Lightweight Karlos Balderas, age 23, is listed as 8-0 but a more accurate pro record for him is 14-1 as he had seven paid bouts in the World Series of Boxing. Balderas, who fights this Saturday, says, “I don’t get upset with the labels people place on me. I just let the people label me any way they want – promising prospect, contender, future world champion. I’m not focused on what they call me. I have a lot of experience, that speaks for itself, and that alone should tell people I’m not a prospect. During my seven fights in the World Championship of Boxing, I fought against very tough fighters. I fought the #1 guy in Mexico. That alone gives me a little bit more of an edge.”
More impressive is that Balderas is ahead of most fighters with several more years in the ring than he currently possesses. So, what is Balderas? A highly skilled, highly mature and highly patient fighter who will surely compete for a world title one day. Those skills will be on display this Saturday, July 13, when he faces Frederic Bowen (6-3-1, 3 KOs) at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The bout is part of the undercard to the headlining welterweight title eliminator between Jamal James and Antonio DeMarco, live on PBC on FS1 (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
Balderas-Bowen kicks off the broadcast with an eight-round affair. Based on Balderas’ record thus far, it isn’t likely to go the distance. Balderas possesses a baby face and the skills of a seasoned veteran. He has solid hand speed, punching power, above-average defense and the kind of composure that often takes years to develop.
When Balderas hurts an opponent, he doesn’t rush in throwing wild punches from unorthodox angles while ignoring defense. His patience takes over and he delivers hard punches to the opposition’s impacted area. “That comes with my experience, over 200 amateur fights,” Balderas said. “Now as a pro, I like to pick my shots. While I’ve had a very successful amateur career, I’ve always known that my style of fighting is best suited for the pros.
“I stay relaxed in the ring because I have speed, I have power, I have agility; it’s something that comes with experience.”
Balderas’ calling card is his left hook to the liver; part of a classic Mexican boxing tradition that has been passed down for generations. “That’s something [throwing punches to the body] my dad and my uncle taught me since I was a little kid,” Balderas recalled. “I grew up watching great Mexican fighters – Julio Cesar Chavez, watching Canelo [Alvarez] and all those great Mexican fighters. My uncle David told me that I won’t be able to knock all fighters out with only shots to the head, that I needed to wear them down to the body. Wear down the body and the head will follow.”
Family is a major source of motivation for Balderas, who didn’t choose boxing solely for personal glory. “My family comes from very humble beginnings. They're from a very, very poor background,” Balderas said. “My family is from Oaxaca, Mexico. So. they are very hardworking. Those are the kind of people you don’t want to [mess] with. When it’s time to get down, they get down. My father had to sell his art, so we could afford to go to amateur tournaments. My grandpa once sold his watch so that me and brother, Jose, who is also a fighter, could go to tournaments. We went through tough times, so that is motivation enough for me. Now that I’m in a position to give back to my family, that keeps me motivated. Boxing is tough, but I’d rather be doing this than sitting in an office at a computer screen.”
That passion will be on display July 13th in Minneapolis. Fans will see a poised young fighter, a future title contender – very likely a champion. In his corner, of course, will be his father, Zenon, and uncle David. That’s all the motivation he needs.
Calling Balderas a prospect is far from accurate. He is years beyond that point. How does he remain ahead of the pack? Patience, of course.