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Creature Comforts

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Float like a gargantuan, bird-eating spider, strike like a lizard daring enough to bite a man on the lip.

Hardly rings poetic. But brothers Bobby and Timothy Scoggins, lifelong curators of exotic animals and assorted creepy creatures, are trying to forge their own identities as boxers. Poetry, on paper or in the ring, simply isn’t their style.

Bobby, a cruiserweight, and Timothy, a light-heavyweight, devastating punchers and highly successful amateurs in their native Dallas, are 1-0 as professionals entering four-round fights tonight at the Reseda Country Club.

Bobby, 24, 202-21 as an amateur and a six-time Texas Golden Gloves champion, fights Dwight Staten. Timothy, 27, 188-16 and a two-time Golden Gloves champion, faces Ron Coleman.

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Both were victorious in their pro debuts last month at the Country Club.

Bobby, who likens his style to that of a grizzly bear, knocked out Paul Jones 2:58 into the second round seconds after Jones floored him.

“Grizzlies, they mind their own,” Bobby said. “But when they’re attacked, they attack with brute force.”

Timothy, who said he intends to add a grizzly, as well as a white tiger, to their collection, out-slugged James “Baby Tyson” Brock for a four-round unanimous decision.

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“I’m a technician,” Timothy said. “I have knockout power, strength you probably wouldn’t believe. I’ve been knocked down only once in my whole career and I got up and knocked the dude out.”

Said Bobby: “He doesn’t like it when I say this, but he’s like one of those rats that scrap in the alley--always fighting.”

Actually, the assessment describes both, according to Jimmy Scoggins, a Dallas pastor and former amateur heavyweight who serves as his sons’ co-manager.

Bobby and Timothy, among four brothers who began boxing and bug-collecting almost from the time they learned to walk, are meaner than junkyard dogs while wearing boxing gloves.

“They’re both gonna fight you from bell to bell and they’re both going to hurt you,” Jimmy Scoggins said. “One thing about them, they’re both very religious, very driven. They’re not quitters.”

All of which has helped in the transition from Texas amateurs to Southern California professionals.

After a brief and unsuccessful attempt to launch his sons’ careers in New York, Jimmy Scoggins brought them to Los Angeles to work with Phil Paolina, a former Brooklyn fighter and trainer noted more for his work with celebrities than prizefighters.

Bobby and Timothy are new to the region, new to the fight game and admittedly a bit homesick.

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“If Phil wasn’t such a good trainer, I’d have been back on the plane by now,” Timothy said.

Paolina’s efforts so far have centered around blending the Scogginses’ awesome punching power with their raw boxing skills.

Their work ethic, Paolina said, is exceptional.

“They’re not like a lot of what I call ‘Typical fighters of the ‘90s,’ ” Paolina said. “By that, I mean a fighter who wants free rent, a car and a cell phone before he’s even proven anything. These guys . . . they have the determination to fight and work hard and not live the good life at the moment.”

Bobby and Timothy find comfort by surrounding themselves with members of their ever-expanding menagerie--some of which share their Los Angeles home, as well as certain aspects of their personalities.

“They say people like animals that resemble their personalities,” Bobby said. “My fascination is that I admire the way they are. I like the way they stalk and seize.”

Their collection includes a two-foot-long alligator, an oversized spider with an appetite for fowl, a black leopard, scorpions, various reptiles, and, according to Timothy, “some of the meanest dogs you’ve ever seen.”

Of course, living among the beasts means living dangerously. Bobby has been bitten by his alligator, which he allows to roam free. Timothy’s pet iguana actually took a bite out of Bobby’s lip.

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“People say iguanas don’t have teeth,” Timothy said. “You ask him.”

Mishaps aside, the brothers enjoy living among predators, which both consider themselves to be.

“I feel like if something knows you, it will accept you,” Timothy said. “They don’t bother me. They’re more afraid of me than I am of them.”

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Fight Night

Tonight’s card at Reseda Country Club

* First bell, 7:30 p.m.

* Antonio Margarito (11-3, 6 KOs) vs. Horatio Garcia (8-0-1, 7 KOs), 10 rounds, welterweight.

* Bobby Scoggins (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Dwight Staten (0-0), four rounds, cruiserweight.

* Timothy Scoggins (1-0) vs. Ron Coleman (0-0), four rounds, light-heavyweight.

* Arnulfo Bravo (2-2, 1 KO) vs. Juan Carlos Martinez (2-1, 1 KO), four rounds, junior-lightweight.

* Luis Perez (3-0, 2 KOs) vs. Alejandro Jimenez (2-1, 1 KO), four rounds, junior-welterweight.

* Victor Ortiz (0-0) vs. Fredrick Parks (0-1), four rounds, light-heavyweight.

Tickets: $25-$75; Information: (818) 881-2988 or 881-2568.


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