Going into Saturday night's fight in Ireland, many didn’t give Jose Felix Jr. a chance. Not many people outside of his promoter, Paco Damian, of Woodland, California.
Felix Jr., knocked out Ireland’s Gary Cully, in the co-main event of a massive event that saw Chantelle Cameron get a majority-decision win over Katie Taylor in Dublin.
The once-promising prospect had fallen on semi-hard times in the sport of boxing, as he had lost to Sandor Martin and Tyrone McKenna in consecutive bouts overseas.
It was maybe Felix Jr.’s last chance at a professional boxing career. Smartly, he has established a successful restaurant business in Mexico with the money he has earned from his professional boxing exploits.
All fight week, Felix Jr. told his promoter ‘I will not lose this fight,” and that he didn’t.
The winner was a 40-to-1 underdog, against Irish lightweight sensation Cully, who towered over Felix Jr. Cully is 6’2”, whereas Felix Jr. is a mere 5’8”.
Add to it, that Cully was as confident as ever riding a five-fight knockout streak and fighting in Ireland for the first time. During fight week, all the questions to Cully were about the future, not Felix Jr. Felix Jr., and his promoter, Paco Damian, took exception to that. Some even pegged Cully as being in the mix for a world title in 2024 at the exciting lightweight division.
At the press conference, Felix Jr. apologized to Eddie Hearn, the CEO of Matchroom Boxing, that he was about to beat Cully, a fighter Hearn promoted.
The press conference ended before Felix Jr. could offer the betting tip that people should wager on him, but I am not sure many would’ve listened anyway. Felix was saying all the things every fighter says, so veterans of the sport often hear them on deaf ears.
“Jose came in so focused and ready for this moment,” said Damian via a phone call. “I knew that we had a very good chance as long as we stayed off the center line away from the end of Cully’s straight punches and got to the inside. Jose fought a perfect fight.”
Promoter Paco Damian has gone from being the biggest promoter in Northern California, when I started writing about boxing to now being a global force in boxing, constantly bringing guys in that upset the a-side fighter. This time Damian did it again in Dublin, Ireland.
A left hook in round two buzzed Cully, who got rattled by the shot. A round later, Cully was down from a well-timed right hand. The shot had Cully living a nightmare, as on his homecoming in Ireland, he was having to fight back against a fighter with an-assuming record, who was giving him the fight of his life.
A minute or so later, the fight was called off as Jose Felix Jr., provided one of the biggest upsets of the year. It was unthinkable to many in the audience, but Felix Jr. had walked the walk after he talked the talk.
Yet, Damian applauds Eddie Hearn of Matchroom for making these types of bouts.
“Eddie Hearn is a great promoter because he makes competitive fifty-fifty-type match-ups for DAZN, the same way we see in the U.S. on ShoBox,” said Damian. “When you match guys even, and tough sometimes guys lose, but the fans love the fights and are more excited about the next show.
“I respect Eddie Hearn a lot for putting on these types of fights since he is putting on tremendous cards for the viewers live and at home watching on DAZN.”
As for what is next for Felix Jr., only time will tell. Though Damian believes that he still has untapped potential to make a run to the top of the division.
“He took this camp very seriously, he paid for a strength and conditioning coach, as well as spent a lot of time in the gym,” said Damian. “Now, we will see what options present themselves. We would like to give Matchroom the first opportunity to present us with a mutually beneficial fight and take it from there. I believe Felix Jr., has the power, timing, and toughness to compete with many of the best fighters in the division.”