Travis Hartman

of The Boxing Amusement Park



Travis Hartman was a spectacular amateur boxer -- 156-13, with three national championships -- who has struggled as a pro. The 26-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.





'Pull a Buster Douglas on them'

Aug. 13, 2009, 2:31 a.m.

I just got back to my room from a nice two-mile run on the treadmill in the hotel exercise room. I know I should be resting, but I was so tired from the flight today that I didn’t really get a chance to loosen up and shake out when I arrived in Tucson, Arizona.

The run felt great. All I kept imagining is how great it will feel to beat Keith Thurman (9-0, 9 KOs) on national TV this week (Aug. 14 on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights). I kept imagining how I was going to be extremely light on my feet, and boxing and moving. Then, once I have him so frustrated with all my movement and fast hands, I will lay a huge right hand on him in the middle-to-late rounds. My feet feel fast, my mind feels great, my weight is fantastic, and I know they are overlooking me: advantage, ME.

All I keep hearing from my boxing contacts is how much power this kid has. He can crack like Berto, they tell me. The guy could hit like Tyson, for all that matters, but if you don’t stand in front of him,  you never have to feel his power. In my mind, every guy that is a professional boxer has knockout power. We all know how to throw a punch with the intention of knocking a guy out. The fighters who negate that power are ultimately successful.

Of course I know the risk of fighting a guy with the knockout power of Thurman . Of course I know if I get caught clean, it could be an early night for me. Of course I know this kid has not tasted defeat as a pro. I care about all that, but I was not aware that all boxing matches were fought with words, or on paper. If I listened to all the talk, there would be no need for me to step into the ring.

I hope they at least informed Mr. Thurman that this is not my first rodeo. This will be my fifth fight in six months. He's the third undefeated guy I've fought in six months, and the ninth I've faced in my five short years as a pro. I've stayed busy for a reason: to get experience, and that much-needed ring time with some very top pros.

I received a text from my older brother — the one who really got me and my younger brother started in boxing — that read “Pull a Buster Douglas on them.”

I laughed a bit, since the comparison might have been a reach. I mean, the world knew when Tyson lost. I'm not so sure the world will pay to much mind if Keith Thurman loses. But his promoter, Oscar de la Hoya, might care, and that's enough for me!

The text meant a lot to me, though, because I know my brother cares. So will all my friends and family if I pull off this upset.

“There are admirable potentialities in every human being. Believe in your strength and your truth. Learn to repeat endlessly to yourself. 'It all depends on me' "" Andre Gide



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