Boxing: Morrell’s WBA super middleweight title defense comes from Barnum’s training camp

Suddenly “O” as he is nicknamed, from his birth name Osvary, saw a fawn that looked like it was about to run down the road, so the Cuban native picked it up and put it down in the grass.

But after doing that, the fawn looked like it was about to return to the road again, so Morrell, seeing no other deer around, no mother visible, picked up the fawn again.

“So he’s running across the field to the woods with this fawn in his hands,” Adonis Frazier said with a laugh. “And I said, ‘Leave him there. “

“So we come back, and I say to my dad (Sankara Frazier), and he said, ‘What did you do? He sees the video. He said, ‘Dude, what did you do … you put him in there? The wolves will kill him. And we thought, ‘What were we supposed to do with it?’ And he said, ‘You could all have brought him back here. We could have had a little pet or something. And I said, ‘Are you serious?’ “

David Morrell Jr. (left) chats with coach Sankara Frazier on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum.  (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

David Morrell Jr. (left) chats with coach Sankara Frazier on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum. (Clint Austin / [email protected])

These guys don’t train in Minneapolis anymore, and certainly not in Cuba either.

Morrell (4-0, 3 KOs) will defend his World Boxing Association super middleweight belt on Saturday night against undefeated contender Mario Abel Cazares (12-0, 5 KOs) at a Premier Boxing Championship series event at the Minneapolis Armory. The fight will be televised on Fox at 7 p.m.

Morrell, speaking through translator and boxing trainer Josh Sanchez, spoke about the fight.

“I have no worries,” he said. “He has 12 fights, but he doesn’t know who he’s going to face.”

Morrell is certainly not lacking in confidence.

“I don’t know much about Cazares. All I know is I’m going to beat him, ”Morrell said with a laugh. “From what I’ve seen he’s fast and has a good jab. These things are not going to help him for 12 rounds, and I train for 15 rounds. I have my plan, and what will happen will happen. I’m ready. I am ready to face any style in the ring.

David Morrell Jr. opens his mouth while adjusting his headgear before training on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at the Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum.  Morrell is training to defend his WBA Super Middleweight World Championship against Mario Cazares.  (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

David Morrell Jr. opens his mouth while adjusting his headgear before training on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at the Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum. Morrell is training to defend his WBA Super Middleweight World Championship against Mario Cazares. (Clint Austin / [email protected])

Morrell fights from Circle of Discipline in Minneapolis, but whenever a fight sets up, the team ascends north to fight from their Circle of Discipline branch in downtown Barnum. Barnum’s facility serves as a training camp, with around half a dozen boxers and training partners at all times.

Adonis Frazier said the arrangement has been going on for seven to ten years now. We asked him why do the show in the north?

“Why not?” he said.

Adonis Frazier compared it to “Rocky IV” where Rocky Balboa goes into the Russian wilderness to get back to basics, with little to no distractions.

“Barnum is a town of about six hundred people… how much more can you concentrate? : he said. “We have everything we need here. And as we started to move more and more, the city was so helpful, Moose Lake was so helpful. Everyone kind of hugged us and made it even better. “

David Morrell Jr. (right) punches Yunieski Gonzalez during practice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at the Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum.  (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

David Morrell Jr. (right) punches Yunieski Gonzalez during practice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at the Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum. (Clint Austin / [email protected])

Morrell is the latest Circle of Discipline star, having started boxing at the age of 9. He defected from Communist Cuba about two years ago in a heartbreaking experience. To avoid the Mexican border patrol, he and several other members of their party of 16 jumped into the water.

“It was very difficult,” Morrell said. “We had to swim about 100 meters. The tide was high and you couldn’t see anything. We were swimming and the waves were hitting us. It was scary.”

It sounds like a hell of a trip.

“Oh, man, that’s not even half of what I’ve been through,” Morrell said.

Morrell ran aground on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. After traveling the country for about a year and a half, mostly on the run, he found himself in Miami for a brief stint before ending up in Minneapolis through boxing promoter Luis de Cubas.

