Brad Rock: Salt Lake world boxing champ Chris Fernandez writes his own story
"I'd rather lose my life than quit in the ring," he says.
Ferndandez didn't know until the weigh-in was that it was a title bout. Originally the matchmaker booked him for eight rounds; title fights are required to go 12. But when he got to the weigh-in, Fernandez learned Stewart needed a title defense quickly in order to keep his belt. The commission agreed to sanction the eight-rounder as a championship event.
He had fought other title bouts before, but lost. This time, six years after starting his comeback, an unimpeded right to Stewart's head was enough. "Basically, from then on, I was sure he wasn't going to win a minute of any round," Fernandez says.
As he prepares to defend his title in August, he believes grander paydays are just around the corner. A bout in a World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association or similar event could land him millions. Hence, Fernandez goes into his boxer's crouch, arms tight to his ribs, scooping uppercuts into the air. He insists his speed is as good, his hands as strong, his knowledge greater than ever.
"I'm better than I was at 26," he says.
He puts his weight behind a dozen swings at a heavy bag the size of a side of beef. Flash shakes his head, saying it's the same type of bag used by legendary puncher Earnie Shavers, whose story they both know.
Fernandez acknowledges the time is passing to get a big payday, but insists his best days are still ahead. "I don't see why I can't do it," he says, echoing the words of a million palookas and a handful of princes. "I don't see why not."
It would mean never again sleeping in his car.
Plus, another story for the vault.
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