When Isiah Seldon makes the walk to the ring for his 19th professional boxing match against Joey Spencer this Saturday in Los Angeles, it will be his first appearance since March of last year. But don’t worry, the 32-year-old middleweight is making sure you didn’t forget him.

“I posted a million clips of the last fight throughout the whole pandemic when gyms weren't open because I'm still riding high and I still have that feeling,” laughs Seldon, referring to his second-round stoppage of Darryl Bunting that took place before the COVID-19 pandemic put the boxing world on pause. “2020 was supposed to be mine. It started off mine, it died down but had nothing to do with me, so we're gonna pick it up in 2021. 2021 is gonna be mine.”

It’s confidence, not cockiness from the New Jersey native, who has taken the long road to the biggest fight of his career, a nationally televised FOX date against an unbeaten foe with a high upside at 160 pounds. But to Seldon, it doesn’t seem that long.

“I literally remember my first fight round for round,” he said of his debut in 2010. “I had no amateur experience, I jumped straight to the pros, so I've been doing this for 11 years now, and it really doesn't seem that long.”

Seldon didn’t have an amateur background, but he has a notable last name, so it was no surprise that the son of former WBA heavyweight champion decided to take his stab at the sweet science. The way he sees it, he really didn’t have a choice but to love the game.

“I love the sport,” he said. “I absolutely love the sport. From watching it to being involved in it, I love it. It's kind of like I didn't have a choice but to love the sport.”

True love means sticking with it through good times and bad, and Seldon certainly experienced the bad after he took nearly three years off after his first loss in 2013 to Lekan Byfield.

“After the first loss, I sat back and got mixed up in some stuff, but I never took my mind off wanting to be a boxer,” he said. “I never took my mind off of that.”

Perhaps he knew he would one day return, but as 2013 turned to 2014 and 2015 with no fights, he had to get through a stretch that included homelessness, a stint selling drugs, and even three months in jail.

“There's been times that I didn't know if I was gonna eat, times where I didn't know where I was gonna sleep, times when no one was there for me,” Seldon said. “And I chose that because I pushed everyone away. But there were times when I was there by my lonesome one hundred percent at the bottom and I never gave up fighting, and that's why I'm here today. Literally and figuratively, I never gave up fighting. I always fought.”

In 2016, he went back to the gym to work with Bill Johnson, trainer and father of the late Leavander Johnson. In March of that year, his career resumed with a decision win over Michael Mitchell. He was back, fighting like he always had. There would be two crushing losses, first-round stoppages at the hands of unbeaten prospects Tyler Howard and Nikita Ababiy in 2018 and 2019, respectively, but those could be written off as the price to pay for learning the hardest game on the job.

“That's one of the toughest things to do,” Seldon admits. “I didn't have the amateur background, so I'm literally learning on the job still. It was tough, it still is tough, there are certain things I see that I haven't seen, but my training camps were always built around boxing. A lot of boxing because I didn't have the amateur background. So we got a lot of rounds in, to mimic the person I'm fighting or just to show me different things. And that's with every training camp for every fight.”

Luckily, he’s got a lot of knowledge around him, and not just his father and Johnson, but the man prepping him for this weekend’s bout, Danny Davis, longtime cornerman for Bernard Hopkins.

“That helps a ton,” he said. “Especially my father doing what he did for as long as he did, because coaches can tell you things but sometimes it feels a little bit better to hear it from a fighter that went through it as well. But there's a lot of history around me, a lot of knowledge around me, and that really helped me and that really calmed me down. It wasn't like I was a deer in the headlights and just jumping off a cliff and saying, ‘Hey, let's go for it.’ I had a lot of knowledge around me and that really helps because there's certain things that I may not see, but they see or that they have went through multiple times before. So it feels good to have people in the corner that have been doing this for years to say, ‘Man, we've seen this before - relax.’

What the trio may have a little more difficulty with is teaching Seldon some patience in the ring.

“I have patience,” he insists with a laugh.

Not if seeing him fight is any indication. And in his losses, a willingness to settle in and let the fight come to him might have served him well. He agrees. To an extent.

“That's not the type of fighter I am, though,” Seldon said. “I know I need to sit back, and there are fighters who say we can jab it out the first round, we can learn each other and everything like that, and that's really not me. Without the amateur background, a bunch of my amateur fights have been on the streets for the most part. We know what we're here for, so let's not waste any time. We're here to fight.”

So in other words, he’s got the little devil on one shoulder and a little angel on the other?

“Exactly,” he laughs. “And I'm gonna be honest, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, but usually, the little devil wins. He tells me, 'Boy, go ahead. Go ahead and swing punches. He's not throwing any punches, Isiah, so it's time for you to throw punches.' We're both not gonna sit there and stare at each other. This isn't a looking contest; this is a contest dealing with fists, so if you're not throwing punches, I'm gonna throw punches.”

With that attitude, he has the potential to go places as a fan favorite with a compelling backstory and a charismatic personality. All he needs to do is put it all together when it counts and get a big win. Defeating Spencer would be a step in that direction, and he knows it. So when the bell sounds on Saturday, Seldon is going all-in.

“I could have gave up ten years ago in life,” he said. “And I always had that fighting mentality that win, lose or draw, I'm gonna give my all and I'm gonna give my best. God doesn't make any mistakes, we do. So I deserve to be here. God wouldn't put me here right now if I didn't deserve to be here. It's for a reason. Nothing's going in vain. Saturday night, I believe I'm gonna show the world the reason.”