Chase Von: Hey Ada and it was great talking with you!On behalf of the Student Operated Press and myself, thanks so much for finding the time to do this interview with me and sharing yourself with our readers here at the SOP!I know you`re in training now for yet another Championship Belt, so really appreciate you squeezing this in!
Ada:Thanks Chase, the SOP and it`s my pleasure!
Chase Von: I have a myriad of questions I want to ask you but before we get to all those--- Where were you born, where did you grow up and how was your childhood?Also, have you always been so athletic?
Ada: I was born in Hollywood, Florida but we moved back to Puerto Rico when I was still a baby and lived there until I was about 12.We then moved back to Dania, Florida.And yes Chase, I have always been athletic!In High School I ran track, played Volley Ball and Basketball and for three years straight I was the MVP in Softball.I played catcher and my nickname then was "The Wall!"(Smile.)Over all my childhood was happy, we had good times and bad times but we did struggle and it got worse as I got older.
But over all my childhood was horrible Chase and I`m so glad I was able to reach you to up date and correct this part of the interview before the book went live. Yes, I still participated in sports but I was raised in the Hood " in a very bad neighborhood where there were gangs all over and yes, I was part of one (You sprout, where you are planted), but I also want to say that if I can make it, coming from where I did, anyone can make it! And I hope not only to be an inspiration to women fighters, but also to the people who find themselves in the same Sitch " I was once in.
Our track team won second in the District Nationals two times and I ran the 100 relay and the four hundred relay.Unfortunately I didn`t complete High School but I did eventually get my GED.I didn`t get into boxing until I met Bonnie Canino and it`s a good thing I did, because it got me out of the streets.
Chase Von: Now before we get into the boxing questions, one thing I want to point out as a heterosexual male to our male readers is that some of the loveliest women in the world are also into the sweet science.
To be honest, prior to interviewing Hollie (Hot Stuff) Dunaway I really hadn`t paid too much attention to that.Sure, I knew of Laila Ali and Christy Martin and they are both attractive, but then there is yourself, Hollie, Krisztina (Baby Girl) Belinszky, Stacey (stalo) Riele, Mia St. John, Susianna "Susi" (Killer Queen) Levonovna Kentikian, Ina Menzer, Melinda Cooper, Holly Holm,Ana Julaton, Ria Ramnarine, Elena "Baby Doll" Reid, Chantel Cordova, Jennifer Salinas and really too many for me to list.
As I`ve said before many times, I`m married (Happily I might add), but not yet visually impaired. (Smile.)
But I also happen to think companies and advertisers etc are really making a huge mistake in not supporting you all more and using you in commercials and such to sell their products.And it also seems to me like other countries as a whole, are a lot more supportive of their female fighters in comparison to America--- In particular, Mexico and Germany.
Would you agree or disagree with that statement Ace?
Ada:Well first of all thanks Sweetie!And I do think there are a lot of attractive women in Boxing as well as hot men but I think that is an added bonus for all who are active in sports.
When your profession is something you have to be physically fit in order to be competitive in it, it not only makes you healthier but also allows you to look as good as you perhaps can.I don`t think that way myself because I`m a humble woman but a little exercise for anyone will not only make them look better, but feel better also.Though sometimes I work so hard it is more pain than feeling good.But you want to work hard in training so when you are in the ring you`re just having fun.(Smile).
And yes Chase, I do agree with you that other countries are more supportive of their female fighters.In the state of Florida alone, it is obvious they support more male fighters than women and I think that is how it is over all in America as a whole.I can tell you this, when I fight out of country, I make a lot more money than I do here in the US.
Another thing that annoys me to no end is in most commercials they use real male boxers but in other commercials, they put up women that aren`t really boxers and make it look like they are.
I`m always like--- "Who is that?"
When I see things like that Chase it is so very unfair.
In Tennis for example and a few, very few might I add other sports, they use people like Venus and I`m always happy to see that because she is a champion and she earned it!Why isn`t it the same way for us Female Boxing Champions?
And not only that, we really risk injury a lot more and we aren`t respected in the main stream for our efforts or at least as it stands now.
