A talk with Jason “The Hammer” LaHoullier
By Sean Wilkinson
Jason “The Hammer” LaHoullier is a professional boxer based in Portland, training with Bob Russo at the Portland Boxing Club. At 28 years old, with an impressive 20-0 record, LaHoullier is poised to be big news on the national scene. Watch for his face on ESPN and HBO, and keep an eye out for a line of Hammer-sponsored tools for the home handyman.
The Bollard: I don’t know a lot about boxing, but I want to know how you got into boxing. How long you’ve been doing it, things like that.
Hammer: Everybody wants to know that…
Alright, then not that.
Naw… [Laughs] I want to talk about the future, man!
Ahh, going on six years as a pro boxer, and about five or six as an amateur, so ’bout like 10 years now. I got into it late, when I was 18, and I’m 28 now, so…
[Boxing has] given me some direction, something positive to do, you know? I grew up playing sports, and liked the physical activity that goes into that, so it’s a physical and productive thing for me, you know?
I’ve seen you fight on ESPN before. Do you like televised fights? Are they different for you?
Well, that first one, I was pretty nervous, you know? Cause that was the first time, so… I think I would have been a lot more comfortable this year [A televised fight scheduled for July 28 was recently cancelled].
There’s a little more pressure. You wanna look good for everybody, and you wanna look good for other promoters and other fighters. You don’t wanna look bad, so there’s some pressure.
I remember a bunch of us watched the fight that night down at the Free Street [Taverna].
The night of the fight? On ESPN? No shit.
And then you came in later with the belt. Do you get to keep the belt?
Where do you keep it?
At the house – on the bookcase. It was in the living room for a while.
So, how’d you get the nickname, ‘The Hammer?’
Doin’ construction. Swing a hammer, I hit you like a hammer, you know. Construction. It stuck. There was a couple of ones over the years, like ‘The Dark Shadow,’ you know, come from behind, no one knows you. But, Hammer – The Hammer stuck.
Yeah, The Hammer sounds a lot cooler than The Dark Shadow.
Yeah, kinda sounds like a comic book character or something [laughs].
So what does it feel like to punch someone in the face?
What does it feel like to punch someone in the face? It’s pretty empowering, I guess. How does it feel? I don’t know. It doesn’t feel physically like anything… your hand doesn’t hurt or anything.
In boxing it’s give and take, you know? You’re not just throwing punches, you’re gettin’ hit in the face, too, you know? Believe it or not, gettin’ hit in the face doesn’t hurt at all. Even guys that get shot in the face, you know, like on ‘COPS’ and shit… you ask them how they feel and they’re like, ‘I got a headache.’ It’s not like a real ‘ahhh!‘ pain. It’s a quick flash, you know? The body hurts.
I notice your nose has been broken. That must have hurt. Is that the most serious injury you’ve sustained?
It is. A couple times.… You know, you get cut, your face gets cut. Little ones, a cut in my mouth, had to get five inside. Couple stitches here and there. I try to stay away from the hospitals as much as I can. A lot of times, they’re like ‘Aw, you gotta go to the doctor!’ I’m like, ‘I’ll put a fuckin’ butterfly on it, I’m not goin’ to the doctor,’ you know? I wanna stay and watch the other fights. I’m pretty tough. There’s not much that bothers me gettin’ hit.
How long do you want to be doing this? As long as you can?
Naw, I wanna make some money and go onto some other things, you know?
Like making your own grill? The Hammer Hibachi?
[Laughs] That’d be great, man, whaddid he get, like $140 million or somethin’? My God… maybe I’ll come out with a line of hammers or somethin’!
I’m goin’ to university. I’d like to get into boats, boat building, something on the water, you know? Just four or five more years, and I’m at the point right now I gotta make or break it. Big time’s definitely comin’. I’m still learning every day, every fight. It’s just the right progression, fightin’ the right guys, the right time, the right card, you know? I’m workin’ at it.
I just wanna win some regional titles. I’m startin’ to get rated by them. I’m in the top 10, top 15… That’s a stepping stone to a world title. I just wanna be in good fights. My main goal is not to win a world title, it’s just to be in good, solid fights at a high level, you know?
So what’s your fight preparation like? I know I see you out at the bars, having a good time now and then. Do you have a pretty rigorous schedule before a fight?
Hey, I’m just like you guys, you know? Just like any workin’ stiff out here. I like to go out and have a good time, enjoy a few cocktails after work with the guys and relax. But absolutely, before a fight, minimum five weeks, sometimes six, no beer; and at least seven or eight days, no sex. Absolutely, I like beer like anyone else, but I’ll go six weeks and not even miss it, I don’t even want one, cause I know I wanna win the fight. You know?
You guys wanna be in my entourage?
How big is your entourage?
Not that big, man! [Laughs]
What’s your girlfriend think of the whole boxing thing? Does she get nervous before a fight?
Yeah, she, ahh… she gets into it! [Laughs] I don’t know if she gets nervous anymore. She gets pretty excited.
Last week, they announced the other guy the winner. I wasn’t there, but they told me she threw her purse on the ground and said ‘Hey! They don’t – nobody cares!’ [Laughs] They made an error on the score cards. They fixed it a minute later. I think she likes it, though. She likes it, I think.
Are there boxing groupies?
I don’t know. I don’t care about that stuff, you know, I got my girlfriend. Some people hold things in higher regard, you know? I’m 20-and-0, you know? And that’s not a big deal to me, but it is a big deal to a lot of people. A lot of guys wanna buy me drinks, buy me shots after the fight, hangers on, people wanna hang out. Depends how I feel, you know? Sometimes you just wanna go relax. ‘Can I get a picture with you? Can I get an autograph?’ Which is cool, man, you know? Until I lose, then no one will love me. Everyone loves a winner, I guess.
Well, you wouldn’t know otherwise.
I wouldn’t know yet, man.