Alumnus Alex “Macho” Barbosa has been boxing for five years, starting just after graduating college in 2006. He double majored in political science and criminal justice, but decided to take a different career path before he got involved with politics.
Although he hasn’t been boxing as long as his younger brother, Barbosa is undefeated. He has won all four of his fights and hopes to keep his immaculate record at his upcoming match on Dec. 8.
The match will be held at Pearson and McGonigle halls, will include eight fights and will be shown live on NBC Sports Network Fight Night series at 9 p.m.
The Temple News: What is your background in boxing?
Alex Barbosa: I got involved right after college, actually. It was right at the time when my little brother was about to begin his pro career and [he] came to live with me. So I basically became his handler, his go-between, his trainer and his manager, so on and so forth, so I actually began to learn the business of boxing. And after spending all that time in a gym, I started messing with it just to stay in shape and to give me something to do. Then I started training little kids and I just decided one day I wanted to compete and take it seriously. So I’ve been boxing for about five years, since I finished college.
TTN: How do you get involved in boxing matches and how did you get the opportunity to fight in the match on Dec. 8 at Pearson and McGonigle halls?
AB: Well, there are different sanctioning bodies in boxing. It’s not like baseball, with AA and AAA leagues or levels of minor leagues, but it’s more like a free-for-all — for lack of a better term.
Everybody’s a free agent, unless you’re working with a promoter. So, I’m fortunate enough that, through my Temple connection, Brittany Rogers — she’s a promoter associated with the fight — thought of me when the card was being put together here. Because I went here, that kind of tied it together and another promoter, Russell Peltz, also went here, so there’s that Temple connection there.
I guess I am lucky I decided to go here and not somewhere else. They reached out to me. I don’t have a manger or a promoter or anything — I’m basically a free agent. I learned the boxing business and I surrounded myself with a lot of good people. I have a really good team of advisors around me and we all make decisions, but I don’t have contractual obligations. So I kind of get the best of both worlds.
TTN: Can you tell me more about the match at Temple on Dec. 8? Is there a reason it’s at Temple?
AB: Well, North Philadelphia has such a rich boxing history. The Blue Horizon, which is literally three or four blocks from [Main Campus], was such — and still kind of is — [the symbol] of North Philly boxing. North Philly boxing goes way back. I’m not too sure, but I believe [Rogers] was the one who said, “Hm, maybe we can bring it back to Broad Street.” And with all the renovations that happened here, this place looks so awesome. Just being in here gives off that old school, nostalgic feeling. This place is going to be rockin’. [Rogers and Peltz], they went and put it together and got television involved, which makes it kind of a big deal. You know, Bryant Jennings [and] Teon Kennedy are both kind of big deals. There are a lot of really good Philadelphia fighters on the card — there are 10 different fights on there — and it’s really going to be a good night. I know Philly is going to be out there supporting because Philadelphia is fighting. I just hope Temple comes out strong and supports it like they would for a basketball game.
TTN: Are you considered a professional?
AB: Yes, every time I fight I get paid. The headgear is off, we use smaller gloves…It really is different from the amateur ranks.
TTN: How often do you have matches?
AB: Well, I’ve been a professional for a little over a year. I have fought four times, this is going to be my fifth, but in all honesty it all depends. You can fight as frequently as you can — it’s about how connected you are. I know that most fighters won’t fight every month, but some do. It really varies depending on the fighter and the team around them. They all make those decisions, but it’s not regulated, it’s up to the individual.
TTN: Where do you see your boxing career going? Would you like to take it further?
AB: I want to, and I believe that I can win a world title at 118 to 122 pounds, the weight I fight at. Honestly, I believe I can do that and then be done, having accomplished what I wanted to in boxing, because I have different aspirations. I want to be a great fighter, but I also want to use boxing as a platform. I have always been interested in politics and I’d like to jump into politics as soon as I’m done fighting. I want to accomplish this first through dedication, hard work, having faith and being consistent — that is what is needed to succeed in boxing. It really takes hard work — it’s the alternate platform, the alternate résumé.
TTN: Where do you work now?
AB: I work at LA Boxing in Cherry Hill, N.J. I am a boxing instructor. I teach a lot of classes, primarily basic introductory boxing classes. Just to give people the basics of boxing and the ideas and concepts behind how to do it and also work out at the same time. I have a lot of fun doing it. I like dealing with people and I like helping people work hard to get to where they want to be. Everyone has an idea of where they want to be and sometimes you just need that push, you need that little motivation and I get to provide that on a daily basis, so I am very lucky. And it’s crazy because it has nothing to do with my major at all.
TTN: What is your training regimen?
AB: I train everyday, [there’s always something to do]. My father built an idea in my head and it’s basically, you always want to be doing something.
He says, “Something is always better than nothing.” Parents are smart people, they know what it takes and sometimes we just have to listen. There’s never a dull moment and it’s always a challenge. It’s supposed to be hard.
TTN: Have you ever been injured?
AB: Eh, nothing that couldn’t be fixed — nothing too bad, just a few bumps and bruises — nothing I didn’t sign up for. But you know I have a job to do, on [Dec. 8] and in my profession. All it takes is one punch to change everything. I respect that.
I have too much respect for this sport for what it is to be thinking that I can just go in and walk all over everybody.
Nickee Plaksen can be reached at email@example.com.