Hugo Cazares: I am here to finish Carl Frampton's title hopes
Published 04/04/2014 | 10:30
Lying in his bed munching on M&Ms and sipping an energy drink, Hugo Cazares looked every inch a holiday maker rather than a man just 24 hours away from one of the biggest fights of his career against Carl Frampton.
But then at 36 and two world titles under his belt, Cazares has been here before – and come through much harder times when making his way through life and up the boxing ladder.
The son of an auditor for a bank in the city of Los Mochis, Mexico, as a young man he never wanted to be a fighter but that all changed when his father lost his job and their world was turned upside down.
"My life was normal growing up but then at eight my dad lost his job because there came a point when they wanted everyone to have a certificate to do the job and he didn't so he got cut and suddenly there wasn't the same money coming into the house," said Cazares, the brother of one sister and father to three children.
"We had to move to Guadalajara so my dad could find some work and he started working in a stall selling food. I was a quiet boy, a good boy but to toughen me up my father and uncle would send me out on to the street to fight.
"They would make up stories about what the others were saying about me and then I would go out and fight," he added.
"Then we eventually moved back Los Mochis, I ended up in a very bad school, a state school where I fought every day. If I didn't fight then I wouldn't have survived, there was no protection from teachers."
Boxing didn't truly enter the life of Cazares until he was 18. Instead, at 14 Cazares explained that he opted out of school for four years.
"That's normal in Mexico, you go to school or you choose not to – sometimes you choose to eat or go to school. Because we didn't have much money I had to go out and work and help provide for my family.
"I was a car mechanic, I sold some food and I kept doing my work as a mechanic when I decided to turn professional.
"I boxed seven times as an amateur and only won two."
It was the start of a journey which would transform his life, though the start was a world away from the beginning enjoyed by Northern Ireland hero Frampton under the guidance of manager Barry McGuigan.
Cazares said: "For my first fight I was given 400 pesos, which is about £20 but I didn't get it in money, I was given it in tickets which I gave to my family.
"Then when I asked if I would be able to have some photos from my fight they said it would cost me the same, so I gave them back the tickets. I fought for nothing," he said.
"When I started I could never think that I would be a world champion.
"I just liked to fight, I liked to throw punches and then when I won my first world title it changed my life because I could pay for my children to go to a good school.
"They have been given a better start to life than me – and I won't send them out to fight on the street.
"In fact my oldest boy is a very good footballer, some scouts have come to see him.
"Maybe one day he will play for Mexico, I hope."
Turning his attention to tonight's WBC World super-bantamweight title eliminator with Frampton, Cazares calmly suggested that his hard upbringing and greater ring experience will see him prevail.
"All my life I've had to fight for everything I have got.
"I was never protected during my career, the way Frampton has been protected. Winning fights is about mentality, I have that mentality and the desire and I have the experience.
"When you are a young fighter, you make mistakes.
"I know because I made them and Frampton will make those mistakes."
He added: "I know that this is the Frampton party, he is the favourite but people have underestimated me and I know I will be victorious."