Success hasn’t always come easy for Redwood City native Juan Hernandez — which is ironic considering the ease with which he disposes of opponents inside a boxing ring.
With a 2-1 record as a professional and 16-2 as an amateur, Hernandez — a 2005 graduate of Sequoia High School — has never lacked the physical attributes, raw talent and power that it takes to be a force inside the squared circle. But, as the Daily Journal has learned over the last couple of years in following Hernandez’s career, the injury bug can be, and has been, unkind to Hernandez.
After winning an emotional debut in 2010 by knocking out Seth Keeling in just 22 seconds, Hernandez has been dealt hand and elbow injuries that have slowed his ascent up the boxing ranks. It was in a unanimous decision loss to Lamont Williams of Fairfield (despite registering a knockdown of Williams in the first round) that Hernandez’s elbow spurs flared up. And his road to recovery lasted an entire year.
But as his longtime co-trainer, Rick Nava of Redwood City’s Police Activities League, said, “it’s now or never for him. If he’s going to make a real run, it has to happen now.”
Now will come July 26 at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City when the venue hosts yet another Fight Night at the Fox. Hernandez, a cruiserweight, is among a trio of San Mateo County fighters who will take to the ring.
Hernandez comes in with that 2-1 record, but there’s a little more at stake for him than just a tally in the win column. In making his return to the ring, Hernandez is out to prove he is finally back at 100 percent.
“Injuries have been slowing us down,” Nava said. “And it’s a shame because there are a lot of opportunities in the Bay Area right now, with Andre Ward, Nonito Donaire and Robert Guerrero. There are a lot of people out there that want to see Juan fight. But it’s unfortunate he’s been set back by injury.”
Nava said Hernandez has returned to his regular training regimen and is packing a lot of “pop” in his punches — something Hernandez fans have come to expect through his decorated amateur career and his pair of knockouts as a pro.
“He is not having any issues with that (his bruised hand),” Nava said.
Hernandez joins Filipino sensation Bruno Escalante (8-1-1, 4 KOs) and B Street Gym’s Ricardo Pinell (4-0-1) as part of the July 26 card.
Escalante, who trains out of Undisputed Gym in San Carlos, is the co-main event. He’ll face Mexico’s Manuel Galaviz at 115 pounds. In the other featured bout of the evening, Paul “El Gallo Negro” Mendez of Walnut Creek defends his IBA middleweight championship against Dashon “Fly Boy” Johnson.
Escalante and Pinell won fights at the last Fight Night at the Fox.
“I can’t remember another time when there has been so much opportunity in the Bay Area,” Nava, an 11-year volunteer boxing coach at PAL, said.