In 2008, Rankin's Monty Meza-Clay was the No. 1 contender to the World Boxing Organization's featherweight title. However, besieged by injuries and professional setbacks, Meza-Clay lost two fights in a row before winning a bout last summer – in which he was injured again. Now Meza-Clay returns to the ring to headline the "Easter Explosion" card Sat., April 23, at Stage AE on the North Side. Tickets are available through ticketmaster.com.
In 2008 you were on the verge of a world title fight; how have you dealt with the disappointment?
I was struggling so much with my injuries ... it was just one thing after another. I lost my number-one ranking, but I'm working my way back into the top 15 and I'm gunning for that title again. That's what makes champions -- never giving up.
There are a lot of pro fighters in this area and a lot have come before you. What do you think sets you apart?
It's unheard of what I'm doing. I'm a 130-pound fighter out here headlining cards and making major noise. I'm not out in that ring going one-two, patty-cake, patty-cake; my fights are complete excitement. There are a lot of great fighters in this city and I take my hat off to them, but nobody is doing it like me.
You just turned 30. Are you still in shape physically and mentally to make a run at a world title?
Absolutely, man. I remember when I was 21, 22 years old, fighting guys who were 30, thinking they were so old. I'm a more mature fighter now. I can't explain it, but I know that now is my time. But you know what? I can show you better than I can tell you. And I'm going to show everybody April 23.
- Heather Mull
- Monty Meza-Clay, in 2008