I am curious to see how two boxers, especially, react to the methods of mentalist The Amazing Kreskin, who was enlisted to interact with three of the fighters on the Lou DiBella promotion set to unfold Saturday night at the Aviator Complex in South Brooklyn.
I've known welterweight Gabriel Bracero for a few years. I can't picture Kreskin -- who in his intro session with the fighters Tuesday at the Friar's Club said he sought to bring out the best in people, summoning reserves of resilience or skills that have been present but perhaps dormant -- conjuring something out of Bracero that he hasn't been able to do himself.
Bracero went to prison for almost six years for attempted murder, and decided in the joint that he'd make something of himself, turn his back on his thuggish ways, and be a contributing member to society, not a menace. He's done that since getting out in 2009, becoming a decent family man who's not afraid to state his faith in a higher power ... so we shall see what Kreskin can bring to the table to help the Sunset Park native.
Super bantamweight Heather Hardy, whose star is on the rise as a ticket-seller and ring talent, could, perhaps, be a more malleable subject for Kreskin. She told me about some of the recent chapters in her life, and left me feeling admiration for her work ethic and doggedness in the face of repeated disappointments.
Hardy was living on Gerritsen Beach, the Brooklyn on-the-water community which got walloped by Sandy a year ago. Her 9-year-old daughter Annie listened and watched as the 6-0 Hardy recounted her storm story to me.
Heather and Annie walked over to Heather's mom's house, down the street from them, after her mom asked them to huddle together to wait out the storm. "At about 6 p.m., water started to come in her house," Hardy said. "Within 15 minutes, it was up to our knees. We couldn't open up the door to outside." I asked Annie what she was feeling at that time. "Kind of panicked," she admitted. Hardy had been hit with a gut punch just a month before, when a fire broke out at her apartment, the result of some electrical work being done on the residence. "So we were already basically homeless," she told me. "We lost our clothes, our furniture. We were staying at my mom's, and bouncing around."
The storm kept hammering away, and wiped out Gerritsen Beach pretty good. The Hardy crew got out, though, and tried to adapt. Annie went to live with relatives on Long Island, and Gleason's Gym owner Bruce Silverglade let Heather live at the gym for a spell. The community bonded and people stepped up to lend a helping hand. Hardy is lately feeling a degree of stability; she and Annie moved to Williamsburg, near Gleason's, in September, and that has been helpful for her sleeping habits, for sure. "I don't have to get up at 4:30 a.m. anymore," she said. Hardy trains people at Gleason's -- including Floyd Mayweathers' publicist, Kelly Swanson, who is fighting in a charity event next month; more on that to come -- and isn't unhappy to no longer be working six jobs, as she was in 2011.
She isn't yet at a place where she can box full-time to make her living, though, so she still has to grind. On Friday, the day of her weigh-in, she will be taking requests for tickets to her fight, and will try to cheerfully accommodate requests and sell the last few of the 150 she was allocated by the promoter. With headway yet to be made to get to the point where she can focus fully on fighting, Hardy has an open mind about Kreskin's methods.
In Part 3, we will learn what Kreskin does during the sessions with the fighters.