Rolando Reyes

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From Boxrec Boxing Encyclopedia

Birth Name: Rolando Reyes Suárez
Nationality: US American
Hometown: Oxnard, California, USA
Born: 1979-01-07
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 10″
Reach: 72
 

By Loren Ledin, ledin@insidevc.com, Ventura County Star, July 5, 2003: [1]

Whenever Rolando Reyes finds himself training alongside good pal Jose Aguiniga, be it a brisk workout inside the gym or a long-distance jog, the two Oxnard residents share a running joke.

"It's like, who's going to be champion first?" says Reyes. "That's what our trainer is always yelling at us. 'Who's going to be the champion first? Who wants it the most?' "

Reyes thinks he'll be the one.

At 24, having mastered the late bloom, Reyes just might be ready to follow the path pounded out by fellow La Colonia compadres Fernando Vargas and Robert Garcia and stake his claim among boxing's shining lights.

The 5-foot-10, 135-pounder, plying his trade as a super lightweight, sports an 11-match winning streak while upping his professional record to 18-2-2. After an indifferent start to his pro career, characterized by a disappointing loss to Ernesto Zavala in Irvine two years ago, Reyes is clearly on a roll.

Since dropping that bout on June 28, 2001, Reyes has not lost a round, much less a bout. Eight of the victories in that streak, including a second-round KO of Orlando Membreno at the Pond in Anaheim last month, have come by knockout.

His manager, Cameron Dunkin, is admittedly biased but earnestly fervent when he says his charge is a champion in waiting. The manager has hooked Reyes up with Top Rank to promote his fights.

"He's sensational," says Dunkin, who is also the manager for Aguininga. "Oxnard's going to have two champions. How about that? This guy's got it all. He's quick and he can hit. When people see him fight, they're getting excited."

If Reyes can climb the mount to a championship, the drive began at the back door. Without fanfare.

Unlike Vargas, he of splash and thunder, or even Aguiniga, who fought at the U.S. Olympic Trials and won a Golden Gloves crown in 2000, Reyes has arrived with all the theatrics of Tuesday night.

The Oxnard High graduate took jobs at Fatburger and Kragen Auto Parts to earn a living. Even now, with a career on the rise, he is a married man (his wife is Marilyn) with a couple of young kids. He's the nice guy with the explosive fists.

"You've heard of the first-round draft choices? Well Rolando is a 57th-round draft choice," said Dunkin. "He's the prototype late bloomer. Some guys mature early. He's matured late, physically and emotionally.

"He just a guy you've got to root for. He's earned everything with hard work."

The modest Reyes said he's merely learned to appreciate the value of a blue-collar effort.

"I've learned how important it is to work hard for what you want," he said. "I've probably gotten smarter in what's important to me. I know I've got to work for it."

Reyes's future is boxing may have been assured from the time when he was 7. There he was, living right across the street from the La Colonia Youth Boxing Club. It was a natural he'd wander in for some instruction.

Well, except for the fact the guys in charge kept throwing him out.

"I came in the first couple of times and caused some trouble, so they kicked me out," he said, almost sheepishly. "They told me not to come back until I got serious."

Of course, that's what happened. He came back and he liked it, and he flashed some talent. Reyes hooked up with trainer Ruben Juarez.

The one key for Reyes is focus. In the span of two years, he's apparently learned all it takes to be a boxer.

One esteemed observer is Dean Lohuis, the chief inspector for the State of California's amateur athletic commission. He's witnessed Reyes in several bouts, including the low of his last defeat the high of his recent triumph.

"When I saw him lose that fight (in June 2001), he was not a guy aggressively going for it," said Lohuis. "I thought he was too good a fighter to lose like that. I didn't think he looked that good. I asked him, 'What's going on? You're too good to lose like that.'

"Since that time, something's he happened. He's aggressive. He's quick. I'm still waiting to see him against the best guys, but he's got unlimited potential."

Reyes thinks he's merely matured. He always knows what he covets most.

"I want to win a championship," he said. "I feel like I've got everything. I'm tall, I'm strong and I've got power. I'm just waiting for my chances."

Dunkin wants to nurture Reyes carefully. He's gone from a guy who would fight anytime, anywhere to fighting once a month in decidedly bigger venues.

Reyes fought and won in April in Fresno on the undercard for Floyd Mayweather. His last fight was televised on KCAL (Ch. 9) at The Pond. Though he fought at 135 pounds in his last bout, he has the versatility to go up or down.

Dunkin remembers the stir Reyes caused with a second-round KO over Pedro Garcia in Oxnard on March 28.

"It was really a showcase for Jose Aguiniga," said Dunkin. "Rolando was basically a throw-in after the main event. But he was so impressive, that the crowd just went nuts for him.

"They went to ring. They wanted autographs. That's the kind of boxer he can be."