Chase Von:Now on to boxing questions Ace.Prior to revisiting women`s boxing I was use to seeing what looked like cat fights.But in all honesty, when I watch fights now I am amazed at how technically proficient you women all are in the ring.In fact, some of you are so good that I find myself comparing the styles some of you employ to males I`ve seen in the past.Hollie (Hot Stuff) Dunaway and I`ve told her this, reminds me a bit of Sugar Ray Leonard minus all the show boating he sometimes did.You remind me a bit of Hector (Macho) Camacho at certain times when I watch you fight.
The incredible Ann Wolfe who I`ve communicated with a few brief times and is truly a sweet heart, reminds me a bit of the equally impressive Joe Frazier and of course, Laila Ali reminds me of her father.
In short, the bar has definitely been raised and in my view, women (many of them) are just as good in the ring as men now.
Do you think in the not too distant future, that there will come a time when perhaps HBO, Show Time or another huge organization will feature as the main event an all women card for Championship bouts?
And just being honest, I personally think if they did and it was marketed correctly, it could perhaps be the biggest pay day for them in recent memory.
Ada:That would be a dream comes true!And it would inspire a lot of women to push even harder to become the best fighters that they can.Women fight really because they love the sport.Not for the money so our fights are always for real.
Chase Von:Speaking of pay days, you`ve held at one time or another four World Championships belts and one International belt.You told me and I have to agree, if a male had even half the accomplishments that you have already achieved, they would be millionaires!
Our mutual friend andPhotographer Extraordinaire and Author ofExtraordinary Women of the Ring ",Mary Ann Lurie Owen shared with me recently, they are possibly going to make Female Boxing one of the events in the next Olympics.One, would you be eligible for that because I know professional basketball players have played in the Olympics and two, do you think if it is included, that it might lead to a more equitable pay for female fighters after that kind of world wide exposure?Because right now, women fighters aren`t fighting for money or not much in comparison--- They are fighting because they love the sport and they aren`t getting hardly anything although they are doing the same thing and taking the same risks as their male counter parts.
Ada:That would be a God send!And I would be eligible and I would love to compete for the United States.Maybe that would even the playing field a bit and women could seriously box as a career and get adequate pay instead of, fighting now and many of them or us, having to work at another job just to make ends meet.
Right now, there are men that are not at the top in various categories or weight classes that can still make a comfortable living where as there are "Champions" in women`s boxing, that still have to do other things to survive.
Chase Von:I think another thing Ada that would improve purses is if more women supported female boxers as well.I don`t know if you`ll agree with this but there seems to me, to be a mindset--- Among many women where they will watch men fight but aren`t interested in watching women fight.
I personally don`t have to clock when and where Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao is going to fight next because my wife will tell me.(Smile).But she also doesn`t seem to be very interested in watching women fights.This is probably out dated, but I recall hearing years ago women out numbered men three to one.But from what I can see, mostly men support women boxers by and large although there are a few women but both men and women seem to support male boxing.Personally now, I enjoy a good women`s boxing match or MMA match as much as I enjoy watching the male ones.
But if more women, just by mere numbers alone supported females I think purses would change overnight.Your thoughts on that?Or do you think most women are too lost in the belief it is OK for men to fight but don`t like seeing women battle it out?
Ada:I have to correct you a little bit Chase, there are actually a lot of men as well, that don`t like seeing women fight.So on top of a lot of women not being supportive, that factors in as well.I do think that if it were included in the Olympics like you mentioned in the question above, it might help things in that regard.
But I`ve been fighting for about 13 years and you know how many titles and Championships I have won.I haven`t gotten paid throughout that entire time more than a few thousand dollars a fight.After this coming fight I have been told, that if I win, I will then start making some real money.
I`ve been pretty sad over the years about that--- To accomplish all the things I have and to not get credit for it.But it looks like that might change.I also want to add that it isn`t just boxing, but all female sports whether it be WNBA, Professional Soccer players, Professional women Softball players etc that get the short end of the stick.
I really believe we should all be getting equal rewards, but even in the year 2011, across the board except perhaps in Tennis, women athletes are still treated monetarily as if what they do is not as important as their male counter parts.Not to sound too melodramatic but once upon a time, slavery was accepted in America and it took years to change.And even though women have progressed in many areas where they once couldn`t just like slaves eventually earned equal rights--- In women`s sports over all, it seems like we are still treated as second class citizens.
I do hope that changes soon and that I am a part of it!
