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Anxious for Robertson Match
Brad Patraw, one of a passel of good small boxers to come on the Minnesota scene in recent years, has been matched with 4-0 Antwan Robertson of Anoka in a much anticipated super bantamweight bout. The two will be co-featured on the March 28 fight card at Grand Casino Hinckley along with the Bonsante-Kolle Minnesota middleweight title bout. Patraw, originally of St Paul but now residing in Oakdale, is sporting an identical 4-0 record, punctuated by 3 knockouts.
I like Antwan and I like John Hoffman, said Patraw, but its time to fight.
Patraw knows Robertson well enough, having fought and defeated him in the amateurs. A two-time Upper Midwest Golden Gloves champion in the 112# class, Patraw estimates that he won about 35 of 60 matches as an amateur. Like most fighters, he feels that his style is better suited to the pro game than amateur. Im more of a boxer, but sometimes I like to mix it up. And Robertson? Im guessing hes gonna try to brawl with me, but were going to stick with our game plan.
The we in that statement includes coach and trainer Johnny Johnson of the Rice Street Gym, which has been Patraws home gym since he first began boxing at age 13. Patraw tells the story of his introduction to boxing: I have a cousin who lived in the neighborhood, just a few blocks from the gym. I used to come and visit, and one day he said Whoops, I got to go to the gym. So I started asking him about it and I was like No, youre no boxer. No way, you dont box. Patraw smiles. Because we would stick together in neighborhood fights, and I had seen him fight. But I went with him, and I fell in love with it right away. I had to give it up for a while when I moved away, but I came back when I was fifteen [years old] and Ive been doing it ever since.
Patraw is proud to say that he fought a number of very good boxers as an amateur, including such notables as Teon Kennedy (now 11-0 as a pro), Jessy Cruz, Wiley McCanery, Aaron Alafa, and Derek Winston (local of COD in south Minneapolis, and incidentally a cousin of Antwan Robertson), as well as Robertson and others. I fought a lot of top amateur fighters who are now successful pros. Through it all Patraw has had only one coach, Johnny Johnson.
Since turning pro late in 2007 Patraw has fought four times, his weight ranging from 121 to 127#. He prefers to fight at 122, but acknowledges that you have to be flexible and get what you can get. Though Patraw isnt signed to any promoter, he has continued to work with Johnson as a pro. One step at a time, but were obviously going for a world championship. Weve already had calls to go out east or to California for fights. I know Johnnys got a lot of connections.
The nearly universal difficulty of making matches for fighters in the lower weight classes may have something to do with the decision by Patraw and Johnson to take the Robertson fight when it was offered. Before we parted ways I asked Patraw whether he was surprised to be facing an undefeated fighter and co-featuring on a high-profile local show so early in his career. At first I was, but then I thought were both undefeated, so why not? Its probably a mistake to do it so soon, but I beat Antwan twice in amateurs and Im confident. I like him and everything, but Im going to take his O away.