Sergey Rabchenko to face Tony Harrison in IBF eliminator
The man born in Belarus came to the States, as so many do, coming from smaller, simpler and less crowded but also maybe more complicated places.
Sergey Rabchenko’s eyes were wide and beaming on Wednesday as he fielded press queries at the Church Street Gym in downtown Manhattan, on a sunny day inside a converted racquetball court.
The junior middleweight hitter, promoted and trained by Ricky Hatton, seeks to impresses the fans in attendance Saturday at Barclays Center and those watching on Showtime. He brings a 27-1 (20 knockouts) mark to the Brooklyn table against 23-1 (19 KOs) for his opponent Tony Harrison, a 25-year-old Michigander.
The 30-year-old Belarussian speaks decent English but had translation help. He admitted that, yes, on paper, no doubt, Harrison is the best he’s faced since turning pro in 2006. Rabchenko’s lone loss came three fights ago, to aged Anthony Mundine. “I think Harrison is a really strong guy, a fast guy, but I’m not scared,” he told me.
He wouldn’t disclose insight on how he plans to beat Harrison but said he fights with “many different styles.”
He is more direct with the stakes. A win means “maybe a title shot. It is a title eliminator.” That’s in the IBF’s 154-pound rankings, where Rabchenko is No. 8 and Harrison is No. 13. Jermall Charlo holds the strap.
I asked for a prediction and the polite sort in the bigger city attitude reared up. “A good fight,” said the man who cannot afford to stick around for a receipt, let Harrison bang him with hard counters. And “Will you win?” I pressed. “Of course,” said the Rabchenko, with the optimism of a traveler enjoying brighter lights in a splashy city. But maybe with a hint of self-doubt that can whisper to you, “Do I belong here?”
Michael Woods whispered, “Do I belong here?” However, the restroom attendant still heard him in the stall and kicked him out. Turns out they frown upon folks cobbling boxing articles together in the public john.