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The Hauser Report: Literary Notes and Other Nuggets

Thomas Hauser

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“More than anyone else,” Kenneth Bridgham writes, “John Morrissey personified the links between sports, gambling, high finance, politics, and crime in nineteenth-century America.”

That’s the theme of Bridgham’s new book – The Life and Crimes of John Morrissey  – published by Win by KO Publications.

Morrissey was born in Ireland in 1831 and, as a young boy, came to the United States with his parents. He was a thug and a drunk who made his mark as a bare-knuckle prizefighter. Then he became a gaming house owner and was Involved with thoroughbred horseracing at the highest levels. He was, Bridgham writes, “the first true Irish mob boss in American history.”

In 1866, backed by New York’s corrupt and powerful Tammany Hall political machine, Morrisey ran for Congress. His criminal record at the time included four indictments for assault with intent to kill and three for burglary. Despite his past transgressions, he was elected.

Morrissey was an ineffectual Congressman, largely disinterested in and incapable of performing the job properly. After serving two terms, he had a falling out with his Tammany Hall backers and left the House of Representatives. He subsequently served for three years in the New York State legislature after being elected as an anti-Tammany-Hall candidate.

He died in 1878 and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the “pioneer” category in 1996.

Bridgham recounts Morrissey’s transformation from violent thug to mob boss to a millionaire businessman who “doubtless attained a significant portion of his wealth through means that were illegal.” The book is thoroughly researched and gives readers a feel for the squalid underside of life in New York as well as bare-knuckle prizefighting in the mid-19th century.

But as Bridgham acknowledges, many of the nineteenth-century tales regarding Morrissey’s life are allegorical. Thus, it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. And Bridgham’s writing style is a bit heavy.

Despite the book’s entertaining storyline, The Life and Crimes of John Morrissey reads slowly at times and never quite catches fire. Still, it’s an interesting window onto a bygone era.

*     *     *

Question: What do Leslie Odom Jr (who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Aaron Burr in the Broadway production of Hamilton), Michael Imperioli (who won an Emmy for his portrayal of Christopher Moltisanti on The Sopranos), and Seanie Monaghan (29-3, 17 KOs) have in common?

Answer: They each have roles in the Amazon biopic One Night in Miami that centers on the hours after Cassius Clay knocked out Sonny Liston in Miami Beach to claim the heavyweight championship of the world.

Monaghan retired from boxing in 2019 and works nights as the supervisor on a construction project. During the past year, he has helped home school his children (Seanie Jr, age 9, and Maria, age 6) during the day because their school was closed as a consequence of the coronavirus.

Monaghan was cast in the film as Henry Cooper after Gerry Cooney recommended him to Hollywood veteran Robert Sale.

“They filmed my scene in New Orleans in February right before the coronavirus hit,” Seanie recounts. “I was down there for a week, and it was pretty cool. The first few days, I worked with the stunt coordinator going through the routine. I shared a dressing room with Michael Imperioli and told myself not to annoy him. But he was very nice. And in my free time, I walked around New Orleans to see what it was like.”

“Filming the scene where Cooper knocks Clay down was bizarre,” Seanie recalls. “At first, I was throwing punches that for a boxer would be correct. And they kept saying, ‘Throw them wider so it looks good on camera.’ It was the opposite of everything I’d been drilled on for years. Also, I can throw a punch and miss by an inch. But the actor who played Cassius Clay was getting nervous, so they told me to miss by a foot. Throw wide and miss by a foot. So that’s what I did, and they’d say, ‘That’s great, Seanie. That looks great.'”

Will there be more acting in Monaghan’s future?

“The stunt coordinator and Robert Sale said they’d like to use me again,” Seanie reports. “They even suggested that I move to Los Angeles so I could train actors to box and get more parts. But I’m a Long Island guy. That’s where my life is now.”

One Night in Miami focuses on the relationship between Cassius Clay, football great Jim Brown, soul singer Sam Cooke, and Malcolm X.

“I’m reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” Seanie says. “It’s a special book. I didn’t read as much as I should have when I was young, but I read a lot now. ”

*     *     *

Over the years, several feature films about boxing have been entitled Knockout. Recently, I watched the 1941 film of that name.

