By Jeff Zimmerman
For the former 2008 U.S. Olympian Luis “The Latin Legend” Yanez, the sweet science has been anything but sweet since his much ballyhooed pro debut back in 2009, yet he remains as confident as ever and still dreams of a world title. Although still undefeated as a pro at 6-0-1, Yanez has fought mostly in obscurity around his home state of Texas for the last 5 years. Not exactly the path to a world title and the potential for big paydays that most former Olympians enjoy. A series of issues with sponsors, advisors and others put his once promising career on ice.
“Well all I can say about that is you have to be careful who you let in your circle. In a way though it has been a blessing, I fought for 10 years without a break and I had some nagging injuries that were finally able to heal. So just a combination of things but I’m ready now to take it to the next level.”
Yanez’ patience and positive outlook has paid off as he will get that opportunity to jumpstart his career as he fights for the WBC U.S. Super Flyweight Championship against the well traveled and tough Timur “Here Comes Trouble” Shailezov (16-6-1, 3KO) on Friday, April 19th at the Cendera Center in Forth Worth, Texas. This will be the main event of former World Champion Paulie Ayala’s Friday Night Fight Series.
Although Shailezov may not be a household name, he has a track record of fighting top talent on their home turf and has been quite successful. He has picked up a myriad of titles along the way including the NABA Bantamweight Championship, NABA Super-flyweight Championship, WBA Intercontinental Super-Flyweight Championship and Russian Bantamweight Championship.
All of Shailezov’ experience is not lost on Yanez.
“I see that he has traveled the globe, but I’ve fought in a few country’s myself like Russia, Africa, England, China, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Uzbekistan and Mexico. He is a seasoned pro, they aren’t bringing him all the way from Russia to lie down and give me the belt. He’s been in tough fights; I believe his only losses are for World and regional titles. It’s going to be a great fight.”
Yanez takes nothing for granted at this stage of his career and doesn’t mind working his way up the ladder and proving himself all over again. He is grateful to fight for his first significant title as a pro.
“It feels great, I’ve won a lot of titles in my amateur career and I’m used to working my way through the ranks. I’m just as excited to be fighting here in front of my home town and on a Paulie Ayala Production show and I thank Paulie and Leti Ayala for that.”
Ayala knows as well as anyone that becoming a champion is not easy and believes Yanez still has a bright future.
“I had to fight my way to the top and Yanez could do the same. Although his pro career hasn’t taken off like he had hoped, he is always in shape and training and is still undefeated. If he wins this title against a tough veteran southpaw like Shailezov, it could be the kick start he needs towards a world title.”
If Yanez could make a run at a world title, he is ready-made for TV. Wired in the mold of Adrien Broner and the king of ring antics, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., he’s a DJ on the side and loves to call out fighters via social media. Yanez, after all, came out in a red cape behind a green screen for his pro debut but has been more Clark Kent than Superman ever since.
He may, however, need a Superman performance to get his career on track. Known as the “Latin Legend,” right now, he’s not even the most celebrated Hispanic fighter in his own backyard. That honor goes to a much milder Roberto Marroquin who fights for Top Rank and has already fought for a world title.
Yanez doesn’t concern himself with the comparisons to Marroquin, Broner or anyone else.
“That’s funny; I don’t compare myself like that. Like I said I’m used to working my way thru the ranks, thru the BS and I let other people do the comparing. As far as fighting for world titles, yes, success is winning those world titles, not just fighting for them.”
Yanez understands his career is at a crossroads.
“It’s a crossroad fight in a way, because its hard finding fights or guys that want to take a chance and fight me but I’m willing to take the chance because with this belt all those guys will have to come see me then.”
If Yanez is able to show he truly is Superman-like against Shailezov on April 19th, Yanez can prove that his dream of a world title is still alive.
“Do I dream of being [a world champion], Jeff, I believe I am the World Champ and soon so will everyone else, yup!” ……………………… Other notable and talented Dallas-Fort Worth fighters on the card include super middleweight Samuel “The Main Event” Clarkson (7-1, 5KO, light welterweight Mighty Mo Maurice Hooker (7-0-1, 5KO) and lightweight Manuel “The Punisher” Rojas (7-0, 2KO) in separate bouts.
Tickets are currently on sale at http://www.cenderacenter.com/events starting at only $23 for general admission, $35 for the 1st 2 rows and tables of 10 for $65 that includes a cocktail waitress all night.
Cendera Center is located at 3600 Benbrook Highway, Fort Worth, Texas.
The doors open at 6:00 and the first bell rings at 7:30.
Weigh-ins will take place Thursday, April 18th at 3:00 at Ojos Locos at 515 Houston St, Fort Worth, Texas.