"My name is Le Jea Bolden Jr. and I'm a boxer at Legends Boxing Club."
How did you get into boxing?
The first sport I ever played was football, and I was so bad at it because I was the smallest one on the team and I hardly got any playing time. One day my dad said "I'm going to put you into something you'll have a better chance in... I'm going to put you in boxing." As a little kid, I was thinking "I don't want to get hit!"
Hold old were you?
I started in 2005 when I was 14 years old in Denver, Colorado. Talk about hard knocks, you know what I mean? You see my dad has a unique mentality cause he grew up without a father so basically he raised himself. He's a tough guy and he tried to instill that in me. I remember the first time I sparred, haha... it was against this one kid who was skinny and looked like a dork. I remember thinking... "yeah, I can take him." And for 3 rounds straight I got my butt-kicked! He whooped me good!
After that I just got so mad. I was mad. Not mad that he beat me up, I'm mad that I let him beat me up, you see what I'm saying? I'm a real competitive person. I went home and started doing a whole bunch of push-ups and sit-ups. He ain't beating me again!
A week later we went at it again and got my butt-kicked but felt better because this time I fought back. I was getting better each time and then my dad started taking me to other gyms, and I was getting whooped again. That was like the whole rhythm of my first year in boxing. I was just getting my ass-kicked.
When did you start to improve your game?
I started to improve after my first fight. I was only 6 months into the sport. I was nervous because I was fighting this tall, skinny dude and I'm like... I'm not going to be able to reach him! I was doing pretty good and the last round came. I remember I could hear my dad's voice over everybody else's. "Come on Jea! Get to work this is the last round, we need it!" Right before the bell rang he threw a jab and I countered it and I just kept swinging. I gave him a standing 8 count in the last round. I won, but I was so tired I couldn't jump up or down.
What's your record now?
How long do you think your going to fight in the amateurs before moving into the pros?
I got a plan to go into the pros within 12-16 months from now.
You want to win a title?
I have to! I have no choice!
Why is that?
There's no man in the house in my family.
And your dad?
He has another family.
So you're the man now?
Yeah. My Mom is not married, so everybody looks up to me.
Francisco told me that you are his greatest prospect. Did you know that?
(Shocked!) I do now!
He believes in you.
Yeah, we're going all the way!
He said within 5 years you're going to be a world champ. What do you think about that?
I have dreams about it. Let me tell you something... I get here before everybody else does. I get dropped off at six o' clock in the morning before my mom goes to work. And guess where I sleep?
In the ring! Coach gave me my own set of keys. Hey, sometimes I come in on Sundays when it's closed.
What do you do?
I work out! I bring my mom and my brothers and we're working out. We're doing it!
In your recent fight you called this guy 'a victim'. What was going on?
I found out I was fighting an ex-teammate. He went to a rival gym and I told my coach "I gotta hurt him!" There was no jabs thrown in the first round. We were banging away!
I'm a different kind of fighter than a lot of other fighters because when I get angry it gives me the opposite effect of a lot of other people. When people get angry they just want to get in there and fight. When I get angry I get real sharp and focused, you know what I mean? So between rounds my coach is telling me to pick my punches. I get in there and start working the outside and work the jab. I was landing beautifully. The jabs were crisp, the combinations on the outside were landing, and I felt like I was getting the better exchanges on the inside. The pivots were good and I didn't let him get me on the ropes. I felt really good of what I was doing.
The fights over and I tell my coach "I got that!" Then they announced the winner in the 'red corner' and I was in the 'blue corner'. WHAT!!!!!! I was pissed!
Why did they give him the win?
I think it's because I have more of a pro style. I like to throw a lot of punches and I like to push the fight. I like to be the aggressor. In the amateurs all there really looking for is points. At the end of the fight his nose was busted and his lips were bleeding so I knew I landed the harder, cleaner punches.
You're like a little terminator, there's no stopping you.
I have to keep going. Some people put effort into things, but I put my heart into this. I don't have a dream to be like a Mayweather. I just want enough to invest in something so my family can live comfortably.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered that I fought for something, and that something just happens to be my family.
I truly believe within 5 years LeJea will be a top-ranked fighter on the way to become a world champion. He already shows a professional way of fighting and is mentally ahead of other amateurs in his class. In fact, he's in a class all to himself. If he remains determined and sharp like his punches, he will prevail. -'mean' mike duffau