Mason “Rock Hard Mighty” Menard is focused and determined like no other time during his career.
The lightweight contender moved six hours from his home and two children in Louisiana to train with a new team in Dallas alongside the likes of WBC World Super Welterweight Champion Jermell Charlo and IBF Welterweight Champion Errol Spence Jr.
Menard (33-2, 24 KOs) will face undefeated Devin “The Dream” Haney (18-0, 12 KOs) of Las Vegas for the USBA Lightweight Championship on Friday, May 11, in the 10-round main event of the popular prospect series ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader (10 p.m. ET/PT) on SHOWTIME from 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
In the 10-round co-feature, super bantamweight prospects Josh “Don’t Blink” Greer (16-1-1, 8 KOs) and Glenn Dezurn (9-1-1, 6 KOs) will meet. In an eight-round featured attraction, light heavyweight Alvin Varmall Jr. (15-0-1, 12 KOs) takes on Charles Foster (15-0, 8 KOs); and in the opening televised fight, super bantamweight Arnold Khegai (11-0-1, 8 KOs) will face Adam Lopez (16-2-2, 8 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
“Everything has changed,” said Menard. “The way I eat in my off-time, my team, my management, my trainers, the way I train. Everything.”
The 29-year-old Menard says his home state of Louisiana simply couldn’t offer the level of training he is now getting, working with new trainers Nathan Pipitone, Maurice James and Aaron Navarro, while sparring with world champions.
“I’m in Dallas to better my career,” Menard continued. “Louisiana just doesn’t have what I need to take it to the next level and compete. I’m working hard here and it’s what I need. I’m pushing the tempo and sharpening my skills.”
Fighting live on ShoBox in 2016, Menard scored a brutal Knockout of the Year candidate over previously undefeated Eudy Bernardo and got another ShoBox win later that year with an impressive KO over Bahodir Mamadjonov. He then suffered his only loss since 2008, in a short-notice showdown with WBO Lightweight Champion Raymundo Beltran.
He returned from the setback in March 2017 with a decision win, but suffered a serious injury.
“I had a detached front rotator cuff tendon and partial torn biceps tendon. It gave out on me in my last fight in the first round. I’ve had surgery on it, and rehabbed it, and now I’m ready to return to the world stage. I’m in with a good, slick boxer, but my trainers have a game plan and we have been working on a few things that he does, just to be prepared for what’s to come against him. I’ll be ready.”
Menard says the hardest part of preparing to face one of boxing’s most talked-about prospects on national television is the loneliness of missing his two beloved daughters, Demi (8 years old) and newborn Amelia.
“I get homesick. I miss my babies back home, but it’ll all be worth it,” he said. “It’s my job and I’m going to do it.”