Dan Rafael: Pat Barry

Magdaleno signs with new manager

January, 15, 2014
Las Vegas junior featherweight Jessie Magdaleno is one of the top prospects in boxing, and he has surrounded himself with an elite team befitting such a status -- promoter Top Rank and trainer Joel Diaz. On Tuesday, Magdaleno added the final piece of the puzzle.

Magdaleno (17-0, 13 KOs) signed with manager Frank Espinoza, joining a quality stable of fighters that also includes older brother and junior lightweight contender Diego Magdaleno, former three-division titlist Abner Mares, junior welterweight prospect Antonio Orozco and featherweight prospect Oscar Valdez, the dynamic 2012 Mexican Olympian. Jessie could turn out to be the best of the bunch.

“This is a very big signing,” said Espinoza, who bought out the rest of the existing managerial contract (less than a year) that Magdaleno had with Pat Barry, who also used to manage and train both Diego and Jessie. “We worked out the details -- something monetarily -- with Pat, and Jessie got his release. It was for the best for all parties and now Jessie can concentrate on his future.

“We already had Diego. We’re very happy to have both brothers. The goal is to have them both be world champions at the same time.”

The 22-year-old Magdaleno, a southpaw, was a top amateur and on course for a possible berth on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, but he instead opted to turn pro in 2010.

He’s moving nicely as a pro and went 4-0, all by knockout, in 2013. His first fight with Espinoza is scheduled for Feb. 15 against Roberto Castaneda (20-5-1, 15 KOs) in Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., on a card that Diego is headlining. If all goes well in that fight, Jessie is scheduled to fight again on March 29 at Texas Station in Las Vegas.

“I think Jessie can win the world title [at junior featherweight], and I do see him moving up later to featherweight and being crowned there,” Espinoza said. “I see good things in different weight divisions for this kid.”
Diego Magdaleno Chris Farina/Top Rank After suffering the first loss of his career, Diego Magdaleno is ready to start over.
Las Vegas junior lightweight contender Diego Magdaleno has hit the reset button on his career in the wake of his first career defeat.

About a month after Magdaleno lost a split decision (and was knocked down) in challenging 130-pound world titleholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez on April 6 in Macau, he ended his working relationship with career-long manager and trainer Pat Barry, who still trains his 21-year-old kid brother, top-notch junior featherweight prospect Jessie Magdaleno (14-0, 10 KOs).

On Thursday, Diego Magdaleno took the next step in his makeover, signing with manager Frank Espinoza, one of the best in the business.

“Now it’s time to look for a coach, line up whatever’s next and get back into the mix of things,” Magdaleno told ESPN.com. “I learned a lot from that fight with Martinez, my first loss. It’s making me a lot stronger. I’m looking forward to bigger and better things with my new management and a coach who will push me to that next level. It’s time to cross that final line and become a world champion.”

Among the notable fighters in Espinoza’s stable are featherweight titlist Abner Mares, former titleholders Daniel Ponce De Leon and Vic Darchinyan, two-time Mexican Olympian and top prospect Oscar Valdez and junior welterweight prospect Antonio Orozco. Espinoza was pleased to add Magdaleno to his crew.

“I’ve been following parts of his career and I really believe in his talent,” Espinoza said. “I’m really excited to work with him. I think we’ll make a great team. I didn’t really know him, but I did hear that he was no longer with his former manager, so I reached out to him. We sat down and we got along really well and made a good decision.”

Espinoza said he would soon meet with officials from Top Rank, Magdaleno’s promoter, to plot his return. Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com that Magdaleno (23-1, 9 KOs), 26, would likely be back in action in the fall.

With his manager in place, Magdaleno, a southpaw, said they’ll begin looking at trainers and hope to settle on one in the next few weeks.

“We are talking about the trainer thing with Frank,” Magdaleno said. “He mentioned a few coaches, Joel Diaz [who trains welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr.] being one of them. I’ve known Joel for a while. I also hear good things about Abel Sanchez [who trains middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin]. We’ll be looking to [work out] with different trainers and see who can take me to the next level.”