Jun. 19—LAWRENCE—At first glance, you might dismiss Agustine Mauras—the boxer—yeah, 13 losses in his last 14 matches will do that.
But spend a few minutes with Mauras — the fighter — in the gym or in conversation, and you know this is one driven Lawrenceian.
Once an unbeaten (6-0-3) young pro prospect with a snapping right hand and a bright future, Mauras is now 31, and as he admits, with the scars of as brutal a life in the ring as out of it.
“I’m 31 years old. Either I do something now, or I won’t ever to be able to do something at all,” said Mauras, who takes one final step to resurrect his career and maybe his life when he hits the ring on July 15 as the headliner of a pro fight card at the Worcester Palladium.
“I’ve been working (construction), and I’ve been doing this in the gym. That’s it. After that, it’s prayer and family.”
Mauras, despite his incredible positive outlook, remains the longest of long shots. Only he knows if the former New England amateur champ who went deep in the Golden Gloves Nationals as a teenager can reconnect with his talents in the ring.
“I’m very desperate. My kids are depending on this. I feel like if I don’t do something, I put in all that hard work for nothing,” said Mauras, during a training session at the Lawtown Boxing Club. “Deep down inside, I can’t live with that. It frustrates me deeply. I’ve seen these fighters getting wins, and I don’t see them taking the fights that I fought, not facing the troubles I faced, jail time , being gang affiliated, not knowing God.
“There are so many things I learned from the mistakes I made in the past. I’m putting that behind me. I know I’m working hard. I’m doing the right things.”
ALONG A RUGGED ROAD
It was April of 2013. Under the tutelage of Methuen’s Sean Farley, who had trained him through a decorated New England amateur career, Mauras dominated Jesus Cintron at the Dorchester Armory to move to 6-0-1 as a pro. He was 22 and hungry for more.
Back-to-back of draws and a loss — all to Connecticut journeyman Joe Perez — sidetracked that roll, leaving Mauras looking for answers.
Where were the bigger fights? Why was he stuck here? He was hungry to prove he was more than just a club fighter and predatory managers pounced.
“There was mismanagement. I don’t want to put any names out there, but I didn’t know the business. I had to go and grind on my own. It’s hard. I learned the hard way,” said Mauras.
“I was undefeated, and I made the decision to go fight champions. I did it on my own, in their hometowns. I knew I might take a loss, but I had to show I had the (guts) to take anyone on in the ring. I fought the best of the best. There’s nobody in New England who has fought the guys I’ve fought.”
After facing middle of the road competition in his first six fights, Mauras got fed to the wolves.
In his next six — all losses — his opponents owned a combined 58-3-3 record coming in.
Mauras then drilled a debuting newcomer in a four-rounder in Derry back in November of 2020, but he followed that with five more defeats to foes with a combined 48-3 mark.
Mauras fought anyone and everyone and paid for it with bruises, blood and pain. I have traveled to Florida, Georgia, California and Tennessee. Twice I have fought on ESPN. and at Madison Square Garden, he stepped in the ring with Olympic gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov.
All were losses, leaving Mauras on track to be considered an “opponent” — a kiss of death in the fight game.
TROUBLES OUT OF THE RING
As the losses mounted, so did the issues out of the ring for the man nicknamed, “Ruthless.”
“I went through a bad route where I was making the wrong decisions in life and I was into the wrong things,” Mauras admitted.
“Drugs didn’t get me, although I did smoke a (load) of marijuana. The alcohol got me more.”
Mauras spent nearly a year in the New Hampshire correctional facility in Brentwood. I have pondered his life from him.
He had two things going for him. First there was his fiancé Carol Vasquez. and second, there was his heart and will of him.
“I made a decision in jail,” Mauras said. “I had been such a good example, coming off the streets and doing well in boxing. and so I thought, ‘Is this the last example I want my children to see from me, in jail?’
“I had to make a change, get back to work, get back to the gym, start fighting again and make a difference for my city. I don’t want anyone going down the same path as people I knew, or even myself at my point.”
Family, community and life became a rebuilding project for Mauras. It was priority No. 1.
Mauras’ first step to getting his life on track was finding a job after being released in March. Then he could get back in the gym.
If I needed any inspiration, there were three little girls at home.
“I’m still involved with my family. I have my kids in my life. I still have my daughter, and I have the opportunity to help the kids in my city,” Mauras said. “I don’t want anyone in my city to think it’s OK to do wrong. I have the opportunity and the gift to lead the little ones.
“We have to do this. We have to stick together, unite, lead by example and start helping the children.”
These days, when he’s in the gym, Carol remains close by. So does her toddler daughter, Rosalia.
His heart — their heart — is back in the fight game. He’s sweating, working, training and driving toward the future.
“That little girl right there,” he said pointing to Rosalia as she fiddled with a pair of youth sparring gloves. “She’s the one that keeps me going now.”
THE COMEBACK STARTS NOW
Mauras works every day, confident that he has found the right track. Worcester-based Rivera Promotions has provided an avenue back.
“This promotion, they saw I was mismanaged, and so Jose Rivera Sr. approached me,” said Mauras. “He knows I had potential and made mistakes. He’s giving me the chance at one last run.”
On July 15, Mauras will headline a Rivera Promotions card at the Worcester Palladium, fighting for the New England Welterweight Championship against Southbridge’s Wilfredo Pagan, a 42-year-old with a 6-1-2 mark.
Mauras’ optimism is contagious, but with so many losses piled up since 2015, there is reason for trepidation.
“I didn’t want to end up being an opponent. I don’t want a bad end to my career,” he said.
“I’m doing this for the right reasons. All these years of my life I put into it, it’s time to be a champion. I can’t afford to lose and end my career now.”
Realistically, the odds remain stacked against him. Mauras is looking for that storybook ending.
“I’ve been a main event fighter in all these losses. I’m still getting main event shots,” Mauras said. “I signed with (Rivera) to end my career with them. It’s either I get some kind of shots at titles now or I end it. But I’m doing this the right way, no matter what.”