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Boxing: Mayorga Likes To Keep Things Simple

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posted on Nov, 27 2003 @ 06:04 PM
USA TODAY - November 20, 2003

With two wins against Vernon Forrest and a never-stop-punching style, welterweight champ Ricardo Mayorga has emerged as the hottest fighter this year.

The engaging and energetic slugger from Nicaragua is on a meteoric rise to fame and fortune that will continue as long as he punches past titlist Cory Spinks in their undisputed title fight Dec. 13 in Atlantic City (HBO PPV) on promoter Don King's card featuring a record eight title bouts.

Winning would probably propel Mayorga into a March 13 fight with junior middleweight champ Sugar Shane Mosley.

Yet even with his newfound popularity, Mayorga has remained unusually humble, his brash trash talk toward foes aside. Mayorga's favorite place to escape from his Fort Pierce, Fla., camp isn't some trendy club. Mayorga spends his free time at Wal-Mart.

''I love Wal-Mart, and there's one right up the street,'' he says. ''They have everything there.''

During his camp, he's bought a TV, DVD player, sound system and PlayStation 2 (with baseball and boxing games). When Mayorga breaks camp, he says he'll give everything away (except the games) to one of the gym managers.

''I already have all this stuff at home. I like giving things to people who work hard for very little and can't afford the nice things that I can now,'' says Mayorga, who has also given away much of his money to family members and poor neighbors in Managua.

Mayorga had hired Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward to work with him for the Spinks fight. They trained together for two days several weeks ago, and Steward was enthusiastic about working with Mayorga for such a big fight.

But the combination of Steward's busy schedule -- broadcasting duties for a number of HBO cards and training work with prospect Octavio Lara for a fight Saturday -- and Mayorga's desire to stay in Florida instead of moving his base to Steward's Kronk Gym in Detroit means they won't work together.

''I didn't have the time to get down there (to Florida),'' Steward says. ''I explained it to Don. I was hoping it would work out, but it hasn't. Mayorga didn't want to come to Detroit because he doesn't like the cold weather.''

Mayorga has reunited with Rigoberto Garibaldi, who trained him through his first bout with Andrew Lewis in 2001.

''He is a great trainer, and it feels like old times,'' Mayorga says. ''He makes training a challenge and that keeps me motivated.''

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