Zachary Ochoa and the nature of what a boxer does

Zachary Ochoa has a big task at Brandun Lee on April 16, but Ochoa believes he will prevail in undercard Errol Spence Jr. against Yordenis Ugás.

Boxing has its share of problems, but it’s also transformative, as exemplified by boxer Zachary Ochoa.

Ochoa (21-2, 7 KOs) is a very different person today at 29 than he was when he was 14, largely because someone introduced him to sweet science.

“Before boxing, I was just out on the street in Brooklyn and just running around with my friends,” Ochoa told FanSided. “We just did everything we could to just, I don’t know how, find trouble. Breaking into people’s houses and just little things like that. Like stupid shit. Mainly violence, you know. It was always violence.”

Ochoa lacked focus and drive. He had time and negative peer influences surrounding him with no outlet for his creativity, anger, and feelings in general.

Ochoa was like a lot of young people who grew up in inner cities. He possessed untapped potential with no role model for leadership.

Boxing was almost like a last resort for Ochoa. Luckily, he started exercising right away. It gave him discipline and ignited a passion.

“But once I got into boxing, it was like going to the gym every day,” Ochoa said. “I wasn’t hanging out. I wasn’t with my friends. And it was just, that’s all I wanted was to be in the gym.

Ochoa made boxing his profession. It helps that he had a natural talent, but he also had an inner desire to succeed in the ring.

Check out Brandun Lee vs. Zachary Ochoa on the undercard of the April 16 Showtime PPV Errol Spence Jr. vs. Yordenis Ugás boxing card

Ochoa recalls his 15 years in boxing and sees value in it far beyond paychecks. It taught him life lessons that will last a lifetime.

“I’ve learned that no matter what, just keep going, you know,” Ochoa said. “Since I turned pro I see a lot of guys I turned pro around the same time as I did in the fall. I’ve seen a lot of guys succeed, you know. So it’s just like, just worry about yourself. Focus on yourself, you know, and do whatever you need to do to better yourself, and I’ve done that.

Ochoa’s 11-year professional boxing career has had many highlights, but almost every fighter takes an L. Ochoa lost his second fight in February 2021, the last time he was in the ring against Juan Velasco.

It was a close defeat, but it didn’t upset Ochoa. He put the wafer-thin defeat into perspective.

“They really want to crucify you if you lose a fight, but they just don’t get it,” Ochoa said. “Like so many of the greats lost a fight. I’m not saying it’s okay to lose a fight because we don’t want to lose. We’re winning, you know. But at the end of the day, when you do it, you have to take it as a lesson.

“Like Pacquiao passed out so many times, and you know what? He’s a legend, brother. He’s a damn legend returned. And just to get back from that, how come on. It just proves to you that you can do anything.”

Fans and pundits hit fighters hard when they lose a fight, but it happens. It’s part of every competition, and Ochoa knows it.

He was inspired by Pacquiao and hopes for a legendary career. It has a good base but needs the cherry to underline it.

His April 16 fight against undefeated phenomenon Brandun Lee on Errol Spence Jr.’s undercard against Yordenis Ugás could be the perfect opportunity.

The odds are not in Ochoa’s favor. has him as a 12-1 underdog but no one has ever managed to play it safe. Ochoa feels ready for the best and has confidence in his abilities.

“They offered me the fight and I didn’t hesitate to say no,” Ochoa said. “It was just perfect. I immediately said yes and just wanted to do it. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.”

Conventional wisdom would say don’t fight an undefeated 22-year-old knockout artist like Lee. But boxers aren’t usually conventional people.

They are beaten and beat others for a living. It couldn’t be more unconventional.

Ochoa thinks he’s a diamond in the rough in Brooklyn. He’s never backed down before a fight and he’s not going to start now.

“I mean, it’s just who I am, you know,” Ochoa said. “I fear no one. I am not afraid of anyone. That’s what we do.” Zachary Ochoa and the nature of what a boxer does

John Verrall

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