Here`s something else I think is really encouraging Chase!It boiled down to a "woman" and an "African American man" this last election.Something that hasn`t ever happened!So that encourages to me also to continue to be "The Change" in boxing and in women`s sports in general!
Chase Von:I have to ask this before I move on.In all sports one risk injury, but in boxing the purpose is to punch and not get punched and if you are great at it, you knock out your opponent and the sooner, the better.(Smile.)
But there`s a lot more that goes on than just hitting.It`s physical, it`s mental, and there is the use of the ring to your advantage and also points scored for the most landed punches.But what I want to ask you about is the things that often aren`t seen--- I.e. like elbows and head butts.Are there some fighters who do it intentionally to throw other fighters off their game plan?Also are there fighters that are behind that resort to that in order to injure an opponent because they aren`t being affective in other areas?
Because I saw you get head butted in your fight against Rolanda Andrews and I was surprised they didn`t take any points from her when she threw you down.
Ada:When it comes to the head butts, throwing you to the floor or elbowing--- They`re just showing that they are frustrated because you have already beaten them, mentally and physically.Think about it Chase--- If they are doing that even after they KNOW the rules, which are explained to them, then they are showing that they are giving up and have already lost and lost heart to still fight like the rules say they should.
When someone starts doing that to me, I know I have already defeated them.
Chase Von: Speaking of Rolanda Andrews and might I add I have nothing but respect for anyone who steps in the ring and lays it all on the line--- She knocked out Mia St. John yet when she faced you, you literally destroyed her!
I think men or women could view that fight and use it as a learning tool to show fighters how they should box.You in my opinion fought a perfect fight!You worked the body so hard she was gasping for breath between rounds and again, this is someone that knocked out Mia St. John!
But what I want to ask is do you look at fighters before you fight them and formulate a game plan along with your trainer?Or do you just bring your game?My father, now deceased loved boxing and one of his favorite sayings was, "Kill the body and the head will die."You decimated her with body shots and that`s not to say you didn`t also go to the head but again, I`m wondering do you view fighters and train for how they fight or do you just feel them out and go to work?
Ada:For me it starts at the weigh in--- When we make initial eye contact.The next phase for me is the first round.I KNOW from then on what will more than likely happen.I personally don`t watch other fighters previous fights or hardly ever.
That`s not how I prepare.I train and my trainers do that, and then without telling me, add in what they believe will get me the victory.So for me, it is more instinctive.I don`t look at someone`s fights and think... "They do this, so I think I better do that to counter it."I train--- And my trainers train me in such a way that that I`m doing it without "Thinking" about it...So big PROPS to my trainers and sparring partners!When I step in the ring you are seeing all their hard work and preparation in action as well and Chase, in Martial Arts they call it I believe, muscle memory.If you HAVE to think about what you are doing you lose valuable time.They prepare me in such a way that I am SO prepared I don`t have to think, my body instinctively does that for me. (Smile.)
Chase Von:I always try and ask a tough one Ada and normally I refer to something in the news that is catching attention but in this case, I want to ask you something personal.
You don`t have to answer this if you don`t wish to but you were arrested for giving out vouchers at a Casino you worked at. You`re also a former gang member but from everything I can see you had turned your life around for the good.It also looks to me like you were just being friendly and in my opinion, America has the largest number of inmates in the world and that alone says there is something wrong with the system.
I`ve been a Correctional Officer in a jail and I too have been arrested.(I also got tazered and the charges were later dropped but back to you).
I personally think you were dealt with too harshly.In my opinion violent criminals and sex offenders should be kept away from the general population but people that aren`t violent or a threat to human life who commit a wrong or a perceived wrong I think should be dealt with in a different manner.I also know from talking with you, they wanted you to tell on others which you refused to do and that too ended up increasing the time you had to serve.
One of my favorite poets is Kahlil Gibran and now that I know you love poetry as well from speaking to you, thought I would share this with you--- Kahlil wrote this many years ago and I think there is much wisdom in this and Poets---- And I`m sure my friend and fellow phenomenal Poet Ed Roberts would agree, often don`t get the recognition they deserve either in most cases so Poets and most female fighters have much in common in that department...
Of the Martyrs to Man`s Law
Are you one who was born in the cradle of sorrow, reared in the lap of misfortune and in the house of oppression?
