Neeco Macias: Beware the Rooster

Whether it was being a cook, washing dishes, doing construction or cement work, Neeco Macias was never afraid of hard work. “I always had multiple jobs,” the 27-year-old super welterweight from Lancaster, California says, “but living paycheck to paycheck wasn’t for me. Boxing was always part of my life, watching it with my dad growing up. My dad would have parties and we would watch Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., ‘El Maromero’ Jorge Paez. We’d watch Mike Tyson’s big heavyweight fights. And I loved to watch Arturo Gatti.  I wanted to be a superstar. I wanted to make my living in boxing.”

Now 16-0 as a professional, Macias’ frenetic action-packed style has made him a fan favorite. As he walks to the ring on September 1 to fight 8-0 Marvin Cabrera as the co-main event in front of a hometown crowd, he hopes to take the next step towards becoming an elite-level fighter. For Macias, time is of the essence.

“I started fighting competitively when I was 20,” Macias says. “My dad would teach me for fun when I was in high school, but I didn’t become an amateur fighter until I was 21. I had a really rushed amateur career. In two years, I had thirty amateur fights. By 23, I was ready to turn pro.

Macias credits his condensed amateur career with influencing his rock ‘em, sock ‘em style. “In the amateurs, everything gets shortened to three rounds,” he says. “If you lost the first round, you have to win the next two to win. So I always based my style on that. Just throw a lot more punches than the other guy so that they have to give you the win. That became my style—to smother the other guy and take his skill away. When I turned pro, I thought to myself, if I can do this for eight or 10 rounds, hopefully I’ll never be beat. I can feel the love from the fans when I bring that style. I want to bring an excitement to boxing. What better way to do it than to throw 150 punches in a round. When they throw one, we throw two!”

Macias’ action style has also brought the blonde Californian a wave of Mexican support in central and southern California, where the Mexican fans love a fighter who is willing to go to war. “After my fifth or sixth amateur fight,” he says, “the Mexican fans started calling me ‘Gallo,’ which is Spanish for rooster. They are the ones who gave me the nickname.”

Conditioning has been central to Macias’ style. “One trainer told me that a well-conditioned fighter will beat a skilled fighter every time,” Macias says. “We do a lot of running and conditioning every day. I train nearly every day. But there has to be time for rest. I actually injured my left heel because of overtraining. I strained it a few times coming back sooner than I was supposed to. I had to take nearly a year off until my fight last March. Now I’m itching to get back in the ring on September 1.”

Despite starting his pro career at an advanced age, Macias still would like to leave the sport sooner rather than later. “I’ve got a great role model in Sergio Martinez. He fought big fights well into his thirties. He kept in great shape. But talking with my dad, we’d like to be done with boxing by the time I get to my thirties. Father Time is undefeated. I still feel stronger than ever, and my mind definitely feels like I’m 27. I’ve still got a lot of great fights in me. Later on, I’ll worry about what’s next for my career. I need to take advantage of the time I have right now, and give the fans what they want!

Watch Neeco Macias takes on Marvin Cabrera, on Saturday, September 1 at 9 p.m. live on Facebook’s Golden Boy Fight Night.

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