been a nice little thing to take back to my family but I ain’t going to let it get me down and change where I want to get to.”
Balderas’ desirable destination is the very highest echelon that boxing can offer.
“I’m a big fan of all the champions from years ago like Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard, but the fighter I want to be like the most is Fernando Vargas,” said Balderas. “I see so much of myself in him and not just in the way we fight. He came up a similar way to me and when he was in the ring, he was just action from the first bell. I was always a massive fan of Vargas and respect everything he achieved and that’s what I want to do next.”
The early returns during the inaugural stages of his professional career have been positive. Currently part of a stunning cast of American talent that is on the verge of making themselves heard, Balderas has no doubt that the next year of his development will see him emerge as one of boxing’s most precocious talents.
“I’m happy with everything so far but there’s still a lot more learning to do and I can promise you that’s all being taken care of,” Balderas said. There are some really good guys out there now who are in a better position than me but that’s only because they’ve had more fights than me and are moved slightly quicker. Another year from now and you’ll see just how good I am.”
But his aspirations don’t end there.
“Once I’m at that level of big fights and titles, I intend to stay there and just make people happy and proud,” Balderas added. “I want to be a champion but I always want to be in entertaining fights against the biggest names.”
Article courtesy of PBC