"You'll see one kid sell out that whole show," says Pat. "Because he goes to school there and everyone loves him. Wait until he gets in the ring and see how they cheer."
Q: How did you get started boxing?
A: I walked into a boxing gym for the first time at 12 years old. I wanted to get in shape for football, but I fell in love with boxing after the first workout and ended up quitting my other sports. I grew up loving boxing. Me and my dad used to watch all the fights, but at first he didn't want me to do it myself and get hit with punches.
Q: He must have changed his mind when he saw how good you are! What was it that made you fall in love with boxing?
A: Everything. The nervousness before the fight. The ambition you've gotta put in. I love that it's just you in there. It's a very mental sport. And as a kid I always loved physical contact. That's why I liked football, too.
Q: The kids at my gym call you "Muscles." What do you do to get in such good condition?
A: I train five days a week, and Pat trains me very hard. I do a lot of calisthenics. And then two days a week I run, with wind sprints at the end.
Q: Tell me about your first Golden Gloves bout.
A: It was a good fight. I'm a little shorter than most of the guys at 152, but I'm stronger. The kid I fought was three or four inches taller than me, so I had to adjust quick, slip punches, and get inside. He was dropping his left, so I started throwing the lead right.
Q: It's pretty hard to land the lead right.
A: (laughs) Yeah it is.
Q: Who's your favorite boxer?
A: Rocky Marciano, because he's the best Italian fighter. I want to bring the Italian back to boxing.
Q: How do you do in school?
A: Pretty good. I passed all my classes.
Q: What do you want to do after you graduate?
A: Some day I hope to be a longshoreman like my father. But for now I want to see where boxing leads me.