12 Rounds With … Marcos Hernandez

Once-beaten middleweight says he’s ready to graduate from "The Contender" to title contention when he squares off with Jeison Rosario this Saturday on PBC on FS1.

A lot has occurred in the life of Marcos Hernandez since he and Jeison Rosario fought to a draw in February 2018. It began when he was selected among 16 professional fighters to compete at 160 pounds on The Contender television series.

Hernandez, 25, 13-1-1 (3 KOs), earned a split decision over Danny Valdivia in May and a unanimous verdict over Quantavious Cash in November to finish behind champion Brandon Adams and runner-up Shane Mosley Jr.

This Saturday, February 23, he’ll square off against Rosario (17-1-1, 12 KOs) again, on the undercard of the WBC super middleweight title fight between Anthony Dirrell and Avni Yildirum at the Minneapolis Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The bout will be televised on FS1 (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).

Has your Contender experience changed your life?

I made more money last year than I had in the past. You’re getting weekly checks while you’re there being filmed. There’s a winner’s purse and a loser’s purse, and when I got sent home between fights after being cut over my right eye, they gave me the loser’s side even though I didn’t fight. That was very generous of them.

Plus, I’ve received a lot of exposure. Once, in a hotel parking lot, there was this guy marveling at me, so excited to see me. That was a really cool feeling, having somebody so happy to see me. I have people coming to me at supermarkets wanting to take pictures. They know who I am now as a fighter. Beside Brandon Adams, I’m the only Contender who didn’t lose on the show.

Any regrets?

If I had the chance, I believe I would have beaten Shane Mosley if I hadn’t had to come home with the cut, but it’s time to move forward.

I wouldn’t say I feel any more pressure heading into this fight as a result of being on the show, but I do want to show I’m a better fighter than the one who faced Rosario before.

What is your proudest moment as a fighter?

Beating Kevin Newman on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor in August 2017. I lost my previous fight in March to Kyrone Davis by split decision.

Kyrone just out-boxed me. It’s a tough feeling to think you’re better than somebody but to lose, anyway. Against Davis, being honest with myself, my heart and mind weren’t in the ring with me.

You took your father’s [Joseph “Joey” Hernandez] advice and replaced him as a trainer with Henry Ramirez.

It was tough at first when my Dad first told me that I should find a new trainer. I thought he was giving up on me after losing one time. My mind was racing, but I got the call for the Newman fight, and my first camp with Henry Ramirez was great.

Being able to bounce back from that loss and fighting at a weight above 160 for the first time, I showed everybody a lot. I went up 10 pounds from 153 to 163, I bounced back against an undefeated fighter, and I did it on a Floyd Mayweather card, beating him handily and knocking him down in the last round.

What improvements have you made since the series?

My father was very good at molding me into the fighter I became, allowing me to develop into a well-rounded boxer.

Now, Henry Ramirez has tightened and refined some things within my style. I’m learning to sit down more on my punches, which is really translating into my power.

What are your thoughts about fighting in Minnesota for the first time?

It’s no different than the first time I fought Jeison Rosario in El Paso, Texas. I had never been in Texas before. But, now, I’m fighting in Minnesota, which is cool.

I do want to show I’m a better fighter than the one who faced Rosario before. Middleweight Contender — Marcos Hernandez

It’s neutral territory for both of us and neither of us is the favorite there. I’m just happy to get the work and the exposure on national television on the undercard of a great title fight.

I just know it’s going to be super cold, which I’m not looking forward to. I’ve asked my wife to get me a special jacket for that Minneapolis weather because all I’ve got are sweaters.

Do you prefer Mark Anthony or Marcos?

People call me Marcos, Mark and Markie. All of those are fine, and I don’t have a preference really. But when I’m announced and stuff for boxing, I’d prefer Marcos, my real name. So, in the end, I guess that I prefer Marcos Hernandez. 

Can you discuss your childhood burn incident, handling your son’s autism and your relationship with your wife, Maria?

I don’t remember too much of the [childhood] incident since I was only about two-years-old, but I was a wandering baby in the kitchen and I tipped a pan or pot of cooking oil onto myself. I was in intensive care for a few weeks, and my scars are on most of the right side of my body from my face, chest, arm and thigh.

As far as Maria, we got married at a courthouse on June 6, 2018, shortly after I returned from The Contender. We have been in a relationship since high school and she’s done a lot for me, especially when I’m gone for camp, being a tremendous, loving, working mother for our two sons.

My son, Max, has autism, which can be a challenge for him, but he’s in a program at school that is really helping him to talk more along with other things. As a parent, it can be challenging at times, but we understand that our child is going to move along at his own pace.

What do you typically do when you are home, not training?

I was born, raised and still live in Fresno, California. When I got home from The Contender, I took my older son to Disneyland for the first time. But I have to say he’s been a great big brother to Elijah, always wanting to hold Elijah even though he’s a little too small for that right now.

We’ve talked about going to Universal Studios, and my wife and I have discussed going to Mexico. She’s been there a lot since her father lives there and she has lots of family there, but I’ve never been to Mexico. My Spanish isn’t that great, but it’s time to make that trip.

Who were your favorite fighters growing up?

One of my favorite fighters was Shane Mosley Sr. along with Erik Morales.

Shane Mosley always fought with speed, power and movement. I also loved the warrior mentality of Erik Morales, who was crafty at the same time.

What sort of car to you drive and what do aspire to own?

As far as dream cars, I’ve always liked the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. I sparred Erislandy Lara a couple of years ago in Texas, and he had two of them.

Erislandy also drove a Lamborghini to the gym one day. That was super dope. Right now, I drive a Nissan Altima, which I really like.

Are you motivated by the fact that you’ve once again missed Valentine’s Day with Maria training for Rosario?

Yeah. This is the second straight Valentine’s Day I’ve been away from my wife and kids to fight this dude, which is crazy. I was on a plane flying to El Paso last year to fight him.

I don’t know what the message is, but he has taking me away from my family twice in a row, now, so that gives me more incentive. I’m very motivated to get into the ring with Jeison Rosario.

For a closer look at Marcos Hernandez, check out his fighter page.

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