Boxing superstar Rock Blackwell was born in 1986 in Baltimore, Maryland, where his life was soon marked by a turbulent beginning. His father left the family soon after his birth, so the responsibility for his upbringing fell on the shoulders of his mother, Sandra.
Considering that the area in which they lived was pretty tough, Blackwell had to develop the ability to look after himself at an early age.
“Baltimore is a very dangerous city and we had very little money and resources, so growing up was pretty rough,” he recalls. “The only thing me and my family had was God, my dreams, each other, and our values.”
Fortunately, he was a natural athlete, and at the tender age of seven developed a liking for boxing. In his youth, this passion for boxing became even stronger, to the degree that he formed an ambition to become a world champion boxer.
As Blackwell explains, “Becoming a man without my father was by far the most challenging thing in the world. My mother did a fantastic job raising me and my brother, but when your father is absent, there’s a void there that Mom cannot fill. Kids need heroes and role models; it plays a huge role in who they ultimately become. Boxing provided those heroes for me, and I fell in love with becoming a champion.”
Those heroes included some of the legendary boxing greats, like Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Rock Blackwell, fighting as a light-heavyweight, developed a fast, hard hitting style as he built his career on the amateur boxing circuit.
When he decided to turn professional, he left an incredible 156-28 amateur record behind him, which included winning the South Atlantic Championship. By constantly reinventing himself in the ring, Blackwell has become an extremely exciting fighter to watch.
Blackwell now has a sizable fan base attracted by his punching power and explosive speed in the ring. However, the adulation of his followers is not entirely based on his boxing ability. The truth is that his impressive good looks, charming smile, and gravitating personality are turning him into a boxing icon. Put all this together, and it is obvious that Blackwell is a star on the rise, with the potential to become a marketing goldmine.
Those who know something about the essentials of the “noble art” comment on his devastating punching power. For example, New York sports writer Charlie Stanford wrote, “Blackwell is a great orthodox puncher with knockout power and amazing speed in both hands.”
But it was not always like that. The professional boxing world has a darker side, and Blackwell had the misfortune to get involved with management companies that treated him poorly. The worst example occurred in 2009, when less than stellar management resulted in Blackwell reaching life-threatening levels of dehydration as he dropped 30 pounds of water weight and muscle to try to achieve a 154 pound weight limit.
Indeed, things got so bad that Blackwell considered giving up on his dream and joining the police force. Fortunately, both for him and the world of boxing, he was taken in by his current management team, which has resulted in his career skyrocketing.
Blackwell’s record as a professional boxer in the International Boxing League (IBL) is a very impressive 15-0. He has boxed in Spain, Great Britain, and other countries, and has trained with Roger Mayweather, Floyd Mayweather Sr., and Freddy Roach.
On March 5th, 2014, it was announced by the World Boxing Union (WBU) that Rock Blackwell was ranked the #1 contender for the WBU America and WBU Intercontinental title. On August 23 2014, he will compete for both titles in Oklahoma.
Blackwell is currently ranked #1 in the country for the WBU and #10 in the world. Regarding the contest, he said, “I feel great about this upcoming fight. This has been the best training camp I’ve ever had. I have an amazing team! Coach Goody, Coach Wayne, and Coach Davis have been working with me day and night. I am mentally, physically and spiritually prepared to go into battle on August 23rd.”
Some may find it difficult to understand that, for Rock Blackwell, there is also a religious and spiritual dimension to his life. As he expresses it so eloquently: “I am driven by becoming the perfect version of myself and making good on God’s investment in me. Some fighters or athletes desire to be the best ever; I desire to be the best I can be and understand what it means to maximize all the gifts that God has invested in me. More importantly, I want to heal the land and help as many people as can. Victories in the ring don’t make me a champion – service to the people does.”
Boxing today is in serious need of dynamic younger fighters to replace the older stars approaching the end of their boxing careers. It requires exciting and marketable stars of the future, like 28-year-old Rock Blackwell, to attract both followers and the new money necessary to reinvigorate the sport.
Given his expressed outlook on God, life, and his career, Rock Blackwell seems to be the perfect icon and role model for the new face of boxing.
Featured Image: firstclassboxing.com