Michael 'The Bounty' Hunter II: It's in the BloodHot
Young Heavyweight Dominates at the Olympic Trials – Ready to go for the Gold!
Emanuel Steward told timesunion.com,"(He's the) future of boxing in this country." And former New Jersey State Athletic Commission Director Larry Hazzard uttered, "(He) will be an American heavyweight champion... No doubt about it."
The drought that's plagued the heavyweight division could soon be over.
After his incredible performance at the U.S. Olympic trials last week, the boxing establishment is taking notice. Now, the rumor is Michael Hunter II is being scouted by some of the biggest promotional companies in boxing. They want him and they want him bad.
It was business as usual for Michael as he opened the door and entered H.I.T. Factory gym in Las Vegas today. Hasim Rahman, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and all of the gang that Michael considers family, congratulated him for his outstanding performance last week. But the face that's missing his rise to greatness, his shattering of the ceiling that holds the others back, is his father, Michael "The Bounty" Hunter Sr. - a former USBA heavyweight champion who fought in the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, his father passed away in a questionable, officer-involved shooting.
(Pictured: Michael's father, Michael 'The Bounty' Hunter. 1959-2006)
But the torch had already been passed. "I was always attached to his pants," Hunter said. "And being around him so much, I definitely took some of his personality." That personality - along with his superstar potential - is what has promoters salivating when you mention his name. Young Michael seems to have a perfect balance of character and confidence. He has no problem discussing his skills yet remains humble when doing so. He's inherited his father's flair and there's a calmness to him that gives the impression he's seen all this before and is comfortable with it.
And the ladies seem to have a fondness for the 6'2" chiseled 23-year-old. He received a text from pop singer Rihanna during his interview with FightSaga.com and admits the ladies are a potential distraction. "It's important that I stay focused right now." Michael said. "Winning these Olympic trials is only a step."
Things just seem to be falling into place for the young heavyweight as he was chosen to spar with Vitlai Klitchko in preparation for the Champ's fight with David Haye. The experience was priceless.
"You don't really get a chance to box Wladimir's body, you only get to box his arms," uttered Michael. "Everyone thinks he's slow but he's actually pretty fast. That first camp with Wladimir, it was like I was in a video game and he was knocking my power bar down every time he punched me," Hunter said. "But as it went on, my confidence shot up. He inspired me. I learned some technical stuff working with him. How to shoot that right hand, how to shorten your distance, how to parry and block punches. Remember, he was a gold medalist too. His style is the kind I'm going to see in international competition."
Michael will also be instructed by famed trainer Freddie Roach in preparation for the Olympics. "...a couple of boxers caught my eye in Mobile, including Michael Hunter who won a gold medal Friday and went 4-0." Roach said. "Michael's much more experienced than the other boxers - He was very impressive." Roach will get hands-on time with Hunter as he will spend two weeks with the team in Colorado Springs, CO. Roach also is bringing some of his fighters from his Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, CA, to work with Hunter.
Hunter is well aware of his boxing heritage. His uncle, Kevin Henry, is a veteran trainer at H.I.T. Factory gym in Las Vegas and was one of the youngest licensed trainers ever at 15. And slowly emerging from Michael's shadow is younger brother Keith Hunter who looked impressive at his workout today.
Once in a great while the stars align and a young warrior gets dealt the hand that creates a legacy.
Skills. Heritage. Personality.
If Hunter returns from London with a gold medal around his neck, his career could go nova. But he can't help it, it's all in the blood.
(Pictured: Michael Hunter II, Michael's younger brother Keith and Kevin Henry, their uncle and trainer)
MICHAEL HUNTER II