“If the knockout comes, it comes.” Many a fighter has uttered this timeworn boxing cliché. Miguel Flores is not one such fighter.
“I hear guys say, ‘We don’t look for knockouts,’” Flores says. “But me, I try to throw every punch with knockout intentions. If you can get the knockout, of course that’s what you want. I go for it.”
Miguel Flores (18-0, 9 KOs) will go after his third consecutive KO when he faces Mexico’s Mario Briones (27-4-2, 20 KOs) next Tuesday in a scheduled 10-round, 126-pound bout from Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio (Fox Sports 1, 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT).
Born in Morelia, Mexico, but raised in Houston, Flores ended a four-fight 2015 campaign with November’s second-round KO of Alfred Tetteh in Austin, Texas. That followed September’s fourth-round technical knockout of Carlos Padilla in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Padilla entered his fight against Flores with a 15-2-1 record and had been stopped just once, and that was in the ninth round of his previous bout. But Flores got him out of there quicker, flooring him in both the third and fourth rounds courtesy of vicious left hooks to the body.
Flores, 23, calls the Colombian-born Padilla “the toughest opponent I’ve fought.”
“We came out swinging and throwing big shots, but I stuck to the body,” Flores says. “I remember dropping him with a perfect body shot in the third round. He fell hard, and my first thought was, ‘He’s not getting up.’
“But he got up and actually hurt me with a body shot that took the wind out of me. He got some confidence and started throwing again, but that’s when I landed another great body shot, and he didn’t get up from that one.”
The ending was similar, albeit swifter, against Tetteh (then 23-4-1), whom Flores floored with a left-hook liver volley at the 1:10 mark of Round 2.
Flores, who trains at the Main Street Boxing Gym in Houston under Aaron Navarro, assistant Bobby Benton and strength and conditioning coach Edward Jackson, calls that left hook his “money shot.”
“When you look at my knockouts, they’ve all been with body shots,” Flores says. “I wouldn’t say that I’m punching harder, but it’s a combination of things produced by all of the hard work I’m doing in the gym.”
“ I hear guys say, ‘We don’t look for knockouts.' But me, I try to throw every punch with knockout intentions. ” Miguel Flores
Flores, who had won four straight decisions before stopping Padilla, says one of the reasons he was able to take out his last two opponents is because both came to fight—something that hasn’t always been the case in his career.
“With Padilla and Tetteh, their records showed they were the best guys I had faced. The knockouts were a product of them coming to win and make it a fight,” Flores says. “They were opening up with shots, which is always going to make me look better and give me opportunities to land my punches.
“My previous opponents were veterans trying not to get hurt and to go the distance so they could fight again in a month against another prospect. You can look sloppy in those fights.”
Briones, 29, will be the third straight fighter to bring a stellar record into the ring against Flores. He’s coming off consecutive victories a year apart, having followed a 10-round unanimous decision over Israel Lopez in November 2014 with a third-round TKO of Edgar Gonzalez in November 2015.
Prior to that, though, Briones was knocked out for the first time as a pro, succumbing to Rudolf Hernandez in May 2014 just 54 seconds into the bout, which took place in Briones’ hometown of Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Flores, who hasn’t recorded three straight stoppages since launching his pro career with a trio of TKO victories, knows that he will be hard-pressed to get a victory in less than 54 seconds against Briones. But that doesn't mean he won’t try.
“The first round is always the most dangerous, and they don’t pay us for overtime. So, now that you mention 54 seconds, I’ll keep that in mind,” Flores says of Briones, who will be fighting in the United States for the first time but has competed in South Africa, Panama and the Philippines.
“Briones is no stranger to hostile territory, and I know he’s motivated for his U.S. debut. We’re going to pressure him and hopefully get him out of there in a fight that starts the year off with a bang.”
For complete coverage of Flores vs Briones, check out our fight page.