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Nothing Came Easy for Darwin Price, a Rising Junior Welterweight Contender

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  • Nothing Came Easy for Darwin Price, a Rising Junior Welterweight Contender

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    By Kelsey McCarson

    Nothing came easy for unbeaten 140-pound prospect Darwin Price, who grew up doing the types of things inner-city kids with little money do when they don’t have the wherewithal yet to know that success in life is mostly about making good choices.

    “Sports is what saved me,” said Price who to this day still lives under the grace he first received from sports over a decade ago.

    It was a testament to the continued resiliency of his athletic pursuits that scores of fans and media showed up to his media day over the weekend at Baby Bull Boxing Gym in Houston as Price (14-0, 7 KOs) headed into final preparations for his upcoming bout against Aaron Herrera (35-10-1, 24 KOs) on Aug. 24 at the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg, TX. Price-Herrerra will take place on the televised undercard of the FS1 PBC Fight Night card featuring Brandon Figueroa vs Javier Chacon.

    “It’s still hard work,” said Price about his long road to contender status. “It’s still a process. Nothing comes easy in this life. You have to pay the price to get to the top.”

    Price, 29, from Saint Louis, Mo., rolled up to the front door of the gym in a stunning matte gray Jeep Rubicon. His shirt was nowhere to be found. His music was bumping. He wore a huge smile on his face. This day was, after all, a well-earned moment for the hardworking fighter to bask in the little bit of the glory that comes with being an up-and-coming prospect making a legitimate case for establishing a world ranking.

    “It’s still hard work. It’s still a process. But everything is taking off for me now because I stayed on the road. I stayed consistent. Success doesn’t come easy in life. It’s the everyday stuff that matters.”

    I first met back Price back in 2014. He had just moved to Houston with little money but big dreams. Price was soft-spoken, articulate and warm. If we weren’t standing inside a boxing gym together, I would have tabbed him as someone on his way to being a successful businessman or banker over a man out to make it in the topsy-turvy world of professional boxing. But Price is a special person, the kind that probably would be successful at whatever he wanted to do.

    After a brief trial period, he was accepted to train alongside the likes of Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo with Ronnie Shields at the Plex boxing gym, which was then located in the Houston suburb of Stafford.

    “It was tough,” said Price. “I had both my daughters, and I came down here with little to no money. It was a real struggle.”

    To make ends meet, Price worked as a personal trainer at Plex for owner/operator Danny Arnold. Price was always a very positive and supportive athlete. He supported anyone who walked in the door no matter what they were doing. I also remember he would ask just about anyone and everyone he met if they knew how he might get sponsors to help support his professional boxing career.

    That’s just how Price operates. If there’s anything that stands out about his character, beyond his general good demeanor, it’s that he completely commits himself to go after his goals and he doesn’t apologize for it.

    “I stay in my lane and focus on the goal,” said Price. “I get tunnel vision and stay away from all distractions.”

    Price had to learn these types of things the hard way. He overcame a tough upbringing as a teenager to ultimately become a nationally relevant track star as a distance runner at Grambling State University. He graduated from there in 2012 with a degree in kinesiology.

    At Plex, Price soaked up as much as he could from Shields and the other world-class fighters. Soon, the track-star-turned-pro-boxer was on his way. Promoters, managers and trainers might not have rolled out the red carpet for him the way they do for Olympic champions, but Price’s diligence and belief in himself helped make that not matter.

    “I was prepared for it. I knew what I was up against, and I’m still here.”

    Price made the switch over to Aaron Navarro at Main Street Boxing & Muay Thai Gym in 2017 because he felt like he would receive more personal attention at Main Street than Shields could offer at Plex.

    “He has a lot of big-time fighters, and I just wanted a little more attention,” said Price. “He’s a great trainer, but it’s just part of the game. Fighters change trainers sometimes.”

    He’s now 2-0 under Navarro with 1 KO. While Price remains grateful for the time he spent as part of Shields’ stable at Plex, he said the move to Main Street was the right move at the right time.

    “I feel like we have one of the best gyms in the country,” said Price. “There’s a lot of good work going on over there and a lot of high quality, high-class athletes. We have Regis Prograis. We have O’Shaquie Foster. We have Ammo Williams. We have a lot of really great fighters at Main Street.”

    But media day wasn’t inside that gym. Instead, Darwin Price’s media day was hosted about five miles away at Baby Bull where Price works as a trainer.

    There were many people inside the gym, a good percentage of which were wearing Price’s official “Pay the Price” apparel. All in attendance were genuinely a jovial bunch. Despite being packed inside a Houston summer hotbox, most of the people were still smiling and bopping around making good conversation with each other while a DJ played pop songs in the background just loud enough to make an impression.

    Team Price is a special sort of crowd, a happy and supportive bunch eager to talk about boxing with just about anyone. People were happy and excited to clap for the chiseled junior welterweight as he made his way out of his sweet ride and strutted through the slow-cooked hoard, many of them eager to shake hands, take pictures and steal a little bit of attention away from Price before he headed to the ring to perform the traditional jump rope, shadowbox and hit-the-mitt routine just about every one of these types of media days includes.

    Price stopped for every single one of these people. He never hurried away from anyone. He never avoided making eye contact. He seemed so happy and grateful for the life he lives today. And while I didn’t sit in for every single conversation, I could probably guess he shared words of gratitude and encouragement with just about anyone and everyone he met.

    No, nothing came easy for Darwin Price, a kid who grew up in a bad place with nothing but bad things all around him. But nothing stopped him either.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel