UNLV sophomore wins 2010 NCAA boxing title
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Multi-sport athlete wins championship belt for UNLV
Winning is nothing new to UNLV sophomore Brett Rather. Indeed, Rather has experienced so much success, not even one sport can contain him.
In his high school days, Rather power cleaned 350 pounds to win the 2009 National High School Power Clean Championships.
In April of his freshman year, Rather, who is also on the Rebel football team, became the 2010 National College Heavyweight Champion in boxing.
“It has been in the making for a while. I always wanted to win the belt ever since I saw a picture of it in the gym when I was 13,” Rather said. “It was just a matter of training beyond my limits, even if it made me sick or injured.”
With an aggressive boxing style and massive confidence and enthusiasm to match, Rather kept a positive attitude, despite having to go through years of training to get to this point.
“My goal is to become the best,” Rather said. “Because I have the right mindset, I refuse to lose, and I always find a way to win. That is just who I am. It is pure ambition to work your ass off and do the things that have created champions in the past. Repetition and talent can take you places; you just have to stick with it.”
Rather’s teammates and peers praise him for both his success and his character.
“Brett was my roommate at nationals. He was relaxed and just kind of knew he was going to win,” said Corey Deal, a fellow fighter for UNLV.
“He adds confidence to the whole team. He is the kind of person you want on your team. Not to mention he is just a good guy.”
Rather was recognized for his success at the Las Vegas 51′s Memorial Day game in May. He threw out the first pitch of the game and was on the field for the national anthem.
“It was great being out there. I loved getting to stand on the field for the national anthem,” Rather said. “One of our boxing coaches, Frank Slaughter, was bringing troops to the game, and they wanted me, as the heavyweight champ, to throw out the first pitch.”
Labeling his technique is rather difficult. Though he uses his strong build to overpower opponents, he rarely throws unnecessary punches.
“Brett is like a controlled tornado,” said Jerome Foster. “He can cause a lot of destruction. However, he is precise and does not waste energy.
Unlike a tornado, which may mess up one side of a street and leave the other side of the street still intact, Brett fights to destroy you in the ring.”
Any athlete knows the importance of pre-game rituals, and Rather is no exception. Though he says he feels the pre-fight jitters, his confidence helps him overcome the obstacles.
“Up until the fight, I talk the biggest game ever, and about 30 minutes before the fight, I am nervous,” said Rather, who admits that he questions why he fights out of pre-fight nerves.
“Within the first punch, my confidence comes straight back. After a few punches I find out that they can not hit as hard as me because I know I am stronger than anyone I will run into.”
Rather is improving his technique and getting stronger for next year. On top of that, he is getting ready for the upcoming football season.
“As of right now, I am training harder than last year — sometimes three times a day, counting football,” said Rather.
“I will be back next year to defend my belt. I am training harder than ever before because it is harder to retain the belt than to win it.”
In the future, Rather hopes to be actively involved in the sports world. Then, he said, he would like to be able to pass on his knowledge to others.
“I will carry the same mentality for my whole life. I am a leader in the ring and as a person,” Rather said.
“Success does not come to people; the people that get it further develop their whole life because they struggle to be number one. I plan to find a way to stick around sports because I love competition, and by then, I will have a lot to teach people.”