Carlos Torres knows thereâ€™s more to boxing than violence.
â€œThereâ€™s the will and drive of the fighters,â€ 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 Cityâ€™s Remington Park Casino, chasing his dream into a virtual lionâ€™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 casinoâ€™s lax smoking regulations allowed a tobacco cloud to seep into his cuts and exhausted lungs while in combat.
It didnâ€™t matter to Torres that night. Because January 13, 2011, he became what he always dreamed of being: a professional fighter.
â€œThe Oscar De La Hoyas, The Mike Tysons, those were my super heroes. Thatâ€™s what always I wanted to be,â€ 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 didnâ€™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.
â€œI would recommend Vegas to someone for two weeks max,â€ Torres said. â€œItâ€™s a money city. Everyoneâ€™s about hustling. Everyoneâ€™s about, you know, about making money… For that time in my life I was looking for genuine people to talk to. I just didnâ€™t find it there.â€
Torres said Las Vegas made boxing feel like a job and his disenchantment with the desert ultimately lead him back home to Oklahoma City.
â€œEverybodyâ€™s different but I like it here. This is where I find my balance to do what I love.â€
Itâ€™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.
â€œIt helps with training,â€ she said. â€œInstead of being apart, weâ€™re together.â€
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 heâ€™s toying with the idea of rematch.
Though Kelly lost, it probably wasnâ€™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.
â€œIn the amateurs you got the headgear to protect you. You have the big puffy gloves. In the prosâ€¦ 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 lifeâ€¦ if he catches you with the wrong shot. You know, you sign your name on the dotted line and you know what youâ€™re getting into.â€
Kelly said being a boxer herself doesnâ€™t make watching her boyfriend fight any easier.
â€œI think it makes it worse, because you know what itâ€™s like,â€ she said. â€œI think just knowing what someone could do to you, it makes you scared but at the same time I know [Carlosâ€™] skill level and I know his ability. But you still get nervous because itâ€™s someone you care about and you want to see them do well. You just know in boxing, thereâ€™s no guarantees.â€
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 wasnâ€™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.
â€œYou want to create that invincibility,â€ Torres said, referencing what Manny Pacquiao has done in recent years. â€œThatâ€™s what you want to create as a boxer. You want to create excitement. Buzz.â€
Thatâ€™s how Dobbs described both Torres and Trance: exciting.
â€œCarlos and Kelly were both in exciting fights and we definitely want them both back,â€ said Dobbs in an e-mail.
With one win under his belt, Torres isnâ€™t quite invincible but that doesnâ€™t mean heâ€™s not willing to fight to become like Pacquiao, like an icon.
â€œReally now, Iâ€™m just doing it for the love of the sport. I want people to love it as much as I do. Thereâ€™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.â€
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.