Tommy Zbikowski: The Man To Revive America's Love For Heavyweight Boxing

Jake Hughes@_jjh91Contributor IIIApril 27, 2011

It is thought by many that the story of Tommy Zbikowski is the intriguing tale needed to revive America's stagnating interest for heavyweight boxing. 

Zbikowski is currently a safety for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens - one of the most-feared defensive teams on the gridiron. What is interesting is that the Illinois native divides his time between the two sports: the NFL season sees him devote his efforts solely on America's most popular sport, and then, during the lengthy off-season, Zbikowski trains to take part in the sport of boxing, where his passion really lies.

The 86th overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft had his second professional fight on March 12, 2011, where he knocked his opponent Richard Bryant out after a mere 1 minute 45 seconds into the first round. 

His debut pro bout, which was on the Miguel Cotto vs Paulie Malignaggi  under-card at Madison Square Garden in 2006, ended in similar fashion - with a 49 second TKO against Robert Bell. A fight on a stage like this took place while Zbikowski was still at university.

While no one truly expects Zbikowski to ever threaten the thrones of the current meaningful heavyweight champions such as Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko and Britain's David Haye, success for a boxer with the profile of Zbikowski would definitely re-capture America's love for heavyweight boxing.

The hype and media-interest surrounding him is warranted. While Zbikowski only now has two professional bouts under his belt, he managed to amass an impressive amateur boxing record of 75-15 while at the University of Notre Dame, playing for their football team and graduating with degrees in sociology and computer applications.

Despite devoting time to his boxing career and his studies, Zbikowski also left Notre Dame as their leading career tackler as a defensive back with 300. Zbikowski, it seems, is an athlete that can be mentioned in the same vein as former NFL players such as Herschel Walker and James Jett, who were also successful in different sports.

The USA once loved the heavyweight division, but their last true draws were Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Those years are long gone and interest has invariably waned since the country has failed to produce a true threat to the Klitschko brothers'crowns. 

NFL careers are often short, but this 25 year old prospect has a whole boxing career to look ahead to once he hangs up the helmet. With his undoubted athleticism and a fully-committed boxing training regime under his belt, who knows what the future has in store for Tommy Zbikowski.

Jake Hughes