He’s been working, watching, and maybe most importantly, listening. Richardson Hitchins has been hanging with Gervonta Davis and Shakur Stevenson, taking down notes on how you get from Point A — prospect — to Point B — “the man.”
The Brooklyn-bred hitter, fighting under the Mayweather Promotions umbrella, will get TV time Friday, fighting on Showtime’s ShoBox, and will seek to show hardcores what he brings to the fistic table.
I chatted with the likable fighter, a junior welterweight who holds a 9-0 (5 KO) mark, to get a sense of where his head is before a step-up fight, and regarding big picture, where he sees himself in the fight game.
”In the last year, I’ve been busy fighting, developing more as a pro,” the 22-year-old told me.
He is experiencing something that ascendant athletes have to deal with. There is no shortage of attachers who want to align themselves with a winner. They want to hang with you, spend time with you, spend your money with you.
“I have phases, get distracted, have fun and stuff, then I go back to knowing what I want in life and this sport.”
Fun will be there to be had, but now he’s locked in, he said, focusing fully on the work it takes to be great in this sport.
How good is this man going to be? Mayweather Promotions’ day-to-day boss Leonard Ellerbe put it simply: “Very, very good.” He didn’t want to specify if Hitchins is the best MP prospect, he wants us to watch the ShoBox, which features a few of their rising stars-to-be.
“Not one but all of our top prospects are being showcased on the televised card,” Ellerbe said. “This will be the biggest ShoBox card of the year.”
Hitchins knows that focusing on getting that bag isn’t the smartest pathway to actually making game-changer money.
“I just wanna keep winning,” he said, and when that happens, the checks start flowing.
A 2016 Olympian, Hitchins is maybe a half-notch under radar, in terms of how he should be seen. The fighter, a smart ring general, downed Tre’Sean Wiggins in his seventh pro fight, and that is not a negligible feat. Wiggins was 10-3-1, I just saw him draw with Mykquan Williams in a battle for a regional title last week.
“(My win over Wiggins) was an overlooked win, he’s a solid guy who draws or beats good guys, or loses a split decision. They gave him a knockdown, that was bullshit, I dominated him. It goes to show, I’m ahead of the class. Guys were fighting him with 15 or 18 pro fights. Friday night, it will be the same thing, he’s not on my level. I’m not hyping.”
Andre Rozier and Lenny Wilson will corner Rich Hitch against 7-1 Kevin Johnson, coming in out of Michigan and living in Vegas. The prospect told me he’s not looking to show off with this being his first TV slot — he won’t over-try. He wants to box smart and show that he is a prospect who should be on your watch list.
“You can still call me a prospect, I’m still climbing to the championship level, and I’m gonna do it. When I beat maybe a former world champ, then you can call me a contender. This is 10-rounder, I will adjust to that. I’m focused on being sharp, I’m not focused on looking ‘good.’”
And this, too, is part of the fighting life. Patrick Day’s presence looms to a degree. No, Richardson wasn’t “friends” with him, but like all in the New York area, he knew him and respected him
“That week messed with me mentally, how the sport is bigger than just being boxing. We take a loss we are hard on ourselves, but the stakes are huge,” Hitchins said. “Losing one’s life is crazy, so it’s important to protect yourself at all times.”
And then, of course, that line of thinking must be dismissed. We honor Patrick and we soldier on, that’s how so many boxers are thinking, how they have to think. They are doing what they are suited to do and yes, there are risks aplenty.
But Hitchins came up in that stereotyped home life. There wasn’t a life of luxury to revel in, a clear path to vocational comfort and such. The fighting life is what he chose, and maybe somewhat it chose him.
On Friday night, you can see for yourself what Hitchins is all about. Undefeated super featherweight prospect Xavier Martinez (14-0, 10 KO) meets Filipino veteran Jessie Cris Rosales (22-3-1, 10 KO) in the main event live on Showtime at 10:30 pm ET from Sam’s Town Live. Hitchins, who moves well, stays composed, holds his balance well, and pops with both hands, fights Johnson in a 10-round junior welterweight bout. And Mayweather Promotions possible-stars-to-be like 168-pounder Kevin Newman II (10-1, 6 KO) and lightweight Rolando “Rollies” Romero (9-0, 8 KO) also desire to make the most of their TV time.