The old saying, “what’s a nice guy like you doing in a place like this,” certainly applies to Alex Barbosa, who has two degrees from Temple University but currently is pursuing a career as a professional boxer.
Undefeated in three pro fights, Barbosa returns to the North Broad Street campus Saturday evening, Dec. 8, in a scheduled four-round fight on a nationally televised boxing card at Temple’s Pearson/McGonigle Halls.
Headlining the show, which will be televised live as part of the NBC Sports Network Fight Night series, is a scheduled 12-round contest between USBA heavyweight champion Bryant “By By” Jennings, of Philadelphia, and challenger Bowie Tupou, of Tonga.
The eight-fight live card begins at 7pm and the NBCSN broadcast will begin at 9PM ET. The co-feature, also set for TV, is a 10-round junior lightweight contest between Teon Kennedy, of Philadelphia, and Jerry Belmontes, of Corpus Christi, TX.
Barbosa, who takes on Joshua Arocho, of Vineland, NJ, in a four-round featherweight contest, graduated from Temple in 2006 with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice.
Doing things out of the ordinary is nothing new for Barbosa, 26, who was Commanding Officer of his Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at William Allen High School in Alllentown, PA.
He had planned to attend either West Point or the Naval Academy, but changed his mind and chose Temple.
”I chose Temple because I wanted to keep my options open,” Barbosa said. “The ROTC program at the college seemed like the natural course of progression and I wanted to go into the military as an officer.”
And what did his parents think after he got a college degree and decided to become a professional boxer?
”My dad wasn’t too happy about it,’ Barbosa said, “and he wanted nothing to do with it. Later, he came around. My mom just wanted me to be happy so she was fine with it.”
There were other incentives to get into boxing.
“I wrestled four years in high school and I also was on the tennis team,” said Barbosa. “I was born in the Bronx (NY) but we moved to Allentown just before I went to high school. My brother, Jesus, was a professional boxer and he got me interested in the sport.”
As an amateur at 122 pounds, Barbosa won the 2011 Mid Atlantic Novice Championship. That same year he was runner-up in the Open Division of the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves, also at 122.
When he is not training at the James Shuler Memorial Gym in West Philadelphia, Barbosa is a boxing instructor at LA Boxing in Cherry Hill, NJ. Many of his students have followed him since his days as an amateur boxer.
“You must do what you love and be willing to sacrifice everything to get where you want to be,” said Barbosa, “and that’s how I feel about boxing. We’ll see how it turns out.”