Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Boxing column

Adding Burke could help Escalante
By Felix Chavez
El Paso Times
With a title shot on the horizon, El Paso featherweight Antonio Escalante has chosen to team with Las Cruces trainer Louie Burke to complete that mission.
And a solid choice it is.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old Escalante is ranked in the top 10 by various organizations and well deserved those rankings are. He’s battled-tested, he’ll fight the top fighters and he’s exciting to watch. The 23-2 Escalante was recently named one of the world’s most exciting fighters by The Ring Magazine, coming in at No. 10 on the top 10 list.
But if Escalante is going to take that next step into the elite of the boxing world, he needed to shore up some holes in his defense.
And that’s where Burke comes in. Burke, who trains area fighters Austin Trout (junior middleweight), David Rodriguez (heavyweight) and Abie Han (junior middleweight), will work closely with Escalante on the little things than can separate him from others.
Escalante is a focused fighter, a talented offensive fighter who loves the gym and wants to get better. He just needs a little push to get to the top of the world in the featherweight ranks, which is absolutely loaded with talent, i.e. Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Burke in particular has helped make Han and Trout much better fighters as they have made the progression from the amateur to the professional ranks.
Burke is a former professional and amateur fighter himself and has drawn solid reviews from present and former fighters for his work in the gym and in the corner during fights.
Part of what makes Burke a good trainer, is his ability to locate a fighter’s strengths and weaknesses, then help them improve on the weaknesses, while helping fine-tune his strenghts.
He knows Escalante is a powerful offensive fighter, he won’t change that. Instead, he’ll focus on getting Escalante better on defense and that in turn could help Escalante become an even better offensive fighter.
In addition, Burke is an easy trainer to work with personality wise. He loves the game, he wants what’s best for his fighter and he’ll be honest with Escalante. Escalante also has an easy-going personality and that should enable him to work closely with Burke, while taking what Burke has to say seriously and without feeling like Burke is solely picking on his weaknesses.
At this point in his career, Escalante must have one focus and that’s to be the best he can to win a world title. Simply put, Burke wants that for Escalante and will help him in any fashion.
There will be a transition for both fighter and trainer in the coming weeks, but if the two can come together with one purpose, it shouldn’t be a difficult working situation.
Escalante should be back in the ring soon and there are plenty of big fights that are ahead of him.
One fight on the horizon could come with Mexican featherweight Daniel Ponce De Leon. The former 122-pound champ is well known in the area and a Ponce De Leon vs. Escalante fight would be a huge attraction in El Paso. Both fighters will get after it and right now the fight would be a pick-em fight in my book.
But first things first and that’s the Burke and Escalante alliance. On paper, it shapes up to be a good move for both, only time will tell.

Felix Chavez can be reached at fchavez@lcsun-news.com; (915) 546-6374