“The Mongoose” Fights in Sept. and Oct.
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Former amateur standout Xavier Montelongo Jr. has two professional victories on his record after turning pro in October of last year. In the past 11 months, the Southern California boxer fought just one other time in April of this year. But now that’s all about to change as the busy boxer has a pair of fights scheduled.
In the beginning, fights weren’t easy to make when opponents learned of “The Mongoose’s” amateur pedigree. Xavier has over 40 amateur titles with 20 national championships including the National PALS, Ringside, National Junior Golden Gloves, the MexGames. I watched his last amateur bout last summer when he won the Bert Colima Romero (BCR) championship belt at the prestigious Desert Showdown. After this win, the then-19-year-old told me how excited he was to embark on a pro career.
Now as a new pro, the junior lightweight has experienced what all prizefighters eventually go through–changes in opponent, fights being canceled, unforeseen challenges while staying focused throughout these ups and downs and the frustration of it all.
“It’s not always easy to get a fight,” the 20-year-old told me during Saturday’s open gym workout for Sugar Shane Mosley Promotions. “Some of my fights got canceled; a lot of my opponents dropped out…and sometimes my fights were canceled at the last minute.”
Getting past the initial disappointment early in his career, Team Montelongo is now surging ahead with not one but two fights lined up within the span of a couple of weeks. He’ll first lace up against Ronald Rodriguez on September 22 at Pacifica High School in Oxnard; then on October 6 he’s featured on the Shane Mosley Promotions and Diamond’s Love Foundation boxing card at the Finish Line Sports Grill in Pomona, California. The October bout (“KO Cancer: Boxing For a Cure”) will be a fundraising show benefiting Susan G. Komen and the American Cancer Society. The Mosley promotion will also feature an amateur fight night on October 5.
“This is a great opportunity to be fighting on Shane Mosley’s first pro card; I’m excited about my fight at the Finish Line,” the East L.A. boxer mentioned while we watched the amateurs workout in the ring. “I don’t know who the opponent is yet–but I know I will be prepared.” Xavier has been sparring with the more experienced pros like Charles Huerta and Vicente Escobedo in preparation for the battles ahead.
Trained by his father Xavier Montelongo Sr. and Gilbert Valdez, the young pug has also added strength and conditioning coach Julian Cortez to the team. At the outdoor workout, held at Luna Restaurant in North Hollywood, Montelongo Jr. hit the mitts with Valdez and also shadowboxed, showcasing his speed and fancy footwork.
The team trained for years at the Solid Rock Boxing Gym, which unfortunately closed its doors recently. Team Mongoose now works out of the Julian Nava Academy, PAL South Central, and sometimes in their own backyard right on the balcony.
“Whatever it takes,” the guys all nod with a chuckle.
Valdez speaks of his young pupil’s dedication, loyalty and work ethic he puts into training. “Xavier really is a ‘student of the game,’” Gil says. “He doesn’t take the easy way out ever. He’ll put in time doing road work and anything else we ask of him.”
Working out alongside the Mosley Pomona Boxing Club, it wasn’t that long ago that Xavier was fighting in headgear and tank tops himself while racking up wins in the amateur ranks. Now the local fan favorite is aiming to make his name known in the pros.
Citing Sergio Martinez, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Roy Jones Jr. as some of his favorite fighters in the game, “The Mongoose” wants to dazzle in the ring and continue to keep learning as his pro career moves forward.
I have watched this young man’s amateur career–and now his professional career unfold–and Xavier remains the upbeat, humble, hardworking athlete that has gotten him this far.
One key to his success is his strong faith and spirituality. He is a passionate member of the Victory Outreach Christian ministries and I know he’s a dedicated church-goer. He often speaks at events and has told me how proud he is to be a role model for the youth.
With his love of the sweet science, Xavier Montelongo Jr. will continue to “Fight the Good Fight.”
Catch “The Mongoose” in action September 22 and October 6.
Photos by Michele Chong
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