Exclusive Interview: Edison Miranda

By Michael Youssef


Exclusive Interview: Edison Miranda

MY:  Edison, can you tell us a little bit about the early years of your childhood, what that was like, do you remember your mother, were you old enough to remember when your mother gave you away to relatives? "No I don’t remember, I was a little baby of 1 or 2 months, I don’t remember."

MY:  What was it like growing up, how were these relatives related to you? Were they aunts uncles or..?

EM:  One of them was like somebody real close to the family of my father, but that said, and the lady that was taking care of me also, she was nothing, relative to my family.  But I took the decision to leave from there around 8 or 9 just because I used to like football a lot.  And the guy who was taking care of me didn’t like for me to be a kid to play football, all he wanted me was to be in the mountains getting plantains, and yucca.  I didn’t like to work, I was a kid, I wanted to play football.  So he mistreated me, he would hit me, he would hit me with sticks, and then I just got tired of all the mistreatment and I took a decision to leave that family.

MY:  And this was until you were 81/2 or 9, for 9 years you were in this condition?

EM:  Yeah, as soon as I was a kid and knew what was going on, four or five years old, I was already up in the jungles working in the mountains, up until about the age of 8 ½.        He just mistreated me too much, I had to leave that.

MY:  How hard was that watching other children who had a normal childhood and not being able to have one of your own?

EM:  Well it’s something when you’re a kid, it hurts a lot, but through time, it’s almost like the wounds start getting healed.  But the minute you’re a kid and you start living it your going to live a different kid.  Not one Christmas did I have a gift, I didn’t know what was Christmas, they would always put me to bed early, and they would send me up to the mountains and into the jungle to work, I didn’t know what Christmas was or what December was for that matter.  That was for the other kids; that wasn’t for me.

MY:  You never got any kind of an education either?

EM:  No not either, I didn’t get that.

MY: Now after you ran away how many years was it that you lived in the streets, and where in the streets, in Bogota or where in Colombia?

EM:  I went through so many cities in Colombia that I don’t even remember.  There was Cali, Buenaventura, Medellin, Bogota, and there was also small cities, until I got to Barranquilla, and that’s where I stayed in Barranquilla

MY:  How did you survive all those years on the streets, I mean homeless, and penniless, how did you make it? How did you eat?

EM:  Every now and then I would go to like the marketplace and eat whatever I could find on the floor, in the trash, in the garbage.  Some people they’re good hearted, and they’re vigilant of the people that are in the streets and living in the streets, and they would give me something to eat.  And that’s it; that was my style of living, that’s how I survived.

MY:  How were you able to avoid the drugs and the alcohol that wrap up so many people that are in those same types of conditions?

EM:  It’s funny that you ask that cause when I just finished talking to you I just started thinking about all the people that were around me, and I had friends that were 25, 30 that I was always with them, but they were always doing drugs and drinking.  And it’s because of that, nobodies obligated to do drugs, I was with them and I didn’t do it, nobodies obligated to do anything.  They would do their drugs and in the middle of all the bad things that were going on, they would always protect me, they never offered me drugs and on the contrary if they would tell me that one day if I wanted to try drugs, that they would tell me I would have to stop hanging out with them.  ‘Because we want to try to stop and we can’t stop it because it’s part of our body but we don’t want you involved’.  And they never offered me drugs, and the truth is my body rejects all of that, my body won’t allow me to do that to myself.

MY:  What was the toughest thing about living on the streets?

EM:  Finding somewhere to sleep, the food was an issue, but more than anything, finding somewhere to sleep was tough.  Sleeping, because twelve, one o’clock in the morning somebody would find something to eat, and then right after that you would want to go to sleep, but everybody was out in the streets at that point, and everybody was awake, so when am I gonna go to sleep?  It’s tough to find somewhere to sleep, because when you gotta sleep in the streets and it starts raining, it’s difficult so it was hard to find somewhere to go to sleep.

MY:  Now my question is, I’m guessing, when you were being raised and you had no idea what Christmas was, when was it, when you were with those people who knew your mother, or when you were on the streets, when was it you first learned about God?

EM:  The truth is that since I was born, since I had knowledge, since I could make sense of things, when I had sense of what life was what the world is, maybe five or six years old, I would just stare out into the mountains, the trees, see everything moving, I would look at the stars, and I would ask, I would ask myself what it was, who made it, the they would tell me that it’s nothing, that the trees, the stars, all that is just there, but I didn’t believe that, to me, somebody had to make that.  Everything that there is, the ocean, the different species of animals that are on land, I knew that not one man could do it, or a person could do it.

