By Jerry Del Priore
Mikkel LesPierre was a standout basketball player at Transit Tech High School. But he got sidetracked, and wound up getting kicked off the team.
Getting into some form of trouble with a friend seemed to be the norm for the young LesPierre. So his friend’s father suggested they give boxing a try in order to channel their behavior in a positive direction, and learn how to protect themselves if the need arose.
“I used to be in the streets a lot,” said LesPierre, a longtime Flatbush resident. “My friend’s father was into boxing. He said, ‘you guys are always getting into trouble. At least you should learn how to protect yourselves.’ So, he was like, ‘get into boxing.’ That’s how I initially got into boxing.”
After giving the sport a lukewarm effort in his teens, he returned to boxing in his early twenties. It gave him the focus he desperately needed.
“I found a new love. Boxing changed me as a person altogether, and made me into a better athlete,” LesPierre said. “Being that it’s a sports driven by self-motivation, self-discipline, it changed me as an induvial.”
LesPierre, 30, posted an impressive 36-13 amateur record, taking home the 2008 New York Metro City and 2007 Empire State Games championships.
LesPierre turned professional on June 8, 2012 in Woodhaven, New York, where knocked out Miguel Antonio Rodriguez.
Since then, the Trinidad and Tobago-born light welterweight has been impressive, peeling off 10 wins and a draw for an 11-0-1 record, with six victories coming this year alone.
LesPierre, who has garnered the nickname SlikMikk because of his slick fighting style, plans on continuing on his the path of success, even if he has to cut back on his torrid boxing schedule just a little to give his a body some rest. He said he hopes his scheduled fights and his training coincide better in the future so he can peak simultaneously, not the way it transpired in his last bout in October.
“I have been real consistent from the beginning of the year,” he said. “My last fight, I think is where I really felt over trained. I was supposed to fight at the beginning of last month, and that didn’t happen.
“But I was able to get on a card at the end of the month. So I had to prolong my training. I was already training five weeks prior for that fight. So to extend my training another two and half, three weeks, I was already peaked. So I had to come down, and try and peak again, which was hard.”
Unfortunately, LesPierre’s body almost quit on him. Thankfully, however, he was able to lean on guts and guile to pull out the four-round junior welterweight bout against Evincii Dixon when all was said and done.
“After the first round, it was like, ‘I’m in in this.’ In the middle of the second round, my body just didn’t want to go nowhere,” the converted southpaw fighter recalled. “My mind was telling my body to do one thing, but my body was trying to resist it. But at the end of the day, I dug deep, and pulled out the win the best way I knew how to.”
As good as a fighter as he is, he’s even a better student and individual, making Don Saxby’s (his trainer) job that much easier.
“He’s a good student all together; very discipline,” Saxby glowingly said. “Everything I teach him, he goes in the ring and tries it until he gets it. Everything I ask him to do, he does it. He’s very coachable, and even a better person.”
As for the future, LesPierre’s camp is eyeing a bout in late December, early January, believing he has the perfect mindset to help fulfill his potential, sacrificing a social life in order to do so.
“He works, he trains, he goes home,” Saxby explained. “That’s his lifestyle, and that’s the lifestyle he needs to have if he wants to become a world champion. Once he becomes the world champ, and I’m almost sure he will, it can slow down a little bit for him. He can have a little fun, but we don’t want to get too crazy with it.”
For now, it’s all business for the local humble, hardworking fighter who’s doing his best to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
“I’m here to accomplish my own goals,” LesPierre said. “I’m putting myself at risk, and I’m challenging myself each time I get in that ring. I tell myself I can do this. I’m putting in the work, and going out there, and showing and proving.”
It’s that determined attitude that has LesPierre on a path to glory at the moment, with his old life in the rearview mirror.