Prince Tiger Smalls follows in dad’s footsteps

Tiger Smalls appears confidant his son Idris Smalls is ready for his debut on the USA Boxing Card at the Undisputed Fitness and Training Center in downtown. Photo credit: Jim Wyatt

It will be a proud moment in the life of Priest “Tiger” Smalls, now 40, and his oldest son, Idris Smalls, when the 18 year-old makes his debut in the boxing ring at the USA Amateur Boxing Show, Saturday, at the Undisputed Fitness and Training Center on 16th and K Streets in downtown San Diego.

During his father’s illustrious career, the youngster was right there to witness the adoration being bestowed upon his dad. A year ago, the 17 year-old approached his dad and asked if he could train to be a serious boxer. Up until that time, his father had never once encouraged his son to follow in his footsteps. Since his son had already made him proud by being a track star and standout football player, the guy returning kick-offs and catching game winning touchdowns, he couldn’t ask any more of his son.

After Tiger explained the hurdles and told of the effort it would take, he went on to explain that if he was serious, so would he be as his trainer. When training in his dad’s boxing class, he would have to excel, do more and better sit-ups, run faster and further, and be able to take punches from the toughest guys in the gym. In other words, under the watchful eye of dad, there would be no slack shown.

On the plus side, boxing is a fitness regime that if adhered to can benefit a person’s life. The startling affects on one’s weight and physical well-being give its participants pride, not only in their good looks but confidence in everything they do.

This is the world Idris “Prince Tiger” Smalls chose and Saturday we’ll see if he has the heart; his dad, the former super bantamweight champ had it. Since the USA Amateur Boxing Association matchmakers are good at leveling the playing field, you can bet the boxer he faces will be close to the same ability and weight.

Prince Tiger Smalls’ pluses: #1 is having pop in his corner which insures he’ll be a disciplined boxer. Since he is tall for his weight class, he should be able to use his leverage and reach advantage. His muscle tone is good with almost zero body fat. If he’s like his dad, the former amateur and then pro super-bantamweight champion, he’ll be a pure boxer with lightning fast reflexes.

Minuses include his lack of experience. Who knows how he’ll handle those first bout jitters. Prince Tiger’s legs are quite thin and he still needs some filling out, especially in the shoulders.

Boxers will tell you, ‘I love the physicality of boxing – you know you’re going to get hit and you know you’re going to be hitting someone.’ But at the same time they must remain cool and realize boxing is a sport for smart people who know how to use that aggression. They like the heart that goes into it and the adrenaline rush produced from it. Even after the bell sounds to end Saturday’s bout, Prince Tiger’s body will still be pumped, especially after his dad gives him that congratulatory hug.

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