- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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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.”