Signed, Sealed, And Delivered
By Ray Kilgore

 


If boxer Brad Patrow were an "object," he'd make the perfect gift for any boxing coach; with speed, defense, and athleticism, he isn't just an exciting amateur boxer, but has the making of a dazzling professional career.

An unfair advantage?
The music blears with a mixture of Rap and R&B, but Brad Patrow, 19, seems
unfazed by it; Patrow shadowboxes throwing 1-2 combos, then several hard punches, then bobs and weaves. But it's when Patrow does the actual sparring, you see his true talent. Patrow circles, lands several jabs, and hard body/head combos on his teammate/sparring partner. The teammate/sparring partner is the aggressor, and has a 56 pound advantage, but that doesn't bother Patrow; he's on the ropes bobbing and weaving hands at his side (similar to his shadowboxing). Patrow walks to the center of the ring and gives the teammate/sparring partner a look that says, 'Think before you come closer because there's a lot more I have to offer.'
By now, its evident Patrow hasn't only learned his trade, but has picked up parts of the sport from fighters who're beyond the 'amateur' level. Patrow admits he's trained/spared with former three-time champ Will "Steal" Grigsby, and regularly gets advice from local professional fighters Allen and Jason Litzau. "Allen and Jason will be world champs soon, so I take advantage of [their advice]." Patrow adds "I guess I've been lucky in that way, and use it to my advantage when I am in the ring."

Taking up boxing by chance
If he didn't tell you, or you hadn't seen him, it might be difficult to believe Patrow had any connection to boxing. The good-looking kid who's quick to smile isn't your stereotypic boxer: he's friendly, enjoys talking to the press, and isn't "moody" or on "edge." His introduction to boxing wasn't in the "traditional" sense either. He wasn't bullied as a kid, nor had an overbearing father who forced him into the sport in order to live out his (father's) failed boxing dreams.
Patrow's parents divorced when he was younger, and he split his time between each parents' home. While living with his father in St. Paul, Patrow's cousin lived several blocks away and attended Rice Street gym. His cousin encouraged him to come to the gym, Patrow took his offer, and shortly thereafter, found that he loved the game to the point of working on improving his stills daily. "I think he's the best boxer I've got" says John Johnson, head coach and owner of Rice Street gym. "We just need to add a few more skills and he'll be ready for the pros."

Making the move?
Patrow plans to box this week at the Golden Gloves tournament in Hinckley, and if plans fall into place, he hopes to advance to the national Golden Gloves tournament in Nebraska at the end of this month. Patrow says Johnson is considering hosting an amateur card in May, and he's the leading candidate for the main event bout. In addition to that, there's talk of turning him pro soon.
Coach Johnson is confident he'll turn Patrow pro sometime in late 2007, or early 2008. "Every child must leave his 2nd grade teacher, and move to his 3rd grade teacher to learn more," says Johnson who's making reference to Patrow turning pro to advance his skills. But Patrow, who works for his father in the construction business, isn't in any rush, "You can't be sure what will happen in a year. Things can change at anytime" says the boxer who admits Allen Litzau told him. 'You have a pro style.' However, if Patrow does make the move, he isn't concerned with how the transition will impact him. "I like to spar without head gear, and there's really no difference between pros and amateurs in terms of being hit" says the boxer who currently isn't dating anyone, and enjoys hanging with friends, and going to parties but doesn't drink. "When I make the move, I'll be ready."

Final Thoughts
Patrow seems to be the kind of boxer who'll wake up one morning and say: 'The time is right to turn pro.' He doesn't need the press, or anyone else for that matter, making the decision for him. For now, fans will need to enjoy his amateur bouts, but the good news is, once he signs the pro contract, it's sealed for good, and that will be thrilling for the fans because if his amateur bouts are any indication what he'll do as a pro, you can be certain he's deliver every time he steps into the ring because as he puts it, "I got heart and love to bang."

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