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Travis Hartman

of The Boxing Amusement Park

Image by FlamingText.com

Travis Hartman was a spectacular amateur boxer -- 156-13, with three national championships -- who has struggled as a pro. The 27-year-old, who hails from the small town of Osborn, Missouri, is still an active fighter who maintains a passion for the sport that has consumed him since his childhood.

Hartman's training journal reflects his physical, psychological and emotional struggle as he continues his an ongoing quest to become the best.

 

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SBernard Hopkins,
a man I admired,
shows his true colors

By TRAVIS HARTMAN

The Boxing Amusement Park

Has Bernard Hopkins gone mad?

What is this man, who is little over a month shy of turning 46, talking about? I think he is a senile old man now. Manny Pacquiao has done more for boxing in a three-year period than Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 knockouts) has done in a 22-year boxing career. I loved Bernard more when he was "The Executioner," not "The Pretender."

Is it just me, or has Bernard Hopkins grown into a real gem post Oscar De La Hoya?

I say this because I used to admire and love Hopkins when he was underrated and deserving of big money fights. He was the ultimate old-school fighter who did anything to win, no matter what people thought of his fighting style. Yet he was never rewarded for his old-school approach until he fought De La Hoya in September of 2004. He KO’d the richest boxer ever in the ninth round with a liver shot that didn’t seem hard enough to warrant the first stoppage of De La Hoya’s career.

Bernard Hopkins

I had the honor of being featured on the television portion of Hopkins’ HBO pay-per-view clash with Antonio Tarver in June of 2006 when I fought Jorge Paez Jr., "The son of a legend."

I also had the pleasure of being a part of the media frenzy leading up to this fight, which Hopkins also proclaimed would be his last. (So much for the promise he made to his mom on her death bed).

 After finishing my media duties at the last major press conference before fight night, I sat at a round table, just two spots from Bernard, while he talked to the HBO people and national media. I was a wide-eyed 22-year-old in the presence of a legend, mesmerized by how well he spoke and the attention he commanded from the media. They all responded to his wisdom, and the amazing story of how he rose from nothing to become a millionaire boxing champion. I thought he was the most genuine guy I had ever met.

Yes, I am a professional boxer, and I too was fighting on HBO, but I am nowhere near the level of Hopkins. I get that. I have met Hopkins multiple times since then -- like when I fought at Madison Square Garden, and again when I fought on the undercard of his fight at Temple University in Pennsylvania in December of 2009. I have had so many encounters with him over the past five years that it's now sobering to realize he is not who I thought he was. It is easy to judge a man by what you read in the media, and from watching him on TV, but I have seen it from both angles.

Not until the last couple years have I really noticed a change in his attitude.

What bothered me first was when Hopkins evaluated an upcoming fight with Joe Calzaghe in 2008 by saying, "A white man will never beat me."

 I understand that boxing is entertainment and you've got to sell tickets. What I don’t get is this: If Calzaghe, or any non-black athlete, would have made that same statement in reverse, he would have been ostracized by the fans and media. Calzaghe would have been labeled a racist. But Bernard was spared?

To top it all off, Calzaghe won, outlanding him 232-127 -- the most punches anybody had ever landed on Hopkins in 54 professional bouts.

Now the good ol' Hopkins is at it again. He is claiming Manny Pacquiao and his camp are scared to fight black fighters -- even though he demolished Josh Clottey, a "black" fighter, just one fight ago.

Hopkins then qualified his earlier statement, claiming he was referring to African-American boxers.

I regard Pacquiao as one of the most-compassionate and caring fighters -- and human beings -- I have ever seen. The guy is a congressman, for which he is paid next to nothing compared to his boxing salary. He actually wants to be a servant to the people. He cares, no matter the color of your skin. So to say he won't fight a man because of the color of his skin is ludicrous. Is it not obvious by now that Pacquiao will fight any man alive?

I know Manny has captured the hearts of the world, regardless of race, sex, hair color, weight or height. Bernard’s statements are petty and uncalled for. What's next, a Haitian will never beat Bernard Hopkins? I know who I am rooting for next month: Jean Pascal.

“One day our descendants will think it’s incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.  ~Franklin Thomas




 

Previous blogs by Travis Hartman

 

Dear Mr. Arum: Have you gone in-Sainz?

 

Work ethic separates men from immortals

 

Injury, layoff inspire an appreciation of my gifts

 

Remembering a superman named Roy Jones Jr.

 

Call it an off night for Devon Alexander

 

Hey! I was that kid who whipped today's No. 4 P4P!

 

Does boxing need power-mongers like Bob Arum?

 

Athlete vs. Writer: Two Sides of The Interview

 

Auto wreck delays rematch with Teddy Atlas

 

Manny & Me: Six Degrees of Separation

 

'Better to try and fail than never try at all'

 

'At fight time, you're on your own'

 

'Pull a Buster Douglas on them'

 

Training (but, regrettably, not partying) with Arturo

 

Ready to do battle for the hometown crowd

Love what you do, and do what you love

Living a dream in a rough, tough business


Another step, and a big fight in my career

This fight's not over -- and it's no longer about me

A dream gig is suspended by the incompetence & arrogance

 

Never be afraid to dream (or fantasize?)

 

Raging in York & dreaming of Hef's house

Why I'm facing an unbeaten foe on short notice (again!)

Advice from a legend spurs this boxer on

The truth about the boxing game: 'Boxers don't play'

Early mornings, freezing weather, miles of roadwork ...

After a superb amateur career, the fighter evaluates why his pro experience has been so very different

 

SEND AN E-MAIL to Travis Hartman

 

 

 

 


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