“The goal has always been to get here,” Morrell said of the United States. “I came here because it is the land of opportunity and that is exactly why I left Cuba, to be here, to follow my dream and to pursue my career as a professional boxer.”

David Morrell Jr. punches Angel Chavez during practice Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum.  (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

David Morrell Jr. punches Angel Chavez during practice Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum. (Clint Austin / [email protected])

When asked if he misses at home, he said he misses her every day. He misses culture, music, family and friends. Life is different on the island, he said, but it’s the sacrifice Morrell is willing to make to be the best and give back. He described his hometown of Santa Clara in central Cuba as typical of Caribbean culture, a laid-back, easy-going people who love life no matter how little money they have.

“I miss everything,” he said. “It’s more liberal, more fun, with less hassle. Everyone is enjoying life. Everyone is always happy.

But he cannot go back.

“I’m here because most of all I want to make a better life for my family, and I want to be a legend in what I do,” said Morrell. “It’s one of my dreams, but unfortunately you can’t do that in Cuba.

“Right now, I see myself as any other boxer, hitting the road with my feet planted on the ground, but one step at a time, we can move forward. I want to leave a legacy and be well known in the sport, and be a legend, because once you are a legend you have everything. “

David Morrell Jr. on Wednesday June 16, 2021, at Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum.  (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

David Morrell Jr. on Wednesday June 16, 2021, at Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum. (Clint Austin / [email protected])

Morrell has come to the right place. He trains with people who are used to working with a variety of backgrounds.

“Before COVID, we had guys from Colombia, Toronto, Miami, everywhere,” Adonis Frazier said. “Luis de Cubas is originally from Cuba, but he also grew up in Minnesota and is a friend of ours. He was bringing this kid, and they were watching my little brother Jamal (James) boxing at the armory, and Luis said I like what you and your dad did with your little brother. I want to bring this kid here because I see what you did with Jamal, and we want you to do the same with this kid.

Adonis Frazier said Circle of Discipline isn’t just about boxing, it’s about working with young people and instilling strong values ​​that they can apply to everyday life. His father started it about 30 years ago in South Minneapolis to get kids off the streets and keep them off the streets.

“Working with young people, working with the community, raising children. My dad just used boxing as a tool to get the quote from tough guys, ”said Adonis Frazier. “Oh, are you a badass?” OK, come over here and show me what you got, so now we can break you down and bring you back.

Through their boxing ties, Circle of Discipline branched off to Barnum. The plan was to expand their offerings to the Barnum facility, but that was put on hold due to COVID. Adonis Fraizer said you don’t have to be a boxer to belong and get involved.

“In Minneapolis, we have the whole organization,” he said. “We do tutoring; we teach kids, we have all kinds of programs. It’s bigger than pro boxing and ultimately we would like the same for Barnum.

“These are by-products of what we do. Our main goal is to work with young people and everything, but we also have pros who are good with that too.

David Morrell Jr. packs a punch in training Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum.  (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

David Morrell Jr. packs a punch in training Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at Discipline Circle training camp in Barnum. (Clint Austin / [email protected])

One of those pros is Morrell.

While he can be a tough guy in the ring, anyone who picks up a baby deer with the intention of protecting it, whether misguided or not, has a good heart.

It’s one of those crazy Nordic exposure stories that Adonis Frazier said he would never hear the end of.

“I thought the fawn story was going to fall apart, but the next day we wake up and my dad says to me, ‘Dude, you know, I dreamed about this fawn,’” Frazier said. “So we go back to where O put the fawn in the woods. He gets out of the car and starts walking in the woods looking for this fawn. I’m like ‘Are you serious?’ We travel the road in search of this fawn. I’m like ‘Dude, that fawn isn’t here.’

“So they come back to me: ‘You killed him, because of you, it’s dead.’ So now I’m walking around with my shoulders hunched over, knuckles dragging, feeling terrible. I said, ‘Only here you can meet stuff like this.’ “