Eric Altamirano sat in the middle of one of the two rings in Concord, CA at Commerce Youth Center where he has trained for the past 12 years exclusively. It was nearly 8:00 PM practice had started two hours ago and despite the fact that local San Francisco Giants were playing game two of the world series if you looked around the gym you would hardly know it.
Altramirano last fought two weeks ago against a fighter also making his debut against Dara Ny in Sacramento, the end result was the rare standing TKO in the second round. “I though I would be more nervous for my first fight” Altamirano reflected when thinking back upon the bout. Altamirano returns to action this Saturday in Fresno, CA on the undercard of Jose Ramirez card promoted by Top Rank.
Altamirano who knows little about his opponent explained it best, “I just go off what my coach [Gary Sullenger] tells me. He is like ‘work on this’ or ‘work on that’ by that I can tell what we are working on.” For this camp in particular, Altamirano placed an emphasis on the jab something that a lot of pro fighters have forgotten. At 5’10” (though I still think he is taller) Altamirano is a top the top of the division in terms of height and length. With such a size advantage the jab is something that will become a major advantage for him in terms of keeping distance. “The average fighter for the weight class (lightweight) is between 5’5” and 5’9”, I am 5’10”, I am pretty tall,” Altamirano explained.
When Altamirano went to nationals he was surprised that he was just fighting short people. “Yeah, a couple of people were my height, but mostly it was short people.” The biggest change for Altamirano was the fact that in the gym he was so use to fighting people his own height and at first the contrast was jarring, but always worked to his advantage. “In the gym we train for all styles, tall, short, we fight inside, we fight outside. We work everything, not one thing.”
In his last bout, I was reminded of a young Antonio Margarito as Altramirano viciously went to the body. “I didn’t base my fighting style off him, but I like the heart of [Margarito] and how he just keeps coming forward and yeah, I did notice [in my last fight] his body and he didn’t like it so I was targeting his body.” The long frame of Altamirano as well as his volume of punches draws the comparison as well as the amount of pressure he applies to his opponents at times.
Altramirano who faces Matthew Flores explained quite simply, “All I know is the guy is short and I am a tall fighter and he is going to try to stay inside. My strategy is to stay outside and whoop him.” Flores has been competitive in his past few fights though never finding the winners circle, but has never been stopped. This is a key component as Altamirano looked so dominant in his debut that one might wonder if Flores may get stopped for the first time in his career.
Altamirano accredits his toughest fight to Erick De Leon who signed with Top Rank since turning pro. “He beat me in a very close fight in Texas at the national PAL. We both fought everyday and we saw each other face to face Monday, Tuesday all the way to Friday and little did I know he was my opponent for the finals.” It what was regarded as tough fight to judge. De Leon got the decision victory which hurt , but Altamirano explained he trained his hardest for the fight and the fact that De Leon was so humble in victory speaking with him after telling him ‘that he was one of the toughest fighters he ever fought’ helped as well. “My coach even told me [after the fight] , he gets mad when I lose, but that time he was like ‘don’t worry, don’t worry about it, you did good, you did great!”
Altamirano returns after last fighting October 11th or should I say about 14 days after his last professional fight. “I am trying to stay busy, the more fights I can get the better,” said Altramirano. “We are trying to go out there put on a good show for the people and if people show interest like Top Rank for instance that would be great, but we are going to make sure we make a statement.”