Fighter Travis Hartman returns to his first love
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (June 20, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Travis Hartman
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing: "You don't know what you've got til it's gone" - Joni Mitchell.

Travis Hartman always loved boxing. He didn’t realize how deeply until he faced the possibility of never lacing up the gloves again. Hartman started fighting professionally at the age of 20. He won his first five fights. The streak ended when he faced Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2006. Hartman lost his next two bouts. The losses bothered him deeply. As an amateur, he had beaten future world champion Nonito Donaire and super middleweight contender Anthony Dirrell.

In 2010, Hartman's life was turned upside down. A major automobile accident injured him severely. His boxing record at the time was 11 wins and 16 losses.

Recovering in the hospital after the accident, a doctor told Hartman he’d never fight again. The fighter in him didn’t believe it. He longed for another chance. He knew he hadn’t trained properly for many of his fights. He started to write about boxing. The quiet time took him away from the pain of not fighting. Hartman worked hard during his recovery. He wanted back in the ring. He was determined to right some of his wrongs.

After almost three years, he returned to boxing. He knocked his opponent out in two rounds. Victory was his, but more importantly, he was back doing what he loves, and getting a second chance.

In a wide-ranging interview, Hartman discusses his past, present, and future goals for his second boxing career.

John Raspanti: You've been away from boxing for close to three years. Why come back?

Travis Hartman: I was out of boxing from Dec. of 2009 until I fought again March 31, 2012. That isn’t even a real question to me; "why come back to boxing"? The question is why not! I love boxing to the core. I am a true die hard boxing fan as well as a competitor. I came back to boxing because my body started feeling healthy again. Thank God. I put on 32 pounds in the two years I was off from boxing. I was miserable. I was borderline depressed. I have been boxing since I was six years old. The sport was ripped out of my hands from powers out of my hands. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. During my two years off, I was able to look back at my career from the outside in. I realized how pathetic, undertrained, and underprepared I was for almost every one of my pro fights. I let my talent go to waste. It was an even harder pill to swallow knowing that I would never be able to compete again. Doctors advised me not to fight, but I am stubborn. I half way accepted it, but in the back of my mind I never wanted to believe it. It was an experience most fighters never get, stop halfway through their career, look back, and reassess and regroup. That is what I did during my break. I took a positive from all the stuff that had happened. I could have laid down and accepted it. That isn’t me. I’m not a quitter. Yes, I fought some top-notch guys, but I fought them unprepared. I made myself look silly. I showed everyone in the boxing world the horrible side of me as a professional. I have never been knocked out in any of my losses.

JR: You won your first five fights. Tell me about the JC Chavez Jr. fight.

TH: My professional boxing career is full of excuses, mostly on my part. When you make excuses, you wind up with a lopsided record like mine. I was ready for the Chavez Jr. fight. I had somewhere around three-to-four weeks to train for the fight. When I arrived in Texas the first day I must have came down with some sort of flu or sickness because I was throwing up and breaking out in cold sweats. I had the worst headaches leading up to the weigh-in. My weight even showed this. I came in at an all time low of my career, 134 pounds. Chavez came in at 140. I even looked physically drained almost as soon as the fight started. I did ok while I was able to box. But, as soon as I became fatigued and drained I set in front of Chaver Jr. My father knew I was sick and did the right thing. In the third round, he threw in the towel to save me from unnecessary punishment. I will have a life after boxing and my father/coach knew that. Bits and pieces of that fight are on YouTube.

JR: You lost three in a row (including Chavez) but you won your next two fights. What was your mindset at that point?

TH: You know, in that string of losses it was a very trying time for a young kid like me. I was no older than 22 and not used to losing. I went 156-13 as an amateur boxer over a 14-year career with three national titles intertwined in my career. I even beat guys like Nonito Donaire and Anthony Dirrell as an amateur. It was also very frustrating because the last of those three losses in a row was a very unfair circumstance. I traveled to Louisiana to fight an undefeated hometown kid. I wasn’t scared to travel to his back yard to fight him. That is what I am, a fighter. I was beating this kid to the punch. I was having my way with him until the fourth round when he hit me with one of many low blows. He had hit me with many low blows leading up to that point and I just tried to power through them and fight. The last low blow forced me to take a knee. He then hit me with a four-punch combination to the side of my temple. I went down and surprisingly the referee started counting. He counted me out. I was unable to gain my wits back in a ten-second period. The entire hometown crowd booed their own fighter. I won every round on two of the three judge’s scorecards up to that point. Fightnews even wrote a small article on the fight. The judges after the fight even came up to me and reassured me that I was an amazing boxer and they have no idea what that referee were thinking. The referee even later admitted that if I had got up he would have taken a point from the other fighter. My question is the referee said Aucoin never did anything wrong, but in a post fight interview he said if I would have gotten up, and trust me if I could of gotten up I would have, he would have taken a point away from the fighter. That is when I almost threw the towel in on my pro

JR: I recently watched the Paez fight. Was the decision a fair one?

TH: I think I could have done more. But honestly, if that fight was in my hometown it would have been ruled a draw. It was a competitive close fight as you can tell by the videos on YouTube. I am not a judge, so I can’t say I was robbed. It was a good fight and I actually made a good showing on an HBO PPV fight on a big stage like that.

JR: You fought fighters with a combined 56-5 record in 2007. Why take on so many hot fighters in a row?

TH: I was tired of the politics and business of boxing. I started fighting the top undefeated fighters for the money. I sold out. I wasn’t prepared. I was taking fights on three to five days notice with little to no training. It was an embarrassment on my part. That is why this time around I am doing things the right way. We added a new trainer to the mix. I am doing different things in training. I am actually training and living like a professional athlete is supposed to, thanks to Marcos Ramirez, a former top fighter in the world and one of my friends. We have a great relationship in the gym as well as out of the gym.

JR: Can you explain the details of your automobile accident?

TH: I can’t really going into specifics due to an ongoing legal matter. However, I can explain what happened. I was scheduled to fight on an ESPN2 undercard in Texas for Oscar De La Hoya’s GoldenBoy promotions on Feb. 26, 2010. Exactly one week before I was supposed to fight, I was driving into the hospital to get all my necessary medical exams completed in order to fight, and get licensed as a professional boxer in Texas. It was a Friday around noon. I was less than seven miles away from my house in Osborn, where I popped over a hill and a Miller Lite. I saw a diesel was overturned, blocking both lanes of the highway. I was the first car to come up on the scene and I was able to stop and keep control of my car, yet right before I was almost completely stopped, a car hit me from the rear traveling approx. 55 mph. My car and the other car ricocheted.

JR: Do you think you're a better and smarter fighter? Or is all about health?

TH: I say yes to all of those questions. I am living healthier, working harder and have this undeniable love and respect for the sport that I had taken for granted for song long since turning pro. It was like the two years I was wasn’t boxing. It totally recharged me and made me a meaner, harder working athlete. My body has never felt better than it does today. Sure, I have to do some extra things to help keep my neck healthier and not as sore, but in my mind, it’s worth it, period.

JR: Give me some details on your writing and broadcasting work.

TH: I’ve been writing for the for over two years now as well as serving as an on air expert analysis. I have also worked as a sports writer for the St. Joseph News-Press for almost four years in St. Joseph Missouri. It’s something that I want to pursue heavily after my career, as a boxer is gone. I want to be an on air TV broadcaster doing blow-by-blow for some major boxing network. I am getting all the experience I can while still competing.

JR: I want to thank you Travis. Good luck in the future.

TH: Thank you very much John

Follow and visit John on Twitter:!/johnboxing1

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