Former IBF super-featherweight champion Steve Forbes said he intended to prove his doubters wrong once again when he fights Oscar De La Hoya today.
“I’m an underdog, I understand that,” Forbes, 33-5 (9 KOs), said on Thursday. “But the more I see and read, it’s like I never put on boxing gloves before, like I only started boxing yesterday.”
Forbes said people had dismissed his chances since the day he was born prematurely in 1977. His ring nickname, “Two Pounds,” is in recognition of his birth weight.
“My doctors said I wouldn’t make it,” he said. “I showed them that they were wrong. I think about everything I’ve gone through in life, to even make it this far, and it motivates me to keep going.”
He began boxing at the age of 10, partly, he said, to prove to “over-protective” family and friends that he was tougher than they realized.
After a successful amateur career he turned professional in 1996.
In 2000, in just his 20th professional contest, he became the IBF super featherweight champion with a stoppage win over John Brown.
However, in 2002, he was stripped of his title after weighing in over the 130 pound (60kg) limit for a defense against David Santos.
He fell short in two attempts to regain a super featherweight title, and for several years afterward, his career seemed to have stalled.
But he gained renewed recognition when he finished as runner-up in the second season of the boxing reality show The Contender in 2006.
The increased exposure led to two fights on pay-per-view undercards in Las Vegas last year, following which De La Hoya selected him as his next opponent.
Forbes views today’s contest as a chance for him to atone for his earlier losses.
“I think Oscar’s made a mistake,” he said. “I finally get the opportunity to show what I know I can do.”
For his part, De la Hoya insists he won’t be taking Forbes lightly.
“I am focused 100 percent on Forbes,” he said last month. “Some people think this is a warm-up fight for my rematch against [Floyd] Mayweather Junior, but for Steve it will be the fight of his life and so he’ll arrive super-prepared and ready to win.”