In our last look at Fight Night Round 3, we were introduced to our middleweight hopeful R.C. "Priceless" Dozier--a fighter who makes up in heart what he may lack in raw physical skills. Previously, Dozier punched his way through the amateur ranks, knocking out suckers left and right and earning the right to remove his amateur headgear once and for all and enter the ring as a true professional. In this entry, Dozier talks about his first fights as a pro, some of the challenges he has faced as he has progressed to tougher opponents, the pitfalls of big-money fights, and the price of being "Priceless."
Diary of a Contender, Pt. 2By R.C. "Priceless" Dozier
Future Middleweight Champ
You know, it's funny. I was so proud of winning the Fight Night Round 3 amateur championship belt--a goal I had set for myself long ago. But after I put the belt around my waist, I knew that it was just the first step in a long journey for me. After all, I was now ready to become a professional fighter, ready to retire that lame headgear, and enter the ring with guys whose sole livelihood was determined by how well they fought. It wasn't long before I hung up the amateur belt on my wall for good and thought about bigger and better belts ahead of me.
For my first fight as a pro, I wanted to make a big impact. Obviously I wouldn't be going up against guys like Jermain Taylor or Oscar de la Hoya right away, but I was determined not to go up against a series of chumps either. I wanted to build up a legacy of wins, sure, but I wanted to make sure that I was fighting guys who deserved to be in the ring with me. My first opponent was a guy named Deon Sampson, a balanced fighter with a lot of power. In fact, after scouting him, I learned that he was nearly as strong as I was--something that never occurred to me while still in the amateur ranks.
It didn't take long for me to feel the guy's power, too. In addition to all that punching power, the guy was quick with the jabs. At the end of the first round, I found out exactly how different it is to fight with my headgear off. My face was swollen a bit, especially over my right eye, and it stung like crazy. Luckily, I had a cut man in my corner who took the iron to my face, which reduced the swelling a bit. It hurt like hell, but if it would help prevent a cut, I could sit through the pain. He worked over both sides of my face with slow back and forth motions, and he seemed to know exactly where to go. Back in my Fight Night Round 2 days, I'd have to tell the cut man to either work on my upper or lower face. With Round 3, it's much simpler because he knows exactly where to go.
Coming out from my corner, I was determined not to go through that again, and I laid into Sampson with my trademark stinging jabs and devastating right hook. By the middle of Round 3, I knew he was mine, and once I connected with three clean jabs to his face, I knew he'd be hitting the canvas for the final time that night. Awesome! My first professional victory under my belt and I had $600 to show for it. There was still a long way to go, but at least I was starting out strong.
After whipping a guy with a ponytail who had no business being in the ring with me (what kind of boxer wears a ponytail, I ask you?), the first real challenge came my way. The guy's name: Cordell "No Dice" Sweet, a big strong dude with a nine wins, five of which came by knockout. The purse was sweet for this fight--$1,000--and my manager let me know that, should I win this fight with a KO by the fifth round, it would do "wonders for my career." I wasn't sure what he meant by that--and to be honest, it sounded a little fishy--but I figured all I could do was beat him and see what happened. "No Dice" came out dealing jabs that were just as stiff as mine, but did he really think he had a chance against me? No dice, "No Dice." I dropped the fool in the fourth round and that was that. Just like my manager promised, my popularity took a huge boost after this win. Maybe this boxing biz wasn't as shady as people like to think.
I've had some strange fights as my career has gone along--like that time I took down a guy named Cesar "Nails" Castro in a hard-hits bout. Unlike regular boxing matches, a "hard hit" fight basically has two guys get in the ring and slug it out until one of them goes down. There's no ring timer--the round ends when one guy hits the floor. It's pretty brutal, especially considering what I did to "Nails." His face looked like six pounds of chewed up hamburger by the time I was done with him. But, to his credit, he was a pretty tough dude.
Then there were the sponsored fights. I guess I was naïve, but I had no idea that sponsorship was such a big deal in the fight game. Sure, it's natural to have bouts on ESPN Wednesday Night Fight programs, but I also competed on an Under Armour-sponsored card, as well as Dodge-sponsored fight that featured some weird-looking SUV right at ringside. The worst example, however, is my new promoter, a guy who looks suspiciously like the Burger King mascot. Supposedly the guy gives a boost to my "heart" attribute when I train, which is real weird. I mean, since when has Burger King been good for someone's heart? I guess that's the price we pay to make it to the big time in Fight Night Round 3.
As I've progressed in my career, I've always made really specific goals for myself. My goals in the early part of my pro career were all focused around accuracy. I've seen so many opponents throwing punches willy-nilly in the ring--and getting gassed in the process--so I knew I'd have to up my accuracy numbers if I wanted to last longer against tougher opponents. Thanks to some accurate statistical numbers shown after each fight in Fight Night Round 3, I can see that my numbers have slowly improved over time. At first I was barely above 50 percent accuracy (roughly half the punches I threw were missing their target). Now, I'm regularly above 70 percent accuracy and those numbers are only going up. I wish there was a way I could check my per-fight stats in the main career mode menu in Round 3, but there isn't. Besides, the only stat that really matters is wins. And I plan to have a lot more of those before my career is over.
My favorite win of my career came just recently. I was going up against a guy who had the audacity to call himself Sugar Ray Robinson. Why he would name himself after arguably the greatest boxer of all time is beyond me, so I decided to punish him for it, focusing my jabs solely on the right side of his face. By the end of the second round, his right eye was swollen up to the size of a baseball, and I knew that I had him. Midway through the third round, I switched stances on him--something I couldn't do in Fight Night Round 2--leading with my right hand to get the most speed out of my jab. Halfway through the fourth round, he was bleeding from his swollen eye and the ref stepped in between us and stopped the fight. Out of all my wins, both professional and as an amateur, this was the best. In fact, you might just call it "priceless."
There's still more fights to win and more trophies to collect, so you can be sure I'll be back soon to report on my winnings. Right now, I need someone to rub my jaw and ice my shoulders. Actually, strike that and reverse it. Oh, you get the idea.