Do you sup on a dry crust moistened with tears?
Are you partaking of turbid water in which are mingled sweat and blood?
Are you a soldier compelled by the harsh law of man to forsake wife and children, and go forth into the field of battle for the sake of Greed, which your leaders miss-call Duty?
Are you a poet content with your crumbs of life, happy in the possession of parchment and ink, and sojourning in your land as a stranger, unknown to your fellow men?
Are you a prisoner, pent up in a dark dungeon for some pretty offense and condemned by those who seek to reform man by corrupting him?
Are you a young woman on whom God has bestowed beauty, but who has fallen prey to the base lust of the rich, who deceived you and bought your body but not your heart, and abandons you to misery and distress?
If you are one of these, you are a martyr to man`s law.
You are wretched, and your wretchedness is the fruit of the iniquity of the strong and the injustice of the tyrant, the brutality of the rich, and the selfishness of the lewd and the covetous.
Comfort ye, my beloved weak ones, for there is a Great Power behind and beyond this world of Matter, a Power that is all Justice, Mercy, Pity and Love.
You are like a flower that grows in the shade; the gentle breeze comes and bears your seed into sunlight, where you will live again in beauty.
You are like the bare tree bowed with winter`s snow; Spring shall come and spread her garments of green over you; and Truth shall rend the veil of tears that hides your laughter.
I take you unto me, my afflicted brothers, I love you, and I condemn your oppressors.
--Kahlil Gibran, The Voice of The Master, Ch. 2 "Of the Martyrs to Man`s Law"
So my question for you Ada is now you are back on your path and shooting for yet another World Title, but did that experience make you wiser and even stronger?Or did it make you bitter?
Because that kind of time away, regardless of how good someone is can`t be good for their progress and especially in an environment where you can`t really train like you could on the outside.And also, you`re fortunate to be able to fight and have that to rely on but if you weren`t a fighter that really would have set you back not only in time, but in career choices.
Also which I found truly touching, can you tell our readers what you shared with me about the lasting friendship you made in there and how no matter where we find ourselves, God is looking out for us?
Ada:First Chase, I love that poem and Kahlil Gibran`s writings as well as the one`s you yourself have wrote and shared with me!(You know I do love my poetry).And second, it was SO hard!
It also definitely made me bitter because I can`t tell you how much it hurt me to be away from my son for that long which hurt me more than the embarrassment.
What I did, a LOT of people were doing Chase and my main goal--- Because I loved working there, was to keep the customers happy.Call me naive but it`s just like the Bible says, money is the root of all evil and there`s a lot of it floating around Casino`s.And I figured since there were so many people doing it, why not?I wasn`t trying to rob anyone, just keep the people that came to the Casino, coming back and happy.
But yes, it did make me wiser and definitely stronger spiritually.What a lot of people don`t know is that I could have received a lesser sentence and I could have done that by telling them about the others--- That were also guilty of what they came after me for but I wouldn`t do that!
(I didn`t know it was wrong and I wasn`t going to tell on others and mess up their lives that were just as naive as I was.)At least six others that I know about however, were also found guilty without me telling on anyone.
And yes, boxing saved me from the streets and I once was in a gang but keep in mind Chase, I didn`t think it was wrong to please our customers and prior to this happening; I still had no record what`s so ever and hadn`t even gotten a traffic ticket!
And I`m not sharing this because I`m looking for sympathy Chase--- But when I was in I was so depressed that I couldn`t train, I didn`t eat and my weight dropped to well under ninety pounds.
That brings me to this; God was DEFINTELY looking out for me, even in prison.There was a girl there that is now my friend for life and I can`t wait till she gets out although I am not allowed to contact her or visit her.She saw me withering away and instead of hurting me or taking advantage of me in my weakened state--- She made it her DUTY in life to make me eat, to raise my spirits from the depression I was in and yes--- Got me to even start training a little again.
Let me say this Chase and to all the readers--- No matter what state you find yourself in, God can send you an Angel.Believe me, I`ve been told I should write a book about my life many times and one day I might, but that is something that I don`t think I could ever articulate to anyone on how much it increased my faith in the Almighty!
Chase Von:Now onto something lighter and I sincerely thank you for sharing your thoughts on the above and I`m sure your fans are more the wiser now from hearing your side of things.
