GL: When did you fall in love with boxing? What made you first get into the sport? I started boxing at the age of seven and I had my first fight at eight years old. Boxing has always been around my family, growing up I've always been around the Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas fights. Fernando Vargas was the fighter I looked up to, he was like an idol, I wanted to be so much like him. I couldn't describe the feeling, it wasn't like soccer or football, it really got my attention. I enjoyed doing it, I had fun doing it and it's changed my life."
GL: So Fernando Vargas was your favorite fighter growing up.
Karlos Balderas: "Yes he was."
GL: Did you try to copy his style?
CB: "No, I just like the way he was and the way he carried himself. I met him a few times and he's a really good guy. It was just the way he was, his persona, his character. I think he had a good style, but I wanted to have my own style. I just wanted to be like him because of the way he was."
GL: What do you consider your proudest accomplishment in boxing right now?
CB: "I would have to say making the Olympic team and being able to compete at the Olympic games, to be in Rio with my family. I wasn't just living my dream I was living their dream too."
GL: It's one of those double edged swords, on one hand it's your proudest accomplishment, but on the flip-side you went to Rio with a 175-9 amateur record and a goal of winning a medal. When that didn't happen, how difficult was it for you to deal with the disappointment of not winning a medal? How long did it take for you to get over that?
CB: "It still gets to me to be honest with you, there's days where I'm laying in bed and it crosses my mind and it's a sad feeling. I was very close and I don't think the decision should have gone that way. That's the saddest I've been after a fight, but not right after the fight. After the fight I did a couple of interviews, it was when I saw my family, it was sad feeling and I couldn't even cry. I was so sad and down because I felt like I took my family across the world to fall short of the medal. It has to be my saddest experience in boxing."
GL: Who's training you?
CB: "My father and uncle, David Balderas and Zenon Balderas."
GL: Who are some of your favorite boxers to watch?
CB: "I watch a lot of fighters, I like to watch Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Julio Cesar Chavez, Pernell Whitaker, I've watched them all and I feel like I took a little bit of each fighter. For the guys fighting now I like to watch Canelo Alvarez, Jorge Linares, Terence Crawford, I look at all of these fighters. I even like Anthony Joshua."
GL: How would you describe your style to somebody that hasn't seen you fight?
CB: "I would say I'm a boxer-puncher. I'm not much of a brawler, I have good speed, I have good power and I normally box guys. But here and there I do get into some slug-fests even though it's not the smartest thing to do. If I feel like I have to put the pressure, I can put the pressure on, I believe I can do a lot of thing. I can box, I can counter, I can use the ring. I could do a little bit of everything."
GL: Do you consider yourself a puncher?
CB: "Yes I do because I've had a lot of knockouts and stoppages in my amateur career. I also fought in the World Series of boxing and I knocked down four of the guys I fought and rocked the other three. Each fighter I fought tasted my power, so I know I've got some power."
GL: What made you decide to sign with Ringstar Sports?
CB: "I signed with Ringstar because we met with other promoters as well, like Top Rank and Golden Boy. I don't know what it was about them, but they're very honest, very straight forward and we got a long with them very well. Raul (Jaimes) is a good friend of mine and he was looking out for us out there and he was telling us that Richard Schaefer had big plans for us, not just for me, but for my brother. I believe Richard Schaefer is on his way up and I know he's got big plans for me, he doesn't want to make me just a big boxer, he wants to make me a superstar."
GL: You're fighting at 130, do you think you'll be able to hold this fight until after you fight for your first world title?
CB: "I think I'll be able to fight for a title at 130 when that time comes, but I've been growing. I think 130 will be perfect for me, I should be able to hold it for my first couple of titles."
GL: How many times do you see yourself fighting this year?
CB: "About five or so. I want to build up a big fan base."
GL: When can we expect you to make your pro debut?
CB: "Early April probably, I know Mr. Schaefer and Raul spoke to my dad and they mentioned early April on a pretty big card, they just weren't sure on all of the details yet."
GL: What's your favorite movie?
CB: "Godfather 1"
GL: What about music? Who are you listening to?
CB: "I listen to a lot of different music. I like Spanish music, I like Bob Marley, I even like to listen to oldies, I listen to Rick Ross and DJ Khaled, but I really like to listen to the instrumentals also. I'm not into the lyrics as much as I like the music."
GL: What's your favorite song?
CB: "Time will tell, by Bob Marley."
GL: What's your favorite TV show?
CB: "I like Cops, I like forensic files, I like shows about cars and I also like ridiculousness."
GL: What part of your game do you feel needs the most sharpening?
CB: "I could work on sitting down on my punches a little bit more, but I always improve in all areas. I have power, but sometimes I like to use my speed more. In the pro's I feel like I need to relax more, sit down on my shots and go for the KO."
GL: Are there any amateur rivals or grudges that you'd like to see in the professional ranks?
CB: "Not really any grudges, but I definitely want to fight the Brazilian Gold Medalist Robson Conceicao, I've got get mine. I wnt to see him."