GREAT FALLS- He’s fought as an amateur since he was eight years old in Browning. Now, at age 26, Great Falls middleweight boxer Billy Wagner is ready for the big stage.
On Saturday, Wagner will fight on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I remember laying in bed one time and seeing Canelo on an undercard too,” Wagner said. “And I always remembered telling myself that this guys going to be a world champion. And he was just young then. And sure enough he’s a champion of the world right now and now I get to go fight on his undercard. So it’s kind of a dream come true.”
In boxing circles, Wagner’s opponent Alexis Espino is the favorite. Espino, 19, also has just one professional fight to his name, but Wagner’s trainer Teddie Lopez thinks Wagner’s experience gives him an edge.
“They’re building him (Espino) up, and I think they made a mistake choosing Billy for their second fight,” Wagner said. “Billy’s got a lot more experience and he’s older. Billy’s got upwards of 80 fights amateur. Espino’s only had 30, so I think he’s in for a rude awakening.”
No matter how the fight goes, Wagner knows what he means to the people looking up to him back home. In addition to his own fighting career, Wagner works a day job as a concrete laborer, raises a family and coaches dozens of young boxers at the Electric City Boxing Club.
“I love to show them that if they follow their dreams and stick to what they love doing, dreams come true,” Wagner said. “It’s just a good feeling that all the hard work pays off. If you stick with something for so long, it will pay off. It will pay off. No matter how it does, but it will.”
Streaming for the Alvarez-Jacobs fight starts at 7 p.m. MT time on DAZN (pronounced Da-Zone). Wagner is the second fight of the night.