Fri, Nov. 5, 2010
Philly welterweight Butler ready to seize his chance vs. Zewski
By KERITH GABRIEL
Philadelphia Daily News
Ardrick Butler focuses on the now.
He can ill afford to reflect on a past riddled with rejection, missed opportunities and mishaps that would find others looking at their life from a jail cell or beyond the grave.
The 26-year-old does not realize his life story could be turned into a best-seller.
For now, the up-and-coming Philadelphia welterweight listens to his iPod while he hits the heavy bag and works the speed bag, and watches the timer while he skips rope - all in preparation for the biggest fight of his career.
Butler (5-2-0, 2 KOs) will face Golden Boy Promotions newbie Mikael Zewski (4-0, 3 KOs) tomorrow in a four-round undercard bout on HBO's "Boxing after Dark." Top junior welterweight Zab Judah (39-6, 27KOs) is scheduled to face undefeated Argentine Lucas Matthysse (27-0, 25 KOs) for Judah's NABO title in the main event of the fight card, which will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
"I sold drugs; I was in and out of [juvenile-placement centers] for, like, 4 years, man," Butler said before his final workout in Philadelphia before weigh-ins later today. "I was a victim in a hit-and-run that messed up my shoulders and forced me to cancel a [scheduled fight at the Blue Horizon in March].
"I overcame all that, and I am a better man for those experiences. Not to say I'd wish them on anyone, but I feel as though what doesn't kill you makes you a beast."
Of all the cons, the one constant pro is that Butler was gifted with raw athletic talent. He originally dreamed of a basketball career, and played at Glen Mills, a high school for court-adjudicated youths. Subsequently, his career peaked, according to Butler and current manager Andrew Touchstone, with a short stint as a professional in Australia. But after what Butler cited as "poor management" doomed that opportunity, boxing seemed the natural choice, given that he already was a fighter.
"I was always getting into fights. I was a straight-up problem child, man," Butler said. "Growing up, I used to pick fights, jump in fights. I was always getting myself in the middle of something. So when my basketball career didn't work out, I knew that would be the next step for me. It has humbled me, but at the same time, I love it so much, I feel as though this is something I should have been doing all along."
He proved that by going 10-2 overall as an amateur. A testament to Butler's resilience came in his first fight after a car struck him and left the scene during a prefight jog in February. After about 2 months of rigorous physical rehabilitation, Butler celebrated on April 30 with a technical knockout over Maryland's Norman Allen, only 26 seconds into the first round.
"He had to undergo a significant amount of rehab for the injuries he's sustained," Touchstone said. "But I think he actually benefited from that, because he learned so many additional training techniques. I think he got stronger, and it actually improved him. Plus, he's got a crazy work ethic, and that is to his advantage and to the detriment of whoever has to fight him."
Butler is reticent about where he will go in the fight game, because his immediate future lies in taking care of his family.
"Dreams are on the back burner when you have mouths to feed, man," Butler said. "My [5-year-old] son keeps me hungry in the fight game, plus I got one on the way. Listen, I hope one day I am one of the best to ever come out of Philly, but right now I take boxing one day at a time, because my life has shown me that I can't take anything for granted." *
Read more: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/sports/combat_sports/20101105_Philly_welterweight_Butler_ready_to_seize_his_chance_vs__Zewski.html#ixzz14Qk33C4H
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