By Peter Nieves
Posted: October 27, 2015
Photo by Porfirio Barron Jr./RBRBoxing
To most boxers that’s exactly what it turns out to be, just a dream. In the relatively small city of Odessa, Texas you’ll find a young prospect amateur who has a different goal in mind. Jose Alday, also known as Joey Alday, is a 20-year-old Olympic hopeful whose biggest dream is to win Olympic gold.
Alday is currently ranked the No. 1 amateur fighter at the 152-pound weight class and is one of the favorites to be a part of and lead USA Boxing to a medal at the 2016 Olympics. Alday grew up loving a variety of different sports including baseball and soccer, but it wasn’t until his father Jose Alday Sr. asked him to make a choice that he chose to pursue a career in boxing. Alday Sr. also took up boxing growing up, but confesses to not having the natural ability his son possesses.
Today, father and son have formed a duo of trainer and fighter that have led them to the pinnacle of amateur boxing, making the Olympic team. Alday will be the first to tell you humbly that it hasn’t been a walk in the park to get here. “There’s been plenty of days where I didn’t want to hit the gym. Days where I just wanted to go to the movies, hangout at the mall, or even play another sport, but my dad was there to tell me if I’m going to do this I need to be all in and do this the right way,” said Alday.
“My dad has always been there to push me every step of the way and I’m grateful that he’s been so caring for me.”
One of the characteristics most fascinating about the young prospect is the level of maturity he possesses. A lot of fighters Alday’s age tend to struggle keeping themselves grounded, especially those with a lot of hype behind their name.
“I love people expecting a lot from me. I believe it brings the greatness out of me and not only does it make me fight harder, but train harder knowing there’s big expectations from me,” said Alday.
Michael Montoya, a Dallas boxing trainer and manager, has been following Alday’s career for some time now and has helped the Alday team by extending his gym and home to father and son when training brings them to the Dallas metroplex.
In a recent interview, Montoya opened up about Alday’s potential. “Look, Texas has always had good fighters, but Joey is the whole package. When I look at Joey I see a superstar. He’s got great height, great skills, he’s got the looks, he’s charismatic, and he covers both sides of the world with the American boxing fans and the Latino boxing fans,” said Montoya.
“I’ve seen my fair share of amateurs and pros come through my gym, but Joey offers a whole package deal. I worked the mitts with him for just one round the other day and his jab was something else,” stated a convinced Montoya.
During this particular stay in Dallas, Alday put in work with former Olympic alternate and now seasoned pro Charles “The Future” Hatley. Hatley and Alday went toe to toe for five rounds at The Montoya Boxing Club early Friday morning, with both guys landing impressive blows on one another.
Hatley, who will be fighting for the WBC Silver title in November had high marks for the young Alday. “He’s a great fighter, what can I say? He’s quick and has power. He has everything you need to win at the Olympics,” said Hatley.
Hatley mentioned that after the sparring session, Alday recalled watching him in the amateur circuit and following his career at the age of nine. “Yeah man he told me he remembered watching me when he was just a kid and look now we’re helping each other out. Honestly, he reminds me of myself in the amateurs, hit and move and with power.”
Alday returned to Odessa soon after the work with Hatley but mentioned that he looks forward to working with The Future again when in Dallas.
Reno, Nevada will be the sight for the Olympic trials for Alday and he now has until December 7 to prepare mentally and physically for what will be his toughest test to date.
“Championship belts get passed around a lot in boxing. It’s like every month someone else is some sort of champion. But an Olympic gold medal stays with you forever. That’s what I want to accomplish. Going pro will come later, but for now I’m focused on the gold.”
December will surely not come fast enough for this prospect, but judging first hand, he has the skill and mental fortitude to accomplish his lifelong dream.