Your accomplishments are off the charts!
In your amateur career you were undefeated and you also won a National Title!You are also the first Puerto Rican woman to win a women`s World Boxing Championship!
(This makes you a FOREVER part of lasting history)!
As a professional you have an impressive record of 18 wins, 3 losses, 3 draws and 6 KO`s!And I understand one of those losses was very controversial and many thought you won your fight in Denmark with Anita Christensen and even the Danish press strongly criticized the decision, saying on record you were robbed of your title.
You have won the WIBA (in different weight classes) and the IBA belts and are going to be battling undefeated, Melinda Cooper who has a stellar record of 20 wins, 0 losses and 11 KO`s for the IBF Feather Weight World Title on March 31/2011!
What is it you want to achieve in boxing now considering you have already achieved so much?
And in the future do you see yourself bringing back some of those belts that are over in Germany?(Smile).
And also so our readers in the area can check it out, where is your up and coming fight going to be held?
Ada: Answering your last question first Chase, it will be held in Costa Rica and secondly--- I will go Where Ever " and fight Whom Ever " so if Germany is where I can get another belt, just let me know when!(Smile.)
And you are right, I have achieved so very much in boxing but it isn`t over yet.It is my ultimate goal to encourage women fighters that they too can be rewarded for their efforts and be rewarded the same way men fighters are.
I want to be the best pound for pound and also prove that women fighters can draw millions to watch their events the same as men.We discussed this above but can you imagine a male fighter who has achieved what I have, working a second job to make ends meet?
I don`t want freebies, I want just dues and I also want to be so good, I get that and inspire all the female fighters that come after me.
Chase Von: I think it is obvious how you stay in such fantastic shape--- And you have not only some of the quickest hands in the game, but also some of the most powerful legs.
Sorry, have to admit, some men are taken in with the upstairs package but I`ve always been an admirer of nice legs.(Smile).
So do you do a lot of road work?Or are you just genetically gifted in that department?
Ada:That`s my number one thing--- I love running my eight miles or more and doing my sprints! There are so many elements involved when it comes to winning and "Endurance" is definitely a big one in boxing.Oh and sorry--- You just complimented me didn`t you?Thank you Sweetie! (Smile.)
Chase Von:What are some of your favorite meals?I imagine as a fighter, you have to abstain from those a lot of the times to prepare but when you can really throw down, what is it you dig grubbing on?
Ada: Well, I do love my Puerto Rican rice and beans Chase with chicken, (That`s part of the dish) and has been around for many generations!But when training I try to eat a lot of fish, potato`s and also chicken and stay away from too many red meats. My favorite meals vary with the moods I`m in and change often because I also love trying out different foods when I visit different places--- AFTER the fight.(Smile.)
When you go to other places and countries, you have to be careful you don`t eat anything your body isn`t use to or that might affect you in ways you wouldn`t want it to before a bout. And my two weaknesses Chase are coffee and yes, potato chips.Coffee dehydrates you though so I really have to stay away from Starbucks unless I had a REALLY good day of training.
Then I can drive home a normal way vice changing my route home from the gym so I won`t see one. (Smile.)
Chase Von: How important are dreams to you?And what would you say if you were standing before a microphone that could be heard by every child on the planet, and regardless of what language they spoke, they would understand you? What positive advice would you give the children, if that were possible?
Ada: Dreams are everything!And I would tell children they can do anything they set their minds too; but to be persistent and not to give up when things don`t seem to be working out.That`s part of it meaning, you have to sometimes go through some "Down Times` but instead of letting that stop you, you have to use that to make you stronger!And also this Chase, surround yourself with people that will lift you up when you are down. Or let God send you someone when things are bad.People see my accomplishments and think WOW, but if they only knew how many times I have had to "Let go and let God..."Maybe when if I write a book, they`ll know then.(Smile.)
Chase Von: How important is family to you, and what is your take on the state of our current world?
Ada: Only everything Chase.I still get teary eyed when I think of not being with my son for so long but thank God that has passed!And the world?My heart breaks when I think of those in Japan and all those who are suffering.The state of our world is horrible but I think optimistically--- So I also think if man "Wakes Up"... things can change.Natural disasters aside--- I do think there are a LOT of things we as people could be doing to make this world better and it is high time we do that!This is the only "Home" after all, any of us really have.
