Redemption! Amir 'Hardcore' MansourWritten by Bernard Campbell
One of the most interesting stories in professional boxing today started out with the birth of Pensgrove, New Jersey's Lavern Moorer 45 years ago.
Raised by his mother with two other siblings she struggled as a welfare Mom getting odd jobs to support her family and make ends meet.
"My mother was a tough woman and wouldn't be averse to scrapes with men or women to survive and she was the stabilizing influence on me living in the projects where we grew up", said heavyweight top 10 contender Amir Mansour 23-2-2 (16).
"I was a tough kid growing up and always good with my fists; I always picked up for the weak guys in the neighborhood and they in return used to pay me with their lunch money."
The wrong crowd
At 17, Mansour got caught up with the wrong crowd and was put into a detention center when. Of course, that's where he learned to box. There were boxing trainers employed by the state corrections department who tried to channel youths' energy and aggression towards discipline and self-defense.
With no amateur fights, Amir turned professional at the age of 23 because he knew he could fight on the professional circuit. For that fight, he was paid $400 dollars.
Amor Mansour would win his first 9 fights (6 KOs) and was living life in the fast lane until he was arrested for drug trafficking.
Paying his dues
He would be charged and convicted and would subsequently serve 8 1/2 years in a federal penitentiary.
"I did a lot of reflecting, reading and training there," said Mansour who would convert to Islam during his years in the penitentiary.
While serving time, Mansour trained a great deal by running, sparring and weight lifting. His diet was also on-point as Amir consumed chicken, tuna, fresh vegetables and fruit, sometimes even cooking his own meals.
After his release in 2010, Mansour resumed his undefeated career with 5 straight knockouts and in August of 2011 he decisioned Dominick Guinn 35-11-1-(24) to win the NABO Heavyweight title at 38 years of age.
Mansour stands 6'1 and carries about 230 pounds; He is built powerfully and fights with an aggressive no-nonsense style from a southpaw stance.
"I would consider my style to a Marvin Hagler or Mike Tyson who I’ve watched throughout the years," Amir added.
Ranked in the top 10 or 12 in the heavyweight division by almost every sanctioning body, Amir Mansour considers his draw with contender Gerald Washington 18-2-1-(12) as be his toughest fight to date.
Age is just a number?
At 45, Mansour feels no different, physically, then when he was 25... But he knows his boxing time is limited.
"I would like to box until my body tells me I can’t box anymore," chimed Mansour.
Wilder vs Joshua?
In a battle between the heavyweight division's top-rated fighters, Mansour believes Anthony Joshua would have an edge over Deontay Wilder, citing the latter's wide swinging and awkward punching.
Most desired opponent?
Mansour would love to face Dominic Breazeale 19-1-(17) again. In their bout, Mansour suffered a freak injury by literally biting through his tongue, forcing his trainer to through in the towel.
Many believe Mansour vs Breazeale would be a candidate for fight of the year in 2016.
Mansour believes he warrants a title fight because he was presumably promised by the WBC that a win over Travis Kauffman (then 31-1) would qualify him for a title showdown. Amir won the bout via a majority decision in Match 2017.
Most recent outing
In his last bout, Mansour fought highly touted and Russian prospect Sergey Kuzmin (then 11-0) on just 10 days notice. The bout ended in a technical draw when both fighters were cut from a severe clash of heads.
In the 3 rounds that were fought, Amir Mansour looked smooth, sharp and confident.
"My eyelid was cut and it put me out of action for a couple of months to heal, but I’m ready willing and able to answer the call for a title fight in which I deserve."
"In summary, I feel my story is a unique one. Only in America can you rise from the ash heap and live your dream. I can beat any Heavyweight out there at my age. I just want to be given the chance."