Well known boxing manager Frank Espinoza sat down and answered some questions for Fightnews.com readers about several issues including the return of Israel Vazquez, his new crop of fighters and his overall goals within the boxing industry.
What’s going on with Israel Vazquez? When will he be back?
Right now Israel is still healing from the surgery he had on his eye for a detached retina. We’re looking for him to be back later this year. It’s all in the doctor’s hands. Once the doctor says he’s ready to go then we can talk about putting him back in the ring.
Do you think there will be a fourth fight between Israel and Rafael Marquez?
I don’t know at this point. If Israel heals back up in time and Rafael Marquez is still available then there’s a chance it’ll happen. The timing has to be right for everyone involved.
What was it like to be part of one of boxing’s greatest trilogies?
We certainly didn’t think it was going to be a trilogy and it took a lot to make all three fights happen. Many people didn’t feel that Israel should have fought Rafael the second time right away due to the damage done to his nose. After conferring with Israel’s doctor and after he gave his okay, Israel and I pushed to make the fight happen as soon as possible and the same for the third one. It was a lot of work but we got it done and Israel and Rafael created this very special trilogy where each fight was better than the next. Going by that logic, a fourth fight should be out of this world. Can you imagine?
Did you ever think Israel would reach this level of stardom?
I knew he would be a world champion but I didn’t think he would reach a level where he would be mobbed like he is when we go to the fights and everyone asks him for his autograph and pictures. It’s very interesting to see it up close. I think boxing fans were genuinely moved by Israel’s courageous performances.
Tell me about your new fighters. Which ones are you most excited about?
I think all the guys are promising prospects. They’re all undefeated. Luis Ramos is extremely talented and gets compliments everywhere he fights. Carlos Molina, Abraham Lopez, Manny Roman, Ronny Rios, and Jesus “Pollo” Hernandez are all young guys that I think will make an impact on the sport. I think there are definitely some future champions within our squad. I feel I have the best prospects in the west coast.
Why are you a manager and what are the challenges?
First of all, I have a true passion for the sport and love to watch the development of young fighters into champions like I did with Israel Vazquez and Martin Castillo when he was still fighting. I managed them since they were youngsters in the sport and I was there when they became champions. It’s a very satisfying feeling. The challenges are having to maneuver through all the politics involved in the sport and to make sure that my guys get treated the best way possible.
You were inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame and were named manager of the year by the World Boxing Hall of Fame. What was it like to get recognition from your own industry?
It felt good. You put so much effort into this business that comes with so many challenges and for boxing to recognize me and put me in the same company as some of boxing’s most accomplished people, is humbling to say the least. It was touching and I appreciate those moments. It let’s me know that I must be doing something right.
What message would you like to leave the fans with?
I want to thank the fans for their support and especially the support they’ve shown towards Israel. And I want to thank the local fans in Southern California that follow our younger fighters and show up with us wherever we go. We have a very talented squad so keep an eye out for them. I think they all have the potential to be exciting and memorable world champions like Israel Vazquez and Martin Castillo.