The plot is typical for its era. Middleweight contender Johnny Rocket (played by Arthur Kennedy) decides to quit boxing and begin a new life with his soon-to-be bride, Angela Grinnelli (Olympe Bradna). Johnny’s plan is to become an instructor at a gym and eventually open up a health spa of his own. But his unscrupulous manager, Harry Trego (Anthony Quinn), doesn’t want to lose the money that Johnny generates. So, he arranges to have Johnny fired from his new job and makes it impossible for him to find employment elsewhere. With Angela now pregnant, Johnny is desperate for money and returns to the ring. Back in action, he catches the eye of socialite Gloria Van Ness (Virginia Field), whose father owns a major newspaper and has assigned his daughter to write about boxing as a lark.

“Maybe I’ll write a story about you one of these days,” Gloria tells Johnny.

“Well, maybe I’ll give you an interview one of these days,” Johnny counters.

Eventually, a love rectangle develops. The evil Gloria seduces Johnny as her boy toy. Angela, who still loves Johnny, leaves him because of his philandering and is pursued by the gentlemanly Tom Rossi (Cornel Wilde) who has a crush on her.

Meanwhile, Johnny gets greedier and more insufferable with each ring victory. Finally, he decides to manage himself, at which point Trego arranges for a “chemically prepared mouthpiece” to do Johnny in. Incapacitated as a consequence of being drugged, Johnny is knocked out. Worse, because of his poor performance, he’s accused of taking a dive and barred from fighting by the state athletic commission. At that point, Gloria Van Ness loses interest in him.

Thereafter, Johnny fights under assumed names in small arenas across the country, getting knocked out for short money. Eventually, he suffers a brain bleed and is told that his fighting career is over.

“I guess I’ve been a fool,” Johnny tells Angela after she pays his hospital bill despite their being separated.

But Tom Rossi (remember him?) isn’t about to abandon his pursuit of Angela. He confronts Johnny and tells him, “I’ve thought about it a lot. And I figured, if you ever came back, we’d better have it out. You had your chance with Angela and you threw it away. You haven’t any right to ask for another. All you’ve ever given her is a lot of grief and tears. She trusted you and believed in you, and you let her down. The one decent thing you can do now is get out of her life completely so she can have a little happiness. The only feeling she has left for you is pity.”

Johnny decides that Tom is right and takes one more fight, knowing that doctors have told him that one more punch could kill him. Angela finds out about it, rushes to the arena, and throws a towel into the ring to stop the fight as Johnny is being brutalized. Johnny and Angela are happily reunited, and he takes a job working at a camp for children.

If that all sounds corny; well, it is.

The fight scenes in Knockout are cartoonish. The actors who portray the fighters don’t look like fighters. And their boxing technique makes Logan Paul look like Andre Ward. The film is mindless entertainment. But there are times when it’s fun.

*     *     *

Total Olympics by Jeremy Fuchs (Workman Publishing) is short on boxing. But there’s one piece of trivia that might be of interest to fans of the sweet science.

In 1920, a Yale college student named Eddie Eagan won an Olympic gold medal in boxing in the light-heavyweight division. Four years later, he sought to medal again – this time as a heavyweight – but lost in the first round of competition. Thereafter, Eagan hung up his gloves and embarked upon a career as a lawyer. But his competitive fire remained strong. So strong that he took up bobsledding and won a gold medal at the 1932 Winter Olympics as a member of the United States four-man bobsledding team. He later served (from 1945 through 1951) as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission.

To this day, Eagan is the only Olympian to win a gold medal at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

*     *     *

And a non-boxing literary note . . .

With fewer good fights to watch these days and no press conferences or other boxing-related events to attend, I’ve been reading more lately.

I love books. At last count, I had roughly 4,500 on floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in my apartment. It’s a nice collection and a passageway to the wisdom of the ages.

Some of my books are valuable. There’s a nine-volume set printed in 1802 that has all of William Shakespeare’s plays. Each volume is 27-by-13 inches in size and illustrated with extraordinary engravings. The great majority of my books are of little monetary worth. But the collection as a whole has enormous sentimental value to me.

Several shelves in my library are devoted to young adult classics, many in editions published in the early twentieth century by Charles Scribner’s Sons with illustrations by N.C. Wyeth. These books have a special feel. Their heavy paper, large type, exquisite art, and yellowing pages draw a reader back in time.

Recently, I took Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson off the shelf and began to read.

