Professional female boxer Carina “La Reina” Moreno, a Watsonville native, warms up during a training session. Moreno is currently the world champion in her weight class. Photo by Sal Ingram.

Sparring,” or practice fighting, is one of the best ways to train. When sparring, the participants wear larger gloves and headgear in order to focus more on technique and their fitness, rather than trying to determine a winner in the fight. Here, Moreno spars against a male competitor. Photo by Sal Ingram.
Photo by Sal Ingram.

Carina Moreno has beaten six people unconscious.
In fact, at her job, knocking out her opponents is the ultimate goal. Moreno is a four-time world champion boxer with a 21-2 professional record.

And this Saturday, she will be traveling from her home in Watsonville to Argentina to fight Yesica Yolanda Bopp, whose titles with the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organization are at stake. Bopp has a professional record of 13-0 (5 KOs) and most recently fought in Aug. 2010. Moreno has not had an official fight in over a year.

Her sabbatical, however, was involuntary. In her most recent fight, Moreno endured one of only two losses in her career. Anabel Ortiz defeated the champion in their fight in Mexico.

Rick Noble, Moreno’s manager and trainer, said Moreno did not receive a fair fight and there was a hometown decision. Noble and Moreno wanted a rematch, but the fight never happened.

“We’re over it at this point” Noble said, shaking his head. “We spent too much time hunting this girl down and it never happened.”

Several other fights had been set up but fell through as well.

Moreno has also been recovering from a shoulder injury. The fighter said she has been dealing with immense pressure in her shoulder, probably due to repeatedly throwing her hook too far.

After receiving a cortisone shot from her doctor, she toned her training down for the past five months. Noble said that although they had no control of the time off, Moreno is now hungrier for a fight because of it.

Moreno’s trainers are confident in her ability, despite the setbacks. Albert Romero, one of Moreno’s trainers who was once a professional boxer, said that Moreno has all the tools to win the fight. He said she is ready to deliver a knockout.

A knockout is a coveted accomplishment in boxing and Noble lights up at the suggestion of Moreno delivering one.

“Your goal [as a boxer] is to render your opponent unconscious and beat them into submission,” Noble said. “Very rarely will you see a boxer quit.”

Noble explained Moreno’s style as aggressive.

“She is a pressure-type boxer. She throws a lot of punches, she doesn’t get hit, and she is quick on her feet and with her hands,” he said.

Moreno said that she is successful because of her ability to adjust.

“I can box, but I can brawl as well,” she said. “When I fight, I feel my opponent out and see what they will do, and then I decide.”

Moreno has been preparing for the fight by working out seven days a week and taking supplements provided by Victor Conte’s brand Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning.

Conte is the founder and owner of Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, which is notorious for its ties to Barry Bonds’ steroid controversy.

Noble said Conte is now clean and supplying Moreno with quality, steroid-free supplements.

This Saturday, Moreno will fight a boxer who, at 26, is three years her junior. Noble said a professional female boxer peaks at approximately age 24 to 30. He said that although Moreno may have peaked physically, she is a wiser and smarter boxer than before.

As Moreno has gotten older and transitioned from an amateur career to a professional one, she is more patient with each shot, she said.

And, despite growing older, the intensity she brings to each fight has not waned.

“Every fight, whether it’s a title fight or just a tune-up fight, are all the same for me,” she said.

This mentality has contributed to Moreno’s international success. To her, becoming a world champion was a natural progression.

“My goal was always to be a world champion in three weight classes,” she said.

Moreno is currently two-thirds of the way there, and a victory in her upcoming fight could allow her to reach her ultimate goal.

While Moreno finishes up her work out session by sparring for a few rounds with a partner, her eyes have the focus of an animal hunting its prey.

“When I step in that ring I just zone in on what is in front of me,” she said.

She doesn’t see the posters and photographs of her successes covering the walls at Noble-Moreno Boxing Gym. She doesn’t see the young kids hanging on the side of the ring in awe, watching her throw each punch. She doesn’t see her trainers analyzing every move she makes or choice punch she throws.

She only sees her goal. And this Saturday in Argentina, she will only see Yesica Yolanda Bopp.