Travis Hartman

of The Boxing Amusement Park

Image by FlamingText.com

Travis Hartman was a spectacular amateur boxer -- 156-13, with three national championships -- who has struggled as a pro. The 27-year-old, who hails from the small town of Osborn, Missouri, is still an active fighter who maintains a passion for the sport that has consumed him since his childhood.

Hartman's training journal reflects his physical, psychological and emotional struggle as he continues his an ongoing quest to become the best.





De La Hoya
only the most recent
of boxing's fallen stars


The Boxing Amusement Park

Another professional boxer has fallen victim to substance abuse. Sadly, this news has become all too common in athletes.

Oscar De La Hoya adds to the total after recently checking himself into rehab. It is rumored that ODLH may have a cocaine problem, but no facts have yet proved that. Otherwise it has been reported, first by TMZ, as substance abuse issues.

"After doing an honest evaluation of myself, I recognize that there are certain issues that I need to work on,” said De La Hoya in a statement issued to TMZ. “Like everyone, I have my flaws, and I do not want to be one of those people that is afraid to admit and address those flaws.”

Other notable fighters such as Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton, Kelly Pavlik and Mike Tyson to mention only a couple of the long list, have all been involved in their own substance abuse issues in recent years.



Calzaghe, 38, is the last man to have beaten Bernard Hopkins, (who on Saturday became the oldest fighter to ever win a world title at the age of 46), in a light heavyweight bout back in April of 2008. He retired after defeating Roy Jones Jr. in November of 2008, compiling a record of 46-0 with most of his fights at super middleweight.  Then, the 38-year-old was caught taking hits to the nose in a cocaine sting by a local tabloid newspaper in March of 2010.

Hatton, 32, was also caught up in his own scandal in September of 2010 after pounding down seven lines of cocaine that was videotaped by his “Lady friend” on that particular night. He has not officially retired, but has not fought since his devastating loss to Manny Pacquiao in May of 2009.

Mike Tyson, well where do we start with him? The 44-year-old has had multiple run-ins with the white powder and substance abuse dating all the way back to his fighting days. He even tested positive for marijuana after knocking his opponent out in the second round in October of 2000 in a bout which was later ruled a “No contest” by the Michigan Athletic Commission.

Kelly Pavlik, the only of the aforementioned that is still an active fighter is dealing with his own substance abuse. The Youngstown, Ohio native served a couple stints in an alcohol rehab and finally got his boxing back on track with a win on the undercard of the Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley pay-per-view fight. His story is still yet to be written, but if he is already having these problems the future looks to be a bumpy one.

The list could go on for days, but most athletes involved in such high contact sports fall victim to recreational drug use. That is a sad reality that has happened to countless professional athletes in all sports, not just boxing. Fighters have to find a way to fill that void that they no longer experience from competing. As a professional boxer myself, I can tell you that there is no substitute for the adrenaline I get from being in that boxing ring and knocking someone out. There is a fine line between a fighters passion and dedication to his craft and being an obsessive addict to that adrenaline rush.

It seems like such an open and close criticism of all these athletes, but nobody knows the stress and life of an athlete on the level of a Tyson or De La Hoya. In no way am I condoning drug abuse or any illegal activity. What I am saying is that all professional athletes should have to undergo some sort of psychiatric exam upon retirement. We enjoy them while they are here, but have no idea what it does to a man after he has been put out to pasture, so-to-speak. Just because some of these fighters do non-humanlike things in the ring, does not mean that they are not human outside of that ring.

“Throughout my career and my life, I have always met all challenges head-on, and this is no different,” De La Hoya told TMZ. “I am confident that with the support of my family and friends, I will become a stronger, healthier person.”

Fighters are a special breed and if substance abuse is detected early enough, they can over come any obstacle. I have all the confidence in the world that De La Hoya can and will pull through this.


"The only one who can tell you 'you can't ' is you. And you don't have to listen."

-- Nike


Previous blogs by Travis Hartman



Bernard Hopkins shows his true colors


Hopkins, Pacquiao deserve benefit of the doubt


Dear Mr. Arum: Have you gone in-Sainz?


Work ethic separates men from immortals


Injury, layoff inspire an appreciation of my gifts


Remembering a superman named Roy Jones Jr.


Call it an off night for Devon Alexander


Hey! I was that kid who whipped today's No. 4 P4P!


Does boxing need power-mongers like Bob Arum?


Athlete vs. Writer: Two Sides of The Interview


Auto wreck delays rematch with Teddy Atlas


Manny & Me: Six Degrees of Separation


'Better to try and fail than never try at all'


'At fight time, you're on your own'


'Pull a Buster Douglas on them'


Training (but, regrettably, not partying) with Arturo


Ready to do battle for the hometown crowd

Love what you do, and do what you love

Living a dream in a rough, tough business

Another step, and a big fight in my career

This fight's not over -- and it's no longer about me

A dream gig is suspended by the incompetence & arrogance


Never be afraid to dream (or fantasize?)


Raging in York & dreaming of Hef's house

Why I'm facing an unbeaten foe on short notice (again!)

Advice from a legend spurs this boxer on

The truth about the boxing game: 'Boxers don't play'

Early mornings, freezing weather, miles of roadwork ...

After a superb amateur career, the fighter evaluates why his pro experience has been so very different


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