LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Eight months after the G.O.A.T. took his last run down Broadway, a Louisville boxer is determined to bring home a National Golden Gloves title.
Kenneth Shoats, 27, has a full plate; a 4-year-old son, a full time job and what he calls a "fire and desire" to win the 2017 Golden Gloves Championship. His conditioning starts early, with yoga, cycling, a full day of work, training at Core Combat Spots and then to LA Fitness to run.
On March 9, Shoats will compete at the Indiana Golden Gloves, fighting every Thursday unless he loses; but that's not an option for this fighter.
"I'm gonna win," Shoats said. "We're gonna win. We push to win, we work out to win. That's all we think about is winning."
This kind of confidence is familiar. Decades ago, Muhammad Ali uttered a similar phrase. Shoats said it's this type of mindset that you need to have the confidence to be great; especially as a boxer.
Shoats' goal is simple. His journey to get there, will be much more difficult.
"It's gonna be tough, it's going to be challenging," TJ's coach Abdul Jarvis said.
He's only trained 18 months with TJ. He has titles and championship of his own, but this coach said his passion is outside the ring.
"I found out I'm a much better teacher than I am than I ever was a fighter," Jarvis said. "For me being outside the ring instructing is a whole lot more gratifying than getting in there and hitting someone in the head-but it's nice hitting people in the head now and then.
And Jarvis will hop into the ring with Shoats; the team is working on refining a critical piece of his training; his mentality.
"People give you different numbers," Jarvis said. "But boxing is a high percentage mental. And that's what we're working on now."
Because alongside Ali, the pressure is great. But Shoats says his work ethic is greater than any pressure he faces. And inspiration from his son is the ultimate motivation. And whether or not that will make him a champion will be revealed soon, first as Shoats competes in Indiana, and hopefully in Louisiana at the National Golden Gloves tournament.
"You know I want people to come here to fight, this is where the greatest started," Shoats said, "This is where the greatest needs to end, we need to finish it here."
This year, Kenneth Shoats is the first recipient of the Service for Peace Metro Scholarship. Community members are raising money to help with Shoats' travel expenses.