Last summer, Lynchburg boxer Scott Sigmon lost to former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik in a nationally televised fight. Five weeks after that bout he underwent shoulder surgery, and is planning to return to the ring in April.
The last time Bedford native Scott "Cujo" Sigmon stepped into the ring, June 2012, was under the bright lights in Las Vegas. He was bruised and bloodied by former World Champ Kelly Pavlik in a seventh-round technical knockout.
It's more than eight months since he lost the biggest fight of his career.
"I think the fans of Lynchburg, and Roanoke and Bedford, they deserve better than somebody getting on the stage like I just did and falling apart," Sigmon said.
The defeat changed him, and it's changing the lives of the people around him.
"Regardless if you get down, you're still going to get back up. People will still admire you for that. They will support that, they will get behind that," Sigmon’s skills coach, Breon Rucker, said.
Rucker first met Sigmon three years ago when the brash young fighter walked into a gym while Rucker was training.
"He walked up to and was like, 'Heard you think my boxing better than mine. We're going to see. Put your gloves on right now.' I was like, 'Who is this guy?' I've never heard of this guy. We sparred and he beat the bricks off of me man," Rucker said.
While Sigmon doesn't lack for confidence, the Pavlik fight showed he needed another set of eyes. Rucker now works as his skills coach.
"We've really focused on my balance, my footwork. Turning over my punches and sitting down on my shots,” Sigmon said. “I used to kind of be a volume puncher, I'd throw a lot of meaningless shots."
Both men have taken their hits -- in the ring and in life. Injuries forced Rucker to quit his own career. But he's found new meaning as a mentor for Sigmon.
"Because at that point of my career I kind of stopped believing in myself. He gave me something to believe in again," Rucker said.
Sigmon believes in the future of boxing. He runs his own gym in Lynchburg and trains seven or eight of his own fighters.
"I may not ever become World Champion,” Sigmon said. “But the thing that I'm happy about, I believe I'm going to make the opportunity available for someone local to potentially one day become World Champion."
Rucker said: "I would have been a pretty good fighter if it wasn't for the injuries that I've sustained. Maybe that wasn't in God's plan for me. Maybe his plan was for me to stay and help coach him, who can help somebody else. And pass it forward and pass it forward."
On April 6th, Sigmon will be back in the ring as the main event for a sold-out night of fights outside Lynchburg.
Cujo is ready for his comeback.