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As a kid, Jesse James Leija was a football star -- a running back and a linebacker -- but at just 5-foot-5 he didn't have a physical stature for a future in the sport. When his high school coach told him to re-think his aspiration, he got angry and quit the game -- a mistake, he says today: Never let another person tell you what you can't do, he advises.

Leija came from a boxing family in San Antonio, Texas, but switched to the ring at age 19 against the advice of every relative who had been there before him. After just 28 amateur bouts, he turned pro, overcoming limited natural ability and punching power to win two world championships in a 17-year career.

"The Texas Tornado" was respected as a boxer who fought almost every significant opponent in four weight divisions, including four memorable clashes with Azumah Nelson, and bouts with Gabriel Ruelas, Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley (both undefeated at the time), Ivan Robinson, Francisco "Panchito" Bojado, unified 140-pound king Kostya Tszyu, Arturo Gatti, Micky Ward, and many others.

Now a promoter in San Antonio, Leija gave us a colorful and revealing interview on the Jan. 13, 2013 edition of The Ringside Boxing Show.

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