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Alberdi’s hard work leads to memorable career

A.J. Godeaux | Thursday, February 28, 2013


Ryan Alberdi lets his fists speak for him. The soft spoken, former Sorin resident from Clearwater, Fla. is not like the typical boxer when it comes to self-promotion outside of the ring – all of his talking begins when the bell rings.

Alberdi’s defining feature is a mustache thicker than the Brazilian Amazon- – the only way to describe it is just plain awesome. A four-month project, Alberdi was clearly proud of his lip foliage.

“It started for Movember, and afterward I decided I’d keep it for Bengal Bouts,” Alberdi said. “I curl it now, like an old school 1920s boxer.”

Like many Bengal Bouts participants, Alberdi wrestled all four years in high school. Upon his arrival to Notre Dame, Bengal Bouts filled the void wrestling left.

“[One-on competition] was something I really missed … Just knowing that everyone’s watching you, and that if you make a mistake there’s no one else to blame but yourself.”

Unlike some other fighters who like to get pumped up before a fight, Alberdi claimed he fights better when he’s calm. In fact, Alberdi’s prefight routine is more like a lazy Sunday afternoon than preparation for the intense one-on-one competition he so craves.

“Going back to wrestling, I always make myself a peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich,” he said. “I’ll listen to some mellow music and just lie down.”

That calm nature translates to his fighting style as well. A defensive fighter, Alberdi waits for his opportunities, not forcing anything.

“I just sit back, waiting on openings,” he said. “I try to let them come, let them attack me and wait for those opportunities to move forward.”

As a freshman novice, Alberdi’s inaugural Bengal Bouts ended the way most novices do, with a first-round loss. Following the loss though, Alberdi turned his newfound hobby into a year round obsession. He started training at a boxing gym in his hometown of Clearwater, which Alberdi said was a learning experience.

“At the beginning of the summer I sparred my trainer and I had a tendency to lean over in my stance from wrestling,” he said. “He broke my nose. Then I sparred him at the end of the summer, and he broke my nose again.”

Despite the broken bones, Alberdi came back a different fighter his sophomore year. Fighting in the 160-pound division, he advanced all the way to the finals before succumbing to the first seed Robert Powers. After putting on weight in the summer, he came back as a junior with unfinished business, this time in the 171-pound division. In a defensive fight, Alberdi defeated Jake Joe to take the crown, citing it as his favorite memory of Bengal Bouts.

“It’s an awesome feeling, being in the finals,” he said. “And when you win and you’re in the center, everyone’s around you, it’s great.” 

It’s that feeling which has Alberdi wanting to ride off into the sunset as a two-time champion. It won’t be easy, and Alberdi is the first to say that.  If the bracket goes as expected, Alberdi will face off with another past champion, Joe Salvi, in the 176 pound division finals. 

Still, Alberdi said he believes his training has set him up for a repeat. Despite the time commitment of his summer research, Alberdi was still able to train a few days a week over the summer, steadily increasing the rigor which peaked after winter break. Since then, he has been training six to seven days a week.

Despite this being his last Bengal Bouts as a boxer, Alberdi was a accepted to Notre Dame’s grad school to pursue a Ph.D. in civil engineering. Alberdi said he has left the door open to coming back as a coach.

“I couldn’t fight because you can only fight for four years,” he said. “But I’d love to come back as a coach or anyway I could help out.”

Alberdi’s Bengal Bouts career will end with the shaving of his mustache on Friday night, but he’s thrilled with the opportunities and memories Bengal Bouts has given him.

Contact A.J. Godeaux at [email protected]