At the tender age of 23-years of age and with an 11-0-0 record with 5 Ko’s, New Yorker Richardson Hitchins is scheduled to face by far and away the toughest test to date so far in his short career when he takes on former world super-featherweight champion Algenis Mendez on Saturday 12th December at The Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Managed by Mayweather promotions, the super-lightweight from Manhattan has already caught the attention of seasoned insiders and fans alike with his flashy skills and speed. But unlike his mentor, Richardson has a more fan-friendly style that could see him go on to be a major attraction. Now, the dilemma that this hot prospect may have is sticking with the style that has impressed so many observers so far. Hitchins is more “Sugar Ray” than “Money.”
The obstacles to attaining greatness in any sport are many but, in boxing, history has shown us that the most dazzling stars don’t always reach the pinnacle of our sport. In boxing, sacrifice, grit, dedication, and toughness are paramount even if you are born with natural talent. The best defensive fighters still have to take hard, damaging punches throughout their careers. In boxing, there are no easy routes. Period.
Hitchins did not have the same degree of success in the amateur ranks that Mayweather or Leonard managed but he did gain valuable experience in his 46 unpaid bouts. As well as a four-fight rivalry with Gary Antuanne Russell, Hitchins also faced Vergil Ortiz Jr, and Jaron Ennis, all unbeaten prospects as professionals.
Hitchins had a decent set of opponents to showcase his skills against in his first 9 fights but was stepped up to 10 rounds in his tenth outing against Kevin Johnson (7-1-0), winning by unanimous decision in a fight that showed that he still had plenty to learn. Caught repeatedly by over-hand rights in the latter stages, Richardson used his speed to navigate his way to victory.
In his 11th and last fight, the 23-year-old faced Cranston, Rhode Island’s Nicholas DeLomba, again on Showtime’s “ShoBox: The New Generation” series. While DeLomba was tough and determined, the gulf in class was evident throughout and Hitchins cruised to a wide decision win.
With two 10-rounder’s under his belt, The Money Team have decided to take a risk and pitch their young star into a potentially much tougher assignment against Dominican Mendez (25-5-3).
Since losing to Lightweight contender Luke Campbell in 2017, Mendez has engaged in four bouts in which his opponents had a combined 90 wins and 4 losses. Winning the first two by decision and drawing the second two doesn’t appear to show that the 34-year-old former world champion has lost any of the desire he showed during his heyday.
So, will Hitchins rise to the occasion?
This is what a promoter calls a calculated risk. They will have seen enough to know that Mendes is no longer the force he once was and that at 34-years-old, the resident of Yonkers, New York by way of San Juan de la Maguana, Dominica can be outboxed by a fleet-footed stylist. The Campbell loss is the blueprint for Hitchins to follow. However, Hitchins will have to raise his game because he will not deter the former world champion easily. He cannot afford to take too many big shots as Mendes showed that he could still punch by scoring a knockdown in the 2nd round against Campbell.
The fight is made at 140lb and Mendez's last 3 outings were also at Super-lightweight so this is a dangerous move for Mayweather promotions to be taking at this stage of Hitchins career. But, Hitchins is “One to Watch.”