2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas suffered one of 2019’s bigger upsets at the hands of Rene Tellez Giron last December, and now the 23-year-old Californian is looking to make some changes. Mike Coppinger reports that he has signed a “multi-year deal” with Churchill Management, who handle the likes of Regis Prograis and Alex Saucedo, and that Buddy McGirt is “under discussion” to serve as his new trainer.
Balderas (9-1, 8 KO) defeated Kazakhstan’s and Japan’s lightweight Rio representatives before running into future bronze medalist Lazaro Alvarez, who ended his run in the quarterfinals. He turned pro the following year and, after amassing an 8-0 record against standard prospect fodder, took what looked to be a moderate but manageable step up against Giron, who had lost his unbeaten record to Michel Rivera six months prior.
Instead, Giron crumpled Balderas with a left hook in the third that really should have prompted a stoppage, only for the ref to let him continue. The two went tit-for-tat for a few more rounds before Giron found the mark with that same punch for a sixth-round finish.
We’ve seen plenty of elite fighters hit early stumbling blocks in their career; Balderas is definitely talented and has plenty of time to shore up the flaws in his game. Best of luck to him.