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Biofile: Juan “Kid” Arroyo Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Professional boxer from 1981-2008. Compiled a record of 37-5-4 (16 KOs) as a lightweight/junior welterweight. Currently is a trainer at Miami’s Fifth Street Gym.

DOB:  July 29, 1964  In: Miami, FL

First Boxing Memory:  “I started with Luis Manuel Rodriguez, he was the Welterweight champion of the world in 1964, the year I was born. He used to fall asleep in my corner when I was fighting amateur. The crowd used to laugh but I kept fighting. ”

Boxing Inspirations:  “Luis Rodriguez, Wilfredo Gomez.”

Nicknames:  “They tried to give me many nicknames, like Baby Face Killer, Undefeated Showstopper, Juan The Kid Arroyo, Puerto Rican Hurricane. Hank Kaplan promoted by first 18 fights.”

Favorite Movies:  “Action movies.”

Last Book Read: “I don’t read.”

First Job:  “Boxing. I started boxing at 13.”

First Car:  “Ford Granada 1982, when I won the Florida Lightweight title. I beat Johnny Torres for it.”

Favorite Meal:  “Rice, beans, steak, typical Spanish.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:  “Strawberry.”

Greatest Career Moment:  “I really don’t know…maybe when I was young I won the Florida Lightweight title when I was 17. I was really happy. I used to show my belt to everybody. It was a real cheap belt but it meant a lot to me. My mom got me into boxing. She wouldn’t allow me to quit. I said, Man, this is so hard. I don’t want to do it. She said, I don’t want no bum in my house. So she took me to boxing.”

Most Painful Moment:  “Maybe when I lost to (Hector) Camacho, for not living right. I coulda given Camacho a much better fight but I was in a bad living at the time.”

Funniest Boxers Encountered:  “Paez. An Argentine 118 champ, he used to come to the ring with glasses. I forget his name. Mayorga I find funny. I see him at the clubs, he is regular.”

Embarrassing Boxing Memory:  “When I fought at the James N. Knight Center in Miami, ESPN 1983, I was 17. I fought a guy by the name of Spiderman. He had an ugly record but he acted like Spiderman, I’d hit him and he’d freeze and go into a Spiderman pose like he was shooting spiderwebs. I gave him like 15 pounds too, my opponent didn’t show up so I fought him. I was 143 he was 150-something. That guy was crazy.”

Favorite Boxers To Watch:  “Wilfredo Benitez. Sugar Ray Leonard. Wilfredo Gomez. David Haye.”

Favorite Sport To Watch Outside Boxing:  “Football.”

Childhood Dream:  “I wanted to be a police officer. And it’s been the opposite, I’ve had problems with the police.”

Sparring Memory:  “I sparred with Julian Solis, he was champ at the time. We got to be friends and I was part of the team. I sparred with Wilfredo Gomez at the Fifth Street Gym. When I was 14, I sparred with Jorge Lujan and he got caught on the ropes and I was young so I started wingin’ at him. When he got loose he unloaded on me. My trainer got hot and threw them all out of the gym. Then Solis game and I started training with Solis. He took me to Puerto Rico.”

Duran Memory:  “I went to England with Duran and Nigel Benn and Frank Maloney. They really love Duran over there. They took Duran to the jewelry warehouse over there and the owner said Duran could have whatever he wanted, jewelry, gold, necklaces, rings, anything. Everything he wanted they let him have.”

People Qualities Most Admired:  “Humble. Respectful. Seeing other people – help other people who need help.”

Additional Comments:  “Thanks to Dino Spencer and Matt Baiamonte, thanks for letting me come here to train people a this famous gym.”

About Scoop Malinowski

Author of six books including "Muhammad Ali: Portrait of a Champion" and "Heavyweight Armageddon: The Lewis versus Tyson Championship Battle" available at amazon