Mickey Roman lives every day thinking constantly about his murdered brother, but refuses to get revenge even though he claims to know the killers.
He dedicates every fight to his late brother, Agustin, and will be driven on in his memory when he challenges WBC Super-Featherweight Champion Miguel Berchelt in El Paso on Saturday, live on BoxNation.
In early 2005 his gang member brother who had drifted away from boxing was shot dead in a fight, passing away in Mickey's arms.
“I know a lot of fans follow me now,” he says. “That’s why I didn’t take vengeance on the guys who shot my brother.
“I know perfectly who they are but I did not do anything. I have to be an example – to the people who trust me, like my mum, my daughter, my promoters, my fans – everybody.”
Roman, 32, has fallen short in two World Title fights against Jonathan Victor Barros and Antonio DeMarco but has vowed to win one for his brother.
He told RingNews 24: “It was in 2005, a bullet, a gang fight, they were fighting and they went to my house and told me, your brother was shot, and soon I got in the car to take him to the hospital.
“I thought everything would be fine, but it was not like that, he died in my arms when we were on the road, he was my only brother. Since then, I promised that someday I would become World Champion, in honour of him.”
Roman has won 60 of his 72 fights, but trainer Rudy Hernandez believes not making weight properly in the past is to blame for some losses. Hernandez started working with Roman shortly before his surprise win against Orlando Salido in December 2017.
“I can tell you the difference in Mickey now and before I started working with him – it's really, really easy. He's able to eat now.
“If you went to Mexico, and even with fighters here in the United States, there's a lot of them that have no idea about what it's like to have the proper nutrition for a fight. They just don't know how.
“With Mickey, he would always pretty much starve himself to make weight. For the Salido fight, I told him, 'Eat this,' and he goes, 'I can't eat that.' I would force him to eat, and little by little he started gaining confidence. Now, instead of questioning it, he will just say, 'Okay, you're responsible.’
“I'll tell you one of the things that blew his mind a little. It was that every Wednesday I'd take him to the donut shop and let him get a tea and a donut.
“After that fight against Salido, now I've got him 100%. After that fight, he told me that in 70 fights he had never eaten as much for a fight. He had no idea that you have to eat to be strong.
“The thing is, the week of the fight he would pretty much be locked in his room, not doing anything, just pretty much starving himself to make weight.
“Now with me, he runs the day of the weigh-in – and I run him the day of the fight. He wasn't too happy at first. He questioned it the first time. Then when he fought Salido, he said he felt so good, that he had never felt as good for a fight.”