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Dwight Pratchett: An underrated 130 pound boxing brain who fought the best

Super-featherweight Dwight Pratchett, who unfortunately had his boxing career cut short due to a detached retina, fought a number of big names despite fighting as a pro for less than three and-a-half years. Moved fast, the tough, capable boxer met, in compiling a 16-9 (6) pro ledger: Julio Cesar Chavez (in his sole world title chance), Meldrick Taylor, Juan Laporte, Jimmy Paul and Jaime Garza amongst other world-class operators.

Never once stopped, Pratchett is proud of the way he gave all these world champions a tough time of things. Today when looking back, the 54 year old says he would slow things down somewhat if he could fight his career over again.

In fine shape mentally and physically, Dwight recalls his career here for ESB:

James Slater: First of all, Dwight, of all the greats fighters you met, who was the best?

Dwight Pratchett: “(long pause) I’d probably say Chavez. I lost a good fight to him. I got in close and I smothered his shots, trying to rough him up a little bit. I won the early rounds and he came on in the later rounds. I do think that if I was given a second shot at him I could definitely have beaten him. It was a lot closer than they had it [on the score-cards]. He was a star then. But yeah, I think that if I’d had a little more experience under my belt I could have beaten him. Looking back, that fight was a little too early for me (A 13-6(2) Dwight was just 21 when he met a 47-0, 23 year old Chavez, losing a 12-round UD in a WBC title challenge).”

Q: You had a quite amazing career in terms of how fast you were moved, what with you facing all those big names despite boxing as a pro for less than three and-a-half years; whereas some fighters could be accused of being protected.

D.P: “Yes that’s right, they were protected. I was protected too – I was protected from making big money (laughs). But I was moved too fast, I never had a tune-up fight, not ever. Also, I took most of my fights on short-notice, and in the other guy’s backyard. But I was in each and every fight I ever had, I gave them all a hard fight. I was never outclassed so it wasn’t as though I wasn’t worthy of being in there with those guys.”

Q: Did you spar plenty of big names also?

D.P: “Yes, and a lot of tough guys in Gary (Indiana). I sparred the former world champion from Ireland, [Barry] McGuigan. I worked with him in his camp for the [Eusebio] Pedroza fight. I had the best of him. I was a much better fighter than him. They actually asked me to back off him a little bit; they didn’t want his confidence to be affected. I believe that had I had the luxury of taking more time in my career, of having full preparation and getting tune-ups, I would definitely have been a world champion as he was. I was much better than him, no doubt.”

Q: Who was the hardest puncher you faced? You were never once stopped of course.

D.P: “I’d say either Juan LaPorte or Jimmy Paul. Both of them knocked me down. Meldrick Taylor, he wasn’t all that strong, he never sat down on his punches when he fought me, but he was fast. I think he was a better fighter than Chavez. Of course I watched both of their great fights. I actually thought Roger Mayweather was better than Chavez – I lost money there as I bet on him to beat Chavez. He [Mayweather] had all the skills but I don’t know about the heart. Yeah, I had a good chin, but at the same time, I wasn’t just a brawler who was easy to hit. I kept my head down and moving, and I fought the old-school way.”

Q: You are training boxers now, in Houston?

D.P: “Yes, me and another guy. I have some good young fighters. I have a 165 pound guy who is 2-0 right now, we’re training for the 2020 Olympics and after that we’ll go pro. He’s 21 years old right now. He listens to what I tell him. I’m trying to pass on the knowledge I have, the old-school way of fighting. And I keep in shape, I run marathons. I would have loved to have been a world champion and I feel I would have done so and that I would have fought on for a number of years if I had not suffered a detached retina when I did. But, hey, it is what it is. I gave everyone I fought a fight. I don’t watch boxing as much as I used to today, but I stay with it as I want to keep up with what’s going on, and who my guys might have to fight one day. My goal now is to train a world champion.”