Re: Xander Zayas
Xander Zayas is unbeaten in 15 professional fights and only 20 years old, but by the time he finishes his career he wants a place in boxing history.
Puerto Rico's Zayas next fights on the undercard of Josh Taylor vs Teofimo Lopez, live on Sky Sports Main Event and Action at 1am on Sunday morning (June 11).
It will be a special moment for him at Madison Square Garden in New York during the Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend.
"The love and support we get from our fanbase gives us a lot of motivation and just willpower to go there and put on a show for them," Zayas told Sky Sports.
"In Puerto Rico they teach us from the beginning when it's time to go out to war, you go out to war like a warrior and when it's time to box and outclass somebody, you just go out and look smart, look better than them and don't let them touch you.
"I feel like I will be able to showcase why I'm one of the best boxers coming up, why I'm going to be one of the best boxers at 154lbs and in boxing in general in the future."
With the second annual Miguel Cotto Award on offer to the winner of Zayas' fight with Ronald Cruz, the young fighter has an added incentive.
"To be fighting for this award just makes it a little bit more special. And I'm excited to win, get those titles back home and get the new trophy," he said.
Cotto is his all-time favourite fighter. "I look up to him inside and outside of the ring," Zayas said.
"The way that he carries himself inside and outside the ring, he's a gentleman at the end of the day. And the way that he can adjust to any fighter at any given time, any round, he's able to make those adjustments.
"Even when he lost he was able to give out classic fights, he was able to give out a war."
Zayas wants to eventually follow in Cotto's footsteps.
"You want to take those steps but in your own direction, in a way that you can also create your own legacy, your own story. I want to be able to bring glory to Puerto Rico. I want to be able to bring that excitement back when Miguel Cotto fought, when 'Tito' Trinidad fought, that people get together to watch them fight," he said.
Zayas became Top Rank's youngest signing when he joined the promotional giant when he was only 16, in a sign of faith that he can do something special in the sport.
"I want to leave a legacy that when people talk about Xander Zayas in a hundred years, they talk about a great fighter, somebody that they admire," he said.
"I want to leave a legacy outside the ring."
Still in the early stages of his career, he plans on fighting for world honours next year.
"I'm going to showcase to my Puerto Rican fans that sooner rather than later they will have a world champion on their hands," Zayas said.
"My time is around the corner, I haven't even hit my prime yet.
"When I do hit my prime, it's going to be scary."
'Whoever has fun will win'
Zayas believes the Josh Taylor vs Teofimo Lopez main event is too close to call.
"It's going to be a close fight. It depends on what type of Josh Taylor shows up, it depends on what type of Teofimo shows up. I feel like it's a 50-50 fight. It could go either way," he said.
"If Teofimo comes out very aggressive, I do see Josh Taylor outboxing him. So, I feel like it's going to be a chess match and I feel like the smartest guy is going to win in there. The guy that can adjust better and the guy that can listen and stick to their gameplan.
But he added: "Whoever has fun [will win]. It's very hard to stay composed, stay within your game plan but at the same time have fun.
"But that happens when you start getting a rhythm, when you start seeing that your game plan is working, when you start seeing the openings are there. That's when you start having fun because now everything becomes fluid.
"Whoever gets to that point first in the fight is going to have the advantage on the other guy."
Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.