Carlos Torres knows there’s more to boxing than violence.
“There’s the will and drive of the fighters,” he said.
It was the drive for victory not violence that compelled Torres to rush into the eye of 1100-person sellout crowd at Oklahoma City’s Remington Park Casino, chasing his dream into a virtual lion’s den. And it was his will that urged him to fight on, even as the glamour of his first professional fight faded, and the casino’s lax smoking regulations allowed a tobacco cloud to seep into his cuts and exhausted lungs while in combat.
It didn’t matter to Torres that night. Because January 13, 2011, he became what he always dreamed of being: a professional fighter.
“The Oscar De La Hoyas, The Mike Tysons, those were my super heroes. That’s what always I wanted to be,” he said.
Photo by the excellent Randy Carr; Carlos is on the left.
Torres has been boxing since he was eight years old. Back then his father was his coach. At 14, he moved his training to the Southside Golden Gloves Gym in Oklahoma City. As an amateur, Torres accumulated a 19-3 record and a silver medal at the National Junior Olympic Championships.
A five-year stint in the Navy sidetracked his plans but didn’t shelve his passion. Torres said he continued to fight in the Navy with friends for fun. After the military, his path eventually led him to Las Vegas to train.
“I would recommend Vegas to someone for two weeks max,” Torres said. “It’s a money city. Everyone’s about hustling. Everyone’s about, you know, about making money… For that time in my life I was looking for genuine people to talk to. I just didn’t find it there.”
Torres said Las Vegas made boxing feel like a job and his disenchantment with the desert ultimately lead him back home to Oklahoma City.
“Everybody’s different but I like it here. This is where I find my balance to do what I love.”
It’s also where he found another love, his girlfriend who fights by the name of Kelly Trance. The two not only made their professional debuts on the same card but they train together as well. Kelly says there are benefits to sharing love for boxing.
“It helps with training,” she said. “Instead of being apart, we’re together.”
Kelly dropped a decision in her debut at Remington in a close fight. The fight was so close that HD Boxing promoter Bobby Dobbs has confirmed in an e-mail that he’s toying with the idea of rematch.
Though Kelly lost, it probably wasn’t for a lack of effort. Torres said the two trained six days a week, at least 3 hours a day, sometimes twice a day for their professional debuts. He cites a heighten danger level for the intense training regiment.
“In the amateurs you got the headgear to protect you. You have the big puffy gloves. In the pros… you got small gloves. No headgear. And this guy is coming to hurt you. You got to look at it that way. If he wants he could end your life… if he catches you with the wrong shot. You know, you sign your name on the dotted line and you know what you’re getting into.”
Kelly said being a boxer herself doesn’t make watching her boyfriend fight any easier.
“I think it makes it worse, because you know what it’s like,” she said. “I think just knowing what someone could do to you, it makes you scared but at the same time I know [Carlos’] skill level and I know his ability. But you still get nervous because it’s someone you care about and you want to see them do well. You just know in boxing, there’s no guarantees.”
Photo by the generous Randy Carr; Kelly is on the right.
There were no guarantees for Carlos on fight night. Torres, a 25 year-old student studying kinesiology at the University of Central Oklahoma and boxing instructor at American Top Team in Oklahoma City, knows better than to take things for granted. After rocking his opponent, a very game James Wade, with headshots Torres wasn’t allowed to take it easy. Wade continued to press until the third when Torres sent him to the floor with a body shot for the TKO victory.
“You want to create that invincibility,” Torres said, referencing what Manny Pacquiao has done in recent years. “That’s what you want to create as a boxer. You want to create excitement. Buzz.”
That’s how Dobbs described both Torres and Trance: exciting.
“Carlos and Kelly were both in exciting fights and we definitely want them both back,” said Dobbs in an e-mail.
With one win under his belt, Torres isn’t quite invincible but that doesn’t mean he’s not willing to fight to become like Pacquiao, like an icon.
“Really now, I’m just doing it for the love of the sport. I want people to love it as much as I do. There’s a lot of speculation that boxing is a dying sport. I want to bring it back to the mainstream, [make] people see it the way I see it.”
After their fights, the couple 1-1 for the night, were too battered to celebrate their milestone. But they remained content to go home to heal together.
Torres hopes to fight as soon as February under the HD Boxing banner. Look for Trance in a potential rematch with Lacey Crawford.
(c) James Nghiem All rights reserved.