Brian Norman Jr. isn’t in a rush.

The 22-year-old welterweight wants to make up for some lost time, though, because he hasn’t fought in 13 months. The heavy-handed prospect will end his long layoff Saturday night, when he’ll return to the ring against Argentina’s Rodrigo Coria in an eight-rounder on the Efe Ajagba-Stephan Shaw undercard at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.

Norman (22-0, 19 KOs) hasn’t had one of his fights televised in nearly three years, but he hopes his debut with promoter Top Rank Inc. initiates the start of the best year of a pro career he began when he was just 17. His fight versus Coria (10-4, 2 KOs), a southpaw who hasn’t been knocked out in 14 professional fights, will be streamed by ESPN+, which will begin its undercard coverage at 5 p.m. ET.

“People hear about me in a whole bunch of sparring stories,” Norman told in reference to his work with Terence Crawford, Jaron Ennis and Gervonta Davis. “My goal is to let them know this is real. This is not some mythological creature or nothing like that. I’m the real deal. There’s reasons why there are stories about me. I’m the best of the best. I belong up there and my goal this fight here is to knock this guy out and let ‘em know to bring me the best of the best, and I will do the same.”

Norman, who resides and trains near Atlanta, signed with Fighters First Management last year. He had his pick of promoters, but Norman chose Bob Arum’s company because of its reputation for developing prospects properly into contenders and champions.

“We looked at how people build fighters and I felt like Top Rank is the best at doing exactly that,” Norman said. “We can go all the way back to Floyd Mayweather, when he was first coming up. And right now, you have Jared Anderson and Shakur Stevenson, how well they were built up. They are very good at building up young fighters. I felt like this was the best option for me and I’m very happy to take this opportunity.”

Top Rank’s partnership with ESPN also significantly factored into Norman’s decision. He hasn’t boxed on TV since his seventh-round, technical-decision defeat of Flavio Rodriguez (then 9-1-1) aired as part of Showtime’s “ShoBox: The New Generation” series in March 2020.

“That’s another big reason I chose Top Rank, because everybody watch ESPN,” said Norman, who has knocked out each of his five opponents since he beat Rodriguez. “People go to sleep to ESPN and wake up to it. So, now you got Brian Norman on TV. And then you’re looking at me and see I’m doing things in the ring, and you say, ‘Who is this dude?’ People watch ESPN. You’ve got football, NBA, everything on there. Now that I’m on there, I feel I’ll have a bigger fan base. I’ve got a very entertaining style. So, by the end of this year, my name will be out there, I feel like.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.