Golden Boy Promotions will be hosting their first event with the new COVID protocols on July 24th, live from the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA.
DAZN will be streaming the event that is going to be headlined by Golden Boy’s rising star Vergil Ortiz Jr (15-0).
On the undercard, a stablemate of Ortiz Jr. will be fighting, by the name of Hector Valdez (12-0). Valdez is a super bantamweight prospect who is looking to make a splash in a division that has plenty of talented fighters and champions.
I checked in with Valdez as he finishes up training camp so that boxing fans can get to know him and put him on their radar as someone to watch in the future.
AG: Hector, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Can you give the readers a quick bio blast on where you are from and what it was like growing up in the Valdez household?
HV: I am twenty-five years and I grew up in Dallas, TX., specifically Oak Cliff. I recently moved to Kent, TX a few years back. Life as a kid was pretty cool and I loved it. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money and my parents often struggled to get us the things we wanted. Although this was the situation, at the time, we felt we had everything, but it was really so little. Our family consisted of my three brothers and my sister with me being the oldest in the family. I thank my father for that, as he was working at a job that was only paying him $300 a week. I am blessed to have a great father and a mother that is always there for us. We had our ups and downs but I had a great childhood.
AG: When did you decide to take up the sport of boxing?
HV: I started boxing when I was about seven and a half years old. I always tell people that it was a mistake because I was a kid that always got into in trouble. My mom always wanted me to get into a sport so that I would get tired. We tried soccer and baseball but that didn’t work out. One day, my dad was making a room for one of the local gyms and I went with him just to tag along. I saw some little kids in there, who are still my friends today, and I told my father that I wanted to box and be there with the other kids. My mom told my dad to put me in there to box but also mentioned that I wasn’t going to like it and would eventually quit. Now I am twenty-five and still in it!
AG: Let’s fast forward to your pro debut, in 2014. What was that feeling like, before getting into the ring?
HV: I guess you can say I had mixed emotions that night. I was a little terrified as there were a lot of people with high expectations and family came from all over. I didn’t know if I was going to impress them or anyone. Prior to my debut, my other two opponents had fell through so I was dealing with all of that too.
AG: After the fight, the story goes that you only earned $1.00 dollar for your pro debut. Can you tell the readers if that is true and how that happened?
HV: The promoter I was with at the time told me that they were going to get me a fight but it ended up being that my team paid for my opponent. Since this was the case, they couldn’t pay me and my opponent so they ended up giving me a check for $1.00 so they could say I didn’t fight for free. I still have that check somewhere in my house! I was thinking as soon as I turn pro, everything was going to be easy and I was going to be making all of this money while heading to the top real quick. Reality settled in and it wasn’t what I thought but I stuck with it. Fast forward to now, I am signed with Golden Boy and training at one of the best gyms in the world which is the RGBA, Robert Garcia Boxing Academy.
AG: Since your debut year, your number of fights have declined and you were only in the ring once in 2018 and 2019. What led to that inactivity?
HV: We were having some issues with my manager at the time. The contract issues brought me to a point where I didn’t want to do this anymore. This sport is full of broken promises but I stuck with it. Shortly after that, I signed with Hector Beltran and Vergil Ortiz Sr., who told me that little by little, we would figure this thing out. That word was kept and we are here now.
AG: Speaking of Vergil Oritz Sr., how did that relationship come about?
HV: Vergil has known me since I was about nine or ten years old. I used to go see Senior box at a gym called WestSide while Junior was real little at the time. Me and Senior have a real close relationship beyond boxing and are like family.
AG: You are being trained by Robert Garcia. How is it working with him and everyone at RGBA?
HV: I’ve been working with Robert for a year now and it’s been great. Robert is not only a coach but he is also a friend and someone you can talk to. The gym here feels like home! Most of the boxers here like Tanajara, Franco, Vergil, Bam are all boxers that I grew up with back in Texas. We were always on the same teams during the National Silver Gloves and Junior Olympics. It’s crazy that we all ended up together again here at RGBA.
AG: You have a unique thing you do when it comes to your ring walk. What’s the story behind the lollipop?
HV: It’s something that just happened. When I was a kid, I used to put a lollipop in my mouth to get my adrenaline going. Then someone told me about a fighter that used to do it as well, by the name of “El Travieso” Arce, who I didn’t know, so I looked him up. I was like, man, he was good! I started to do it every time and now it’s like a superstitious thing.
AG: The super bantamweight division is stacked. Where do you see yourself within that division and when do you think you will be ready for a title shot?
HV: 122 is a stacked division with some real heavy hitters. Right now, I am not there yet but I feel like I can be within a year from now. If my coach tells me that I am ready within that time period, I won’t be scared and I will take it. We are all human, we all breathe and we all bleed. I’m sparring guys like Ronny Rios and Joshua Franco so if I can bang with guys like that and be on their level, I’m pretty sure I can do that in a fight.
AG: You are fighting on July 24 with Vergil Ortiz Jr. headlining the card. Any idea who you are fighting and do you know anything about your opponent?
HV: My opponent has changed a couple of times already. I think the guy that I am going to fight is from Mexico. I don’t recall his name but my coaches have that info. I don’t really do too much studying but I did see a round and he is a Mexican warrior. I don’t know if he is going to try to take me into deep waters and bang but I can do that too even though we have been working on trying to be more of a sharp shooter and cautious. The game plan is to be sharp, smart and keep an open mind on how things are going to play out.
AG: Is there anything you would like to tell the fight fans that may be seeing you in the ring for the first time on the 24th and where can they follow you on social media?
HV: You are going to see fireworks and hopefully you will see a smarter and more disciplined Hector as that is what we have been working on in the gym. On Instagram, follow me at @hector_valdezjr and on Twitter @team_valdez95. Thank you for being a fan of boxing!
My Three Cents: Hector Valdez is a young prospect making his way up in a division that is loaded with talent. He has a style that is going to make fans want to watch him in future fights. My only concern is his inactivity the last few years but with this recent Golden Boy deal, I think we see him being a lot busier and will look for him to hit the boxing media radar in the months to come. Will he steal the show July 24th live on DAZN? You will have to tune in to find out.