You are heading into the biggest fight of your life with a ton of implications associated to the fight, how have you prepared mentally and what are your thoughts, concerns, and hopes heading into the fight with Orlando Cruz?
Aalan Martinez: I’m confident in my abilities because I know there is no possible way that my opponent has outworked me. You win a fight in the gym and if that is true then I’ve already done everything it takes to win this fight. The only time a fighter has concerns is when he knows deep down he hasn’t done enough to prepare, but I have no concerns. I hope Cruz doesn’t underestimate me because that will be a huge mistake.
Orlando Cruz has a ton of world experience and he is ranked very high, what kind of experience will you bring into the fight and how does your knowledge stack up?
Aalan Martinez: Well, don’t forget I have some world experience myself and I’ve fought some really tough opponents in my career. The difference between me and Cruz as far as knowledge and experience goes is I’ve learned from every single one of my fights and I’ve worked hard to improve, especially from my loss. I’m not the same fighter since my last loss, I’m not even the same fighter since my last win. This fight will come down to who wants it more and nobody wants it more than I do.
That’s interesting, what things did you learn from your loss and how can it help you in your upcoming bout?
Aalan Martinez: My only loss was to Evgeny Gradovich and he just beat Billy Dib for a lightweight title. Everyone knows how good Gradovich is now, but I’ve known he was a great fighter because I got firsthand experience. I learned that I must keep working from beginning to end and I have to maintain a smart but active pace. Against Cruz I know I’ll have to find the perfect combination of patience and aggressiveness.
So are you prepared to go 12 rounds even though you’ve never fought past 7 or are you banking on keeping your knockout streak going?
Aalan Martinez: I’m in shape to go 24 rounds. There are things that a fighter gets out of the experience of going 12 rounds, sure, but it can only help you, not hurt you. The only way it can hurt you is if you have only ever prepared for 8 rounds and then you go up to 12, but if you make it a point to keep your body in 12 round shape then you are as prepared as you can be. I don’t go out there looking to end the fight early; I just take advantage of what my opponents give me. I have the power to end the fight at any moment.
What would a win do for your career and what kind of opponents will you be looking for if you defeat the highly ranked Cruz?
Aalan Martinez: That’s a question for my team, I’m as confident in Boxing 360 as I am in myself. My job is to go in there and handle my business in the ring against Cruz; as long as I do my job then Mario can do his and he can only be effective if I am successful. I’m not going to look past Cruz because that is the true test, but I would think this fight would put me in a good position considering Cruz is so highly ranked, as you mentioned.