“No. Sleep. Till Brooklyn!”
Beastie Boys, circa before the internet
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The NBA Playoffs beckoned on Tuesday night deep in the heart of Jersey, which made making the new old confines at 130 Water St by 12:45 pm (official media arrival start time) as difficult as stopping LeBron James.
Gleason’s Gym, boxing’s own Smithsonian, is truly beauty in the eyes of its beholder. It’s different from 77 Front St aesthetically in a facelifted kinda way. Think Nicki Minaj “after” the botox and ass implants.
Saturday night at Barclays Center, Shawn Porter V Andre Berto will occupy the game’s center stage, in a fight I imagine will look like Mike Tyson V Clubber Lang at welterweight. The entire card gave us a sample of readiness at Gleason’s on Wednesday.
Anyway, its 1:44 (official workouts were to start at 1pm) and I’ve not missed much when… Oh shit! There’s Richardson Hitchins! The 2016 Rio Olympian from Haiti (a la Berto) has an assassin’s style completely suited for the pros. He’s an undercard fighter I WILL NOT miss. I tell him he’s Roger Mayweather with elements of Thomas Hearns.
I’m not fuckin around.
Neither is super welterweight star Jermell Charlo, who shortly thereafter, looks in destructive form in Nike white battle gear. “You look like the real problem for Canelo (May 6, vs Chavez Jr @ T-Mobile in Vegas),” I drop after he leaves the ring. He laughs heartily and agrees. “I know.. I am! He knows too!” says Charlo, chief sparring partner for Errol Spence ahead of his May 20 war with Kell Brook.
The arrival of Team Porter offered the feel of a big fight among the press corps. And why not? Porter is the consummate pro, having been groomed by Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao and a familiarity with the big stage. He looked crisp and extremely sharp, in contrast to a very late arriving Berto, content not to show much at all.
Maybe this is gamesmanship. Berto was more than competitive with house “Money”, aka Floyd Mayweather in September 2015. I ask Shawn’s Dad and trainer Kenny Porter, if Berto’s ‘cerebral’ new trainer Virgil Hunter altered his approach to preparation.
“The word [cerebral] is one of the most overrated terms in boxing,” said Kenny. “When we hit him he’s gonna lose his mind… Now what?”
That was a badass line.