'Huracan' blows into 'Hollyhood'
Final presser report & photos by Chris Cozzone
“Yo, I got a feeling, like the wind is blowing and in about 48 hours, we’re gonna have a hurricane here in Albuquerque,” were the opening words of fight manager/ex-fighter Belinda Laracuente today, on behalf of Melissa “Huracan” Hernandez.
“Bring your panchos, because the pound-for-pound champ of women’s boxing will still be No. 1 come Friday night.”
Fighting words they were, because the opening salvo set off a verbal sparring session that all but Holly Holm participated in.
On Friday, Holm, 25-1-3, 7 KOs, will defend her WIBA welterweight belt at a jr. welterweight catchweight of 140 pounds, against Hernandez, 11-1-2, 4 KOs, the current WIBA 130-pound champion.
Holm’s trainer, Mike Winkeljohn, known for his verbal ripostes at press conferences, stole the lightning out of ‘Huracan’s’ camp when at the mic.
“I’m just lucky I get to work with such classy ladies,” he said, motioning to Holm and teammate Jodie Esquibel, who takes on Suszannah Warner in the co-main event Friday night. “Yeah. Classy. Real classy ladies . . .
“But, as for panchos? We’ll be wearing shorts, because we don’t expect much of a hurricane Friday night. Holly gets better every fight and six or seven rounds ought to put this one (motioning to Hernandez) on the canvas.”
Hernandez, as expected, held little back.
“I like the fight here,” she said. “Right here in ‘Hollyhood,’ because I’m gonna beat Holly in ‘Hollyhood.’
“I make no excuses on Friday night. I’m here to punch the ‘Rabbit’ in the face and to expose her. I am women’s boxing. She only fights here but I’m from all over.
“She’s a beautiful woman, but if she was training at Gleason’s, she would’ve fallen through the cracks.”
Promoter Lenny Fresquez, introducing the respective camps, commented that Hernandez, in her smack talk, was only being a businesswomen, maximizing her exposure.
“She’s received more exposure for this fight than she has in her last 15,” said Fresquez, who ended his comments with a warning for Hernandez to be “careful what you ask for – you just might get it.”
Holm refused to acknowledge any of the comments, heaping words of thankfulness upon her promoter, trainer, fight camp and local fight fans.
And about Hernandez, Holm said this:
“She’s tough and she has heart. She’s proven herself and she’s taking this fight seriously. But my job is to execute my game plan – if I do, I will be victorious.”