Stevenson was born in Scotland in 1850. Treasure Island is his most famous work. It appeared in installments in a magazine called Young Folks in 1881 and 1882 and was published in book form one year later. “It was to be a story for boys,” Stevenson later explained. “No need of psychology or fine writing.”

Treasure Island shaped the image of pirates for generations of young readers. It’s a wonderful page-turner and an easy read. There’s lots of drama with pitched battles, a map telling the location of buried treasure, and sayings that have become part of the vernacular (“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum”).

Jim Hawkins – in his mid-teens at the time the events in question occur – is the story’s narrator. He’s joined by characters like Dr. Livesey, John Trelawney, Captain Smollett, Ben Gunn, and – most memorably – Long John Silver.

Silver is the tale’s primary antagonist and one of the most treacherous, manipulative, greedy, cunning, clever, opportunistic, deceitful, charismatic characters in young adult literature. Sort of like Don King.

Treasure Island carries with it the imprimatur of the ages and is a gateway to earlier times. Stevenson left the date of the adventure open, but indications are that the tale he recounts is set in the late-1700s. The book itself, though written in the early 1880s, was immensely popular with boys through the first half of the twentieth century.

I remember being seven or eight years old and my father reading Treasure Island to me – one chapter at a time – when he put me to bed at night. It was a way of linking his childhood to my own.

Thomas Hauser’s email address is thomashauserwriter@gmail.com. His most recent book – Staredown: Another Year Inside Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism. In 2019, he was selected for boxing’s highest honor – induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 153: The Alvarez-Plant Rumpus, Adelaida and More

David A. Avila

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As rare as boxing press conferences occur at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, another odd chapter was added as Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Caleb Plant traded blows on stage during introductions.

Must be some sort of negative electrical charges emanating on the plush hotel grounds.

It was at the same Beverly Hilton 20 years ago that Mike Tyson went ballistic during a press conference for Andrew Golota in 2000. It was also the place where Roy Jones Jr. kept the media waiting for more than three hours before appearing. Expect the unexpected at the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica.

When it was announced that Canelo and Plant were kicking off their upcoming fight at the Beverly Hilton, I thought to myself: what kind of shenanigans could possibly happen?

Nah. It’s just a weird vibe. But something did.

Alvarez usually refrains from any pseudo masquerades of bravado and machismo. He saves that for the actual fight when he destructs his foes blow by blow.

Plant, on the other hand, has a habit of trading the usual urban insults with whoever he’s signed to face in the prize ring. This is his cup of tea. He did the same with Jose Uzcategui, Mike Lee and Caleb Truax.

Since the age of 14, Canelo has amassed 59 pro bouts. I’m sure he’s heard all of the jive and taunts anyone could ever think of saying. Yet, somehow, whatever Plant said triggered a shove from Alvarez and the two exploded with a flurry of punches or blows before each camp’s supporters jumped in between them to stop the two world champions.

Even Ryan Garcia and his brother Sean Garcia bolted toward the stage to assist their mentor Alvarez.

When asked why he shoved Plant, the Mexican redhead calmly replied that the tall super middleweight from Nashville, Tenn. mentioned his mother.

Then, “I do what I do,” said Alvarez.

Plant was somewhat surprised by the Alvarez reaction and able to talk to the media despite suffering a small cut over his eye caused by a blow that ripped his sunglasses off his face. It also took some skin off of the face and drew blood. But he was calm.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Plant sitting with a small cadre of reporters. “I’m not more motivated than I already was.”

Alvarez said this fight has added a personal dimension to it. That’s never happened before said the four-division world champion.

“He can say whatever he wants to me. But he said m-f-r and he crossed the line,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez and Plant meet on Nov. 6 at the MGM Grand for the undisputed super middleweight world championship. They are both going to do what they do.

MarvNation at So Cal

Women shall lead them to the front.

Two of the top women fighters in the Los Angeles area will be leading a boxing card on Saturday Sept. 25, at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena in Pico Rivera, Calif. It will be shown live on the MarvNation site on Youtube.com and also on Supreme Boxing’s YouTube.com site. Doors open at 5p.m.

Adelaida “La Cobra” Ruiz (9-0-1) and her swinging style will be facing Mexico’s Nancy Franco for the WBC Silver super flyweight title in the main event set for 10 rounds.

