- Michael Woods, Boxing
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Javier Loya is being flown to New York on Thursday morning, and being put up in a Long Island hotel, to lose.
He's a 27-year-old man who lives in Phoenix, still exulting in the Feb. 6 birth of his second son, Javier II, but let's put the facts on the table, shall we?
Matchmakers for the Saturday night show at The Paramount in Huntington, Long Island, don't much care about Loya's home life, or that he wants to provide a nice life for wife Ana, 2-year-old Emiliano and the newborn. They do know and care that in his last outing, on Sept. 4, he was stopped in Round 4 of his fight against prospect Jose Benavidez in Las Vegas.
They know that Issouf Kinda, the hometown fighter on the Star card topped by Chris Algieri, is 15-0, hasn't tasted defeat, hasn't had to wrestle with the knowledge that a better man, on a given night, beat him down. Yes, tough sport, cold and cruel, this boxing; let's put that fact on the table, if we need reminding.
I probed Loya (7-1, with 6 KOs; started boxing at age 12 to learn self defense at the suggestion of his father), to see if his psyche was soft, if Kinda will be facing off with a man with a diminished reservoir of confidence.
Are there lingering effects from that stoppage loss?
"No, not at all," said Loya, who is trained by Carlos Alvarez and Johnny C at the Power MMA Gym in Gilbert, Ariz. "Everybody gets caught. It happens. At the time, it felt horrible. I thought I could have kept going, but the ref sees what's going on. It was my fault, having my hands down instead of grabbing."
So, you're not still licking your wounds, not coming to New York a shell of yourself?
"No, I'm even more confident, because I had time to prepare for my opponent," said the son of immigrants from Mexico. "I know they are bringing me in to lose. I love it. I'm the underdog. That's the feeling of having to prove you can do something."