By Austin Killeen August 13, 2016
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On May 29, 2015 Edgar Zubia was driving home from work at approximately 9:00 P.M. in Levelland, Texas. It had been raining off and on for the previous forty eight hours and the roads were slick. Suddenly, a car shot across the medium strip in front of Edgar’s truck. Pulling hard on the steering wheel to avoid a collision, he found himself heading North/South on a highway where traffic was going East/West. Over correcting for his steering mistake, Edgar suddenly found himself exiting his truck. He had failed to use his seat belt and within seconds would pay a heavy price for his carelessness. Fortunately, traffic was light at that time of night; otherwise the price he paid could have been his life. Landing on the asphalt he broke his left leg, shattered his hip socket in ten places and broke both arms but amazingly did no damage to any of his organs.
Lying in a hospital bed he found out that there would be no rehab initiated because one of his cheeks had no skin; to avoid any ambiguity, I’m not referring to his face. A technique using Wound Vac Dressing to promote healing in acute or chronic wounds was employed. This helps to from a scab, which is then removed from the body. Each time the process is repeated it helps to promote the grown of new skin to the damaged area. But the removing of the scab results in excruciating pain, pain that Edgar had never felt in a boxing ring. It was two months before his buttock healed sufficiently to allow him to begin rehabilitation. It would be almost a year before Edgar was able to return to work installing fiber optics at building sites. As for Zubia’s boxing career, the general consensus was that it flew out of the truck along with his body.
Accordingly, when promoter Isidro Castillo announced that Edgar Zubia would return to the ring on September 10th at the Lea County Event Center in Hobbs, New Mexico, the response on Facebook was unbelievable. All the comments were basically the same; excited about his comeback and wishing him success. Zubia could box an overcoat in a six rounder and it would attract a thousand fans. Put Zubia’s name on a fight poster and you guarantee you’ll break even the first day tickets go on sale. Next to the term “ticket sales” in the dictionary is a picture of Edgar Zubia. I not sure there is any one answer to explain it, but throughout the history of boxing some boxers can sell tickets and some can’t. It has little to do with ability, as some of the biggest sellers of tickets were little more than ordinary; while there have been world champions who couldn’t give tickets away.
Hobbs, New Mexico is located in the Southeast corner of the state, but might as well be on Mars as far as fight fans from Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces are concerned. Lenny Fresquez use to sell over 2,500 tickets for Holly Holm fights in Albuquerque. Pat Holmes, Jr. fills the Buffalo Thunder Casino to capacity crowds of 2,000 plus for every card he promotes, and a variety of promoters have made a profit in Las Cruces. Last December Isidro Castillo quietly filled over 1,700 seats in Hobbs without Zubia on the fight card. On September 10 he would like to attract a crowd of 2,000. In my interview with Zubia last week he said “I’m looking for 3,000 people in the stands.” That’s typical of Zubia as thinking small is not part of his DNA. I’ve always been impressed with Castillo’s promotional talents and his cards are always entertaining, with evenly matched opponents. Having Zubia back has to be a plus.
The Edgar Zubia story started thirteen years ago when he first meet his promoter Isidro Castillo. It wasn’t long before the fast talking Edgar had his first amateur bout, a win for those who want details. For the next eleven years Zubia would participate in over ninety amateur bouts, winning seven NM State GG’s titles, five regional titles and advancing as far as the national quarter finals. The highlight of his amateur experience was a loss to future WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas, Nevada. Commenting on that experience Zubia said, “You learn by fighting the best and Vargas was a terrific fighter. When I’d get eliminated at the Nationals, I’d pay my own expenses to stay and watch the rest of the tournament. I wanted to learn from the experience.”
Turning pro in 2010 at the age of 24, Edgar quickly found the win column with three victories and a draw in his first four bouts. In his fifth bout he faced undefeated Victor Castro in the latter’s home town of Phoenix, Arizona. In a battle of undefeated prospects it was Edgar 0 that had to go. Castro is currently 17 and 0 and Zubia acknowledges that the Phoenix boxer is the toughest opponent he has faced to date. With a record of 4-3-1, with 2 KO’s and his last win coming in 2012, one could ask what is all the excitement about?
The excitement is generated by Zubia himself, he’s a self promoter. Edgar is the first person at the arena, shaking hands with each fan who comes through the door. Most fighters are in their dressing rooms, looking for quiet time before their bout. That’s not Zubia’s style, he feeds off the fans and they love the attention; or as Edgar likes to say “there not my fans, there my family.” The first time I covered one of his fights he told me I’d have plenty of stuff to write about. Clearly this young man is not encumbered by false modesty. If others tried to copy his swagger it would be boring, with Zubia it’s charming.
At the risk of being of being called a romantic I have to talk about how he married his beautiful wife Marisol. They were high school sweet hearts and like most high school heart throbs they ultimately went their separate ways. Ten years later Edgar saw Marisol’s younger sister in a mall and asked about his former girl friend. When he found out she was engaged and would soon marry, he contacted her and wished her the best in her future. One thing led to another and Marisol did get married, but to her high school sweet heart Edgar. Between them they have three children; his fifteen your old daughter Janae and an eight year old son, Edgar Junior, while Marisol has a four year old daughter Ezra. If you hooked up the feeling they have for each other to a generator, you could light up a city.
If Zubia is able to pull off this incredible comeback it has Hollywood movie written all over it. For all his chutzpa Edgar is very honest about his feelings when you’re alone with him. When he was in the hospital recovering from his accident, one of his pro opponents Antonio Martinez contacted him. Martinez wanted to wish him a speedy recovery and was concerned for his health. Since losing to Zubia, Martinez has become a hot property and is currently working on a six bout win streak. But the health of Zubia was all that mattered to Martinez and Edgar wanted me to make sure to put it in this article.
I have no idea what will happen on September 10th, all I hope for is that Edgar Zubia will perform at his best.