Native New Mexican born and raised in Albuquerque, Fidel “Atrisco Kid” Maldonado Jr’s path to boxing began as a young child as he fought with his cousins. His uncle would watch his nephew foreseeing back then that he had the potential to be a boxer. It seemed only fitting that years later at eight-years-old Maldonado would be presented the choice between boxing and baseball.
He chose boxing and has stuck with it since.
Now at 26 years old and a professional in his field Maldonado said he has never played another sport aside from boxing. Since entering the field at a young age Maldonado has accomplished quite a bit even before going professional holding the rank of number two and number one in the nation among ameteur boxers in 2008.
The following year Maldonado went professional and as a teenager often fought men older them himself or even twice his age. Now as a seasoned professional Maldonado said his relationship with boxing is a love hate relationship.
“There’s days you hate it but you gotta push through and there’s days you love it and those days I can’t see myself doing anything else,” he said.
For Maldonado boxing is like a second in time where individuals are given a second to box before becoming older and passing on the mantel, he said.
“I want to put my legacy down in boxing and hopefully make some good moves outside of the ring,” Maldonado said. “I want to have smart people around me, make good moves and have my money as I make money.”
Maldonado’s family have been his supportive net in regards to his boxing with extended family members coming to fights to cheer him on. Now as a father of three children himself ranging from three to nine years old Maldonado has stepped beyond boxing professionally and now works as a barber alongside his boxing career.
“I cut hair, I fight and I’m a family man,” Maldonado said.
The three aspects of his life often mix in unexpected ways as clients will recognize him as a boxer when they come to get there hair cut. One particular incident that stood out to Maldonado involved a man who went for a haircut and spoke about a boxing match that stood out to him.
The match it turned out was one that Maldonado was in and had won.
“I didn’t say nothing I just kept cutting his hair and the other barber said ‘that’s him’ and he (the client) turned around and stopped and said ‘That is you’. He got my autograph and everything so that was pretty cool,” Maldonado said.
While Maldonado has faced losses he said that each one humbles him and helps him grow.
“If you live a humble life it will humble you,” he said.
Maldonado’s next match will have him defending his WBC Fecarbox Super Lightweight title and his current score of 24 wins to 4 losses with 19 knockouts.
With the support of his family and notably his fiancee, father and grandfather Maldonado is not looking to lose anytime soon as he puts down his legacy, he said.
“My family supports me in everything I do and that’s just what it is,” he said. “If you have the right support you can do anything.”
By Nichole Harwood