Local boxer Rabotte aims to make fighting look pretty

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 13, 2000

Muhammed Ali was known almost as much for his bragging as he was for his punishing of opponents in the boxing ring.

It is fitting, then, that Natchez boxer Joseph Rabotte mentions Ali as one of his favorite boxers.

&uot;I like old-school boxing, like Ali,&uot; he said. &uot;Ali made it look pretty. That’s what I do. I make it look pretty.&uot;

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Rabotte looked pretty Saturday in the first amateur fight of his career, knocking out his opponent in the third round of the Adams County Boxing Club-sponsored event.

&uot;I just watched the tape, and my God I hit that dude hard,&uot; he said. &uot;I said on the radio that that third round was going to be pretty. Like Ali, I said what I was going to do.&uot;

If Rabotte always does as he says he will, the 21-year-old Natchez native has a bright future ahead of him.

Although he is taking a semester break from school, he will soon join the Air Force National Guard, where he will continue boxing and pursuing his career in broadcast journalism.

Rabotte then plans to return to school to complete his degree, either at Alcorn State University or the University of Southern Mississippi, &uot;whichever one helps me out the most financially,&uot; he said.

&uot;I’ve got two years at Co-Lin Community College under my belt,&uot; Rabotte said. &uot;I don’t want people to think I’m just a dumb boxer.&uot;

While not a dumb boxer, Rabotte is a good boxer, thanks in part due to his confidence.

&uot;Losing is not an option,&uot; he said. &uot;In boxing, I do not lose.&uot;

That may seem a brash statement for a boxer with one fight, perhaps, but Rabotte has been exposed to boxing his entire life.

&uot;My dad was a boxer,&uot; he said. &uot;He showed me the ropes — got me into it. I was knocking everybody else out when we were little, and I said ‘I can do this.’&uot;

Rabotte has surprisingly modest boxing goals — a trip to the 2004 Olympics and a Golden Gloves championship.

&uot;I don’t want to go pro,&uot; he said. &uot;I’d do it to put a couple thousand dollars in the bank, but then you’d have to take out that quote about losing not an option.&uot;

Rabotte said his hobbies include playing basketball and singing. He doesn’t think a singing career is beyond the realm of possibilities, but it is not one of his immediate goals.

&uot;Right now my priorities are to get my degree, get through basic training and get on the radio,&uot; he said. &uot;I’d like a singing career, but the chances are a million to one.&uot;

The fighter also known as J-Smooth added that he is single, but does not wish to stay that way for long.

&uot;Make sure that picture goes in there,&uot; he said, &uot;so they can see those guns.&uot;

However, Rabotte said he most wants to be respected not as an athlete but as an intellectual.

&uot;I’m an athletic intellectual,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m a smart person who can box.

&uot;But I want people to know that I knocked that fool out,&uot; he added.