by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
For Hawaiian standout Ross “Da Boss” Ebanez, tonight’s ShoXC event in Atlantic City, N.J. represents an opportunity to reintroduce himself to a nationwide audience after having disappointing results in his first Showtime experience last year.
It was last February when a hot-streaking Ebanez ran into Mike Pyle at EliteXC’s inaugural event. In just under two minutes, the veteran Pyle took advantage of mistakes made by Ross to win the fight.
Just under a year later Ebanez is coming off an undefeated remainder of 2007, heading once again into a Showtime event on a hot streak. Standing in his way this time is another extremely difficult opponent, 11-1 Bodog veteran Eddie Alvarez.
“I’m feeling good,” said Ebanez just before flying to New Jersey for the fight. “I’ve trained hard and we had a great camp.
“I was training at the same time as B.J. (Penn) was getting ready for Joe Stevenson (at UFC 80), and a couple of other fighters getting ready also from our academy. So it was a great camp and I feel good.”
Not only is Ebanez feeling up after a solid training camp, he’s excited to get another opportunity to showcase his skills to a nationwide audience, this time as part of the main card of ShoXC.
“It’s been almost a year since I’ve fought on a Showtime card, and especially headlining a ShoXC. I’m grateful for that opportunity, and I’m just going to make the best of it,” said Ebanez.
He knows he let a golden opportunity slip by him last year when he faced Pyle, and he intends on showing the MMA community that he’s grown into a better fighter since then.
“I’ve progressed since that fight with Mike Pyle,” he exclaimed. “I’ve grown into a great stand up guy and I’m pretty good on the ground.
“For those who didn’t get to actually see me fight (on the EliteXC free internet broadcast), they will get to see what I’m all about.”
Ebanez’s second trip to Showtime will be no less difficult than his first, as he faces the extremely impressive Alvarez in a match that could determine contendership status for the EliteXC welterweight crown.
“I know he has fast hands, is a good stand-up guy with great wrestling ability,” Ebanez said of Alvarez. “But I didn’t change anything; I kept training what I want to do to keep the fight in my favor.
“I’m just doing my thing, what I do best and see what the outcome is. I hope that this fight is going to be a great action fight.”
Should things go well against Alvarez on Friday, Ebanez hopes to continue with the EliteXC brand and make a name for himself at any weight class he’s able to fight.
“Hopefully this fight goes well and I stick with this (promotion),” he commented. “I’d like to eventually get down to the 160′s also, since it’s more my size.
“Eventually I’d like to get down to the 155′s, but if Elite has the 160′s I’d like to try it. In other shows I’d probably stay 170′s, but if they have 160′s I’d like to try it.”
As long as he’s able to continue to face top-level talent, Ebanez is looking to take on any challenge that comes his way.
“Just like every fighter, you want to fight the best fighters so you get better also and advance your career, instead of staying at the same level or even moving backwards.”
And fight one of the best Ebanez will when he matches up with Alvarez in the co-headlining fight Friday from the Trump Taj Mahal.
“I’d like to thank Jay at the Penn’s training center, for letting me work out there and do the conditioning program,” closed out Ebanez. “I’d like to thank my sponsors On The Mat, the people from The Hooey, and thanks to all the guys that came down that came down that helped me train for this fight.
“For the fans, I hope you like this fight. Tune into Showtime, it’s going to be explosive.”