Alexis Rocha focused more on maintaining momentum than Terence Crawford

Alexis Rocha vs. Terence Crawford?

Seems like a mismatch on paper, a capable, but evolving young welterweight contender against arguably the best fighter on the planet Even Rocha recognizes that Crawford would represent a mammoth challenge for him.

He asks a good question, though: How are you going to know what you’re capable of if you don’t try?

“You won’t know if you’re ready until you’re in there with him,” Rocha told Boxing Junkie. “I feel I’m ready. Once I’m actually in there it could be a whole different ball game. That’s how it works.

“With anything in life, if you want bigger opportunities, you have to take risks. Fighting Terence Crawford could be a life-changing opportunity.”

A fight between Rocha, the WBO’s No. 3 contender, and champion Crawford became more realistic after the former’s impressive victory over late replacement George Ashie on Jan. 28 in Inglewood, California, not far from Rocha’s home in Orange County.

Rocha, a southpaw, fought through a bad cut to put Ashie down twice, the second time with a single right hook that ended the fight instantaneously. It was a good look on national TV.

The 25-year-old acknowledged that it was a nice step in his career but cautioned that there is a lot of work ahead.

“The job is always to make a statement,” he said. “I knew I needed to make a BIG statement, a highlight-reel knockout in a main event. I’m knocking on the door for bigger names, bigger opportunities. What could’ve been better than a highlight-reel knockout?

“… (But) I don’t feel I’m peaking yet. I’ve barely started. I just hit 25 a couple of months ago. This is just the beginning.”

Thus, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Rocha (22-1, 14 KOs) didn’t land a fight with Crawford anytime soon.

He’s open about the fact he has room to improve. For example, he said he’s working on not staying in the pocket too long, which can be a strategy for avoiding big shots and prolonging one’s career.

The way he figures it: The longer it takes for him to get his big opportunity, the better he will be.

“My job is just to be ready as a fighter,” he said. “As long as I keep winning, as long as I keep making statements, my time to fight for a title will come. I just have to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”


Alexis Rocha stops George Ashie with huge hook in Round 7

Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie