You won’t find a more rock-solid boxer and human being than undefeated junior middleweight prospect Henry Crawford of Paterson, New Jersey. He will put his 13-0-1 (5 KOS) record on the line against an opponent to be determined on Friday, February 16, at the Plattduetsche Park restaurant in Franklin Square, Long Island, New York.
The show, which is being promoted by Bob Duffy’s Ring Promotions, in conjunction with Frankie G. Production, is being headlined by James Moore, 9-0 (7 KOS), a native of County Arklow, Ireland, who lives and trains in Queens, New York.
“I’m thrilled to have so much talent on this show,” said Duffy, a retired NYPD detective who was once the director of boxing for the New York State Athletic Commission. “James and Henry are two of the hottest prospects in boxing. They are both very
crowd-pleasing and have solid fan bases. This is grassroots boxing at its best.”
While Moore has engaged in most of his fights in the New York area, Crawford has fought and won throughout the United States. In the early days of his career, prior to his current promotional deal with the New Jersey-based Main Events, he fought wherever he and Nettles Nasser, who serves as his manager, trainer and adviser, could book fights.
The fact that Crawford has laced them up in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., California, Florida, Illinois and Nevada is somewhat impressive. What is even more impressive about the 25-year-old father of four is the quality of the opponents he has beaten.
All but two of his opponents had winning records. Three were undefeated, and five had been beaten only once previously. Moreover, Crawford scored a sensational 12-second knockout over Adam Wynant, 12-4-1, on the undercard of Marco Antonio Barrera-Rocky Juarez II last September.
His six-round draw came against Gilbert Venegas underneath Fernando Vargas-Javier Castillejo in Rosemont, Illinois, in August 2005.
Rosemont is in the Chicago area, which has a huge Mexican population. “Fighting a Mexican in Chicago on the undercard of a Fernando Vargas fight, we felt like we were in Tijuana,” joked Nasser. “Still, I, and everyone else, thought Henry did more than enough to win.”
“When you look at the list of fighters on Henry’s record, you realize he is no joke,” added Duffy. “He’s been matched tough from the get-go and keeps coming through. He has real superstar potential.”
Nasser, who also trained such fighters as Omar Sheika and Jerson Ravelo, remembers meeting a 15-year-old Crawford for the first time. He came into the Lou Costello Gym with a few months experience he picked up at another facility. He still had a lot to learn, but there was something special about him.
“The way he was built, the way he fought and the way he carried himself, I just knew this kid was something,” said Nasser. “His work ethic was unbelievable. He had come from nowhere, so he was determined to get somewhere. His mother died when he was young. He could have gone down a very bad road, but he had the resolve to do something with his life.”
Boxing was, and still is, Crawford’s ticket to that better life. A veteran of almost 100 amateur bouts, he is a three-time New Jersey Golden Gloves champion who also found varying degrees of success on the national level.
“One thing about Henry is that he gets better and better after each fight,” said the 32-year-old Nasser who has been training fighters for 12 years. He apprenticed under, among others, Al Certo and Kevin Rooney.
“He learns from everything he does,” continued Nasser. “He is not only a hard worker; he is a great student of the game.”
Although Crawford and Nasser’s dream is to fight on HBO or Showtime, they realize it is a long, hard road to get to that point. That’s why they have no qualms about fighting on the road, and are thrilled to be lacing them up on Long Island on Friday night.
“Every fight is a learning experience,” said Nasser. “For Friday’s fight, three or four opponents have already pulled out or been disapproved. That doesn’t bother us. To get better, you have to face adversity and the unknown. Boxing is not like any other business. You have to roll with the punches out of the ring as much as you have to avoid them in the ring.”
When Nasser first met Crawford, the fighter was working as a stock boy at a local Food Town supermarket. He is still working there, on the midnight shift, to this day. That, says Nasser, is indicative of just how solid Crawford is as both a fighter and a man.
“Henry is willing to do what it takes to get where he deserves to be,” said Nasser. “Everyone wants to get on HBO and Showtime. That’s what the business is about. In the meantime, we’ll do whatever it takes to make the right things happen.”
Doing what it takes includes fighting hard and often, as well as being aligned with Main Events, whom Nasser calls one of the “premier promotional companies” when it comes to developing young fighters.
“Who wouldn’t want to be affiliated with them?” he said. “They produced guys like Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker and Lennox Lewis. They know how to make things happen.”
While promotional outfits like Duffy’s Ring Promotions and Main Events can make the fights, it is still Crawford that has to win them.
“Henry is a winner,” asserts Nasser. “He’s got fast hands like Floyd [Mayweather] and great footwork. He’s the total package. On Friday night, the fans won’t be disappointed. They will come away saying they saw the future champion.”
The Plattduetsche restaurant is located at 1122 Hempstead Turnpike in Franklin Square, which is approximately one mile east of Belmont Racetrack, phone 516-354-3131.