Genaro Hernandez is a two time and current jr. lightweight champion who is thought of as one of the best pure boxers of the last decade. With his up-coming fight with Floyd Mayweather I thought he would be a perfect guest to start The Boxing Wise interview with. Of course he is also one of my favorite boxers so he would have been high on my list no matter what. As you will see by the interview his reputation as one of the truly good guys in boxing is well deserved and I found him to be a joy to interview. Also a thank you must go out the people at Top Rank who arranged this interview in less than two days and were nothing less than courteous and professional at all times.
BW: Lets start at the beginning, what got you started in boxing. Hernandez: Well my dad, he took my brother to a gym because people were stealing money from him. So he took him to try and learn how to defend himself and I tagged along, so I told my dad to buy me some shorts and I would get into boxing too. BW: Was there someone who saw your talents early on and helped guide you in the pro's or did it take 10 to 15 fights for the California area trainers or managers to see your talents. Hernandez: No, my brother he was a top rated welterweight and he spoke to his manger and told him that I had pretty good talent and that he would work with me. The manager said he would also work with me and signed me up right away. BW: You won the WBA jr. lightweight championship in France (against Danile Londas). Did you wait to celebrate the win until your returned home and how where you greeted upon your return. Hernandez: Well we all went to eat at a night club. We had meet this guy from Spain who ran a night club in France and he had invited us to eat at his nightclub. So we just ate at the nightclub that night and when we got back to the hotel it was time to go. The only people that celebrated (if anyone) when we got home was my side of the family and some neighbors from next door. Other than that we were relatively overshadowed by everything else that was going on back then. BW: Thats right they had football teams in L.A back then. Hernandez: Yeah (laughs). BW: Has the trash talking of Mayweathers and his father effected you in any way? Perhaps made you overtrain or do something else that you have not done for other big fights. Hernandez: No. They can say whatever they want, whats going to count is what happens during the fight. Up in the ring it is a whole different story your not going to be able to talk. Im am sure he is a pretty good talker but he is going to have to back it up. BW: What does a normal day of training consist of when you prepare for a title fight. Hernandez: I wake up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning, I do my roadwork which is about a half hour or forty five minutes. By 10:00 o'clock I am in the gym, I do my three or four rounds of shadow boxing. I do anywhere from 8 to 10 rounds of sparring, I hit the punching bags for 3 or 4 rounds, hit the speed bags for couple of rounds and then jump rope for 10 to 15 minutes. BW: So this takes about 2 hours a day? Hernandez: About 2 or 2 and half hours a day (not including the roadwork). BW: Are you sparring with anyone special to get ready for this Mayweather fight. Hernandez: No. He is just like anybody else you know. Yeah he has talent and everything but he is nobody special he has two arms and a head just like me. BW: He is a little bit faster than most of the fighters you have fought dont you think. Hernandez: Yeah but I have always worked out with people who have good speed. So his speed is not all that. BW: You have fought overseas and it seems "boxers" are more appreciated in Europe and Asia. Was there ever a thought given to fighting in Japan or Europe exclusively. Hernandez: No not exclusively, but every time I go to Japan they do treat me good I have all the respect for them. As a matter of fact wherever I go I have been treated good. So there is nothing set in my mind that I would rather fight in a certain place. BW: You have now been a champion for the WBA and the WBC. Is there any difference in their operating methods or the way you were treated by those two sanctioning bodies. Hernandez: Well I will say that I am treated a little bit better by the WBC. Because they always wanted me to fight for their title. They gave me a shot at it and I am more than thankful for that. The WBA were a little more ungreatful due to the fact that they stripped me from the title. Their champion who I believe is Korean, when he was ranked number 5 or 6 in the world I was willing to give him a shot at the title and he didnt want to fight me. You know it is just the little things they did wrong to me, I felt a little disrespected by them. BW: That would be bad since you have a reputation as a good guy and for taking on everyone. Hernandez: Not only that. Being their champion for 3 years and fighting everyone that they wanted me to fight. I thought I was living up to my end of the deal. But unfortunately they felt that their fighter was going to win the belt and he lost. BW: Philadelphia is known for its "gym wars" but Southern California is also a hotbed for boxing talent. Is there a California version of those gym wars where fighters try to make a name for themselves during sparring because of the talent and the competition around them. Hernandez: Oh yeah. You get alot of guys out there, you know they find out that they are working out with a world champion and they want to go and knock their heads