|Getting to Know Raul “El Tigre” Casarez|
By: Javi Chirinos
Photo by: Adrian Hernandez
Raul “El Tigre” Casarez recently captured the WBO Youth Middleweight Title by defeating Anthony Greenidge in Kissimmee, Florida on October 16, 2010. Myuniversalsports.com recently had a chance to sit and chat with “El Tigre” and give boxing fans a chance to get to know..… Raul “El Tigre” Casarez.
How did you get the nickname “El Tigre”?
El Tigre: Octavio Saenz from Univision gave me that name when I was younger. It was during my time fighting in the Golden Gloves. He started calling me “El Tigrito” and it’s stuck with me since then.
Who’s been your toughest opponent thus far?
El Tigre: Myself. I made fights tougher for me than they should’ve been. I wasn’t dedicated when I was younger. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd. I was fighting against myself a lot. I’m my toughest opponent.
What does a typical day look like for you?
El Tigre: For a while I was working but my family has allowed me to just dedicate myself to boxing. I wake up early to run. I have lunch with my daughter, Vivian Alyzza Casarez every chance I get at her elementary. She’s 5 years old.
Why do you and Trainer James Gogue work so well together?
El Tigre: Gogue is a hard fellow to get along with. But it’s because of him that I changed my work ethics. He’s helped me get my life straight. He hasn’t tried to change my style of boxing. He just corrects some of my mistakes but lets me be myself at the same time. I owe a lot to him.
What does it feel like to wear your WBO Youth Title Belt?
El Tigre: It’s a great feeling. First couple of nights I slept with it on. It was a great fight. A lot of people had counted me out and I’ve worked hard for it and I carry it proudly. It’s an awesome feeling to wear this belt. I took the fight on short notice and came out with the victory.
How old were you when you started boxing?
El Tigre: I was 12 yrs old. I had about 60+ amateur fights.
What got you started into boxing?
El Tigre: It was during the mid 90’s when Oscar de la Hoya fought against Julio Cesar Chavez. It was a big thing for us. We would invite family and friends over and get the big screen out for everyone to see the fight. When I saw them go at it, I told everyone at my house that one day I would fight Oscar de la Hoya. Everybody kind of laughed at me because I was over 200 pounds at the time. Being overweight also encouraged me to get into boxing because I knew the sport could help me lose some weight. My dad was able to find me a boxing gym to work out at.
Who are some of your boxing idols?
El Tigre: Fernardo Vargas and Oscar de la Hoya, but only after I met him (laugh). Oscar is a great human being. He is someone that all kids should look up to. He’s a real great guy.
How has Marines Promotions treated you over the years?
El Tigre: Marines gave me a home and opened the doors to his gym for me. As long as I worked hard and stayed out of trouble, he told me I would be allowed in his gym. His family has been great to me also.
What does your diet consist of during training camp?
El Tigre: My diet consists of a lot of protein and good carbohydrates. After I run in the morning, I have 6 egg whites with oatmeal. Three hours later, I snack on apples or bananas. I have fish or chicken breasts for lunch. Some more fruits in the afternoon. After I get out of the gym in the evening, I’ll have fish tilapia with vegetables.
What is your earliest boxing memory?
El Tigre: It was during my second amateur fight. I’m the type of person who loves to feel support. My 2nd fight was in Marble Falls near Austin. My family couldn’t make it to that fight but my opponent was from San Antonio and had a lot of supporters there. He was near his hometown and somehow I was able to pull off the victory. Even though my family wasn’t there physically, they were still there with me.
If you could step in the ring with one boxer, active or retired, who would it be and why?
El Tigre: Retired boxer would be Oscar De la Hoya because he was the first fighter I said I would beat when I was young. Active boxer would be Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
The best gift I ever received for Christmas was?
El Tigre: I was 14 yrs. old and my parents bought me some boxing gloves. My brothers got me some boxing trunks and boxing shoes. I got a punching bag from my uncle. I got a bunch of boxing accessories. It was the greatest Christmas ever.
How did you get the idea to propose to your fiancé Melissa Castillo after a fight?
El Tigre: I found me a great girl and her family is also great. I couldn’t let her get away. She’s helped me get stronger and we’ve been through so many good times. I just knew I wanted to be with her forever.
If you were not a boxer, what would you be doing?
El Tigre: I’d probably be 260 pounds and playing football! I love football and was pretty good at it in high school. Or I would probably be an engineer. I want to get back to college in January and maybe one day become a counselor. I want to help kids and from some of my experiences I feel I can relate to some of the issues they face today.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
El Tigre: I just take it day by day. I’m just working really hard right now to get where I want to be. I want to do something real good with my life and just take it one day at a time to get there.
Has there ever been a time when you just wanted to walk away from the sport of boxing?
El Tigre: I felt that way 4 yrs ago. I was inactive; I hadn’t fought for a year and 10 months. I slipped and I wanted the social lifestyle back. I’ve straightened myself up and now I can’t imagine being away from the sport.
What’s the feeling like as you are walking to the ring and you hear your named announced prior to the fight?
El Tigre: For the longest time, I haven’t felt nervous or scared. The last time I was nervous prior to a fight was when I was in the amateurs. Now, the whole day of the fight, I’m just focused on beating my opponent. I’m just thinking of our game plan and how I’m going to take it to him once the bell rings.
What can we expect in 2011 from you?
El Tigre: I’m just going to continue working hard. I’m going to fight the Top 10 ranked fighters in the world this year. I’m going to give it my all and whatever it takes to get to the top.
What would you like to tell your fans through myuniversalsports.com?
El Tigre: I appreciate all the support and love from all the valley fans. I’d especially like to thank my family for all their support. But I’d really thank the people that never believed in me. It’s those people who drive me to become a better fighter. Just continue to support me and all the other valley fighters and hopefully one day I can bring a world title home.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 December 2010 00:05 )|