Lourdes “Pequeña Lulu” Juarez: “I Have Made My Own Name Now.”
By Felipe Leon
Mexican flyweight contender Lourdes “Pequeña Lulu” Juarez (24-2, 3KO) says she is ready for her time in the spot light. The 31-year-old mother of two, is better known as the youngest sister of the fighting Juarez clan along with Patricia and Mariana, “La Barbie”, the most famous of not only the three, but arguably of all current Mexican female fighters.
Juarez is coming off a split decision win over arch nemesis Jackie Calvo last month. The fight was a rematch of their 2014 match up that Juarez won via majority decision.
“This fight against Calvo was an elimination bout to get the opportunity to fight for the world title” Lourdes explained from Mexico City in an exclusive interview with the 2-Minute Round podcast hosted by David Avila and this writer. “That night was also the fight between Ibeth Zamora vs Melissa McMorrow so the winner would face Zamora. There are also talks of getting the chance to go after the junior flyweight champion Esmeralda Moreno. Whichever of the two would be fine as long as I get the opportunity to challenge for a world title.”
In a professional career that spans five years and 26 fights, Lourdes undertook a number of starts and stops.
“I ended up getting married, had my kids, so I ended up being a mother but now I am back,” Juarez explains why she took a break after taking up the sport early in her teenage years. “I wanted to give my kids a better life. God gave me this talent and we have to take advantage of it. My sister is my inspiration. I have seen how hard she has worked and how much this has cost her.”
In the beginning it wasn’t easy despite her time off from playing soccer as she kept her house and raised her children. “I began from zero. Everything was a struggle but the biggest thing was to leave my kids behind. I didn’t have an amateur career so I began as a professional. I would go up to the mountains of Toluca to prepare myself along with my sister for early fights for sometimes as long as a month. Leaving my children with their grandmother for that long was hard.”
Juarez made her debut in the paid ranks in late 2013 with a four round knockout of Gabriela Martinez, a fight Lourdes says she soon will not forget.
“For my first pro fight even though it was scheduled for only four rounds I got ready as if it was for ten,” Juarez explains with an audible smile. “My condition was for a ten rounder. The nerves got to me. We won but the nerves were so much that went I would get back to the corner I felt I couldn’t breathe. I am never going to forget that.”
Since then and after suffering two early losses in her fourth and fifth fight, Juarez has been steadily building her career and gaining experience under the Promociones del Pueblo banner in Mexico and in front of the whole country on Mexican network Televisa.
Many critics say she would not have achieved such heights if it wasn’t for being the sister of Mariana “Barbie” Juarez. It wasn’t until she faced veteran Guadalupe Bautista, now the IBF light flyweight champion, did Juarez feel she got out of the shadow of her sister Mariana.
“It has been a little bit more than a two years when they faced me against a fighter that all I heard before the fight was that she was going to knock me out,” she says of her bout against Bautista in August of 2016. Even to my trainer they would tell him too that they were going to knock me out. Everybody believed that I was just the Mariana’s sister but that I didn’t have any talent or skill. Only because I was her sister I was able to win my fights.”
“It was Guadalupe Bautista, she had a lot of experience, she had faced world champions,” she continued. “She didn’t touch me. She landed some but I won very easily and since then people began to realize that I also had talent and it wasn’t only because I was Mariana’s sister.”
After the Bautista win, Juarez has strung together seven more with a “no-contest” against recent world title challenger Yesenia Gomez. Juarez also knocked out veteran Noemi Bosques in December of 2016, the first fighter to do so. Despite those recent wins, Juarez is adamant the first Calvo fight in 2014 was her toughest to date.
“Jackie has always been a very technical fighter so I have always said that was one of my toughest fights. I remember in that fight in the third round she hit me and even though I didn’t go down, it was three seconds that my vision blurred,” she stated. “I learned a lot from that fight and I have never been hit that hard since. We learned from that fight. I remember that, I remember that it was a close fight but we won that night and we won in this last one as well.”
With those recent wins Lourdes believes that now the boxing audience is beginning to recognize who she is and she beginning to slide away from under her older sister’s shadow.
“Sometimes it is hard for me to believe in myself but my team helps me with that and it shows in the gym and in the fights,” she explained. “It feels great that people recognize my talent, it is not my sister. At the end of the day I am the one that trains, the one that goes in the ring. Not just because I am the sister of Mariana Juarez means she is going to do everything, it has nothing to do with it. I think people are not recognizing that I am ‘Pequeña Lulu’ and not just the sister of Mariana Juarez.”
Even though Lourdes wants to get away from the obvious comparisons, she does not deny her sister is a big part of her career. “We keep learning and in every fight you learn new things as well as in the gym. We keep working on correcting the errors we see afterwards in the fight even though we win it. My sister is my best teacher. She is the one I have learned the most from and what better teacher since she goes into the ring herself. One thing she always stresses is for me to enjoy what I do and just do what I know how to do.”
For Juarez now it is only a matter of time she gets the world title shot since she just won the WBC eliminator for flyweight and it ranks her #3.
“I thought last year they were going to give me the opportunity but I think that God has his plan,” she said optimistically. “I think this year it will and it shouldn’t go beyond that. I think I am ready to challenge for a world title.”
So if she gets her shot against Zamora, the current WBC flyweight champion while Jessica “Kika” Chavez gives birth, what does Lulu Juarez need to do to capture the green and gold strap?
“She is a fighter than can go 12 rounds and still keep throwing punches. She is a fighter that has incredible conditioning. I admire her because of that,” she answered. “I would need to have to use my intelligence and everything I have learned. The key would not to follow her (Zamora) but to use my boxing. I need to hit and move. I can’t fight her fight and go toe-to-toe but to do my fight. I would have to better my conditioning, not that my condition is bad, but I need to match her.”
To Listen to the whole unedited interview, please visit BlogTalkRadio.com/2MinRound