Also, Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo (13-5) faces Miranda Barber (2-2) in a six-round middleweight fight.

Both Cornejo and Ruiz are top contenders in their respective weight classes and are both in competitive fights when they enter the ring on Saturday.

The boxing lineup also features many young prospects from Brooklyn to Mexico ready to test their skills.

Big Man vs Little Man

Multi-belt heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) defends against former undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) on Saturday, Sept. 25. It will be streamed live by DAZN.

Usually when a cruiserweight ventures to the division of the big men it doesn’t turn out very well. But Usyk has a little more to offer than a big punch. Aside from being a southpaw, the Ukrainian has the ability to adapt and create while on the move.

Joshua can also create. He was forced to change when Andy Ruiz took away the title via knockout two years ago and avenged the defeat by going on his toes. Will he again be forced to adapt despite a three-inch height advantage?

Fights to Watch

Thurs. FITE.TV 7 p.m. Donte Stubbs (6-2) vs Kevin Ottey (6-2-1); Lorraine Villalobos (4-3) vs Alexis Martinez (0-2).

Fri. Showtime 7 p.m. Jarico O’Quinn (14-0-1) vs Saul Sanchez (16-1).

Sat. DAZN 11 a.m. Anthony Joshua (24-1) vs Oleksandr Usyk (18-0); Lawrence Okolie (16-0) vs Dilan Prasovic (15-0); Callum Smith 27-1) vs Lenin Castillo (21-3-1).

Sat. MarvNation/YouTube.com 5 p.m. Adelaida Ruiz (9-0-1) vs Nancy Franco (19-14-2); Maricela Cornejo (13-5) vs Miranda Barber (2-2), Tenochtitlan Nava (8-2) vs Ivan Varela (5-3).

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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A Cornucopia of Heavyweights: Joshua-Usyk in the Vanguard

Arne K. Lang

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The eyes of the boxing world will be focused on North London this Saturday where WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua risks his belts against Oleksandr Usyk. The venue is new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium which seats 62,303 and there won’t be an empty seat in the joint.

Both were gold medalists at the 2012 Olympic Games in London by virtue of out-pointing Italian veterans in their final match. Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs as a pro) won a razor-thin decision over Roberto Cammarelle. Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) won a narrow decision over Clemente Russo, avenging a loss to Russo in the 2008 Games in Beijing.

AJ last fought on Dec. 12 of last year. He knocked out Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round before a pandemic-restricted crowd of 1,000 at Wembley Arena. Prior to that, he avenged his lone defeat with a wide 12-round decision over poorly-conditioned Andy Ruiz in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

Usyk’s last fight was also a closed-door affair at Wembley. In October of last year, he out-pointed Dereck Chisora. It was Usyk’s second fight as a heavyweight. Chisora out-weighed him by 38 pounds.

Usyk won a clear unanimous decision, but never seriously hurt his bigger opponent. “Physically he’s not that strong,” said Chisora after the fight. “I ate one of his best shots and it didn’t bother me…He’s a good mover, that’s it.”

All things being equal, goes an old saying, bigger beats smaller. AJ has slimmed down since his last outing but will still enjoy a substantial weight advantage. Moreover, although Usyk is a southpaw, it’s worth noting that Joshua’s most spectacular showing came against a lefty, namely Charles Martin who he whacked out in the second round.

At last glance, Anthony Joshua was a consensus minus-270 favorite. We have no interest in laying it.

Oleksandr Usyk is more than a good mover. In the footwork department, he’s a bigger version of stablemate Vasiliy Lomachenko. His signature win was a near-shutout over Russian knockout-artist Murat Gassiev at Moscow in a match that on paper was a 50-50 proposition. Usyk’s showing against the previously undefeated Gassiev was “a performance of jaw dropping brilliance” in the words of Matt McGrain.

Anthony Joshua, three years younger at age 31, will have the home-field advantage. But for whatever it’s worth, the Ukrainian is undefeated on British soil: 8-0 as an amateur, 2-0 as a pro, and 1-0 in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing. Way back in 2013, Usyk flummoxed Joe Joyce in a 5-round contest at London’s venerable York Hall.

Joshua vs. Usyk will air on Sky Sports PPV in the UK and will be live-streamed on DAZN to more than 170 countries around the world. First bell figures to go about 2:15 pm for viewers in the Pacific Time Zone

A strong undercard will augment the trilogy fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 9. Two heavyweight fights are especially intriguing.

