Undefeated super-middleweight prospect Jesse Hart, who has stopped all but three of his fifteen opponents, spoke to Josh Grayfer(@JoshTBV) following his most recent victory over Roberto Acevedo about what it means to be a Philadelphia fighter and where he goes from here.
Hart was quick to praise the men around him as well as the city that has spawned so many good fighters over the years, including his father Eugene Hart, who was once a middleweight contender. “It means everything. When you’ve got guys around you like Frank Jenkins Jr. and Bryant Jennings, and they’re pushing you to do great things, you can’t slack. When you’re around greatness you cannot slack because you’re going to feel left out. A Philadelphia fighter is the hardest fighter in the world to fight because of our toughness, our endurance and our confidence. We believe we are the best fighters in the world.”
There is no doubt that these characteristics define some of the best to come out of the notorious Philly gyms. Men like Joe Frazier, Meldrick Taylor, Bernard Hopkins and Danny Garcia are all renowned for their mental toughness and their belief in their own superiority. But how does one avoid the pitfalls of bravery inside the squared circle? To play smart when the inclination is to gladly step in to the jaws of war? “My trainers, my Dad, Frank Jenkins. They pull me back and say ‘Look, it’s a thing to have too much heart and it’s a thing to be smart.’ We have to know when to use things and not to use things. You can’t just go in there all heart because that fighter won’t win all the time. The fighters that make the smart moves, those are the ones that last longer.’”
To even be mentioned in the same paragraph as those fighters most renowned, Hart will have to continue in his pro career in the same fashion as he has started it. He was asked how he feels his career is progressing so far, and whether he feels he is ready to face a fighter ranked in the top fifteen yet, and had this to say: “Whatever Bob Arum and Top Rank want to do. I have the best promoters and the best managers, I cannot stress to you (enough). They’re making my career progress. I’m rated in the WBC just with the NABF so I think my career is going splendid. I’ll fight whoever, however. It doesn’t matter, I want to fight all the guys, Badou Jack, J’Leon Love, the list goes on but I’ll get ridiculed if I mention names so, I just want to fight, that’s it.”