By: Hans Themistode
Baltimore Maryland has produced a number of great champions throughout the years. William Joppy, Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Hasim Rahman to name a few, have all risen to championship status. Even more recently, Featherweight champion Gervonta Davis is playing his part in keeping that tradition alive.
For the newly turned professional boxer Dominique Crowder, he is just looking to add his name amongst those who came before him.
Growing up in Baltimore Maryland, violence and drugs were all too familiar scenes for him. What always kept Crowder on the straight and narrow however, was his love for boxing. The sport has been apart of his life for as long as he can remember.
Photo Credit: Henry Deleon
“As a kid I watched boxing regularly so I always liked it,” recalled Crowder. “Growing up in my neighborhood, my friends would always bring the boxing gloves out and I would always win. It was around 2007 when I first stepped into a boxing gym with this guy named Eddie Butcher who began training me. I loved every bit of it.”
Finding something that you are passionate about is easy. Maintaining focus to become successful in it however, is the hard part. Early on for Crowder, he was able to stay on track and continually train on a regular basis, but then, life happened. His trainer Eddie Butcher relocated which left a major hole in the life of Crowder. At that point, he had two choices. Either continue his training at a new gym or fall into the street life.
Photo Credit: Henry Deleon
“Once Eddie went to a new gym I lost a lot of my focus. I went to a new gym but I couldn’t really focus so I stopped boxing.”
Crowder’s mind may not have been in boxing but his heart never left the sport that he loved. After being away from the sport for several years, Crowder decided to come back. With the help of one of his trainers Jose Guzman, Crowder is now fully focused. A relationship between a coach and fighter often times sticks to the confines of the gym. Regardless of that notion, Crowder and Guzman developed a connection that was much deeper then that.
“I took about four or five years off. Once I came back in 2012 I started training again but this time in New York as opposed to out here in Baltimore. Being in New York really allows me to focus. When I’m in my hometown it’s just too difficult. I’m too well known in Baltimore. Out here in New York, only the boxing world knows me. Random people have no idea who I am over here. So it allows me to focus better. I definitely give a lot of credit to one of my coaches Jose Guzman for helping me with my focus as well. Me and Guzman are like family. When I’m training down in New York he lets me stay at his house. Me and him have a really good relationship because when he works my corner and tells me what to do, it’s always right. All of the instruction that he gives me works out really well. He’s definitely a really good coach but our relationship goes far beyond boxing. Just being around him and being down in New York has helped me so much. When I’m home it’s about everything other than boxing so I had to leave that in order to become successful.”
Successful is exactly what Crowder has become. As an amateur, he put together an eye catching record consisting of 72 wins with only 10 losses. It was clear that Crowder was ready to take the next step. This Thursday on August 29th, 2019, Crowder will be making his pro debut in New Orleans at the Jr Featherweight division. As for who his opponent will be, he has no idea. Still, that doesn’t bother Crowder in the slightest.
“In the amateurs it’s pretty much the same thing. You don’t know who your fighting unless the guy is one of the top amateurs out there. I would like to know who exactly I’m getting into the ring with but it doesn’t matter to much. In training camp we’ve brung in a bunch of guys that have different attributes. A few guys that are short and come forward and a couple of guys that are long and rangy. No matter what kind of opponent I take on this Thursday, I’ll be prepared.”
Photo Credit: Henry Deleon
Being prepared is understatement for Crowder as one of his trainers is former Welterweight champion Mark Breland. Ironically enough, Breland, was one of the fighters that Crowder enjoyed watching growing up. The fighting style in which Breland employed in the ring made him a must watch for Crowder. Although he enjoyed watching him fight, there was one fighter in particular who inspired Crowder the most.
“Coach Breland is one of my favorites. I loved watching him fight. I also really enjoyed Floyd Mayweather but my absolute favorite fighter to watch is Diego Corrales. He was before my time but I really love watching his fights. We have similar fighting styles with me being so tall for the weight class. I can box and punch. There’s nothing I can’t do in that ring.”
Crowder has always gravitated towards the old school fighters, but there are several fighters from this current era who he truly enjoys watching and draws inspiration from as well.
“Gary Russel Jr is a beast. Rey Vargas and Guillermo Rigondeax are great fighters. As a matter of fact, I personally think that they’re the two best in the Jr Featherweight division. Guys like Shakur Stevenson and Vasyl Lomachenko are also guys that I look at and admire because they had so much success in the amateurs and they’re doing the same things in the pros. I also can’t forget about Gervonta Davis. He’s an amazing fighter. Both Russel and Davis really motivate me because there from my area so it just makes me feel like if they can become world champions and become successful then I can too.”
His first step towards his own championship aspirations will begin this Thursday. It might only be his first fight as a pro but Crowder plans on making a statement. Boxing is all he has known for his entire life and he plans on giving it everything he’s got.
“I wanna get the stoppage win. I’m stepping on the gas from the opening bell. I came into boxing to be one of the best. It’s the only thing that I’m good at. I don’t work, I don’t go to school I just box so I have to put 100 percent into it. It’s boxing or nothing for me.”