Sure, he understands the benefit of time and development, along with age being on his side, but he also wants to be a champion right now.
If it wasn’t for a rash of bouts cancelled at the last minute – which has happened to him on several occasions during his young pro boxing career – he’d be closer to that championship today.
The 22-year-old Brooklyn phenom made his television debut this past Friday night on Showtime’s ShoBox program, which is intended to introduce the next generation of up-and-coming champions in the making, which it has done for decades.
“I’m trying to rush the process,” the undefeated welterweight admitted via phone about 36 hours before his ShoBox debut. “I’m trying to get as good as I can as fast as I can. I haven’t been as active as I would’ve liked to have been.
“One day my opponent told the doctor he took a pill, next fight the guy didn’t show up, another time the guy failed his eye exam the day before the fight,” Hitchins explained. “But it’s boxing. With only nine professional fights, I’m already on TV, so that’s great.”
Hitchins did admit the cancelled bouts have been aggravating to deal with.
“It held back my career a little bit, but it is what it is,” he said. “We’re right back on track.”
It's easy to justify Hitchins’ level of impatience outside the ring. It’s even easier to do inside of it.
Hitchins is a classic counter-puncher who specializes in turning defense into offense, or as Floyd Mayweather would preach, “hit and not get hit.”
So it’s fitting that not only is Hitchins signed to Mayweather Promotions, but the legendary boxer, who retired with a record of 50-0, is the man who drew Hitchins into boxing, even if it was in a WWE ring.
“The first thing I watched was Floyd beating up The Big Show in the WWE,” he said. “When my grandfather used to put boxing on, I would watch with him but I never was a fan of the sport, I thought boxing was wack. But when Floyd came on it made me look at the sport differently.
“I always knew I wanted to be a defensive fighter from watching Mayweather so I had to learn the sweet science of the sport,” he continued. “I want to be an unmarked fighter when I leave the ring.”
And on Friday night at the Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Las Vegas, he was largely that.
Though the judges saw a relatively close fight – awarding Hitchins the victory with two scores of 97-93 and a third of 96-94 – the 2016 Olympian dominated a tough challenger in Kevin Johnson (7-2, 4 KOs) to improve to a perfect 10-0 with five knockouts.
Hitchins controlled the action using his range and counter-punching ability to score his way to victory. The 5-foot-10 upstart used his 74-inch reach to remain on the outside and pester his 27-year-old opponent with jabs followed by a thumping straight right hand over the top, which continued to find a home on Johnson’s face.
It was Hitchins’ first 10-round scrap as a professional, and he said he plans on adding another fight to his schedule before 2019 is over, which would be his fifth of the year. Hitchins had only fought three times each in both 2017 and 2018, making this his most active 12 months.
Hitchins’ championship aspirations were only intensified by watching fellow 22-year-old Shakur Stevenson quickly rise up the pro ranks en route to a World Championship victory on October 26 in only his 13th professional fight.
Stevenson’s pro debut actually came on April 22, 2017, the same day as Hitchins’ second pro bout and 49 days after Hitchins’ debut.
“I think it serves as a lot of motivation,” Hitchins said of watching Stevenson – who was in Vegas to support Hitchins – win the vacant WBO Featherweight Title. “He’s seen more than me in the amateurs, but as far as our skillsets and our knowledge, it isn’t too different. I could do the same thing.”
And if he continues to work at the rate he does, he just might.
“I want to be one of those guys that take it above and beyond, kind of like what Mike Tyson did.” Hitchins said. “A lot of guys from New York, they get to a certain level and it’s like they crash and fall, I don’t know why.
“I want to be one of those guys that gets to that level and reigns for as long as possible,” he continued. “I don’t want to get to the big fights and lose, I want to get there and dominate at the championship level.”