off. As a matter of fact I think that happens everywhere not only Philadelphia. I just think that the people dont see it that much because the press are never around in the gyms that much. BW: Other sports stars make lots of money thru endorsements and with your reputation for sportsmanship and honesty have their been any offers for you do to endorsements at any level. Hernandez: You know I had the worst luck in all that. I've tried with some companies and they dont respect the fighters. They dont want to see a fighter get endorsed by any products. It is just very hard for a fighter to get endorsed especially if you are from over here in California. Most of the companies are on the east coast and for some reason they dont like the people from the west coast. I dont understand why, we have good fighters over here just like the east coast. Unfortunately they are not willing to work with us. I will give you one example. I had given a application in for Reebok trying to get a endorsement from them. At the last minute I dont know why it was, but some guy from the main office just threw the contract out. I had already had my shorts made with Reebok and everything else. And they just threw it out. So the people out here in California were willing to work with me, but when it came time for the fight the main office left me stranded with my shorts (laughs). BW: Was there ever a time when you just became tired or burned out on boxing and wanted to do something else. Hernandez: There have been times when I been tired of boxing. What has it been 24 or 23 years that I have been boxing now. After 23 years your body begins to feel that it should be doing something else. It just starts getting tired. But I think I have been getting more pumped up a little by little now due to the fact alot of people from the press want me to loose. They have it planed that I am going to loose the belt this year and I am trying to prove them wrong. BW: Plus there is alot of talent starting to surface at jr. lightweight and move up from the lower weights. Hernandez: Oh yeah, Yes. But I dont think I am over the hill just because I am 32. I take good care of myself and I dont believe I am the type of fighter who has been hit alot. BW: Was there a fighter that you boxed whose record did not show just how good of a boxer he really was. Hernandez: (a Pause to think) That might have been Antonio Hernandez I think (after checking his record he was right) in Fort Worth. It was my second fight after I lost to Oscar. I believe he is one of the guys who could be real tough, he takes a good punch and he was in good shape when I fought him. They say he cut easily, and I hit him with everything. I didnt see no cuts on him and I only saw one little bruise, and I said to him after 10 rounds is that all the marks you have? He said yeah and if it wasnt you that did it, then it was the referee. BW: Was there a boxer you patterned yourself after either inside or outside of the ring. Hernandez: There are two fighters who I kind of follow. That would be Carlos Zarate for his liver punches and his ability to take a good shot and not loose his composure. Then there is the niece guy which is Alexis Arguello. BW: You already have the reputation of a Arguello outside of the ring and even in the ring except for his one punch power. Hernandez: Thank you. And no I dont have the power that is something I am lacking. But I am the type of fighter......you know people say I have the power in the gym. But I do believe I dont feel like getting hit in the ring so I dont go out there with the intention of knocking anyone out. So that is what I am lacking in. BW: You showed good power in the second Raul "Jibaro" Perez fight when you landed that shot to the liver. Hernandez: Well that was not a power punch. Anyone that gets hit good to the liver is going to go down. BW: That was one of the most beautiful punches I ever saw. Hernandez: Thank you. BW: What are your interests outside of boxing. Hernandez: Well I am interested in computers. Right now I have to travel alot and I cant go to school, but I am hoping to go back to school and get a business degree or something along those lines. Or if anything should come up in sports commentating. BW: Well I saw you on UNIVISION a couple of weeks ago doing commentary. Hernandez: Good, maybe with the little practice I am getting there after I retire from boxing I can become one of them ha ha. BW: You are at the age when retirement has to be a consideration. How many fights to you think are left in you. It is very rare for a fighter to retire while still champion (I can only think of Marciano and Khaosai Galaxy) is that something you think about. Hernandez: I am hoping I could retire as a champion. But right now I am not thinking of retirement. It has crossed my mind a couple of times but only God knows how long I will be in there. I am hoping at least 4 or 5 more years. BW: That many years ? Hernandez: I hope so. BW: So you think you have about 7 or 9 more fight left. Hernandez: Yes or maybe more (laughs). BW: You obviously want to get the best fighters in the ring with you. Are there any fighters you are looking at, maybe a Angel Mandfredy. Hernandez: Right. If everything goes well gainst Mayweather I am hoping we can get Manfredy in there. I do believe he is one of the best at 130 pounds out there. BW: Reportedly Manfredy priced himself out of some fights, is that something you are even worried about? Hernandez: I dont even worry about it, if it is meant to be it is