While the Who Dat Nation was watching the Saints game, Marcus McDaniel spent his Sunday afternoon sweating in the empty New Orleans Boxing Club.
The gym was quiet save the repetitive patter of the speed bag. The solitude gave the New Orleans middleweight and self-professed football fan a chance to focus on Thursday night’s fight against Joshua Robertson.
McDaniel (12-0, three knockouts) meets Robertson (7-10, two KOs) in the main event of Thursday’s boxing card at the Mel Ott Recreation Center in Gretna.
Doors open at 6 p.m., and the undercard starts at 7 p.m.
“I really like seeing the Saints, and I was the only one there,” McDaniel said. “But I’ve been training hard every day, trying to make it.”
McDaniel is competing for the first time since winning the IBA Americas Middleweight Championship over Quentin Willis by unanimous decision at the Gretna Heritage Festival in 2013. His unblemished record and lack of TV exposure make him an enigma.
“People have heard about Marcus, but they haven’t seen much footage except for a few things on YouTube,” said McDaniel’s trainer, Chase Dixon. “Boxers don’t want to go into a fight completely blind.”
McDaniel knows a victory over Robertson will inch him closer to a major title fight and a bigger payday.
According to event promoter Les Bonano, it’s only a matter of time.
“Marcus has a Floyd Mayweather style, and he’s a pure boxer,” Bonano said. “He has power but chooses when to use it.”
Bonano’s boxing card will co-feature Scotland super middleweight Zane Marks (18-7, 10 KOs). Marks, who trains out of New Orleans, was scheduled to fight Thomas Allen (4-9-1, four knockouts) of St. Louis, but that opponent is subject to last-minute change.
It’s of little concern to Marks. His confidence has been at an all-time high after his unanimous-decision win over previously undefeated Travis Scott (18-1, four KOs) at the Belle of Baton Rouge in September.
“I knocked (Scott) down in the second and third rounds, dropped him in the fourth, and put him on his back in the sixth,” Marks said. “It doesn’t matter who I fight, because my job will always be the same. I want to hurt someone.”
The undercard will pit Jonathan Guidry (2-0-1) against Jarred Market in a four-round heavyweight bout. Tamooris Carter of Gulfport, Mississippi, will make his pro debut against Jonathan Steele (5-0) of Dallas.
Gretna’s Renard Oliver (0-0-2) will take on Chad Broussard of Galveston, Texas. Austin Dulay (1-0) of Memphis, Tennessee, will face Gretna’s Devin Parker (1-2).
Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at the Mel Ott Rec Center, the Westbank Athletic Club, Quarterview Restaurant in Metairie or at Brawlininnawlins.webstarts.com.