Manny Robles III believes he is more than ready for tonight’s world title fight. Or is he biting more than he can chew?
Robles will count on his amateur days and having his father in his corner to guide him to victory tonight when he faces WBA ‘Regular’ featherweight titleholder Can Xu at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio, California.
The 12-round bout will precede the main event bout between WBA ‘Regular’ junior lightweight titleholder Andrew Cancio and Rene Alvarado. Both fights will be streamed live on DAZN (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).
Robles (18-0, 8 knockouts), who resides in Los Angeles, will take a significant step-up in opposition when he faces Xu. Tonight will also be his first 12-round bout after fighting in three fights that were scheduled for 10 rounds.
Some wonder if the 25-year-old Robles is in fact ready to face a fighter like Xu after winning back-to-back split-decisions, both of which occurred at the same venue as tonight’s Golden Boy card.
In his last bout on May 16, Robles defeated previously-unbeaten and little-known Rigoberto Hermosillo of Mexico.
Xu (17-2, 3 KOs), who resides in Kunming, China and trained for the Robles fight in Miami, Florida, is a high-volume puncher, who is aggressive despite his lack of punching power. Some wonder whether Robles will be able to adapt and not be overwhelmed by Xu’s offense.
Robles is confident with his experience and boxing I.Q. that he can get the job done.
“For this fight, I’m going to have to throw when he throws,” said Robles at Tuesday’s open workout. “He’s a high-volume puncher. I’m going to use a lot of footwork. I have to have a certain distance, too. I can’t give him the distance to let his punches go, especially because of his high output. I have to be careful with that. I’m going to have to counter and let my hands go.”
Robles is the son of Manny Robles, a Southern California-based trainer who trains unified world heavyweight titleholder Andy Ruiz, who will face Anthony Joshua in a rematch on Dec. 7 in Saudi Arabia.
Recently, Robles parted ways with his father, who trained him from his amateur days. He is now trained by Rudy Hernandez, though his father helps work the corner. As tough as it was, Robles says he had to make the move and believes sitting down on his punches compliments his skill-set.
“I was more technical as an amateur but being with Rudy Hernandez has taught me to sit on my punches more and use my body more. He taught me how to fight (on the) inside. My father trained me for pretty much my entire fight, but now Rudy Hernandez is my head trainer. It was a big sacrifice for my dad. It was something we decided to do. He understood that. It was a sacrifice he knew he had to do.”
Aside from his father and Hernandez, Robles credits tagging along with his grandfather to the now-closed L.A. Boxing gym for lighting an interest and gaining knowledge in the sport. He hopes his amateur experience, couple with the knowledge of his father and Hernandez will reward him with a world title belt.
“Ever since I can remember, I have been boxing. I was a baby when I started boxing. But the first thing I can remember is being at LA Boxing, which no longer exists. The gym was full of great pros and fighters, and of course my grandfather was a trainer there as well. He was a great coach back in the day, along with my father. I remember being with both of them there.”
“My amateur experience has a lot to do with where I am today. When I was an amateur, I was able to spar with world champions. That’s pretty crazy. I never cared about who I sparred with. My father taught me how to think, so I wasn’t scared to get in there with them. I was able to learn from the best and get experience. That helped me prepare for this moment of my career.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing