The 19-year-old Olympian signed a pro contract this week with boxing great Floyd Mayweather’s promotions company — and makes his punch-for-pay debut March 4 in the hometown Barclays Center.
“I told Floyd, ‘I want to beat your record and I want you to help me do it,’” Hitchins told the Daily News, referencing Mayweather’s unblemished career 49-0 mark.
“I definitely want to be one of the greatest to go down in the sport of boxing... He’s one of the boxers that inspired me a lot.”
The two-time Daily News Golden Gloves champ spoke inside the Cops and Kids Boxing gym in East Flatbush, where he found a home and a mentor in ex-NYPD narcotics cop Pat Russo.
Hitchins first arrived at the gym seven years ago, shortly after watching a gun-toting woman walk into a Brooklyn park and coldly gun down a neighborhood guy.
His mother delivered her son to Russo, convinced throwing punches in the ring was safer than dodging bullets on the street.
The results were astounding: Hitchins became a fighting prodigy, taking home multiple amateur titles. And last summer, the 141-pounder represented his parents’ native Haiti in the Rio Olympics.
Mayweather was among those impressed by the teen’s ring savvy during his Brazilian bout.
“He saw a hungry young kid that he thought had ‘it,’” said Russo. “They hit it off, and he promised (Hitchins) when the Olympics were over he was going to get in contact and discuss signing.”
Mayweather even gave Hitchins his cell phone number, although the young fighter didn’t believe it was the real thing.
He was wrong.
Mayweather, who won titles in five weight classes during his legendary career, called this past October with an invite to his Las Vegas home.
“He shook our hands, made us a lot of promises, and this week he followed through on everything he promised,” said Russo.
The actual Monday signing in Las Vegas, with Mayweather standing over Hitchins’ right shoulder as the kid signed his multi-year contract, remains a bit surreal to the teen fighter.
“I was like, ‘I’m really signing with Floyd. This is crazy,’” he recounted.
Fellow denizens of the gym stopped by as Hitchins spoke, offering hugs and hand-slaps of congratulations. And the Mayweather camp was already predicting big things for their new protege.
“Hitchins is a star in the making, and we are in a position to get him to world champion status,” said Mayweather Productions CEO Leonard Ellerbe.
Richardson was pumped about his first fight on the undercard at Barclays next month.
“I barely fight in Brooklyn,” said the excited Hitchins. “It’s gonna be cool to transform into a pro by fighting at Barclays.”
The born-and-bred Brooklynite promised the money and attention won’t change his approach to fighting.
“I’m in here,” said Hitchins, gesturing to the dingy gym around him. “This is what started it all. That’s the main thing I want to have in the back of my head.”