Gabriel Bracero, Shemuel Pagan and Heather Hardy are set to fight at the Aviator Complex in Brooklyn on Saturday night. Each boxer was in warrior mode already, on Tuesday, with game faces indicating that soon, it will be time for combat and all mental energies must be focused on the task.
On Tuesday afternoon, they each took some time out from physical and mental prep for their forthcoming tussles on the Lou DiBella card to hear out famed mentalist The Amazing Kreskin, who was asked by promoter DiBella to impart some of his motivational techniques and tips to the fighters.
"I grew up like so many millions of others watching Kreskin on the Tonight Show with Carson and pretty much everywhere else," DiBella told me. "I always thought he was truly amazing. When I was told that he is still performing and doing what he does, I jumped at the chance to have him work with three of my fighters."
Kreskin, a New Jersey native who had a TV show which ran for five seasons in the early 70s, frequently appeared on every prominent daytime and nighttime talk show, and continues to be a popular guest on programs ranging from The Jimmy Fallon Show to various offerings on Fox News, burst into a room at the Friars Club in Manhattan and made an immediate impact with his signature handshake.
Kreskin took the hand of each boxer, and shook it as if he was testing the connective tissue in their shoulder. His vigor, at age 78, was impressive, as was the aura of optimism. It looked to me like the boxer's were open to hearing what he had to say, and hopeful that they could derive an edge, even a slight one, that could aid them in their bouts on a card topped by a welterweight face-off between Bracero and Dmitriy Salita.
"On Saturday night, you'll be fighting against somebody else, but in reality, you're competing against yourself," Kreskin said to his rapt audience, which also included press agent Jules Feiler, a Friars Club member, Bracero's trainer and mentor Tommy Gallagher, Annie Wagner, Hardy's nine-year-old daughter, and Robert Pagan, Shemuel's father and trainer. The mentalist, who also offers his services to law enforcement to help solve crimes, explained that he didn't use hypnosis, which he doesn't believe is real, and stated that he'd offered to cut a $100,000 check to anyone proving it is. Gallagher immediately offered that he was in a trance at that moment, and asked to provide his address so the check could be sent. Kreskin, a seasoned entertainer used to parrying wiseacres in Vegas casino showrooms, slipped Gallaghers' launch and continued his set.
He wanted to meet each fighter, individually, "for maybe 22 minutes," and then follow up with them, again, before their bout, to maximize his impact on their performance. Check back later for the rest of our tale on Kreskin's session with Hardy, Pagan and Bracero.
Follow Woods on Twitter. He's more mental than mentalist, but anyway...