By Anthony George
Jesse Hart is a top contender in the super middleweight division compiling a record of 23 wins in 24 fights, with 19 KO’s. As part of a stellar card Saturday night in Philadelphia, on ESPN Top Rank Boxing, Hart puts his number one ranking in the WBO on the line against the hard-punching Demond Nicholson, 18-2-1, 17 KO’s.
It’s Hart’s second fight since losing to Gilberto Ramirez for the WBO World Super-Middleweight title.
There has never been a time where Hart, son of Philadelphia Legend Eugene Cyclone Hart, did not have boxing in his life.
“Boxing was definitely pushed on me”, was what Hart informed me in an interview I conducted recently with him. His dad put a boxing glove in his crib and forced Jesse to practice his boxing stance for two hours a day in the Hart kitchen, when Jesse was just six years of age. Jesse told me he did not want to take part in such activities and did not really know who his dad was, and what he meant to Philadelphia.
Jesse did know, however, that his dad was special. According to Jesse, the people of the neighborhood always said, ‘there goes Cyclone’s kid’, whenever he roamed the Philadelphia streets. Jesse said he knew right away he wanted that same respect, even if he was not keen on boxing right away.
Jesse told me he did not fall love with boxing until he saw fellow Philadelphia native David Reid, won an Olympic gold medal. That was when Jesse embraced the sweet science as a profession.
Up until now, the Ramirez loss aside, Hart’s career is progressing in a positive, dominant way. Even with that loss, Hart was no loser. Hart came back from a tough start against Ramirez, he was dropped and hurt bad in round two, and finished strong to make the fight very close.
When I asked Hart about a potential rematch with Ramirez, he seemed less than enthusiastic. Frustrated would be the more operative word. The reason being is, based on conversations he has had with Gilberto, Hart is not in Ramirez’ plans. Gilberto wants to either fight one of the other 168-pound champions or move up to light heavyweight. Hart thinks that Ramirez will have a hard time getting a fight with another 168-pound champion because all these fighters belong to a rival promotional company.
Hall of fame promoter, J Russell Peltz told me he has great confidence that Top Rank will make Ramirez-Hart II, however. If Jesse beats Demond Nicholson Saturday night, that is.
Demond Nicholson is a big puncher and should not be taken for granted.
According to Mr. Peltz, Top Rank Matchmaker Brad Goodman says Nicholson is a “live dog.” There are not many people more respected in boxing than Brad Goodman.
Nicholson’s KO percentage brings intrigue to this fight, especially since Jesse Hart has had more than vulnerable moments inside the ring. Also, Jesse Hart is excited to be returning to Philadelphia.
It’s his first in the City of Brotherly Love since March of 2016, a fact Jesse made sure he pointed out to me. J Russell Peltz thinks “the only way to beat Jesse Hart is to knock him out.”
Which Russell thinks is not out of the question in this fight, because, returning home, “Jesse wants to be a big hit,” and he will give up his superior boxing skills and try and fight Nicholson.
All these ingredients make for a hot dish for boxing fans Saturday night, and this is just one of three super fights to be aired on ESPN. Jessie Magdaleno takes on Issac Dogboe, in a WBO World Super Bantamweight title fight, and Bryant Jennings takes on Joey Dawejko, in an all Philadelphia heavyweight fight.
The fight, Mr. Peltz said, “Is the straw that stirs the drink,” just like Reggie Jackson. With that said, an argument can be made that Jesse Hart has the most to lose on the card.
He is returning home and is by far the biggest favorite on the televised card. A loss would be devasting for Hart, a win would keep the Mercedes in cruise control, where great roads lies ahead.
Saturday night will paint a clearer picture for "Hard Work/Hollywood."
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