Chase Von:Who are some of the people, not just in boxing, but in life in general that you truly admire and look up to?
Ada: First and foremost--- God!Then Michele Ponales who has been my backbone, my strength and too many things for me to share here.And of course my son who is my right arm and so much more!And I also look up to the rest of my family and friends, trainers, sparring partners, FANS and people like you Chase, who are taking an interest in "Women`s Boxing" and also helping to share it more with the world.
Chase Von:Can you share any of your web pages or places where people can find you to learn more about you?And also, I know you`re looking for a new sponsor.Would your face book page be the best place for people interested in doing that, to connect with you?
Ada: Sponsors are definitely welcome and I am trying to figure out a connection between Starbucks and boxing--- Because considering how much business I give them, they should be sponsoring me!(Smile.)
But yes, people interested in that can hit me up on my face book page...
Chase Von:When I was in my last war, they had a USO tour come over to entertain the troops and lift spirits.I met a lot of famous performers that cared enough to take out some of their time to come and visit us.But the reason I bring that up is if the opportunity presented itself, would you be willing to go where many people are in harm`s way, to give them a bit of entertainment?
I.e. like fight there because I know many of the troops would enjoy that!
Ada:I love that idea!And I would also love to show those that protect our country how fantastic us professional women boxers are!Where do I sign up?
Chase Von:I could keep on asking you questions till time ends Ada, (Smile).
But I`m already infringing on your time as is, since I know you are training for your next Championship belt.
So I want to thank you "Ace" for spending time with me and our readers and I`m wishing you continued success not only in boxing--- But in all you do and don`t be a stranger OK?
Perhaps the next time we chat you can tell me the inside story on your winning this Championship.(That story you told me which shall remain between us about that one fight though is hilarious).(Heh, Heh.)
And going to close this for now with my minimal Spanish, (I had three years in school but like I told you, when I tried to use it in Mexico, I got laughed at on a bus by people holding live chickens)--- Maybe as time goes by you can teach me more, so that doesn`t happen again?
So Va Con Dios Lady... (Smile).
Ada: You do need a LOT of help with your Spanish Chase.If I was on that bus I would have been laughing at you too!(Smile.)But then I would and will help you with it when I can.
So Thank You Sweetie and The SOP for having me! And you "Go With God" also.You actually got that one right... For a change.(Smile.)
On March 31st 2011, Ada "Ace" Velez stepped in the ring in Costa Rica in Central America or RepÃºblica de Costa Rica with Melinda Cooper for the vacant IBF Jr. Featherweight World Championship.
Ada "Ace" Velez and Melinda "La Maravilla"Cooper weighing in
During Ada`s absence from the boxing world which the reasons for, are stated above, Melinda Cooper was such a dominant force in the sport--- She had difficulty even finding any opponents willing to face her.
Melinda`s impressive record of 21 Wins, 11 KO`s, O losses remains one of the best records the world of women`s boxing has ever seen.
She also made history as the youngest woman to enter professional boxing under the age of 18, to be granted a boxing license by the state of Nevada.
In short, Melinda Cooper has already left a legacy that will be difficult for anyone to follow and has a VERY promising future ahead.
Due to her long absence and Melinda`s dominance, despite all Ada`s previous accomplishments--- This was not only one of Ada`s most challenging moments but one where she was, (Which hasn`t happened often), not the favored to win in this bout--- And considered the underdog with six to one odds against her--- Facing a younger, undefeated and very talented fighter who as mentioned above, couldn`t find anyone willing to face her and who was destroying the competition that was--- "Willing " to step before her.
Ada `Ace` Velez handed Melinda Cooper her first professional loss on 31 March 2011, shocking the boxing world in the process and claimed her 6th Professional World Title!
And considering all that Ada has been through, I think and hopefully you will agree, that not only has she shown her heart in the ring as a Champion--- But as a Champion when it comes to all life`s adversities...
Congratulations P P! (Our little secret Ace)...
And keep achieving your dreams "Warrior" and don`t change!
Just talking to you and learning about you makes it clear why you are a "Champion" and although people at large admire you as a fighter, if more knew the "You" outside the ring, they too would do what I can`t help but doing--- And that is admiring you as a very special soul as well.
Any opinions expressed on this website are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of The Student Operated Press