 I believe that there is a God, and that we as humans call it God, but it’s gotta be something more than that, it’s gotta be something above that.  I just know it’s gotta be something because everything that grows natural is perfect, and a human can’t do that.  So life, to actually breath…a man can be a man, he can be a puppet, but we can’t get life out of anything.  There is somebody there that we don’t see, he’s there, and I just knew that there was.

Part II:  The Epiphany

MY:  Now you were homeless, you were penniless, you were living in the streets, you cried yourself to sleep one night, or prayed yourself to sleep  I think, tell us about that night when you had the dream?

EM:  Now that was already when I was in Barranquilla, I actually snuck into a truck in a city that’s called Caucasia, it’s close to Medellin, it actually belongs to Medellin, and I got on the truck without anybody seeing me just so it would take me wherever it would go.  When the truck actually stopped, I got off, and I asked somebody there what the name of the city was and they told me Barranquilla.  But I’ve always had that much faith, and I knew that I didn’t know anybody, or where I was going, but I knew that somebody was gonna guide me, somebody was gonna help.  And I didn’t walk more than five or six blocks when I found somebody, by the name of Juan Viloria, he works next to the airport in Barranquilla.  And when I saw the planes I was actually walking toward the planes, towards the airport.  I didn’t know what planes were.  I wanted to see what it was all about and as ignorant as I was I just thought I could walk into a plane and get in and fly away.  And when I was real small, everybody knew to go to the US, because the US lived differently because of money, and I just thought I was going to jump into a plane and take me to the US, because I thought it was that easy.  And Juan Viloira, told me, not even knowing him, not even seeing him, just meeting him at that point he told me ‘where was I going’, and I told him I was going to the airport to see if I could get on a plane.  And then I started to explain to him about my life and how I got to his point.  And he told me, he said ‘you gotta go back to your parents’ and I said ‘I don’t have parents’ so he told me ‘I’ll take you to my house’ and when I get to his house, he’s got seven daughters, two kids, his wife, and a small house, poor guy, whatever he makes he can’t even feed his own family with, and he had such a big hear to take me in and I’m gonna come into his house? 

Even physically, he didn’t know who I was, I was dirty I wasn’t showered, bare foot, he let me sleep in his old truck that he had outside in the yard.  And right there he would start helping me, giving me old clothes, whatever his kids didn’t want to wear, or couldn’t ware anymore, he’d give to me.

One of his brothers who actually had a butcher’s shop, a meat market, I learned through him how to cut beef, how to cut the bones of cows, and that’s how I would start helping and then I would help around the house whenever I could.  But I told him, I wanted to be able to help him lead the house and he told me that no, you have to wait for your chance for you to be that man,  that I couldn’t do that, that I was too young, and then I went to sleep thinking about God, but you gotta understand I am saying God because everybody calls him God, or calls It, God, but I just started saying that I need something, something for me to come ahead, to be ahead above the street and get out of this.  You gotta understand at that point I’d never seen boxing in my life, it was something I didn’t know about and all of a sudden that night that I prayed for that, I just dreamt that I was in the ring and that I was fighting     and Mr. Juan I told him that I woke up with that dream and I wanted to get to boxing and he said, the first boxer I ever learned of was Mike Tyson, was because he told me that I could never be like Mike Tyson because Mike Tyson’s too strong, and Mike Tyson can knock me out and I told him, that I’ll get strong and I’ll beat him, and they thought I was crazy.

So the next day, I didn’t even remember about the dream at that point,  and I sat there with my friends in the corner   and this person walked by, and he was a boxer, a professional boxer, but he’s retired, there were five or six of us there and he got close to me and he said ‘hey kid you want to be a boxer’ out of five or six people he asked me, and I said ‘why do you want me to be a boxer? Last night I had a dream about being a boxer’ so without any seeing I just took off with him he goes “I’ll take you to a trainer if you want to be a boxer.” 

So he took me this house of this person I had passed a year before, the best trainer in Colombia, Jorge Garcia Beltran is the name of the trainer, and a majority of the champions that Colombia has had have gone through his hands, have been through him, not any professionals but amateurs.

And I started to find out about his history, all the persons he went through in the Olympics, and all the things he helped other kids to do.  He told me that everything that I touched turns to gold.  And I’ll never forget these words that he told me, he said that ‘everything he touches turns to gold but you, I’m going to turn you into something above that, I’m going to turn you into a diamond, because in you I see something, you gotta work hard for it, but I know your gonna be a champion’

And I have so much love for him and kindness and he dedicated himself to me, to training me and showing me about boxing, and that’s where everything started, that’s where my whole dream of boxing started.

