Xander Zayas hopes his struggle Saturday evening marks the primary of many appearances the evening earlier than the annual Nationwide Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York.
The Puerto Rican junior middleweight is scheduled to battle Los Angeles’ Ronald Cruz in an eight-round bout on the Josh Taylor-Teofimo Lopez undercard. ESPN will televise Zayas’ struggle versus Cruz because the opener of a doubleheader scheduled to start out at 10 p.m. EDT from The Theater at Madison Sq. Backyard.
“It means the world to me, preventing for the primary time earlier than the Puerto Rican parade,” Zayas instructed BoxingScene.com. “Combating on the eve of the Puerto Rican parade is wonderful. It’s my fourth time preventing in New York, so I’m excited to placed on a present. I’ll be preventing for the Miguel Cotto Trophy. I’m honored and I’m blessed to have that chance. And I need to headline certainly one of these reveals. Hopefully subsequent 12 months it’ll be my time.”
The 20-year-old Zayas (15-0, 10 KOs), who idolized Cotto whereas he was rising up, was alleged to face Cruz on April 1 at Exhausting Rock Lodge & On line casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A minor hand damage suffered whereas coaching compelled Zayas to withdraw from that bout, however Zayas expects Cruz (18-2-1, 12 KOs) to problem him two months after they initially had been scheduled to field.
The 31-year-old Cruz is 0-1-1 in his previous two fights, however he hasn’t been stopped inside the gap throughout his eight-year skilled profession.
“I’m anticipating somebody that’s gonna come ahead, that’s gonna throw combos, that’s gonna be motivated to get the victory,” Zayas stated. “He’s not gonna again off, give me a pair rounds after which stop. He’s coming to struggle. However once more, I made all of the changes. The sport plan is completed. Now it’s time to go have enjoyable, be in there and do what I do, break him down.”
Zayas is ranked fifth by the WBO and eleventh by the WBA within the 154-pound division, regardless of that he nonetheless hasn’t been scheduled for a 10-round bout. The promising prospect nonetheless believes matchmakers for Bob Arum’s High Rank Inc. have moved him at an applicable tempo since he made his professional debut in October 2019.
“I’m solely 20 years outdated,” stated Zayas, who was 16 when he signed a promotional take care of High Rank. “I’m nonetheless rising. I’m nonetheless getting higher. And I really feel like they’ve taken me on the proper tempo. They wanna be capable to develop me, in order that every time I struggle for a world title I don’t simply struggle for it, I win it. So, I really feel like they’ve taken me heading in the right direction and so they’ve given me the proper opponents to be prepared for anyone that will probably be on the high when my time comes.”
The formidable Zayas hopes that plan finally results in him headlining playing cards at Madison Sq. Backyard’s principal enviornment, the place Cotto fought 10 instances throughout the four-division champion’s Corridor-of-Fame profession.
“All the pieces I’ve been engaged on has been constructing in the direction of that,” Zayas stated, “, taking that torch and simply making Puerto Rico proud, making historical past for Puerto Rico and simply hold constructing my very own legacy. On the finish of the day, it comes right down to how dangerous I would like it, how dangerous I actually wanna work for it. I’m actually, actually centered on carrying out each single certainly one of my targets and placing Puerto Rico again on the map, prefer it was when Miguel Cotto, Tito Trinidad and Ivan Calderon had been on high of the world.”
Keith Idec is a senior author/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He could be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.