“I don’t blame Peter for wanting to leave. He did get robbed bad, like…..BAD. If I was him I don’t think I would want to deal with them (The Contender) anymore either.”
RC: Juan, you recently fought on the non televised portion of the Peter Manfredo-Sergio Mora rematch this past October 15th, besides those on hand at ringside, no one got a chance to see your fight in which you won a unanimous decision over Jesse Orta 5-6-1(4) Give us a run down on your performance?
"I think I did real good in my fight. Being off for a year and all, I had to knock some rust off. So I didn’t really put on the show that I wanted to, but I got the win and that is all that I care about. So that is really what matters to me. I was able to go out there and perform to the best of my ability considering I was out for a while with that big lay off."
RC: From what I understand with the recent success (1.2 Million viewers) of the October 15th show on ESPN, they might be putting together a card as early as December or January, are they any talks about you being on the next show?
JDLR: I think I am suppose to, I am not sure though, I know they are talking about that right now.
RC: Being so young, and being out for 13 months probably doesn’t benefit you any, do you have any intentions on fighting more frequently, and have you spoken to the shows handlers about keeping you busy?
JDLR: Yeah that is what we have been talking about, about me fighting a little more, and they said that they are going to give me a couple more fights and keep me moving so I think it will turn out real good with them
RC: Tell us about your overall Contender experience
JDLR: It was a good experience for me being so young and all and getting all of that exposure, it didn’t do nothing but help me really. I had some tough critics and stuff like that, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion so I don’t think too much about it.
RC: What were you most critics for? Did it have anything to do with you winning then no longer wanting to continue onto the second round because of your injury?
JDLR: Yeah, you see my back was the biggest thing. The cut was not big deal or anything like that, but I didn’t have mobility in my back and my neck. So I wouldn’t be able to move out of the way of punches. Fighting those guys are not joke, those guys are all good. That is why they are their. If I was going to fight again I wanted to be at my best, and I wasn’t at it, so I did what I thought was best for myself.
RC: Besides Peter you are the only other undefeated on the show, and I know a lot of the ladies were in love with the young (Pharrell from the Neptunes look alike) kid, which both are pluses for you. Have there been any talks about getting you televised to possibly increase your popularity and take your career to new heights?
JDLR: I have no idea, they are talking about that. With me I am just ready to fight at all times, that is my job. But I have no idea, I hope I can get a televised fight soon, but if not I am going to keep fighting and keep moving until I do.
RC: Give us your thoughts on the Peter Manfredo–Sergio Mora rematch that was the main event on the 15th?
JDLR: I thought Peter did what it took to win, I thought he won. But it is not Sergio’s fault either, that is the way the judges saw it, so you can’t complain.
RC: What are your thoughts on the Anthony Bonsante- Jessie Brinkley fight, which many felt Bonsante easily won?
JDLR: I thought Bonsante won, but like I said no one can really blame the boxers about it, or blame anyone else. It is how the judges see the fight.
RC: From what understand they were a couple of controversial fights on the show that took place, one in particular was the match between Sergio Mora and Ishe Smith (Split decision win for Sergio). What are your thoughts on that particular match up?
JDLR: I didn’t get to watch that fight. But what I saw on T.V. they are going to edit it to look like Sergio won the fight. But I don’t really know, I would like to see them fight again. I think Ishe can beat him, Ishe looks like the stronger fighter. But I can’t say much because I didn’t get a chance to see the fight live.
RC: Ishe has always voiced his opinion here on Boxingtalk.com about he feels he was treated unfairly, and last week Peter Manfredo recently came on the record and said he is done with the contender people because he feels their were a lot of politics. Has the politics that these two talked about affected you in anyway?
JDLR: I can’t really say because I haven’t fought in so long before that. I am just happy to get a fight. It was on ESPN, and even though I wasn’t televised I was just happy to be there period. But if something comes up I will be sure to speak my mind.
RC: (Laughing) basically you don’t have any complaints, but then you said but if something comes up I will be sure to keep my mind, to me that sound like a shy complaint
. How has The Contender changed your life in general? How are you dealing with your popularity from the show?
JDLR: The popularity is good, real good. The women too, it is because I am so young. So it has been all good for me, the experience, the exposure, everything has been good for me. I don’t have nothing bad to say about it yet, but I am sure if anything comes up…
RC: (Cutting in) you keep saying yet, you know what that means to me Juan? (Laughing) That means you really have something you want to say but you don’t want to say it.
JDLR: (Starts to laugh, and chuckle as if I hit it on the nose)
RC: If everything was all good, then I’d hear you say “Everything is all good”, but instead you keep saying it’s all good, and you don’t have anything to say “YET”. Something is itching you isn’t it?
JDLR: It is all good man, but it was the layoff, I was pissed about waiting so damn long. Them saying I was going to fight and I didn’t fight. But they came through, they got me my fight and I am happy now. I want to continue fighting; I don’t want no more bulls@#t
with me laying off for a while again. I want to take some rest and I want to fight.
RC: I know that during the show up until the finale in May, you guys received a per diem or something like that…
JDLR: (Cutting in) they took care of us for a while, but after a while the per diem stop coming. I still had money left over and everything, they paid good. You were on your own after the Finale, but like I said they paid good enough to where I had money saved. But I don’t want to go through that ever again. I just want to keep fighting.
RC: Do you still keep in contact with a lot of the fighters from the show?
JDLR: Well Just Ishe (Smith), I still speak to Peter (Manfredo) and Jeff (Fraza), the other ones I really don’t talk too that much.
RC: Earlier we touched on iffy decisions during the show, and many weren’t able to really judge for themselves seeing as how the fights were edited, but during the live show many feel it was clear Bonsante easily beat Brinkley and Manfredo edged out Sergio in the rematch. What are your thoughts on Peter actually going public that he no longer wants to be a part of “The Contender”?
JDLR: Well like I said after my fight (on the show) I was gone so I didn’t get to see any of the other fights. But I don’t blame Peter for wanting to leave. He did get robbed bad, like….Bad. If I was him I don’t think I would want to deal with them anymore either.
RC: What are your thoughts on the whole hold out on Ishe Smith’s part, in not participating on the last card because he felt he wasn’t being treated fairly?
JDLR: Ishe is my boy so I fight with him all of the time. He always spoke his mind on the show and I guess that is what they don’t like. They don’t like people with an open mind, and Ishe is always speaking his mind. Ishe has to do what he has to do for himself, to make his life easier on himself. So I guess being away from them is helping him so I guess that is what he has to do.
RC: Anything else you’d like to add Juan?
JDLR: Nah nothing else, I am just waiting to fight… again.
RC: If you had it your way, would you prefer to fight outside of the contender circle like you did on the 15th of October, or fight fighter from the show?
JDLR: Outside people, you aren’t going to more by fighting the same people over and over again in the circle. I want to fight people outside of the contender scene.
RC: As far as making sense for T.V. and more exposure for yourself, it would probably make sense to fight someone from the show. If you had your choice to fight someone from the show, who would it be?
JDLR: It doesn’t matter to me, like I said I will fight anybody. I am not afraid to fight anybody. It really doesn’t matter to me. If they say “Hey do you want to fight this guy right here” I’m just like sure. I am ready to fight anybody.
RC: Is there anything else you want to add in closing?
JDLR: Nah that is it man, I am ready to fight again, just hurry and get me a fight.
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