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.




Training (but, regrettably, not partying) with Arturo

July 14, 2009

You may have seen all the recent tragedies going on in the world today, from suicides to murders. It makes you really treasure the gift of life. Most of the recent celebrity deaths really had no major effect on me until one of them hit fairly close to home. The recent murder of professional boxer and future Hall of Famer Arturo “Thunder” Gatti took a more profound effect on me. You may have seen the many updates on ESPN Sportcenter and all of the recent articles that are posted on the ringsideboxingshow.com.

Well, I had the privilege of training and working out alongside Gatti when he was training for his very last professional fight, ever! Gatti had just left his long time trainer Buddy McGirt and re-enlisted a former opponent when he hired Micky Ward to be his chief trainer in Pompano Beach, Florida, the summer of 2007.

Mick and I generally talked quite a bit the whole time I was down there, until one day I decided to bring my video camera into the gym. I purposely came in early that day so I could get my training done in time to catch Gatti finishing up his training. There was only a handful of people in the gym with us that day --  three trainers, a sparring partner and a strength and conditioning coach. Well, I happened to be really close with Gatti’s assistant trainer, Anthony Hamm, so I got the bright idea that it would be OK to secretly video record the last part of Gatti’s workout that day.

For some reason I felt like maybe Gatti’s guys would think I was a spy from another camp, trying to get video clips of him while training. So I recorded the rest of his workout on the sly, just waiting for Mick or Anthony to yell at me, and having to face the embarrassment of being called out by these guys. I am not even joking; I was so scared the entire time but, hell, what an opportunity of a life time to be involved so closely with a camp like Arturo Gatti’s. I wanted direct evidence to show my friends that I actually got to train with Gatti.

I started recording, still trying to be all sneaky about it. Then, the final bell rings for Gatti’s last round of the day and he looked right at me and started walking towards me. I was like, 'Holy shit, now I have done it. This guy has every right to not want me to be filming him. I definitely should have asked permission.’

 So he's walking right at me, with a glaring look, and I am about to piss myself with embarrassment. “Hey Travis," Arturo Freaking Gatti says to me. "Do you mind if I take a look at that?” After I stumbled over every word in the dictionary I finally spit out ‘Yeah sure no pro pro pro problem.’

Gatti proceeded to sit down on the outside portion of the ring right next to me as I opened up my camera and let him watch his workout. Gatti laughingly made fun of how he looked while working out. And because I was so scared they would be mad, I only got a couple of minutes footage. Halfway through the tape, Gatti sees himself blowing his nose over the ropes, into a bucket, between rounds.

“Oh man check out booger Travis! That is a highlight reel right there, my man!” Then Arturo Gatti gave me the biggest little-kid giggle ever.

The one thing about Gatti that I respected and loved the most was that he made himself so approachable and genuine to me. This guy was a millionaire many times over. He was involved in some of the most action-packed fights in history, including a trilogy with the great Micky Ward.  And he's sitting there almost every day after training, shooting the breeze with some random 23-year-old wide-eyed kid. He could have acted the part of some hot shot professional boxer, but he didn’t.  It was't what Arturo Gatti did inside the ring that I am going to miss the most. It will be the genuine fun-loving Gatti that I am going to forever miss. I firmly believe that if someone close to Gatti needed anything, he'd give that person the shirt off his back.

One thing I'll always regret: I have my own rule that I don’t party or drink a month before a boxing match. While I was down in camp with Gatti, I was training for my own fight, as well. But one day after boxing, Gatti said, “Travis, you should come out on the town with us tonight. Maybe we'll head to Miami. Oh, wait, I better not corrupt a good ol' Missouri boy, should I Mick? Because you know I am a corrupter.” Then he laughed.

Mick started laughing, too. "You definitely don’t want to go out on the town with Gatti," he warned. I just sat there, gritted my teeth, and thought to myself, ‘'Why the hell don’t I just suck it up and go party?’' But, of course, what did I do? I laughed and said "Nah, I better not ... as much as I want to."

I can’t even imagine the stories I would've had after a night out on the town with Gatti.I think everyone who knew him would say was that he loved life and everything it had to offer.

Cherish every day as if it were your last, because you never, ever truly know if it will be your last. Life is a gift from God and should never be taken for granted. What will you do with your gift from God?


You can find many more pictures of the time I spent with Gatti if you check out my Facebook page under the album titled "Arturo Gatti training camp."




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