Bumped off a few fight cards over the past few months, Erick Correa said he doesn’t take it personally, it's just the fight game.
Earlier this year, he obtained licenses to fight professionally both as a boxer and as a mixed-martial artist.
But he has yet to get paid to throw a single punch.
A good sign for Correa's boxing career is that, for the first time, he’s mentioned on a poster promoting a show. That in itself is a kind of job security.
He's scheduled to fight the night before Thanksgiving in a show called the “Belvedere Bash” in Elk Grove Village.
Correa, 30, out of Curran's Gym in Crystal Lake, is scheduled to fight Keon Graham, a heavyweight from Akron, Ohio, in a four-round contest. Graham is also 30 years old.
“I’m excited to unveil (Correa),” boxing promoter Bobby Hitz said. “He comes with high regards. A lot of people that know say he’s the real deal. I’ll be excited to see him in action.”
Hitz said that Graham has had much more experience than Correa as a professional fighter, so Correa should be careful.
But a look at Graham’s record of 2 wins and 6 losses, with 5 losses coming by way of knockout, one may think that Correa isn’t sweating his first pro opponent. After all, Correa's credentials include winning the belt for the 2011 superheavyweight Chicago Golden Gloves tournament, and a tryout for the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team in 2007.
But Correa said he takes no heavyweight lightly.
“I respect him as a heavyweight," Correa said of Graham. "We’ll be wearing 10-ounce gloves. Any heavyweight can land one on the chin. Any heavyweight is dangerous.”
For this fight, Correa added “The Ram” to his name. Professional fighting is show business and Correa is giving current and future fans and easy ring moniker to remember him by.
He said an old boxing coach use to call him “The Ram.”
A decade of boxing has honed Correa’s skills, but his temperament is about the same. He has kept the same attack plan through his ring years. He said he rams his way in when he fights.
“When I started boxing [around 10 years ago] I weighed 200 pounds,” he said. “I went in there and traded punches. But I don’t stay there, trading punches. I back up, look around for a different angle, and go back in, like a ram. I’m a mover. And when I do get in [a clinch] I explode.”
Correa said he chose not to fight in the national Golden Gloves tournament over the summer — which could have led to a tryout for the 2012 Olympics — because he thought he’d be fighting professionally by now.
“I’m ready to make some money,” said Correa, a Chicagoan who works as a freelance personal trainer. “The Golden Gloves seems like a long time ago.”
The Belvedere Bash starts 7:30 p.m. at Belvedere Events & Banquets, 1170 W. Devon, Elk Grove Village.