By MYLO ERICKSON
Pima Community College student Barry Richardson, 25, spent most of his life without any real knowledge of his father, who was constantly in and out of prison.
“Not having that influence, the father figure, brought out the weird side in me, I guess,” Richardson said.
Richardson first met his father when he was 7. He had plenty of reasons to be afraid of the man.
“My earliest memories are him beating on my mom,” Richardson said.
Richardson also witnessed strength in his household. His mother, who was only 17 when she gave birth to him, supported Richardson and his baby sister.
His mother’s accomplishments have inspired Richardson. She earned her GED while working two jobs.
She later earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, then became a teacher. She is now assistant principal at Pueblo Gardens Elementary School in Tucson.
Richardson said he was picked on during his school years. He developed an interest in writing after listening to The Doors in high school, and sampled drugs in an effort to expand his writing horizons.
After graduating from Pueblo High School in 2005, he enlisted in the Navy a couple of years later.
Richardson also finally got tired of being picked on. When he turned 21, he began to fight back. He spent a lot of time getting into bar fights, and enjoyed every minute of it.
“I just did my time and got out and took advantage of my benefits,” Richardson said of his four years in the service. “We have a joke in the Navy: Recruiters tell you that you’ll see the world, but they fail to mention that 70 percent is water.”
Once out of the Navy and enrolled at PCC, he found boxing. He assumed he knew what he was doing since he had numerous bar fights under his belt.
“I thought I was hot shit,” Richardson said. “But once you learn how to box, start learning the techniques and go up against people more experienced, it’s humbling.”
About a year ago, he began committing more time to boxing. He is still learning, so has no rank in boxing. He hopes to get to an amateur rank.
Richardson feels that he has better discipline now, and enjoys every chance he gets to fight.
His first big fight took place Oct. 27 at Undisputed boxing gym. When he walked in, he noticed that Hell’s Angels were working security. One of them asked if he was there to fight.
Richardson replied, “Yeah, but not to fight you.”
Once it was his turn to enter the ring, Richardson felt a sense of calm, and everything slowed down for him. He blocked out whether people were cheering for or against him.
It was just he and his opponent.
The fight ended with neither man declared the winner, but that didn’t matter.
“It was the best moment of my life,” Richardson said.