Meet The Contender Runner-Up -
By Barbara Pinnella
He carries this attitude through everything he does, and he has a good reason for that. “Today I’m still having fun. I’m not going to say I don’t take it too seriously, I do take it seriously, because you can get hurt in boxing. But I just have that mentally, ever since I was born, like, life is short. Live for every moment.
“And that’s what people see. Some call it cocky, it’s not really cocky, it’s just that you never know when’s your last day on this earth. You want to live every moment of it. I don’t want to make everything look too hard. That way, it takes a lot of pressure off. And if you can have fun in it, it doesn’t look like work. I know boxing’s hard, but I make it fun for myself, that’s why I do it.”
Hino scrapped his way to the finale by going through three others who stood in his way. The first was Darnell Wilson. When he chose to fight Wilson instead of Ryan Coyne – someone who many thought he would call out – people were wondering why. He had said on the show that he felt that Darnell would give him a better fight, and I wanted to know exactly what he meant by that.
“Ryan Coyne is still an up-and-comer,” he told me. “Darnell Wilson is a big name as far as the Cruiserweight division goes. I felt if I beat him I’d make more of a statement.”
His second stepping-stone was Deon Elam, and Hino handed him his first loss. “That was a close fight,” he said. “Deon is a very good boxer. I had to literally out-box him from start to finish. That was a good toe-to-toe, back and forth…I take nothing away from Deon.”
The final fighter that was between he and the finale was Rico Hoye. Hoye thought he should have won that fight, and that he got too complacent. “I don’t blame him for that,” Hino responded. “Rico, of all the guys, has accomplished more in boxing, and he was one of the favorites to win the whole thing. I guess that was his mentally going in there, like ‘I’m going in there with more experience, so I guess I’m going to beat this kid.’ And I gave him a surprise.”
When I asked him who made him work the hardest, he replied, “I think I had to beat Deon. He keeps his hands up like a Winky Wright. He keeps his hands up all the time, and he’s like, 6’4”, 6’5”, he’s a big boy. He hits that 200 mark right on point. So I had to work the hardest, I had to break through the defense, land shots at the same time, and get away from his shots.
“And I knew Deon was coming in as an undefeated fighter, so I had to work the hardest against him.”
As with most boxers, Hino did not think his fight in the finale against Troy Ross should have been stopped. “I didn’t feel so,” he told me. “I just watched the fight for the first time; I was against the ropes. I felt that my hand was under the ropes, too.”
When asked what he would have done differently with that 20/20 hindsight he replied, “I think I would have changed things in that I would have definitely moved away. It wasn’t a matter of being tired.. I was winning the fight; clearly everyone saw that. I was landing cleaner punches..”
Ross is a southpaw, but Hino had tried to prepare for that. “It was very awkward, though. The first two weeks of training camp I was getting beat up every day. But these were good southpaws. I picked the perfect guys, that fought just like him.”
Hino is exited about the opportunities that might open up to him, but he has always been confident. “I’ve been excited about my future. I knew something like this was going to happen, I mean not The Contender, but the opportunity where I could showcase my fun side and my boxing side. So I knew it was going to happen, I just didn’t know what time it was going to happen, and the time is now. Now everybody knows that I’m a cool, nice guy outside the ring, and in the ring still bringing that fun, and winning at the same time.”
It is a little too early for Hino to know what is next in store for him, and that is just fine with him. “I like not knowing what’s in store. It won’t be bad, so it’s like, I don’t know, but it’s something good. And even if it is bad, I’ll turn it into something good. It’s just fun NOT knowing. I like that.
“Good or bad with what the future holds, I still have a day job, and I’m happy with that. I work at Trinity Boxing Gym, and I have the best bosses – John and Martin Snow – and they treat me good. They let me take time off for the sport, and when I come back they let me start any time I want. It’s a beautiful life.”
Yes, Hino is happy with everything now, but don’t think that makes him soft. Look for him to have fun, but he will still be the tough, aggressive fighter he has shown to be, and that he knows he is.
Congratulations to Hino for making it to the finale, and good luck in the future. Also, many thanks to him for taking the time to speak with me.
Be safe and God Bless,
Viva La Raza,