MY:  Do you remember the name of the boxer who took you in to the Gym and do you ever contact him or keep in touch with him any more?
EM:  His name is Jorge Eliecer de Laho and  he says I actually came back from Colombia and I ran into him at the airport, and he hugged me and started crying.  And what’s funny was the person that took me into the house, and they let me sleep in their truck, was working in the airport, and the boxer was also at the airport, at the same time that I was there so that was eerie for me it was weird and they were both crying and they hugged me, and the first one, Juan Viloria said to me, says I saw you and I knew that God sent this kid to me for some reason, and that’s why I took him to my house’ and I know it’s like that because he had nine kids, his wife ten, him eleven, the thing in Colombia is bad, he can’t feed all of his kids and he’s going to take another person into his house and take care of them, so I saw both of them in the airport.

Part III: Faith

MY:  How hard was it for you to forgive your mother knowing the kind of life you’ve had to live, not being able to grow up in a normal household, how difficult was that for you to be able to find a peace to forgive her?

EM:  The only response I have to that is, us as men we kill, we steal, we commit a lot of things that we’re not supposed to because a lack of faith, you have to understand we’re living in a world where everybody always wants in order to get riches and money, we hurt our faith, we hurt God in order for us to be good right now for us to have those riches.  And if before dying we repent that, God will forgive us, all of our mistakes.  His…   God his real name is “I AM” and he forgives us! And I’m his creation, so there is no, I can’t have any ill will towards anybody, especially towards my mother.  Theres some mothers who are pregnant, and they know they’re pregnant, and they take the decision to abort, and she didn’t make that decision, she had me, and that’s my mother, and what happened happened, but that’s my mom, and there is no problem with her.

MY:  Does your mother know the great success you’ve achieved for yourself so far, and have you been able to sit down and talk with her?

EM:  Yes I have spoken with her, every now and then I talk with her.  She knows, but she really doesn’t  know, she really doesn’t grab what it is, to go into a fight, she doesn’t know what it is, she doesn’t know about boxing, all she does is she wishes me well and she hopes that God takes care of me in the ring.  She’s a woman that’s only forty years old, she’s young.

MY:  God says if you honor your father and mother, your days will be long on the earth, do you feel that your success has been part of God’s way of honoring your ability to honor your parents in spite of the way you were raised?

EM:  The third Commandment of God says you have to honor your mother and father, and it’s not only because it says it there, and it’s not only with my mother but with everybody every person, whatever friend I may have, if I made a mistake or if that person says something wrong about me, we’re all gonna be friends, everybody makes mistakes, the most important thing is to know how to forgive and forget.

MY:  Now my question is, many people in your shoes would see you as a man who is driven to success in a boxing ring by fear, the fear of falling back into the streets, the fear of falling back into homelessness, yet you seemed to be motivated by the very opposite of fear, you seem to be motivated by faith.

EM:  What I want people to understand is that everything I do is on behalf of God. Everything that I do.  One time I had this dream in the Dominican Republic and I told this to my managers before, I told them that I had a dream, I didn’t tell them about the dream, and there is gonna be a time that I’m gonna tell them about the dream.  The day that I decide to retire, I’m gonna continue to tell him this dream that I had.  A lot of these people are gonna say ‘I’m so young why do I want to retire’ I’ve completed what I had to do, and a lot of people may tell me I’m 29, I’m 30   I’m just completing a mission, and at any moment I can retire, because I just can anymore, I’ve completed my mission, and they’ll know that one day.

Part IV:  Boxing

MY:  How important is your faith while your preparing for a fight, during your fight preparation, while you are in the ring when your boxing?

EM:  Well the truth is, my new trainer Jose Bonilla says “you are impressive”.  He says a lot of trainers make you run.  He tells me that I need to relax sometimes because I train too much, but I tell him that God is with me, and he’s given me what I gotta do, and now I gotta do that and I gotta do it until I finish it.  And I’ve got to     for my part, and I’ve gotta work, God’s doing his job with me, but I’ve gotta do my job for him, that’s like with my managers and my promoters, I’m the boxer, because my promoters, and my managers, and the reporters, I can’t do all of that without them.  When I triumph it’s everybody, it’s the managers, it’s the promoters, it’s everybody, it’s not only me triumphing.  I can’t say that I won, I’m gonna say that we won, always saying ‘we won’ and in the bible, when God is building the land, he was creating, he was saying let us do this, he wasn’t saying I’m gonna do this, he never said I’m doing this, and he assumed because there was more than one entity behind that       so when I have my triumph you that your interviewing me, your part of that, the promoters, the managers, the public is part of me being a winner so we did it, I didn’t do it.

MY:  Edison what do you feel your greatest assets are as a fighter?

EM:  Well the truth is I know what it is to be poor I know what is to be on the streets without food, that’s my weakness, that’s my sensitive side, if I could help everybody I would.
MY:  Do you watch tapes of your opponents ever?

