Before signing with Hitz, George went 1-2-1 in his previous four fights, getting stopped by Adonis Stevenson and Caleb Truax. His career was at a crossroads and he wanted to rebuild while remaining active.
So much for that plan.
In less than two weeks, George will fight in Colombia against Alexander Brand, 22-1 (18), for the vacant International Boxing Organization (IBO) super middleweight title on May 17.
“I said, ‘F*ck it; let’s do it,’” George said. “When opportunity knocks, you’ve got to answer. I’m not a fool and I know that this isn’t a serious world title but this is still a very small version of a world title. It can catapult me to where I want to be.”
George, 25-4-2 (22), said he got a call few days ago from Brand’s camp. Brand needed an opponent on two week’s notice after fellow Colombian and former titleholder Alejandro Berrio pulled out with an injury.
After mulling it over briefly, George signed the contract to fight. The 29-year-old, however, won’t be going to Colombia with his regular team.
His trainer, Sam Colonna is unavailable because he is training light heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara for a light heavyweight showdown with consensus champion Adonis Stevenson. His other co-trainer, Rita Figueroa doesn’t have a passport. Even members of his own family, such as his wife, Aleksandra and father, Peter aren’t traveling with him.
Instead, it will just be former fighter Fernando Hernandez as his trainer and fellow fighter Mike Jimenez as his chief second.
“You’ve got to gamble,” George said. “I’m going out there without a team. I’m going out there pretty much alone to fight for a humpty-dump world title. It’s not an ideal circumstance for me but I had to jump on it.”
Not everyone was so sure from the gate that George’s decision was the right one. Hitz advised George to pass up on the fight.
“I said it wasn’t our game plan and it wasn’t what we set out to do,” Hitz said. “I’m the guy who likes to not serve the wine before it’s time…but he’s a very driven guy and he made a convincing argument. Sometimes careers are made by doing things like this.
“I believe in this kid and his drive,” Hitz said. “You can’t take away something from a kid like that.”
George’s fight against Brand is a calculated risk. Brand is 37 years old with his only notable fight coming against Badou Jack in which he lost a disputed split decision in May of 2012.
“If he was 25 years old and 30-0, I wouldn’t have taken the fight,” George said. “He’s an extremely unorthodox guy. He’s almost like a Sergio Martinez where he darts in and out. My strategy is going to be catching him jumping in with his hands down with my right hand.”
George also said he feels that Brand is underestimating him, thinking he’s out of shape on short notice. George disputed that, saying that sparred 12 rounds Monday and ran eight miles. George last fought April 18, earning a sixth round TKO over Troy Lowry.
“I went right back into the gym Monday after the fight,” George said. “It’s one of those things that I feel like happens for a reason. The reality is I’m in shape and ready to fight.”
One factor that George says he isn’t fighting for is money.
“The pay is dirt-sh*t terrible,” George said. “I need to establish my name again and prove that I’m for real.
“Stuff like this will make or break my career,” he said. “Nothing in my life is going to go according to plan, so f*ck it.”
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