Randy "El Matador" Caballero Returns With the Belt

By David A. Avila

Coachella’s Randy “El Matador” Caballero grew up with expectations of winning a world title at an early age. 

While most other 10-year-olds were playing baseball, basketball and soccer, a young Caballero was donning boxing gloves and showing masterful moves and abilities. Now 24, Caballero has a firm hold on the IBF bantamweight world title.

Caballero, a Nicaraguan-American, has gained explosive prominence in quick fashion especially after winning twice in overseas battles. First against Kohei Oba last April in Tokyo, Japan, then last October in Monte Carlo where he out-pointed England’s Stuart Hall to win the bantamweight world title.

Another challenge awaits Caballero (22-0, 13 Kos) who will fight Mexico’s Alberto Guevara (19-2, 7 Kos) on Feb. 27, at Fantasy Springs Casino in a homecoming match. Boxing crazy fans in the Coachella Valley and beyond are expected to fill the stands for the encounter.

“It’s a homecoming. Randy Caballero went all the way to Monte Carlo and brought back the world title to Coachella,” said De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. “We are thrilled to be coming back to where Randy Caballero grew up.”

Caballero feels his travels overseas to battle the bantamweight elite added fire to his already filled-to-the-brim cup of confidence.

“That made me a better fighter. I hardly ever was away from my family,” Caballero recalled. “It was hard knowing that I was walking around in someone else’s hometown. That made me so much better.”

The Los Angeles-based Golden Boy Promotions has put its full weight behind Caballero. A recent press conference for the Coachella boxer brought close to 200 media members. All were curious to know more about the prizefighter who willingly traveled to other parts of the world in search of a world title.

Rare is the American prizefighter who harbors enough confidence to go to another fighter’s home country or continent to match skills. Boxers like Floyd Mayweather or even De La Hoya never fought in foreign lands where judges can easily favor the native son.

“Having those two fights the experience showed me I can fight anywhere. Once I get in that ring it’s just me and him nobody else in there. It doesn’t matter where we’re at,” said Caballero. “It’s no pressure at all fighting in my home town. It’s the same thing.”

Golden Boys Promotions is putting its full weight behind Caballero’s career which is unusual for lower weight boxers. But the promotion company led by its president De La Hoya sees a budding star in the Coachella boxer.

“He’s fought 12 times at Fantasy Springs Casino and every time he comes out he fights hard and harder,” said De La Hoya. “It’s all for the fans so they leave with a good taste in their mouth.”

It will be Caballero’s first world title defense when he faces Mexico’s Guevara.

It’s going to be a war and I’m going to give the fans what they want. I just won this title and I’m not letting it go,” said Caballero.