Exclusive Interview by “Bad” Brad Berkwitt
Photo Courtesy of Carlos Hernandez
“At least on television it looks like he (Floyd Mayweather, JR.) has lost his humbleness, but who am I to judge? I am very happy for him.”—Carlos Hernandez
Carlos “Famoso” Hernandez the former IBF Super Featherweight Champion and the first fighter to ever knockdown Floyd Mayweather, JR. sits down with RSR in this very heartfelt interview. Hernandez won his title, when he faced David Santos, on February 3, 2003. During his career, he was a fan favorite and in his life after boxing, he is very happy with family and his soon to be, new business venture.
BB: What have you been up to since you retired from boxing in 2009?
I’m trying to get my certification in CrossFit and run a CrossFit/boxing gym. It’s a business, not just a way of life.
I really feel like I retired in 2005 after the Pacquiao fight, (Bobby). It was more of uninspired motions in the gym. My heart wasn’t in it anymore. I had more important things to think about like my newborn son and my expecting wife. Of course I would have liked to have won those fights, but after the fight with Pac’s brother, I was sick of boxing and its politics.
BB: You turned professional on January 23, 1992 and fought a four round draw with Victor Trinidad. How frustrating was not to get the W in your first pro bout?
I was training in Watts California at the famous Broadway gym with Bill Slayton at the time, and didn’t have a manager. I was growing impatient. At the time, I wanted to fight professionally after being idle for about a year and a half. I asked a guy who knew a guy to get me a fight. In other words, I had a fight in a couple of weeks lined up. I was pretty sure I was going to win, they were getting me a guy from Mexico and ignorant me thinking the guy is malnourished I would destroy him. Rounds 1 & 2, I clearly won, but when the guy was durable and taking all I had to dish out, he came back in the 3rd and 4th. Luckily I didn’t lose, but it was an eye opener and great experience for me.
BB: In your 28th professional bout, you faced the late, Genaro Hernandez, for his WBC Super Featherweight belt. You lost by a unanimous decision. What are your recollections of this fight and were you in touch with Genaro before he sadly passed away of cancer in 2011?
Let me share this with you. His last text to me before passing, “I feel honored you feel like that. I appreciated everything you showed me as well. You were 1 of the reasons I became who I became as a fighter and a person”. That was his last text to me. Genaro was my mentor. He took me under his wing and taught me many things in boxing and I was honored to be his friend/brother. May his soul rest in peace. (Interviewer’s Note: Genaro was a Class Act loved by everyone in boxing. To hear this answer from Carlos, was very moving.)
BB: You would get another crack at the same title when you faced then champion, Floyd Mayweather, JR. on May 26, 2001, where you also lost by a unanimous decision. In this fight, you would be the first man to ever drop him. What are your recollections of this fight?
My desire to win at whatever cost was my mindset. My wife being a sports psychologist helped me get mentally ready for the task at hand. I knew I was entering hostile territory, but the burning desire I carried in my soul to win and beat the guy who just picked Diego Corrales apart was strong! I just felt with my faith, will, my countrymen and my family (wife), there was no stopping me. I was going to make history which I almost did when he took the knee for the 8 count. I said to myself this is my opportunity to shut these people up (his crowd), the nay sayers, and the bettors who had it 35 to 1 against me. I could almost feel the belt strapped around my waist yet I couldn’t forget I was facing the best fighter in the world whose defense is more of an art form than anything else. He went into survival mode and peppered me with jabs and ran away with the win, literally.
Let me tell you though, something I’ll never forget, like a movie scene from a Rocky flick, when Rocky fights in Russia and the entire crowd are booing him. But, as the rounds go by, the tides start to turn for Rocky. At the end the entire Russian crowd was behind the American. Well that’s almost how I felt. All boo’s from the pro Mayweather crowd towards me, but in the end, the majority of the arena were cheering me on and booing the home town champ. An unbelievable feeling to have hundreds of people waiting for my autograph – it was an emotional win for me.
BB: How do you compare Floyd today, to the 2001 version in the ring and out?
The Mayweather of 2001 would have completely destroyed Manny Paqcuiao. Today, I’m not so sure, but still leaning towards Money if they ever do meet. I just feel that he’s taking more unnecessary shots that he wouldn’t before. Outside the ring, he’s very outgoing and not afraid of the camera. He is very sure of himself because he has proven it. At least on television it looks like he has lost his humbleness, but who am I to judge? I am very happy for him.
BB: You finally strike gold when on February 1, 2003, you defeat David Santos for the vacant IBF Super Featherweight Title. What was it like hearing and the new… ?
Of course it was something I’ve wanted to hear since I was a boy wanting to do something for my country El Salvador and for President Flores (President of ES at the time). Being there front row representing the 7 million Salvadorans was truly a dream come true. Not only was the President there, but my fellow Central American legends were there with Roberto Duran and the late great Alexis Arguello in the crowd. It can’t get it any better than that.
BB: In your 17 year boxing career, who do you feel was your toughest opponent and why?
Honestly I believe it was I. My bad habits of overindulging with food and thinking I’d be young forever and taking my free time for granted. I was my toughest opponent. (Interviewer’s note: In my 16 years of doing interviews this is the first time I have ever heard this answer. You can’t get more honest than that!)
BB: How much during those 17 years had boxing changed?
