DADE CITY — Salvador Jaurequi says that if you can play hand ball, you might make a good boxer. He should know. Jaurequi (pronounced how-decki) is a former fighter who is training another local talent for a much-anticipated heavyweight match in Los Angeles next month.
Jaurequi, 32, is in the process of converting a 10th Street warehouse into the Dade City Boxing Club, which he says will be the area's first Florida Boxing Commission-sanctioned training center. The 2,400-square-foot gym, 1 mile north of Meridian Avenue, already has been retrofitted with equipment and punching bags. Jaurequi goes before the city's community development review board on Wednesday to seek its blessing on the project.
Meanwhile, Jaurequi has taken boxer Terrence Marbra, a former Junior Olympics champion, under his wing. Both are training seven days a week at the unfinished Dade City Boxing Club facility in preparation for a Jan. 13 heavyweight bout in Los Angeles against undefeated Malik Scott.
In a bout last month in Miami, Marbra upset an 11-1 Erik "the Viking" Leander with a knockout punch in the fourth round. Marbra's record since this comeback stands at 6-1 while Malik Scott is 32-0. Jaurequi thinks they've got a shot.
"I respect Scott's record, and he talks a good game," Jaurequi said. "But he doesn't have many knockouts.
"Terrence knows his skills and is in top shape. He has the hunger, a desire to win, that can't be taught. Our goal is to make history together."
Upon opening his boxing center, Jaurequi hopes to draw people to his training venue for recreation, fitness, self-defense and eye-hand-foot coordination. With his own boxing background, Jaurequi said he can evaluate and improve the athletic skills of boxers across the spectrum.
One of nine children, Jaurequi grew up in Dade City where he started boxing as a 9-year-old under the tutelage of trainer David Baldwin.
"I was pretty aggressive and energetic," Jaurequi said, "They called me the next Rocky."
Jaurequi advanced to the professional level but believes he lacked good management. After a technical knock-out loss in 2005, he hung up his gloves with a 2-2 record. Deciding to concentrate on business, Jaurequi founded Salvadore's Painting. The business thrived over the past six years, expanding with up to 17 employees — giving Jaurequi the financial means to return to his boxing roots.
"I want to make someone else feel special," he said. "I know that I can open a road for the dreams of new prospects."
Jaurequi builds his training on cardio exercises and calisthenics — not bulking up by hitting the weight machines. He's not opposed to a brawling style in the ring. But he said composure and control are the name of the game, physically and mentally.
"Discipline is the key," he said. "Get a hold of yourself. When you get aggravated or frustrated or angry, back up, recompose, take a deep breath and try to do it again."
Jaurequi's most common sideline notes are to keep your hands up and stay away from the ropes and the corners.
He has little patience for athletes who aren't exercising between visits.
"Show up prepared," he said. "This is not day care."
Jaurequi still needs to install a 16-by-16-foot ground sparring ring, a shower area, lockers and an exhaust fan — and of course get the final approvals from the city.
He plans to charge $65 per month for memberships, and eventually plans to sell gloves, hand wraps, jump ropes and head guards.
Jaurequi will have the assistance of veteran fighter Arty Hoffman, who specializes in working with children. If all goes well, Jaurequi hopes to open the boxing center in February, when the cool weather will make it pleasant for people to get their first glimpse of the facility. He has no plans to install air condition at the Dade City Boxing Club.
"If you're not sweating," he said, "you're not doing the job."