Adam Kownacki (20-1, 15 KOs) meets Robert Helenius (30-3, 19 KOs) in a rematch. Neither has had an intervening fight since they locked horns at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in March of last year.

Kownacki, born in Poland but a resident of Brooklyn since the age of seven, was the house fighter at Barclays. This was his tenth appearance there and he had developed a strong local following.

After three rounds, Kownacki was well-positioned to keep his undefeated record intact. He was ahead on the scorecards and there was the presumption that Helenius, who was getting long in the tooth, would run out of gas as had happened in his previous fight in the U.S. when he was stopped in the eighth round by former Kownacki victim Gerald Washington. But in Round 4, Helenius, a Finn, lived up to his nickname “Nordic Nightmare.”

A right-left combination put Kownacki on the canvas. The referee incorrectly ruled it a slip although he was clearly buzzed. When he got to his feet, Helenius dropped him again. Kownacki was up in a jiff but looked as if it would take only a stiff wind to knock him off his pins once again. The referee wisely waived it off.

Kownacki, who makes up for his doughboy-like physique and defensive limitations with a high workrate, has been training in Florida and expects to come in significantly lighter than he did for Helenius where he tipped the scales at 265 pounds. The six-foot-seven Helenius, now 37 years old, has been impersonating Tyson Fury at Deontay Wilder’s camp in Alabama and figures to be in good shape.

The pricemakers think Adam Kownacki will avenge his lone defeat. At last look, he was a 14/5 favorite.

The 10-round “special attraction between Frank Sanchez and Efe Ajagba is that all-too-rare crossroads fight matching undefeated boxers at the same stage of their development. Sanchez, the 29-year-old Miami-based Cuban defector, is 18-0 with 13 KOs; Ajagba, the 27-year-old Houston-based Nigerian is 15-0 (12). And physically, they are about the same. At six-foot-six, Ajagba is two inches taller and will likely carry a few more pounds.

Ajagba entered the pro ranks with considerably more fanfare. His first pro trainer, Ronnie Shields, a man not given to hyperbole, compared him to the young George Foreman and proclaimed him a surefire world champion. (Ajagba is now with Kay Koroma who also trains hot heavyweight prospect Jared Anderson.)

Frank Sanchez was the more polished product coming out of the amateur ranks; he’s considered a better boxer than Ajagba and is also capable of taking a man out with one punch. However, when this reporter saw the odds (the Cuban is currently favored by odds as high as 9/4), he did a double-take. Is this the right favorite? Or was the pricemaker swayed by the report that Sanchez was 214-6 as an amateur (BoxRec shows 43-12)?

Here’s the caveat: I have seen and read a lot more about Ajagba than about Frank Sanchez. It would be arrogant of me to think that I know more than the fellow that formulated the opening odds.

What’s tempting is to put a flyer on both underdogs, separate bets on Helenius and Ajagba. A split seems reasonable and that would translate into a small profit.

The latest heavyweight match to be announced pairs Otto Wallin against Dillian Whyte at the O2 Arena in London on Oct. 30. This too is a very intriguing fight.

A 30-year-old Swede who trains in New York under Joey Gamache, Otto Wallin is best known for giving Tyson Fury a tough tussle when they met two years ago at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Wallin lost a unanimous decision but certainly had his moments and left the Gypsy King with quite a souvenir: a cut over his right eye that required 47 stitches. Wallin has fought twice since that event, stopping Travis Kauffman in the fifth frame and winning a unanimous decision over Dominic Breazeale, advancing his record to 22-1 (14).

Dillian Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) needs no introduction. The Londoner by way of Jamaica has been a perennial top contender who presumably has pocketed a lot of dough these last few years in “step-aside” money.

Whyte opened a 5/2 favorite. We will have more to say about this fight as it draws closer to post time.

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Tal Singh Aspires to Become the First Sikh to Win a World Boxing Title

Arne K. Lang

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As boxing is a global sport, it should come as no surprise that if a man were to wander into a Las Vegas boxing gym he might find an Englishman there working up a sweat. But on a recent visit to Bones Adams gym, this reporter encountered an unusual specimen of English manhood. Tal Singh is a Sikh which makes him a one-of-a-kind in the British colony of professional boxers.