meant to be. Things happen for a reason and if Manfredy is not there, then maybe I will move up to 135 pounds and fight anyone up there because I am not afraid to fight anybody. BW: Obviously you have proven that by fighting Oscar DeLaHoya at 135. Hernandez: You know I dont think I did bad at 135 when I fought Oscar. The reason I lost that fight is because of a injury I had two weeks prior to the fight. BW: It was reported that you had broken your nose prior to the fight by Shane Mosely ? Hernandez: What did Oscar do to me? He didnt really do nothing to me, all he did was get a punch right on the tip of my nose where it was already hurt. BW: You had Oscar swinging at air during parts of that fight. Hernandez: I look at Oscars fights, and I look at myself with him and I was doing good. his weight didnt have anything to do with it alot of people were saying his weight had alot to do with the fight. Nothing. Only the nose was the problem. BW: I was one of those people who thought his weight would be a big advantage. Also let me ask you why was this fight not made back when Oscar was fighting at 130 pounds. Hernandez: I believe that at the time Bob Arum and his people were afraid to accept the fight at 130 pounds because they knew Oscar needed more experience. BW: It looks like Naseem Hamed might make a jump to jr. lightweight while you are still a champion. I have written on my website that I think you are the only one at jr. light or featherweight who can beat him. What do you think of him and that matchup. Hernandez: You know if he does go up I would be more than happy to fight him. I think he is a great fighter alot of people dont like him but you know I like him. He talks alot and everything, yet he backs it up. He does his little act during the promotion of the fight which alot of fighters do now, but then that is why he makes alot of money. People tell me in order to make money you have to trash talk but I dont feel comfortable doing that. I think that is a mistake I have made in my career, I guess. BW: Well what you lack for in personality you have more than made up for in your great reputation outside of the ring. Much like Arguello. Hernandez: Yeah but you see we are not making the millions that the guys who are bad mouthing are (laughs). BW: Or the heavyweights. Hernandez: True. You know I dont understand why people pay more attention to the heavyweights when the smaller guys are the ones who are making the fights! BW: That is a sticking point with me also, I think more potential boxing fans are turned of by slow, fat heavyweights. When they could see some great fights and fighters at the lower weights and appreciate the sport more. Hernandez: Right. BW: Great that is about all the questions I have, I dont want to take too much of your time. Hernandez: Oh no dont worry about that. I have all the time in the world (laughs). At this point we discussed some boxing subjects including the recent Tyson episode and then decided to do more questions and answers. BW: Let me ask you about entourages. You dont travel with a bunch of people, is it pretty much a family business. Hernandez: Yeah the only time you will see alot people around me is fight time. When they show their support. Other than that it is from the gym to the house. My family is with me most of time. BW: Pretty much a homebody (laughs). Hernandez: There is too much trouble out there. I dont need no trouble. Why put more stress on you when you already got enough. BW: Well you have fought in Indio on the Tribal Indian Casino. There is a move on in the California Senate to ban the Casinos. Any thoughts on that and the fight venues that would go down with them. Hernandez: I dont think about it too much. I do think this is something wrong that the State of California is doing. The Indians were here first and they deserve to have their own rules as long as they do not affect the people outside of their reservation I dont think the state should bother them. Give them their part of the land and let them do whatever they want with it as long as they do not affect the people outside of it. BW: The L.A Forum that is a place I first saw you fight in and you had many fights there is that someplace you would like to return too? Or now that you are with Top Rank is that something that might prevent you from fighting there again. Hernandez: Nothing prevents anything, I do believe that if a fight were to be made at the Forum they would work some kind of agreement out. I dont want to talk bad about The Forum but I think they did alot of wrong doing to me. They disrespected me after I lost to Oscar they wanted to tell me I was going to get paid $7,000 for a 10 round fight. BW: That is ridiculous since you along with Jorge Paez were the biggest draws for The Forum, no one brought more fans to the Arena. Hernandez: Not only that, we had a relationship that worked nicely and for them to do something like that. I just felt that they were using and abusing me. The point was that they lost their champions and they thought I wasnt worth anything to them any more. They thought they were going to have the fighter who beat Oscar. And I thought in my mind it was going to beat him too. But unfortunately it didnt happen. So they wanted to get me real cheap and I wasnt going to go that way. BW: So they pretty much kicked you while you were down. Hernandez: Yeah, they just wanted to throw more dirt on me ha ha. BW: Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions. Hernandez: It was my pleasure.