When I lost my first fight in 2013, I was a young talented prospect who made the mistake of underestimating my opponent and I learned a hard lesson that night.
Teddy Atlas called it on ESPN2. On air, he said I showed alot of heart but got exposed as an overhyped prospect. I rebuilt and grew as a fighter and came back, when many thought I wouldn’t.
Fast forward two years later and I’m preparing for Karl Dargan, the supposed heir to the Lightweight throne. The fight is on ESPN2, with Teddy calling it again.
A week before he gives a prediction on-air. He said I’d be a tough, game opponent but ultimately outclassed. Essentially a punching bag for 10 rounds. I emphatically proved him, and everyone else wrong.
Later that night, around 4am, I’m aimlessly wandering around the Foxwoods Casino still on a high from the win. I bump into Teddy in a barren hallway. Just me and him.
Teddy turns to me, “Do I know you?”. I said, “I was your main event tonight..was that better?” He responds, “Oh my god, my apologies. You fought like a champion tonight. I hope you get a title shot and nice payday from this. You deserve it. Congratulations and congratulations on becoming a FATHER!
“I wish you a safe flight home and enjoy some down-time with your young family”. (my baby boy was born three weeks later)
We shook hands and said our goodbyes. I went my way, he went his. It was a surreal moment for me. Didn’t need a picture. This wasn’t about a souvenir with a notable name. It was about validation and respect.
October 14, I’m still fighting for validation and respect and defending my WBA-NABA belt in my hometown of Cornwall.
Tickets and VIP tables are available here: http://bit.ly/2qdCfr2