Witherspoon Prepares for Return

Chazz “The Gentleman’ Witherspoon”came to boxing late in life. He played basketball and competed in track at Paulsboro,, (New Jersey) High School and received several scholarship offers. But he attended St. Joseph’s University on an academic scholarship and was almost 21 when he put on boxing gloves for the first time.
“I didn’t want to waste my athletic ability,” Witherspoon recalls. “I wasn’t playing basketball at the time and I said ‘Let me try boxing’ and see how do with that.'”
That was some 14 years ago. Since then, Witherspoon has won a national Golden Gloves title and been an alternate on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team. He turned pro in December of 2004 and has compiled a record of 34-3 while stopping 26 opponents.
Witherspoon, who turns 35 in September, hasn’t fought since last September, in part due to a neck injury, but he’ll end his layoff Saturday night when he faces Michael Marrone (21-5, 15 knockouts) in a scheduled eight-round heavyweight bout that will headline a card at Grundy Arena in Bristol. Witherspoon and his promotional firm, Silver Spoon Promotions, are, along with D&D Promotions, co-promoting the show, which will also feature an eight-round welterweight bout between Emmanuel “The Transformer” Taylor (19-4,13 KOs) and Carlos Aguilera from Mexico (10-16, 4 KOs). The undercard is still being finalized but Witherspoon expects the show to include at least four preliminary bouts and perhaps more. The first bell is scheduled for 6 p.m..
Witherspoon has been around boxing much of his life. His cousin, Tim Witherspoon, fought 59 times over the course of a career than spanned nearly a quarter century and held versions of the world heavyweight championship twice.
Chazz Witherspoon himself has been in the ring with quality opposition, most notably Chris Arreola, who has challenged for a heavyweight title twice. He’s also held some second-tier titles. But he’s taking a cautious approach to his return to the ring by only scheduling himself for eight rounds instead of the customary 10 for a fighter of his caliber.
“A year (off) is a long time,” he said. “(Eight rounds) is a better way of introducing yourself back. You don’t want to overstep because when you get in the ring with anybody, anything could happen.In the heavyweight division you’re always only one punch away from the fight changing so you definitely want to get yourself back in there and not overdo it.”
Witherspoon has been offered opportunities to fight on bigger stages but he found the conditions attached, financial and otherwise, not to his liking. “Sometimes you get those calls at the last minute,” he said. “they don’t want to give you the best opportunities. When the right call comes I’ll take it.”
Witherspoon hears the clock ticking in his head. In recent years it’s become customary to continue their career longer than fighters in other weight divisions but Witherspoon knows that in the end, Father Time will prevail. “I’m a realist,” he said. “I definitely want to leave with all my faculties intact I came St.Joseph’s on an academic scholarship. I’m going to give it another two years, tops.”
In a sense, Witherspoon’s post-boxing career has already begun as he embarks on his first promotional venture. “I’m think about life after boxing,” he said. “I want to see how the business is run behind the scenes I started it help my career and get me back in position to get a title shot. I have one one of the better records in America as far as the heavyweights are concerned.”
Tickets for Saturday’s card are available for $50 (general admission), $100 (front row) and $150 (VIP, includes food and beverages). Children under 17 will be admitted for $25.


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