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Going Pro

"How many times you seen a guy that wasn't a great fighter but was a world champ?" asks Julian Townsend, who's currently the number two amateur in the country in the 156-pound class. "That's because people behind him moved him to the title." A good manager is an invaluable asset-just be prepared to sign a contract giving him one third of your earnings off the top. (You could go solo-and die hungry!) In return he'll use his pull with promoters to get you experience-building bouts against known tomato cans. He'll also find you a new, and hopefully better, trainer. Your manager may even slip you a few Benjamins a week�in exchange for some thumb-breaking at his, ahem, "insurance" business.

Requirements for obtaining a license vary by state, but all boxers who want to get paid must get a federal ID from the state athletic commissioner's office. (All you need is a valid driver's license and proof of residence.) You'll have to submit to a physical exam that includes tests for brain damage, heart trouble, HIV, and hepatitis B and C-after all, with your meager skills, you'll be bleeding a lot. The state boxing director will also want to see your amateur boxing book, which lists the results of your bouts. It's all done for your safety: A recent study of 42 professional boxers-most of them licensed-in New York state found that two had "frankly abnormal" brain scans and 17 others had "borderline brain atrophy." So if you're sure you want to get punched in the face for a living, make sure you get your head examined.

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