The cost of carrying the label of “best kept secret” Is the admission of not being well-known.
Danielito Zorrilla is eager to change that perception.
The unbeaten junior welterweight has a chance to make a splash in front of a nationally-televised audience in his scheduled 10-round regional title fight with Kazakhstan’s Ruslan Madiyev (13-1, 5KOs). The bout takes place this Thursday, live on NBC Sports Network from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, less than 30 minutes from his Toa Baja hometown.
Naturally, the first instinct is to compare any fighter from Puerto RIco to the island's past greats. With that often comes discussion of measuring up versus Hall of Fame former three-division champion Felix 'Tito' Trinidad and former four-division champ Miguel Cotto, the latter who serves as Zorrilla's lead promoter.
There will come the chance to prove whether he belongs among the all-time greats. For now, the idea is to create his own identity.
“I’m very excited to have this opportunity. I’m ready to perform and appear on the big stage,” Zorrilla told BoxingScene.com. “I feel blessed to be able to fight on my home island.
“It’s going to be a big year for me. I want to create my own legacy, write my own story. This is the perfect way to begin.”
Zorrilla (14-0, 11KOs) has served as one to watch seemingly ever since signing with Promociones Miguel Cotto straight out of the amateurs in 2016. Additional promotional muscle was added when Golden Boy Promotions was brought into the fold, with Zorrilla enjoying proper representation both back home and in the mainland United States.
His last two stateside appearances garnered attention, stopping unbeaten Dakota Linger in the 2nd round of an Oct. 2018 bout which aired on ESPN2 and then knocking out former titlist Gamaliel Diaz inside of two rounds on a March 2019 DAZN show from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
Three straight wins followed in San Juan, including yet another 2nd round stoppage which came in his most recent appearance last December. Zorrilla—who holds an associate’s degree in banking and runs a home-based barber shop in his spare time—is prepared to heavily invest in his future, which he hopes will include a shot at a world title before the end of the year.
“I am the best 140-pounder in the world,” insists Zorrilla. “This fight will prove it and I can’t wait to show it against Jose Ramirez, Josh Taylor, those guys as well.
“If it were up to me, I’d be fighting the winner of Ramirez-Taylor right after this. That’s up to Miguel Cotto Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions to decide but I’m ready for any challenge they are ready to give me, including anyone who thinks they are better than me.”
Zorrilla-Madiyev serves as the chief support to a junior middleweight crossroads bout between unbeaten knockout artist Serhill Bohachuk (18-0, 18KOs) and former title challenger Brandon Adams (22-3, 14KOs). Both bouts air live on NBC Sports Network’s Ring City USA series beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET (10:00 p.m. local time).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox