At the age of 26, Jesse is a three-year pro. A rising young contender at 168 pounds, he is a former amateur standout – he was a gold medalist at the 2011 U.S. National Championships and National Golden Gloves Championships.
He has a strong family boxing tradition – he is the son of former middleweight contender Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, and Jesse’s uncle and his father’s uncle and a cousin were all boxers.
Jesse stayed active with three fights in 2015 and made great progress – he stepped up to 10-round status for the first time, stepped up in level of competition, and gave impressive performances every time.
In his last fight on March 18 in Philadelphia, he won a 10-round unanimous decision against Dashon Johnson.
Phillyboxinghistory.com’s John DiSanto reported from ringside [excerpts]: Philly boxing took a trip back to the good old days at South Philly’s 2300 Arena. It was an evening full of rowdy fans jammed into a sold out house, competitive old school ring battles, and a main event that was exciting, significant, dramatic, and very, very memorable. It was a real throwback…. If only all boxing shows could be like this one.
Jesse Hart won a hard-fought 10-round thriller against upset-minded Dashon Johnson in the terrific main event. Hart took the unanimous decision by a wide margin on two of the three official scorecards, but victory only came after the rising contender was pushed to the limit and dangerously tested for the first time in his four year professional career.
Although Hart eventually secured his win on Friday, he had to rise from the floor to do it, and was forced to rely on a heart that turned out to be as big as his fan base.
Hart was building a commanding lead. Jesse continued the show in round five, making the first half of the fight a clean sweep in his favor, but things were about to get interesting.
In round six, Hart was again on track to collect another round, but then suddenly the gutsy Johnson unleashed an overhand right that crash-landed on Jesse’s noggin. Johnson followed up with a left and another right, as Jesse stumbled along the ropes. The bell sounded to end the sixth, but Johnson kept chugging. Another right put Hart down on the seat of his pants, but [the] referee chose not to call it a knockdown, given that the determining blow came late.
By round eight, both fighters looked winded. Toward the end of the round, Hart appeared to almost have Johnson on the brink of going down, but the Californian simply refused to go away.
Hart won round nine … and round ten put the perfect cap on this great fight and wonderful night.
While Hart’s supporters hoped that he would just box carefully and sit on his lead during the final three minutes, Jesse showed everyone that regardless of any advantage in points that he might have, he was a fighter of rarified bloodline and a proud hometown that required him to fight. And fight he did.
Jesse relied heavily on his right uppercut in the tenth. Over and over again, Hart blasted Johnson with that weapon and the determined underdog felt every one.
Suddenly, with time winding down in the last round, Johnson landed a right hand that stunned Hart. Jesse stumbled backward and Johnson followed up immediately with two more rights that also landed with authority. Hart fell to the floor.
Hart climbed to his feet and dutifully went back to work on this very tough day at the office. The bell ended the fight. Hart had made it.
“Philadelphia fighters got this,” Hart said pointing to the heart beating deep in his chest. “Everyone wanted to see how I handle adversity. I showed them. You get knocked down, you get back up. You handle adversity.”
After ten full rounds, there wasn’t much question that Hart had won the fight on points.
“Boom! Boom! Boom! I’m hitting him,” Hart said. “I’m hitting him… Boom! It was becoming easy. I’m touching him. I’m doing it every round. On my legs, boxing him with every jab that I throw. Pop! Get him to the body. Get him to the head. I hurt him, more than two, three times. I couldn’t finish him! Tough guy. Tough cookie.
“Everyone wanted to see if I can handle adversity, and I think I did it.” [End DiSanto item]
Regarding his training, Jesse said, “There’s a lot of good fighters in Philly for sparring, but the type of work that I bring, people don’t want to do it. They feel like it’s a fight when I’m sparring, so we do have to bring guys in.
“My dad don’t baby me in sparring with guys I can get over on. He brings in guys that can push me to the limit – we work with top-notch guys, guys don’t care about your name or none of that. My dad brings in guys that don’t care about anything – they want to fight in a sparring session.
“My father – with my pro career, he’s growing not only as a father but as a trainer. Before it was just ‘do it his way,’ but now he trusts some of my decisions, my instincts in the ring. My dad is going to be one of the best trainers in boxing, not only in Philadelphia, but the world.
“My nickname just carried over from going from gym to gym, city to city. Every coach I ever train with always say, ‘Yo, man, you’re the hardest working dude I’ve ever seen.’ Coach Al Mitchell – he said I was the hardest working fighter he ever had in Marquette, Michigan. All the gyms I go to always say that – ‘This boy, man, he don’t stop.’ My coaches now say they always have to pull me back. My dad say that, too, ’cause I burn myself out in the gym. I leave it all in the gym. So I just ran with that.”