Last week I flew down to the WBC Convention in Cancun, Mexico not knowing much about it and accompanied by our sports editor Jose Luis. I was expecting a full week of eating, breathing, talking and shooting boxing, and that was the case.
I met promoters, referees, announcers, and the warriors that make this sport possible, the boxers them selves. I am new to this world, and at times I didn’t even realize I was standing next to a featherweight champion or heavyweight legend until Jose Luis mentioned it.
I had the privilege of interviewing legendary boxer Daniel Zaragoza, former Super Bantamweight champion throughout the 1980s and 1990s. I also had the opportunity to interview some of today’s greatest champions like the current WBC Middleweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, the WBC Featherweight champion Daniel Ponce De Leon and WBC Light Middleweight Champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
But I also became aware of all the other boxers that attended the convention and are climbing the ranks of the WBC. Among them was Tyson”Prince of Hali” Cave, who I met while at a cocktail party in the resort lounge. Besides being surrounded by his team, Cave’s personality made him stand out in the room. Standing next to him was his coach Bunny Phillips, his father Robert Cave and his conditioning trainer Karim Collett.
When I saw how Tyson moved within the crowd I recognized a character that I had to capture with my lens. And having already experienced the thrill of filming a boxer in the video we shot of Fonfara, I knew this was a great chance to apply everything I had learned from that previous experience.
I wasted no time and immediately trying to get close to him, and after getting to know him I found out that he would be fighting later in the week. I expressed to his team my interest in filming and they agreed to meet with me on Thursday night.
I first set up an interview with Tyson prior to the fight so I could learn more about him. That conversation also served as a narration for the final video profiling the fighter.
This gave me an inside look into the mindset of a boxer who is looking for that big break. When he mentioned he was paid $400 for his first six round fight, I realized his story would be great to share with all would be boxers.
I walked into the arena with his team and was feeling somewhat nervous but I immediately knew I had to hide my emotions and keep muy composure. I felt as part of their team and the last thing I wanted to do is reflect any weakness waking among them.
Tyson stepped into the elevator to his dressing room screaming out random sounds, I am assuming to get his head in the game and possibly psych out his opponent in case he was within hearing range. The dressing room was filled with other boxers preparing for their own fights, so it seemed quite difficult for them to try and zone in and focus in their own space. I assume this ran through Tyson’s mind of Tyson but he made sure the kept his composure.
My biggest problem in the dressing room was trying to find the right angle that would give me the best lighting for my shot. But I had to realize quickly that I was going to have to make the low light work.
When the match started I felt as ready to get in the ring as I am sure Tyson’s team was. While The Prince of Hali had his boxing gloves on, and his trainer had the water bucket and vaseline for cuts ready, I had my camera set and fresh memory card inside. All of us were ready for the moment we’ve been waiting for all day.
The night ended with a victory for Team Cave but it did not come easy. Tyson was knocked down early in the fight. The entire crowd was behind his opponent Rodolfo Ortiz throughout the fight, but in the end Tyson found a way to walk away with the victory.
And with the help of my own team, my 5D Mark 3, a 24-70mm Tamron lens,a 50mm Canon lens, and my favorite Manfrotto monopod, I too was able to emerge victorious, by capturing what a boxer goes thru on fight night.