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Kelvin King knows that the boxing game is full of perceptions. Right now, the perception of the Beddingfield High product is one of a young professional attempting to make his way on the fly-by-night North Carolina scene.
That’s a label that, for the moment, lumps the 23-year-old King into a tall pool of pugilists trying to break away from the quagmire. With only one professional fight in his career and limited time in the amateur ranks, King’s in-ring body of work isn’t much to consider.
Nevertheless, King (1-0), the former football, wrestling and track standout for the Bruins, is intent on changing that quickly. His intent, when he faces fellow super welterweight Michael White of Charlotte on Thursday night at the Durham Armory, is to create separation from the pack in his second professional bout. White, 2-1 as a pro, fought under the banner of Charlotte Boxing Academy in the amateur ranks and enjoyed an established career at that level before making the jump to pro in July of last year.
“Basically what this fight is going to do, a win like this, it’s going to separate me when it comes to how people look at me as a boxer,” King said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “My opponent may have a better amateur pedigree, but what’s going to separate me is the will.”
The King-White fight is part of the “Bull City Beatdown” card put on by Christy Martin Promotions in association with Payne Boxing, with whom King signed in January. Victorious in his pro debut last November, King was set to fight in February against Philadelphia’s Antonio Allen. However, the bout did not take place after Allen departed his Charlotte hotel in the middle of the night.
“I’m looking forward to Michael White,” King said. “Because not only am I looking forward to him showing up because my last opponent didn’t show up, but I respect him as a man for accepting this fight. We’ve both been training hard, but this is where we separate each other at.”
King launched his pro career last November with a second-round knockout of Alan Beeman in Charlotte. His training camps are conducted in Baltimore, giving King an opportunity to remove himself from distractions while associating with a city culture that takes the “sweet science” seriously.
“What separates me and him, me training in Baltimore, this is not a game,” King said. “I see a lot of times where guys can have time to showboat and put their hands down and things of that nature. Being in Baltimore, there’s no room for error. It only takes one shot in this sport, and you can’t play in boxing. This is something that you have to do. That’s the main thing. By me training up here where the sport is bigger at, that’s something they don’t know. There’s a difference. The tempo is different by me training here. It’s more real.”
In three pro fights, White, 27, has fought a trio of opponents each making their debuts. His last bout in February ended with a four-round unanimous decision loss at the hands of Cody Bullock.
“For me personally, this win right here, it will show the difference,” King said of training out of state. “It will show how much hard work, blood, sweat and tears that really get shed by me being in Baltimore.”
Added King: “I don’t look at boxing as I just play boxing or this is a craft This is serious. You can’t play. This is not a game. A lot of sports — you play basketball, you play football, you play soccer, you play tennis, but you can’t play boxing. If you’re going to do it, you’ve got to be all in. And I’m all the way in.”
A YouTube live stream of the entire Bull City Beatdown card, including King-White, can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlhtlqfXN2c
“I don’t take anything from him,” King said of White. “I don’t look at him like he can’t do anything, but I’m not going to give him a chance to do anything.”