Words

Ricardo Mayorga to Return to the Ring

Fightland Blog

By Nick Wong

Ricardo 'El Matador' Mayorga holds up a bullfighting photo to agitate opponent Oscar De La Hoya during a press conference in 2006. Photo by Jason Szenes/EPA 

Nicaraguan loudmouth Ricardo Mayorga is set to return to the ring on a date yet to be officially announced. Boxingscene reported the date to be February 18th against an unnamed opponent, but BoxRec, the unofficial record-keeper of the sport, has penciled in April 1st as the date against an unheralded local fighter named Jaudiel Zepeda, who stands at 12-17-1 with 9 KOs by and has lost or no-contested his last 16 bouts. This obviously is meant to be more of a soft-entry back into the sport rather than any sort of serious statement.

Mayorga has also recently appeared in headlines for his comments challenging UFC champion Conor McGregor, whom over the past few months has shown himself to be boxing’s most appetizing meal ticket. Known for his quick-witted trash-talk, Mayorga’s comments have been at the very least entertaining.

“I admit that he's has been very good at mixed martial arts, but in boxing he is making mistakes,” Mayorga said in an interview. “As soon as I grab him, I'm going to break him down, I'm going to disintegrate him.”

“If you are looking for me, you will find me. I have not fought, as they say, with [scrubs and journeymen], with a ghost record like [McGregor] has. But if he wants to fight and he's looking for me—he's going to find me.”

“In boxing, when we step in the ring—he's going to know that I'm a man and he's a woman,” Mayorga also added. “McGregor is wide open when he fights. I'm going to lower his jaw to his navel, so he learns to fear me and shows respect.”

Though the talk of McGregor’s entrance into the Sweet Science has riled up many of the sport’s better-known stars, nobody with actual knowledge about fighting would take this as a serious matchup. Of all the names thrown into the McGregor sweepstakes, Ricardo Mayorga would probably be one of the least desired by fans, and also one of the least deserving. The Nicaraguan last appeared in the ring back in August of last year in a losing six-round effort against Shane Mosley, which for the most part was a depressing affair.

Towards the end of the fight, cameras panned over Mayorga’s wife while she was holding their children and crying at the sight of her husband being publicly beaten. Post-fight, the Nicaraguan also tweeted a somber reminder as to why fighters put themselves through these sorts of things:

“We fight for feed our familia. We try hard but it’s not enough. Boxeo is all we know how to feed familia.”

In late December of last year, Mayorga also appeared on sports headlines after he was allegedly beaten with a club in an altercation at a gas station. Before that, the Nicaraguan boxer made news again for crashing a sports car into a taxi, and having pictures of him passed out drunk outside of another gas station posted online. It also appears as though he is trying to follow in the footsteps of another Nicaraguan boxing legend, Alexis Arguello, by making a bid for mayor, but can’t seem to get his personal life together enough to be considered a viable candidate. It’s all kind of sad when you put it together.

A little over 13 years ago, Sports Illustrated put out a short profile on the fighter, declaring him as “boxing’s hottest ticket.” This is when the Nicaraguan bad-boy would smoke cigarettes at the press conference, eat chicken wings at the weigh-in, and probably had the best no-filter pre-fight insults in the industry. He was also winning. From the outside, Mayorga appeared to be nothing more than an uneducated brute of the fisticuffs. But the piece also went a bit deeper.

Growing up in incredible poverty, he was one of six children raised in a one-room, dirt-floored, cinder-blocked shack, and learned toughness from the end of his father’s belt. He soon found himself mixed up with gangs, which explains the copious amount of scars on his face and body. But even after he started moving up the social ladder through professional fighting, he kept the same friends—not so much because he was foolish, but more so because he was loyal. And though he’s said some of the most obscene and offensive comments leading up to the fight, he’s always been somewhat of a decent human being afterwards, and has never carried a pre-fight attitude after a contest is over.

The most explicable reason why Mayorga is climbing back into the ring is a financial one. That, at least, is most certainly the reason why he is challenging McGregor. Considering all the beatings and humiliation he’s already taken in the ring, and the fact that he’s 43-years-old, one can’t help but kind of feel for the guy.

He is an example of what all too commonly happens to fighters in the sport. They’re adored when they’re in the spotlight; forgotten once they fade out. If nothing else, let’s hope other athletes can take what’s happened to him as a cautionary tale.

 

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