Update on 'The Hebrew Hammer'

November, 19, 2013
11/19/13
2:34
PM ET
We last chatted with up 'n comer Cletus Seldin, who, by the way, is still the only Cletus I've ever talked to, in March 2012.

I checked back in with the prospect to see how his career has progressed.

"The Hebrew Hammer" is still unbeaten, now at 11-0 with 9 KOs. He fights this Friday, in Huntington, Long Island, against 12-11 Gilbert Venegas on a Joe DeGuardia card topped by a Vinnie Maddalone-Maurenzo Smith heavyweight tussle.

Seldin last gloved up in February; he's been on the shelf since he tore his rotator cuff and labrum in his right shoulder and had surgery in April. "But I'm back to where I was, which is pretty damn good," he told me. Seldin said the shoulder bothered him for more than 10 years and he just never got it attended to.

The welterweight said he's eager to make up ground for the lost time. "I definitely want to be more active," he said. "I want a minimum of like six fights in a year."

In the near future, the Shirley, L.I., resident wants a TV slot because he thinks his style is extrememly television friendly. "By next year, I want to be on TV once or twice," he said. "I think once I'm on, people will like my style. I always bring it."

Like all area boxers, the fate of Magomed Abdusalamov has been on Seldin's mind. The heavyweight, felled by a blood clot, is currently in an induced coma following his Nov. 2 bout against Mike Perez in NYC. I wondered if such an incident weighs a fighter down, gives them pause about continuing in this sport, which is no game. Seldin allowed that he feels for Mago but prefers not to linger on the matter. "I go about my business, I'm like an old school gladiator, my style is come forward and fight," Seldin said, the implication being that he realizes that no man is immune to paying the ultimate price to participate.

Sparring in Florida with ex-welter champ Randall Bailey, he reported, boosted his confidence level. "Some days I got him, some days he got me," he said. "I had no problem with his power. I know we were using sparring gloves and headgear, but he's one of the strongest punchers at 147, he still has pop, and it gave me confidence."

To be sure, I performed a confidence check. Last time we talked, Seldin thought he should be the main event on an upcoming card. What about this time, I asked him -- do you still feel you should headline?

"Of course, every time I fight I think I should be," he said. "I think I sold $14,000 in tickets, the fight before I sold $7,000 ... six months layoff and it doubled!"
Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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