Fighter Warns Younger Guns, You Might Not Make Those Six-Figure Checks

We parents struggle, sometimes, with messaging. We want our kids to do right, to act right. But we know that we ourselves haven’t always acted right. We’ve gotten off the righteous path now and again. And, maybe, again. We, back in the day,  spurned wisdom and ignored anecdotes from elders meant to influence us positively. And we don’t want to be self righteous scolds, or shrill hypocrites.

We all hope that our offspring will be blessed with a good measure of intelligence and common sense. More than we possessed at the same stage of life, many of us hope…

I wrestle with all these issues, and take solace, I admit, when I see a son being smart, walking the right path, learning lessons so maybe they’ll not have to stub the same toe their dad did.

I was on Twitter today and saw a post from Thomas “Top Dog” Williams, the 20-4 pro hitter, from the Maryland area. He Tweeted the recommendation that fighters should not assume they will make big bank, and should have a vocational Plan B.

Smart advice. So I checked in with the 30-year old fighter, a light heavyweight, to get a sense of how he came by that wisdom, and why he thinks it imperative to share his POV.

“It’s important because the people that are sometimes around you might not tell you, might not care, or just not realistically know that every fighter won’t be a millionaire,” said the fighter nicknamed ‘Top Dog.’ “Before my stepfather got into boxing he told me that he thought every fighter who was on TV was making big money. When in actuality, they’re not. You see some fighters who are on those ShoBox cards who are only fighting 8 rounders ‘probly only getting $5, 6, or 7 thousand. You can’t live off of that. I mean maybe if you live with your parents…maybe. I have a fiancée and three daughters and we most certainly couldn’t live off of that. We took the kids to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas and I think we spent about 9 grand for 7 days.”

So, what’s his Plan B, then?

“It’s so many things I have going right now. I own three houses, I manage fighters (Demond Nicholson, Joshua Davis, and one more kid who is an amateur boxer turning pro, and right now I’m trying to develop a promotional company. I’m also training and managing my brother (Ta’vaughn Williams) right now who is making his debut in September at 160 pounds. I have my hands in a lot right now. I just want the fighters to be knowledgeable about the way the business is and how it treats us.”

Williams is on a three fight slide, with losses to Adonis Stevenson..

..then Marcus Browne, and Humberto Torres in his last go, in February. He doesn’t have his next bout in motion, and yes, has been thinking hard about the transition from active boxer to other things.

The wisdom, then. When did he know that since everyone doesn’t make it big, it’d be smart to cover all the bases, and have other gigs going?

“I figured it out the day before my pro debut,” he said, chuckling, thinking back to his 2010 win over Daniel Shull.

And that wisdom, it didn’t come from intuition. Williams saw his real dad, Thomas “Top Dawg” Williams Sr, get fawned over, get a big bonus, and then not see his development go as envisioned.

“My dad signed a multimillion dollar contract with Top Rank when he turned pro,” the offspring recalls. “This is my wisdom. Things didn’t work out for him and he had the million dollar contract. These kids are trying to get what he had and I saw this for my own eyes. He was very good until he started making money. Then training went out the window and his dedication. He boxed until I was 16 years old.”

They don’t speak to each other at this time, the fighter said.

Those eyes have been opened that much further, as the boxer contended with the shocking passing of his step-father, Robert Peterson Sr, who died in a car accident in July of 2017.

The boxer said that he has looked deep inside himself, and outside, up and down, trying to make sense of the accident. Did, he, I wonder, ever question IF there was a higher power, after his loved one was taken from him in the blink of an eye?

“Never. But I was super frustrated and wanted to know why so bad. I figured that he wanted him for a reason though. Hopefully it’s revealed when we meet again. That’s why I wish my stepfather was here, he was like my father.”

And in the mean-time, he’d like to do some good, which includes telling fighters to be smart, not cocky. Trust your talent…but plan for different futures, including one that doesn’t see six figure checks and title shot wins and the like. Trust in yourself, sure, but know that life can sometimes throw curveballs at you, and even adept hitters can swing and miss.

Michael Woods
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Michael Woods. Host, TALKBOX podcast, powered by EVERLAST; 1st VP, Boxing Writers Association of America; is my site