It was almost as if “The Hebrew Hammer” could see the future before he stepped into the boxing ring Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. Cletus Seldin’s fight against Roberto Ortiz wasn’t going to last too long.
“I thought we were going to do it in five rounds, but then I went back and I thought and I remembered that this psychic came to me just like six months ago and she said I would knock this guy out in the first round with like a ‘Jason Bourne’ overhand right,” Seldin said. “I’m like, ‘I guess it’s going to be true.’ And she said I was going to fight in November.”
The psychic was right on the second count and almost right on the first count.
The Hebrew Hammer lived up to the nickname in his debut at the Coliseum and on HBO. The undefeated 31-year-old fighter, who was raised in Shirley and lives in Bay Shore, was aggressive as usual right from the opening bell. He knocked down Ortiz twice in the first round, then cut Ortiz over his left eye in the second. And Seldin won by TKO in the third when Ortiz’s cut collided with Seldin’s elbow and he went down. The ringside doctor advised the stoppage.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m the first fight or the last fight,” Seldin said. “My fights are always the best because I come to fight. And you see I come to fight and I still don’t get hit. It’s very hard to hit me. I have this little peanut head, really small, works really good for my profession. It’s been an honor and a great memory to start the second part of my career here.”
The question is, what does he see in the immediate future for his career? He knows what he wants to see — a shot at winning a major world title in the junior welterweight/super lightweight 140-pound class. Seldin would have liked to fight Terence Crawford, but the unified champ decided to move up to chase welterweight glory.
“The whole division is open right now, and I would love to get a title fight right after this,” Seldin said. “I just fought the guy with the best record in the division. The guy [is 35-2-2]. That is a lot of fights. And he had 20-plus knockouts.”
Actually, Ortiz has 26 knockouts. Now Seldin has his 17th in 21 fights, which brought much happiness to the fans who were cheering on his action-packed performance.
“That’s what the fans want to see,” said Joe DeGuardia, Seldin’s promoter from Star Boxing. “They want to see action. They want to see excitement.
“We’re looking to step up. He’s ready. He’s looking for the biggest fight out there. I think we’ve got the hardest puncher in the junior welterweight division.”
“The preference is grabbing the guy that will get in the ring with him, getting the biggest name and getting him to that title,” DeGuardia said. “He wants that title fight.”
Jewish boxers were much more common during the first half of the 1900s. Barney Ross and Max Baer displayed the Star of David on their trunks. So does Seldin. Ross and Baer were world champions.
Seldin stands just 5-7, but he knows he will still have plenty going for him if he gets a chance at being one, too.
“My fitness shape is better than everybody else in the professional sport of boxing,” Seldin said. “ . . . I come to hurt you. I’m trying to literally knock everyone out and do pretty good at it. I have the hammer.”