Brett Rogers has very much been in Fedor's shadow during the promotion of Saturday's event. That's to be expected--Fedor is much more of a known commodity, and he is the oddsmaker's favorite to win the fight, which could be a star-making coming out party for the Russian.
But Rogers has a pretty interesting story himself. He lives and trains in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the City Pages just published a lengthy profile that serves as a good get-to-know-you brief on the other guy in the fight. Excerpts:
"The storyline looks like Ivan Drago versus Rocky," says Mike Afromowitz, a spokesman for Strikeforce, co-promoter of the bout. "But it's more than that. It's two guys who walked two different paths. Now, they are going to meet in what I think will be one barnburner of a fight."
Rogers on Fedor:
"Ain't nothing but another man," Rogers says aloud. "Just another man. That's all he is to me."
On moving to St. Paul from the notorious Cabrini Green housing projects in Chicago:
Rogers grew up in the Cabrini-Green housing projects in Chicago, possibly the toughest 12 blocks in America. Now razed, the failed urban experiment became synonymous with violence— a cluster of low-income apartments where snipers fired at cops, teens slept in bathtubs, and thugs raped and poisoned a nine-year-old girl, leaving her in a stairwell.
If not for his grandmother, Rogers might be dead. She moved him to St. Paul when he was in fourth grade.
"My grandmother...she's everything, man. I mean, everything," says Rogers. "And, you know, she was hesitant about me doing this. As that's what she took me up here to avoid. But she's coming around. I just had to tell her I could be professional with this."
There is also a slideshow of pictures of "The Grim" training.