Jesse Hart, the son of Eugene "Cyclone" Hart, who was a top middleweight contender in the 1970s, has signed an exclusive promotional contract with Top Rank, the company announced Friday.
Hart is scheduled to make his professional debut on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. welterweight title fight.
The 22-year-old Hart, of Philadelphia, was 85-11 as an amateur and spent time ranked as the No. 1 amateur in the United States at 165 and 178 pounds. In 2011, he won the National Golden Gloves at 165 pounds and the USA National Tournament at 178 pounds.
He also won the U.S. Olympic team trials at 165 last August. But his dream to make the 2012 U.S. Olympic team ended in March with a double-tiebreaker loss in the 165-pound final at the USA National Boxing Championships in Fort Carson, Colo.
Hart, who got married last August to childhood sweetheart Starletto Brayboy (they are expecting their first child, a daughter, in August), also signed with Philadelphia-based D&D Management and will be co-managed by Doc Nowicki and David Price. Hart's father will serve as his trainer.
"Eugene 'Cyclone' Hart fought in Philadelphia in an era of unbelievable middleweight talent," Top Rank chief Bob Arum said in announcing the signing. "Now we have the opportunity to promote Jesse Hart, the son of the Cyclone. We hope Jesse will be a future superstar which will make all of us, including his father, very proud."
Said Nowicki, who also manages Philadelphia welterweight contender Mike Jones: "As an amateur Jesse won 85 fights and a lot of gold medals. He is a very skilled fighter who has knockout power. We think he is a future world champion."
Eugene Hart (30-9-1, 28 KOs) boxed professionally from 1969 to 1982 and faced several top contenders. In 1976, Hart lost by eighth-round knockout to Marvelous Marvin Hagler, four years before Hagler became the middleweight world champion.
Hart also faced notable contenders such as Bennie Briscoe, Sugar Ray Seals, Vito Antuofermo, Bobby "Boogaloo" Watts and Willie "The Worm" Monroe.