North Texas Notebook

The decision to enter the world of professional boxing is never an easy one to make for a young practitioner of the sweet science.  Uncertainty and doubt creep in and turn a once confident boxer into a one who is concerned about the darkness the great unknown is shroud in.  Still most amateurs enter into the sport with the expectations of eventually turn professional thus earning a living in the manly art of prize fighting.  After all, the old adage rings true; no one plays boxing.  This Thursday night local boxing promoter Wayne Harrison will put on the second show of his critically acclaimed Texas Slugfest series.  While the Harrison Boxing Groups first show this past July featured proven commodities of the professional ranks, this go around is all about building a name for some young fighters making their pro debut.  The lifeblood of boxing is not the multimillion dollar extravagancies of a De La Hoya fight, it is the small local club show that ushers in new fans and gives the stars of tomorrow their start in this oft maligned sport we call boxing.  To their credit the Harrison family is making inroads into the North Texas boxing scene by putting on action packed, fan friendly cards, that strive to give the patron an experience they will not soon forget.  This Thursday night’s card seems to be no different as two of Fort Worth’s acclaimed amateurs look to make their names in the paid ranks.  Jose Orozco One of the young pugs making their professional debut is Fort Worth’s own Jose Orozco.  The 23 year old welterweight exudes a quite confidence that no doubt can be attributed to his prowess in the amateur ranks. “I had over 200 fights.  I don’t know the exact number of win and losses.  I think it was like 170 something wins and 30 something losses.” Orozco states matter-of-factly. The decision to turn pro was an easy one for the young fighter who felt it was just time to move on to bigger and better things with his career. “It was just time, you know.  I had done just about everything there is to do in the amateurs and I felt it was time to step it up.” Orozco has been learning the nuances of the sweet science since the tender age of 8 and if not for an ill fated challenge to his cousin he may never have picked up the sport to begin with. “My cousin had been training for a couple of weeks and I went over to his house one day and put the gloves on.  I though I was going to pound him because I was a whole lot bigger than he was, and he bopped me in the nose and made me cry.  So ever since then, I told my dad I wanted revenge so he took me to the gym.” With that bruise to his ego fueling his desire, Orozco would go on to bruise more than just the ego of his opponents.  But that was with the comforts of a coddling USA Boxing system and the safety of head gear.  The great unknown is how Orozco will deal in the completely different world of the pro ranks.  To hear him tell it, getting ready for this fight is just another day at the office.  “Nah, there is nothing different that I’ve done.  Maybe getting in some more sparring but that is about it.” With that cool confidence it is no wonder why Jose thinks his first professional fight will not differ from the 170 or so amateur bouts he has emerged victorious from.  After all nervousness is not even a factor, yet.    “Well as of right now I don’t feel any excitement like that.  But I am pretty sure once the day is here, I will.” Shug Dorsey Another Fort Worth based fighter making their professional debut is heavyweight slugger Shug Dorsey. Unlike the afore mentioned Jose Orozco, Dorsey’s amateur credentials are not nearly as impressive given the fact that the 28 year old heavy only campaigned in the amateur ranks for little over a year.  Still it is not the length of his amateur work that paints the lecture of Dorsey; it is the manner in which he won his amateur fights that let you get the feel for his style. Out of his roughly six amateur contests Dorsey lost two fights via decision but is quick to point out that all four of his victories came by way of knockout.  No easy task to do considering the headgear in place but none the less Dorsey found a way to make highlight reel knockouts a common occurrence in his fights. At 5’10” and a solid 230 ponds, it is safe to say that the Dorsey’s appearance is just as intimidating as his crushing left hook but underneath the hard exterior lies a quite humble father whose love of the sport has turned into a day job training would be fighters at the Armadillo Boxing Club in Fort Worth.  It’s a path that the laid back Dorsey admits sort of feel into his lap. “Well when I started out I was like 300 pounds.  So I was way overweight and I have always watched boxing, you know I got some family members that’s in boxing.  So I have always been around a boxing gym but I never boxed myself; I was into football.  But then I broke my hip so I didn’t get to play football, anyway, to make a long story short, I wanted to come back to the gym and start working out for myself but I know a lot about boxing so I figured I would start helping others and train some other people.  That’s how it started out.” It’s a role that Dorsey admits to being incredibly blessed to be involved in. “Oh yeah, I love it.  I love training people.  I got a couple of clients that come over to Armadillo to train.  I put them on hold when I get ready for a fight but I love doing it.  It’s a full time job.” But don’t get it twisted, Dorsey is all fighter.  In fact his draw to the sport came out a necessity to appease his inner fighter mentality. “The fact that you can fight without getting in trouble for it.”, Dorsey explains.  “I always liked to fight and now I can do it as a sport.  It’s a lot different than street fighting but at the same time you getting hit and you hitting somebody.” It is that innate confidence that Dorsey believes will carry him through this rough and tumble sport and the Fort Worth heavyweight couldn’t be any more excited to shed the headgear and staring punching for pay. “It’s going to be exciting that’s all I know.  I think the whole night is going to be exciting.  Hopefully mine ends pretty quick, you know, regardless it is going to be exciting.  Like T.O. said, get your popcorn ready.”

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.