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Prenice Brewer Continues Boxing Legacy As A Coach

“I am ready for a new adventure,” said Prenice Brewer in a ten-minute phone call we had last night.

You might recognize the name Prenice Brewer, a successful amateur boxer who was a mainstay on television in the middle 2010s. Before every fight was streamed, every fighter was researched, Brewer, nicknamed “Greatness”, was fighting on-and-off-TV for respect, in an era with so few opportunities.

“I just fell in love with helping people grow in the gym,” said Brewer when talking about the new chapter in his life of being a mentor and boxing coach to the young generation. “Something really clicked seeing how good Delante [Johnson] is being around him while he qualified for the Olympics and being able to help my friend Terrell Gausha for his last fight, sparked a fuse in me and now it is hard to turn back.”

Helping Gausha is an understatement as Brewer functioning as an assistant coach alongside long-time coach Manny Robles, was very hands-on, and many in the industry see his involvement and youthful energy as a big reason Gausha got a second-round KO over Jamontay Clark in a bout that was seen as close by the oddsmakers.

“I remember being in the gym with Terrell [Gausha], and Willie [Nelson], I know what Terrell has and what he had to do to become an Olympian,” said Brewer. “Sometimes when you start with someone early on, and you know how to push them because you know who they are and how they are. Terrell never lost anything, he just needed some of the competition we had in the Ohio gyms when we were growing up, and when I got to the gym, I could sense things were different – and that he was going to put on a show.”

Not unlike how Kid Cudi got opportunities after Kanye’s 808’s and Heartbreaks, or Travis Scott was hailed for his work on Kanye’s Yeezus which many felt Scott crafted, many insiders in the industry look at the addition of Brewer to Gausha’s team, and the dynamic performance and are taking note of the young trainer, as one of the emerging coaches in boxing.

Brewer, a Cleveland, Ohio native, was a hard-luck pro. The talent was always there, but boxing was in a transitioning phase. Before the big paycheck, Premier Boxing Champions would give to fighters forcing the market to adjust. Most notable was his NBC fight against Ronald Cruz, a formidable opponent that many felt, Brewer beat – but the judges didn’t. After the fight, Brewer went viral before viral was a thing questioning Manny Pacquiao’s career, as Freddie Roach broadcasted the bout.

After back-to-back losses as a pro, both by narrow decision margins in which the judges didn’t reward Brewer’s boxing style and favored the aggression of Ronald Cruz and Aaron Martinez, Brewer would move with his good friend Willie Nelson to the Bay Area, and find a home out of the Undisputed Boxing Gym.

Brewer, was a seachange in the Bay Area, as the Ohio-style of boxing was not normal in the Bay Area, and seeing his style in the gym and not at a national tournament was refreshing and exciting.

From an outside standpoint the only thing that held Brewer back as a pro was his weight class. Brewer always felt undersized, despite being tall, at 147 lbs. This was best seen when he was stopped by Egidijus Kavaliauskas a/k/a “The Mean Machine”. I rewatch that fight every so often and wonder why it went that way as seemingly similar fighters had a lot of success against Kavaliauskas – and the thing I always go back to size. Brewer was a talented fighter, who didn’t cut corners in talent, but might not have wanted to get down to the most uncomfortable weight possible to fight, and in that fight it cost him, as Kavaliauskas more than likely did.

My friend Mark Luketic looked at me simply said, “…that is a hard way to make a living,” after bout. Both of us, know Brewer well, and seeing that result was awful, even though I know Kavaliauskas’ team, and have nothing, but respect for them.

After the Kavaliauskas fight, Brewer fought four times, here and there, but he never left the gym. Brewer very early on in his career, I remember a well-respected boxing person in the industry telling me “…he will be a great coach.” It was the same feeling Javier Mendez of American Kickboxing Academy said about Daniel Cormier when he walked into their gym a decade or so ago. Some people feel like they can do something before they do it, and I feel most smile when they see that person go to it. I think anyone who knew Brewer always believed he’d coach, and now seeing him coach – is such a welcomed addition to the world of boxing.

“That was a great time in my life, I got to see more of the world, experience new things, which now gives me that much more moving forward,” said Brewer about his half-a-decade in San Carlos, California. “It wasn’t just boxing, I learned how to communicate with all different types of people, and that experience I find helps me as a coach.”

Brewer now is back with the man who started this journey Renard Safo, as Safo now is in his 70’s, Brewer, a young veteran, is picking up and handling a lot of the physical labor asked of a young coach in the gym. Brewer was with “Tiger” Johnson every step of the way as Tiger went to the Olympics in 2020, really 2021 – but let’s confuse the reader.

“Tiger and Dante make me feel like a kid again,” said Brewer with a smile. “In boxing, it is easy to lose track of a goal, and just get obsessed with perfecting something, complaining about fight dates – boxing has a lot of distracts. I find that helping them get the most out of the sport is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done, I want them to not just learn what I know, I want them to one day be better than me.”

Prenice Brewer is now looking to not just add to his legacy, but also grow his community, and restore some of the fighting spirit in the fight rich town of Cleveland, I mean, Believeland.

Both of his fighters, Delante “Tiger” Johnson and Dante Benjamin Jr. fight this Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, starting at 4 PM PST on ESPN+

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle