Conversation With Welterweight Jose Celaya

By Brad Cooney


Conversation With Welterweight Jose Celaya

What can one say about Jose Celaya ? Well, what comes to my mind first and foremost is how classy of an individual this guy is. A former 4 time National Champion, and an alternate on the US Olympic team, Celaya's amateur resume speaks for itself. Now Celaya has entered the pro ranks of boxing, and with a record of 23-2 (12 KOs), he has gotten the attention of Emanuel Steward, his current trainer. Despite a recent loss to Eduardo Sanchez, Celaya's talent and potential to be a world champion is within the realm of possibility. Boxingtalk caught up to this young fighter as he prepares for Alphonso Williams (8-1, 6KOs) on the Winky Wright-Shane Mosley undercard. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did conducting it.

BC: Jose, you have an impressive amateur career. You were a 4 time national champion, and you were an alternate for the US Olympic Team..... Talk to the Boxingtalk readers about how your boxing career all got started.

JC: Yes, I was the Olympic alternate for the 2000 US Olympic team, losing to Ricardo Williams who went on to win a silver medal. I started boxing in 1992, my father took me to a boxing gym, and that's how it all got started... I fell in love with the sport from that first day... Now I am 23 and 2 as a pro with 11 Knockouts, formely ranked number 1 by the WBO, and currently ranked in the top 10 by the IBF. My goal is to become the World Champion, and I am on that road right now.

BC: Jose, what style of boxing do you bring into the square circle with you?

JC: I am a boxer puncher, honestly... in my first 23 fights I did no body punching at all. That is a big mistake by a fighter to not throw any body punches at all. In my last fight I started showing some improvement with every round in that category. I have started training with John Bray and we have been concentrating on body punches, so in my next fight that is what you are going to see.

BC: Jose speaking about the next fight, talk a little bit about your opponent Alphonso Williams (8-1) 6 KO's.

JC: You know Brad, I don't really know a lot about my opponent, other then the fact that he is 8 and 1 with 6 KO's, and his last fight went the distance. I am assuming the guy will come into the fight in good shape. I am ready to fight any kind of style, I have been training with John Bray since Sept 28th, and he has been doing a very good job, I like the guy. I am just going to go out there and execute... I am managed by Manny Steward, I really feel I am on the road to a championship.

BC: Jose, talk about how it is for you to have Emanuel Steward on board your team.

JC: Oh, you know it is a real blessing to have him in my corner. Manny is a great man... I am also advised by "SUGAR" Shane Mosely, I have been sparring Shane helping him to get  ready for his fight with Winky Wright. Actually I have been being advised by Shane Mosley for over the past three years, he is a great guy.

BC: Jose, I am guessing that working with the likes of "SUGAR" Shane Mosely doesn't suck too bad does it (laughing)....

JC: Man, working with a world class fighter like that elevates your state of mind.

BC: Jose, talk a little bit about your fight with Eduardo Sanchez. What happened in that fight Jose?

JC: Eddie Sanchez is a tough, tough fighter.. he can fight all the way up to Light Heavyweight. The guy is 6ft 3 inches tall, and I actually was winning that fight all the way up to the 6th round, and I got caught with a big punch to my temple. When I went down to one knee, I got hit again when I was down...  that one even hurt more, and instead of grabbing the guy, I started moving around.... that was a mistake on my part. I lost my number one contention after that loss.....

BC: Jose, sometimes a loss like that is a blessing in disguise.

JC: Brad it really is, I am very hungry after that fight..... I am ready to fight anybody in the Welterweight Division next year in order to get to a world championship, that's the only way to do it... not to worry about how much you are going to get paid you know?... just go out there and perform, you know?. It's just like Bernard Hopkins, he had so many defenses and only makes like 80 to $300,000...and then he earned his 3 million dollar payday with Oscar Delahoya.

BC: Jose, how far away is a world title shot for you?

JC: Well, honestly not too far... within 14 months ... I have trust in my team, my management, Emanuel Steward.

BC: Jose, who most inspires you within the boxing world?

JC: Well, you know Brad.... I am inspired by fighters in general...any fighter who is out there leaving home for 8 to 10 weeks, having to  leave their family in order to do this.

BC: Jose, is there any inparticular fighter out there that you are most impressed with?

JC: There are some Brad.. Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar Delahoya, Shane Mosely.... Chavez was someone I have watched since I was 9 yrs old...

BC: Jose, where do you see your career one year from now?

JC: Well, I think one year from now my dream should be accomplised... I should be a world champion by then.

BC: Jose, boxing is different from the NBA, NFL, NHL in many ways of course..... talk about how you feel boxing differs from the rest of the sports.

JC: Well boxing is different from ANY sport you can think of... you can be winning all 12 rounds of a fight, and in the very last second of the contest you can get knocked out, and it's all over. Boxing is a very hard sport... it is what happened to me, I was ranked number one by the WBO...and one punch in the 6th round changed that.

BC: Jose, when you career is all over with, how do you want the boxing fans to best remember you?

JC: I want to be remembered as a good fighter, a role model for up and coming fighters...

BC: Jose, thank you very much for talking with Boxingtalk, I will be following your career, and wish you the best of luck.

JC: Brad thank you very much, I appreciate it very much... and I want to thank all of my supporters, and I want to say God bless all of you.

* Special thanks goes out to Mario Serrano for his help in setting up this interview.


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