If it has it’s been the negotiations for big fights. Floyd Mayweather, JR. Vs. Manny Pacquiao for example. It’s not like the 80’s where Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns were perfectly matched up to see who the top dog was. It’s not like that today in boxing. I understand its all business, but we the consumers want the real big fights like before. That era has long passed.
BB: If you could meet anyone from anytime in history, who would it be and what would be the first question you would ask them?
I would say Jesus, but I’m not worthy. Maybe a Catholic saint like Padre Pio. I’m very Catholic if you haven’t noticed. (Big Laugh) I would ask him to pray for my family and me.
BB: What is one thing that you can share with the RSR readers that may surprise them?
Here are two. I knocked out Panchito Bojado in sparring when he was the up and coming darling in boxing, but had to teach that boy a lesson in boxing with the adults. Many people disliked Fernando Vargas, but the guy is a very nice guy who shared his training camp from Big Bear with me when he didn’t have to. He is a Class Act!
BB: Do you favor a mandatory retirement fund and if so, how do you think it can finally be accomplished?
Really it’s a complicated question that would take some time to analyze and give the proper answer. Something I’m not able to do at this moment. But, yes a mandatory retirement fund would be excellent. It’s especially needed for those poor retired boxers who are homeless or have pugilistic dementia.
BB: Finally, what is the saying you live your life by?
“Whatever it Takes.”
Division: Light Welterweight
Professional Record: 43-8-1, 24 KO’s
Date Opponent Location Result
1992-01-23 Victor Trinidad Irvine, US D PTS 4
1992-04-23 Francisco Salinas Irvine, US W UD 4
1992-05-27 Bret Boone Irvine, US W UD 4
1992-06-25 Tony Olivas Irvine, US W KO 1
1992-07-13 Mike Dallas Inglewood, US W KO 2
1992-07-24 Jorge Ojeda San Bernardino, US W KO 2
1992-08-10 Edgar Soto Inglewood, US W KO 2
1992-10-30 Larry Loy San Bernardino, US W UD 6
1992-11-06 Ramon Morales Inglewood, US W UD 6
1993-03-25 Sergio Baez Irvine, US W DQ 4
1993-04-17 Jorge Ojeda Sacramento, US W KO 5
1993-04-26 Rafael Vargas Inglewood, US W KO 5
1993-06-28 Greg Puente Inglewood, US W UD 6
1993-10-11 Hector Javier Monjardin Inglewood, US W UD 8
1994-03-01 Javier Marquez Inglewood, US W KO 5
1994-03-24 Paris Alexander Irvine, US W KO 7
1994-04-25 Narciso Valenzuela Inglewood, US W UD 10
1994-06-11 Tomas Valdez Inglewood, US W KO 2
1994-09-10 Carlos Marquez Stateline, US W KO 3
1994-10-24 Fernando Rosas Inglewood, US W TKO 4
1995-04-10 Ramon Sanchez Inglewood, US W KO 4
1995-05-19 Angel Aldama Primm, US W UD 10
1995-09-30 Aaron Zarate Lake Tahoe, US L SD 10
1996-07-10 Isagani Pumar Beverly Hills, US W TKO 10
International Boxing Council Super Featherweight Title
1997-01-13 Gregorio Vargas Inglewood, US W MD 10
1997-04-07 Bernard Harris Anaheim, US W KO 8
1997-06-09 Jose Luis Montes Anaheim, US W KO 2
1997-11-20 Genaro Hernandez Los Angeles, US L UD 12
WBC World Super Featherweight Title
1998-04-04 Roberto Avila San Salvador, SV W SD 10
1999-01-09 Ernesto Martinez Las Vegas, US W TKO 4
1999-04-28 Javier Lucas Montebello, US W TKO 6
1999-11-05 Alejandro Jimenez Commerce, US W UD 10
2000-05-06 Tony Duran Las Cruces, US W TKO 6
2000-11-12 Angel Aldama Denver, US W TKO 4
2000-12-18 Reggie Sanders Los Angeles, US W KO 5
2001-02-04 Sandro Marcos Concho, US W TKO 2
2001-05-26 Floyd Mayweather Jr Grand Rapids, US L UD 12
WBC World Super Featherweight Title
2001-09-15 Juan Angel Macias San Salvador, SV W TKO 8
WBC Latino Super Featherweight Title
2001-11-25 Justin Juuko West Wendover, US W UD 10
2002-03-22 Douglas Villarreal Austin, US W KO 1
2002-06-14 Mark Burse Beaumont, US W UD 10
2003-02-01 David Santos Las Vegas, US W TD 8
vacant IBF World Super Featherweight Title
2003-05-30 Moises Pedroza Eagle Pass, US W TKO 2
2003-10-04 Steve Forbes Los Angeles, US W TD 10
IBF World Super Featherweight Title
2004-07-31 Erik Morales Las Vegas, US L UD 12
WBC World Super Featherweight Title
IBF World Super Featherweight Title
2004-12-11 Juan Carlos Ramirez Las Vegas, US W SD 10
2005-05-28 Jesus Chavez Los Angeles, US L SD 12
2005-10-08 Bobby Pacquiao Las Vegas, US L SD 10
2006-07-14 Sean Plessis San Antonio, US W UD 10
2006-09-28 Kevin Kelley San Antonio, US L UD 10
2008-08-15 Hector Alatorre Chicago, US W SD 10
2009-04-04 Vicente Escobedo Austin, US L UD 10