RingTV.com: What is your mother’s name, and what does she think of your boxing career?
DH: Her name is Lynda Hernandez. In the beginning, she was just against it. But she’s growing on it. She starting to be okay with it, but she still covers her face during the fight nights. You’ll see here at the fights.
RingTV.com: What has it been like for you traveling all over the country with your father as a result of boxing?
DH: I think that that has actually been the best part for me. That’s been the best part about all of the boxing, especially in the amateurs.
We went to California, New York and Florida. You grow so close to people, even though you only spend a week out of every few months with them. But it’s great. I don’t think people realize how close-knit the boxing world is.
RingTV.com: Who are among the most famous people you’ve met?
DH: The most famous people in boxing, you know, I’ve met Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, Richard Schaefer, Al Haymon.
RingTV.com: Wasn’t Hopkins counseling you during the week leading up to your first fight at The Convention Center?
DH: He was just telling me about the different things to do, coming up as a pro. There were just a bunch of different things that he was talking to me about.
RingTV.com: What gym do you train out of?
DH: My dad runs the Old School Boxing Gym in Fort Washington, MD.
RingTV.com: Do you and your father agree on opponents?
DH: Never. No. We don’t settle. He just ends up choosing them, and I always disagree. I always want to fight somebody better than he wants me to.
RingTV.com: What is your training and conditioning regimen?
DH: Every Monday and Thursday night are sparring nights. I still do a workout, but it’s more a sparring night where I try to get in 10 rounds each time.
Every Tuesday and Friday, I have a conditioning trainer come in and I work out with him. Every Wednesday, it’s kind of like just a traditional boxing workout.
RingTV.com: Can you talk about your love for basketball?
DH: I don’t even think that my dad realizes how long I’ve loved basketball. I just found a baby picture of me holding a basketball, so it’s been a while.
I played for my high school, Thomas Stone. I went back and forth while I did, living with my mom in Waldorf, and then, back with my dad.
RingTV.com: How did that team do?
DH: We lost in the state championship to Patterson, but I didn’t play because I had a fight the same night.
That was in March, and I fought Booker Mullins, and I got a first-round knockout. I didn’t really get to play too much, to be honest, because I missed a lot of practices because of boxing.
But they were all my friends. They let me stay on the team. When we would go on the holiday trips, to, like, the Christmas Tournaments, I got to play.
We were really good, so I really didn’t get a lot of time. Besides the state championship game, we only lost one other game.
RingTV.com: Being that your mom is Puerto Rican, and your dad, Irish, what was it like growing up in the mostly African American area of Southeast?
DH: To be honest, I never had too many problems with it, because I was always here, and everybody knew my dad already and the knew my mom already.
It was never a problem because I was always part of the neighborhood. So it would have been probably different if I had all of a sudden just moved here.
RingTV.com: Do you often find people amazed at the fact that you live there?
DH: Yeah, we get it all the time, like, “you live in Southeast?” Some people refuse to come and buy tickets from us because we live in Southeast.
RingTV.com: What is your coaching relationship with your father?
DH: Well, he’s obsessed with boxing in every way. To be honest, every conversation, he could turn it into boxing.
If we ever wanted to go on a vacation when I was younger, he would find a local boxing match in the city nearest to wherever we were so that I could have an amateur fight.
So it was never a vacation. He is getting better, but he will have a fit if I’m 30 minutes late to a workout at the gym or something. He goes crazy.
RingTV.com: I hear that you once fought an entire fight with a cell phone and chap stick in your sock?
DH: Whenever I would warm up for a fight, I would always put a chap stick and a cell phone in my sock. Even every basketball game, I would play with chap stick in my sock. I can’t say why that is.
I don’t know if you would call it a ritual, but I just use chap stick a lot, and I don’t feel like going back to my room to get it.
So, I put the cell phone in there too, you know, because boxing shorts don’t have pockets. So in the first round of this fight, I was clearly beating him.
In the second round, I felt like I was doing the same thing, just beating on him. Third round, I felt like I was close to giving him an eight-count. Then, all of sudden, my ankle started vibrating.
I was scared something was going to fall out, so I started backing off. I turned southpaw at first, though, so that my foot wasn’t in the back moving around a lot.
Then, I sort of ended up letting the guy off the hook. I was about 15, because that was my last year in the silver gloves.
I won the fight, but I felt like he was getting tired, and I was catching him with a lot of bigger shots, and I was close to either stopping him or giving him an eight-count, but I let him off the hook.
RingTV.com: Who is Shy Glizzy, and why is he your favorite rapper?
DH: He’s a local rapper from D.C. I live on 30th street, and he lives on 37th, and that’s where he’s from. He performed at my July fight and he performed again at another fight. We talk a lot and we keep in contact.
RingTV.com: What was it like for you to be knocked down for the first time ever as an amateur or pro in August against Marqus Jackson in the sixth round?
DH: It was different, because I had never been dropped or gotten a standing eight-count in the amateurs or the pros.
I never slipped and touched the canvas, I have never been dropped in sparring, I had never touched the canvas at all. I had never been dropped, but I feel like I did everything right and that I won the last part of the round.
I think that besides getting dropped, that everything went perfectly after that, from the way that I held on to the way that I came back and everything. So I think that it was a good learning experience.
RingTV.com: How long will you remain at 147?
RingTV.com: What do you consider to be the makeup of your fan base, and why has it grown so large?
DH: You know, I love it in D.C. I’ve always wondered why my fan base is so large. I was talking to my promoters, and even though I’m white, a lot of my closest friends are black, my step mom is Asian, my mom is Spanish.
I just have such a big following. I’m friends with everybody and I’m nice to everybody, so I think that maybe that’s what it is. But I love it, seeing the crowd and all of the support at my fights. It’s great.
Photos by Juan Marshall
Photo by Jessica Chen
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org