Junior welterweight Antonio Orozco is ready to make his move. For him, it's sink or swim after seven years as a pro fighter.
He has beaten some decent opponents, such as Emmanuel Taylor (in May), former titleholder-turned-journeyman Steve Forbes and battle-tested veteran Martin Honorio.
But now he's about to fight a former two-time world titleholder in Humberto Soto, an older fighter but one who has shown in recent bouts that he still has a bit left in the tank.
"I just want to show that I'm ready for the big leagues," Orozco said.
The 27-year-old will have his chance to show it when he faces Soto in a scheduled 10-round fight on Saturday night (HBO, 10:15 ET/PT) at StubHub Center in Carson, California, in the co-feature of the vacant junior welterweight world title bout between Lucas Matthysse and Viktor Postol.
"These last three months I've worked very hard," said Orozco (22-0, 15 KOs), a native of Mexico living in San Diego. "I want to give the boxing fans what they want and deserve with this fight. I know it won't be easy against Humberto Soto. I'm going to prove on Oct. 3 that I'm ready for the big leagues.
"It's a blessing to be fighting on this card. I've worked hard my entire career and I think this is the stage that we've been looking for, to be in the undercard of such a big event with Matthysse versus Postol. Fighting Humberto Soto means doors could open for me with my career, and this is what my team and I have worked for. Our priority is to win, whatever I have to do to win, whatever the fight calls for, we're willing to step up and get a win that night. I'm grateful for this opportunity. It has been a long time coming. I hope to be victorious."
Soto (65-8-2, 35 KOs), of Mexico, has been a tough opponent for many years. But after a fifth-round knockout loss to Matthysse in 2012 many wrote him off. However, Soto, 35, has won seven fights in a row since that defeat, including a mild upset 13 months ago, a 10-round decision win against John Molina in his most recent fight.
Soto's layoff has been longer than expected. He was supposed to face prospect Frankie Gomez on the Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland undercard on May 9 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, but the fight was canceled because Gomez was 6½ pounds overweight at the weigh-in the day before the fight.
Soto was quickly rescheduled to face former two-time lightweight title challenger Raymundo Beltran on June 27, but when Beltran tested positive for a steroid, the fight was canceled. Soto was lined up to face replacement Jose Felix Jr., but on the day the fight was made, Soto suffered a knee injury while running.
Now Soto's knee is fine and he is ready to rumble with Orozco.
"It's going to be a good fight, youth against experience," Soto said. "I think the people who see this fight are going to be the real winners. Nothing personal against Antonio Orozco, but I do believe experience will beat youth on Saturday.
"This fight will steal the show because when you put two Mexicans in a ring, they come to fight."