Singh had only 14 amateur fights, but in 2018, competing at 105 pounds, he became the first member of the Sikh community to win a British national amateur title. Now he aspires to be the first Sikh to win a professional title.

Singh was born and raised in Liverpool. His father is from the Punjab region of India. His mother is English by birth, but her ancestry is also Punjabi.

His dad had a succession of blue-collar jobs as Tal was growing up in the British port city. His mother was a schoolteacher and was his teacher in primary school. That undoubtedly helped him fit in with his classmates. According to a recent census, only 0.1 percent of the population of Liverpool is Sikh. Singh remembers that as a young boy, some thought that he was a girl because of his long hair which a Sikh tucks in a bun and folds under his turban.

Tal Singh was dispatched to Bones Adams’ gym by his manager, Amir Khan. Bones and Amir Khan are well-acquainted. Khan put the finishing touches on his May 2016 bout with Canelo Alvarez here and Bones spent five weeks with Khan in England and Saudi Arabia leading into Khan’s most recent fight against Billy Dib in Jeddah.

When the pandemic hit, notes Singh, 26, all the public gyms were closed. Singh reached out to Amir Khan about training in Khan’s gym in Bolton, a former mill town in Greater Manchester. Khan is a devout Muslim but his ancestral roots are in that portion of Pakistan heavily populated by Sikhs and he is conversant in the Punjabi language.

Khan was amenable to letting Singh use his gym and was so impressed with his potential that he volunteered to manage him. “When that happened, I was over the moon,” says Tal.

Amir Khan entered the pro ranks with great fanfare after winning a silver medal at age 17 in the 2004 Athens Olympics and went on to win two pieces of the 140-pound world title.  At age 34, his best days are behind him, but he remains a big star in Great Britain. Appearances on multiple reality shows have kept him in the public eye. His supposedly tempestuous relationship with his attractive Brooklyn-born wife Faryal Makhdoom was great fodder for the gossip columnists.

Khan has a full-time publicist and the well-spoken Singh, who appeared on the first season of Khan’s newest reality show, “Meet the Khans,” has been caught up in some of the hoopla. Several days after his arrival in Las Vegas, a Sky Sports camera crew turned up at Bones Adams gym.

bones

Tal Singh would have attracted news coverage without the Amir Khan connection; sports journalists are drawn to athletes with unusual backgrounds. But it’s unlikely that he would have become a newsmaker in advance of his first professional fight.

He gets no favors by virtue of being the protégé of a famous sports personality. In Las Vegas, he leads a spartan life. He lives alone and has no car. He usually arrives at the gym before the official opening hour. It’s a lonely existence leavened by the fact that he’s met new friends. Super middleweight Shane Mosley Jr and Sean Brewer, a bantamweight from Austin, Texas, are other early birds at the gym, a place where there’s camaraderie not unlike one would find in a military unit. Soon he will get to catch up with Malik Scott, one of his best buddies. Singh bonded with Scott during their days at David Haye’s gym in London when Scott was brought in to serve as Haye’s sparring partner for Haye’s rematch with Tony Bellew. Scott now trains Deontay Wilder.

When Singh arrived in Las Vegas in late August, he got a rude welcome from the weatherman. “When I stepped outside the airport,” he says, “it was like walking into a furnace. I literally had to go back inside and re-group.”

It is cooler now in Las Vegas, and will be cooler still in Colorado Springs where Singh is headed next week for a visit with his manager Amir Khan who just recently turned up there to commence training for a match with countryman Kell Brook. The date and venue are up in the air (likely sometime around Dec. 1).

Khan vs. Brook is something of a poor man’s Mayweather-Pacquiao, which is to say that it has marinated too long. But both, and especially Khan, have a high profile in the U.K. and the long-talked-about match is expected to be a British blockbuster. Tal Singh will make his pro debut on the undercard.

After a short stay in Colorado Springs, it’s back to Las Vegas for Singh. For how long? “This will be my home base until I fulfill my dream of winning a world title,” he says.

There’s a saying on Tal’s twitter platform that serves as his mantra: “If you want to look good in front of thousands, you have to out work thousands in front of nobody.” No one knows how far Tal Singh will go in his adopted sport, but if sacrifice and discipline count for anything, then it wouldn’t be smart to bet against him.

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