EM:  I do, but I don’t really watch it to.. Each fighter has a different style.  You can fight me with a different style and you can fight someone else with a totally different style.  So I watch the tape but I really get anything from it. I watch the tape but not with the intention that …Oh  OK I want to do this because he did that.  Although with Howard Eastman, but with Howard Eastman I know he hits hard and he always step forward and he always someone like Bernard Hopkins.  Bernard Hopkins held his fists and Bernard Hopkins backed up.  When I hold him to the press and I am going to risk myself. That I did for the people that are paying to watch boxing.  You are not going to see two boxers running around your going to see them fight.  So I prepare my self to box, I prepare myself to fight.

MY:  Who are the toughest opponents that you have fought so far?

EM:  The truth is… Darmel Castillo, he is a Panamanian. In Panama I knocked him out in five rounds.  But that was to this to this day I feel one of my strongest fights. With Eastman the people were saying that Miranda is going to lose because Eastman……  I knew was going to knock out Eastman.  I knew I was going to nail him that’s why I don’t like ring center fights, because a ring center fights because no matter well ……..could be his Grandfather ….. and he almost fights and to me he lost it he lost both fights because he was disrespect to the sport he was a disrespect to the sport.  He lost both those fights.  So before my championship fight I always wanted to fight against Bernard Hopkins but now that I have had the opportunity with Arthur Abraham now that I have the opportunity with him.  I am going to take the crown.  I want to see if I can go up against up Jermain Taylor or Winky Wright who ever wins and then look for Bernard Hopkins.  Tell Bernard Hopkins I want to fight him. Because I want to demonstrate to Jermain Taylor, that you couldn’t knock out that old man.  He like my Grandfather and you couldn’t knock him out.  Because after I fight him I want Bernard Hopkins to retire. I am going to make him retire.  Done.  Because God gave us this opportunity.  For so many years when he is champion for so many years.  He fights with Eagle Trinindad, he fights with Oscar de  la Hoya, he fights with Jermain Taylor. It is good to retire with the money he has.Taylor didn’t do it He wants to do it. 

MY:  Will your fight with Arthur Abraham be taking place in Germany or in the United States?

EM:  I don’t care where it is.  I just want to fight.  I’ll fight in Germany where ever, where ever he is at.  But the public is not going to get in ring the public is not take his hit.

MY:  When do you begin training for your fight against Abraham?

EM:  The 24th I’ll start.

MY:  How do see winning the Jermain  Taylor vs. Winky Wright fight coming up this summer?

EM:  Jermain  Taylor should win.  But he doesn’t even know how to really how to fight and I not know what going to go on in that fight.

MY:  Edison where did you get your nick name Pantera?

EM:  My mangers Steven and Greg.  Because they said he fights like a panther because he crouches down.  They were hanging out in the jungles looking at all the animals seeing which animals best represented me.  It look like a panther attacked them or something so they got scared of the panther and that’s what they named me.

MY:  Edison what is your favorite punch to throw during a fight?

EM:  I don’t have a favorite. What ever I feel I can go into I am just going to throw and I am going to throw hard.

MY:  With everything swirling around right now in the middle of your boxing career.  Do you ever take the time to think about what you would like to do when you retire and have you foamed any conclusions yet?

EM:  First of all I just want to open up some businesses and hang around with people who know about business and have a money sense and with the money I that I get weather it is a lot or a little bit, if it is $10,000 make it $30,000. I should be able to do something with the kids that are gong through what I went through as a kid.

MY:  Edison when your not training with is you natural weight?

EM:  He at 168 right now. 

MY:  In closing there is going to be a lot of people who are going to read this and hear this story Edison.  What would you like to say to some of the people who are going to witness to your testimony?

EM:  Mike real quick his weight is 175.

MY: 175 got it OK.

EM:  What do want people to know about him when he is done with boxing?

MY:  People who read this story, what does he want them to know about Edison Miranda.

EM:  Well the truth is that everything about everybody all ready knows.  And the most important thing is the way I am right now is that I am humble. I appreciate people.  My heart is never going to change no matter how big I get or how many fights I have for all the money have in world and am always going to be myself.  I will always going to be the same. I am always let myself be guided by the people who have guided me to this point. And to tell all the mothers and father to please take care of your kids. When you abandon kids they may at that point not feel it but they will live with it there whole life.  Just pay attention to your kids.  I know God has a spot for me, a special spot for me and he has me forget about my past, but there are kids that don’t have that and there are family who have abandoned their kids and their kids hate their parents and have all this grudge against them and it just shouldn’t be like that.  So you should just take care of your kids.  Please take care of your kids.

MY:  OK Edison. Thanks guys I appreciate all you works guys, that going to be it for today.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the opportunity to one of the first guys to set down with Edison and really get an in depth story on him.  


Send questions and comments to: michaeltyoussef@msn.com