The sport of boxing welcomes many from all different walks of life and those stories are what generate the fan base that fighters develop, which sometimes can lead to stardom.
This is the case of twenty three year old Malik “Ice Man” Hawkins (15-0) who is a welterweight (soon to be Super Lightweight) out of Baltimore, MD. Malik has seen his fair share of tragedy, has overcome adversity and was challenged to “make it” within a society that sees a good portion of people either get killed or go to jail.
Malik trains out of the Upton Gym in Baltimore. He surrounds himself with an excellent team which includes Coach Calvin Ford and Coach Kenny Ellis, both who have been seen working with the likes of WBA Super Featherweight Champion Gervonta Davis, young prospect Lorenzo “Truck” Simpson and Super Middleweight Demond Nicholson to a name a few.
Malik Hawkins spent some time in the amateurs that led to a 93-8 record which included tournament titles, and in 2014, winning the State Golden Gloves and Regional Golden Gloves.
After going pro and making his way through the club show scene, Malik was able to gain a broader fan base in February of this year as the card was streamed through the “Fight Night Live” Facebook platform that is powered by Everlast and averages over two hundred thousand views a show.
Riding off of that exposure and momentum, Malik fought again in April and has now been scheduled to fight on his good friend Gervonta Davis’ homecoming fight card in July.
With that being said, let’s get to know a little bit more about Malik “Iceman” Hawkins.
AG: Malik, What was it like growing up in the Hawkins household and in the city of Baltimore?
MH: I was born and raised here in West Baltimore, Maryland, which also included both of my parents, who were also raised here. My childhood was rough but I enjoyed it. I was a bad little kid doing whatever I wanted to do. I was ripping and running through the streets and was a little over the top with it. I was doing things that I know I shouldn’t have been doing as a kid. I grew up with both of my parents and had two sisters and one older brother. Unfortunately, tragedy struck when I was five as my brother was killed when he was nineteen.
After he died, it hit me really hard and my behavior really started to decline. I started to get myself into a lot of trouble and my mom wanted to move out of the neighborhood. We ended up moving to Pennsylvania Avenue but that really didn’t stop me from getting into trouble. I was getting into too many fights and that led to me frequently getting jumped by six kids at a time. Knowing all of this, my parents decided to get me to learn boxing so that I could defend myself. I got really good at it and I ended up getting back at all of those kids that were bullying me and jumping me from elementary to middle school.
AG: At what age did you start boxing and at what point did you decide you were going to do it to compete and not strictly to defend yourself?
MH: I started to box right at nine and a half years old. I didn’t really start taking it seriously until about the age of fourteen. From nine to fourteen, I was also active in other sports like basketball and football as I still wanted to be a kid. I didn’t want boxing to run my life. I still wanted to hang out with my friends and do those type of things. I had one foot in the gym and one foot in the streets. At fourteen, I had an altercation on the football field where I punched a guy in the nose and my football coach told me I couldn’t be doing that so I went back to the boxing gym.
Coach Kenny asked me to give him one strong year and he put me in a tournament. From there I won state, then Regionals and finally I went on to nationals and said to myself “I can really do this.” At the nationals, I won the first two fights but then the third fight, I fought a Mexican fighter out of California Region Eight. In the fight, I was punishing this dude and hitting him with everything but the kitchen sink and he just kept coming. In the middle of the fight, I thought about quitting but my coach kept saying “go forward..go forward” . After hearing that, I looked directly at my coach while saying to myself “is you crazy” because my opponent was tough! I eventually moved forward, hit him with a thirty punch combo and won the fight by decision. I couldn’t believe it and after winning that national championship, it was off to the races.
AG: What was the first professional fight you saw that really solidified the fact that you wanted to be a fighter and do it professionally?
MH: The first professional fight I remember seeing was a Roy Jones Jr. fight. I think it was either when he fought James Toney or Bernard Hopkins. I was seeing how much fun Roy was having and I said to myself “Man, I can do that! I can dance like Roy Jones too!”
AG: At what age did you turn pro and what was going through your mind as you walked into the ring for your first professional fight?
MH: I was right around eighteen or nineteen when I turned pro. In my first pro fight, I was more excited than nervous because I was fighting in front of my hometown. I felt ready since I had sparred with pros and my coaches had prepared me for this moment. Coach Calvin would put together amateur boxing shows, which looked like professional fights so that kind of got us ready in a way for the pros.
AG: Your going through your early boxing career and you fought only twice in 2017 and once in 2018. What happened during that time that led to your inactivity?
MH: In 2017, I was in a bad deal with my manager at the time. In 2018, I received a cut under my eye and although I was looking to fight again a few months later, I was in a bad promotional deal, which led to me fighting only once that year.
AG: Are you currently signed with anyone at the moment?
MH: No, I am a free agent.
AG: You are scheduled to fight on the Gervonta Davis homecoming card on July 27th. How does it feel being on a major card like this especially since it will be in your hometown?
MH: It feels great because Gervonta and me grew up together in the gym and I just want to thank him for putting me on his card. I know that he didn’t have to do that and for him to go out of his way to get me on this card means a lot to me and I am thankful for the opportunity.
AG: Not looking ahead or past your opponent but after this fight, how many times do you think we see you get back in the ring prior to the end of the year?
MH: I look to fight again in September and then shoot for a November date.
AG: I am always interested in knowing how fighters get their nicknames. How did you get the nickname “Ice Man”?
MH: One of my gym mates Marvin came up with the name. A few years back when rapper Paul Wall was popular, I used to walk into the gym with aluminum foil on my teeth imitating Paul Wall’s diamond grill. Then I used to rap his songs and they would say, “Little Ice Man, rap the song” and from there, “Ice Man” just stuck with me. As I grew older, I developed “freezer time” so when the coach yells that out, it’s time to get my opponent up out of there.
AG: What do you say to boxing fans that are going to be watching you for the first time? What can they expect?
MH: Look for a lot of explosiveness, fun and excitement. You will definitely see me smiling every fight whether I am winning or losing. You will know either way that I am having fun in there.
AG: Where can boxing fans follow you on social media?
MH: You can follow me on Facebook (Malik Hawkins), Instagram (@iamfreezertime) and Twitter (@malikhawkins20).
Malik “Ice Man” Hawkins has had a busy 2019 so far and since being booked on a high profile card, you will probably see the best of him that night in front of many family and friends. Will his coach yell “Freezer Time” on July 27th? If you are in the local area, you probably want to get to the arena early enough to catch this young fighter in action.
You can follow me on twitter @abeg718 where I post my articles that include interviews, previews and ringside recaps.