WBC Jr. Featherweight Champion Willie Jorrin makes his first title defense on January 19th against top ranked Oscar Larios. The fight will take place in Jorrinís hometown of Sacramento, CA. I caught up with Willie after a training session to talk about the upcoming fight and his plans for the future.
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Interview by: Marc Lichtenfeld Lichtenfeld: What do you know about your opponent? He seems like a banger. Jorrin: Yeah. Oscar Larios, heís the #1 contender. This is a mandatory fight. Iím looking at a tough, durable Mexican opponent. I know he comes, heís a straight forward fighter. Got a little height on him. Iím just looking for a tough, durable fighter in front of me on Friday night Lichtenfeld: Have you been watching tapes of him? Jorrin: Yes. Weíve watched a few fights of his. The guys he fought, had no feet so they just stood in front of him and took everything he had. They really showed no movement and how if they did move it would probably frustrate him. Thatís what my game plan is, to use movement and totally take away his ability to move forward. Lichtenfeld: Does his power concern you at all? Jorrin: Not at all. At í22 my power is more devastating than a lot of other fighters out there at 122. Lichtenfeld: What does it mean to you to be fighting in your hometown for your first defense? Jorrin: Oh man, itís just a great feeling that I can have this first defense in my hometown. Itís been 5 years since the last world title defense was here. So itís just a good feeling to bring a world title back to Sacramento and fight in front of my hometown crowd. Lichtenfeld: What about fighting on national TV? The fight will be on ESPN2. Jorrin: Just to get my name out there more and to show everyone that Willie Jorrin is a top fighter in this fight game right now at Jr. Featherweight. I just hope everyone will get a chance to check this one out so they can see what I have. Lichtenfeld: There was some controversy surrounding the fight against Michael Brodie when you won the title. Do you feel like you have to have a great performance and prove it to the fans that youíre the champion? Jorrin: There was no controversy. I went to this guyís hometown and I pulled off a great victory over there. There were fans there that knew I won. There was rumblings in the crowd because their guy lost. The controversy was more or less that I beat their guy. (Laughs) We actually had a tape, a lot of people have seen it and saw me pull this victory off. Lichtenfeld: Any chance of a rematch with Brodie? Jorrin: Most definitely. They rated him #2. So, heck yeah! Iíd give him another shot. On my terms and hopefully in my home town and Iíll prove again the same thing that I did over there. Another victory. Lichtenfeld: Who else would you like to fight? Jorrin: Iíd like a shot at the Prince (Naseem Hamed), at 126. Thereís so many good fighters out there right now that could produce a lot of big money fights. Thatís what Iím looking forward to, bigger and better fights. But first of all, Iím not looking past Oscar Larios this Friday night. I get this one over with and then itís on to better and better opponents. Lichtenfeld: Do you feel youíre ready to take on a Barrera or Hamed? Jorrin: Oh most definitely. Iím ready. I was ready 3 years ago to be a world champion. It took a long time to get where Iím at. I beat guys in the top 10 three years ago. Enrique Jupiter, I actually had him knocked out. Literally dropped him 3 times in the fight. I ended up winning a decision. Then a month later he went on to fight for the IBF world title in South Africa against Bungu. And they say he beat Bungu but they gave it to Bungu for a hometown decision. So since then Iíve been waiting my turn. Finally when it came, I had to go overseas and do it. I was more than willing to do it. It took forever to get there so I wasnít going to pass that chance up. So, Iím looking for whoever are the top champions out there. So just bring it on. Letís do it. Iím ready. Lichtenfeld: What do you consider your biggest weapon in the ring? Jorrin: I have an excellent right hand and body shot. I can just pull off everything, with my boxing ability. Whatever it takes with an opponent, I adapt and do what needs to be done to perform and win the fight. I have it all in one package. With my trainer Freddie Roach, he brings out the best in me. Lichtenfeld: If you were fighting Willie Jorrin, what would you do to counter those strengths? Jorrin: Oh man, Iíd watch out for his right hand (Laughs) Lichtenfeld: What do you need to improve on? Jorrin: Iíd like to pick up a lot more combinations. I tend to pace myself pretty good, but Iíd like to pick up the pace a little more. I like to move around and take my shots when I should be picking up the pace. Thatís what weíve been working on. So everything seems to be working right now as weíre planning this upcoming fight. Lichtenfeld: Is this strictly a business for you or are you a fan of the sport as well? Jorrin: I like to watch other boxers. But Iím a family man. Iíve got 2 children and a wife. This is a business. Iím looking to get these big money fights out of the way and Iíd like to move on to some other business also. Iím opening a boxing center for kids. Iím looking into putting time into helping kids after my career, into a functioning boxing program. Lichtenfeld: Is the gym up and running? Jorrin: I already have the facility. All I need is to get the licensing and the insurance and weíll be ready to go. Lichtenfeld: So is this a business or is it for the community? Jorrin: Itís for the kids. But business-wise for the adults who want to come in, work out and train, yeah itís a business also. But mostly to give back to the youth in my community because there isnít a boxing program in the town where I live. Thatís how I began boxing so I always figured when I grew up and made it into the big time that I would give back. That was always what I wanted, to give back to the kids in the community. Lichtenfeld: You come from a large family... Jorrin: Iím 4th from the youngest of 10 kids. Lichtenfeld: So what has it meant to them to have a world champion in the family? Jorrin: Theyíre so happy about it. They know all the dedication and hard work Iíve put into my career. They love it. They follow me and support me and its one big happy family. Lichtenfeld: Finally, anything you want to say to boxing fans that are reading this interview? Jorrin: When they hear Willie Jorrin, turn that tube on and donít turn the channel. Theyíll see a good performer out there who will show them some good skills and the real art of boxing. And much love to all the fans that I do have already. Writerís note: Willie Jorrin is certainly one of the ďnice guysĒ in this sport. Despite not earning Princely sums of money, he has already started giving something back to his commnity. He seemed completely relaxed, confident and genuinely happy to be in the position heís in. I know boxing often needs both, good guys and bad guys to escalate the drama. But it wouldnít hurt to have a few more Willie Jorrins. My thanks to Marty Mulcahey and Freddie Roach for helping to arrange this interview.