Jason Litzau is a kid from the East Side of St. Paul. He learned the fundamentals of boxing at the Rice Street Gym. The press conference announcing his first big-time bout was held at Yarusso Bros., the legendary Payne Avenue Italian restaurant. The hometown kid has compiled an impressive 23-2 record, earning a reputation as a fearless fighter who puts on a show for the crowd. "Hands down, Jason Litzau is the best fighter in the state," says Jesse Kelley, editor of the Minnesota Boxing website. "He's got a lot of power for his size." But this heady run of success for the 126-pound fighter took a blow in February when he fought for the International Boxing Federation featherweight title against Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero. Lacing up the gloves in front of a hostile crowd, Litzau put on a nervous performance. "It looked like he was caught up in the moment," says Kelley. "For about the first four rounds he was hesitant." Litzau paid the price for this slow start in the eighth round. Guerrero twice sent him spiraling to the canvas, knocking out the 24-year-old challenger. Despite this disappointing performance, Litzau's manager, Bob Van Syckle, believes the East Side kid will be ready the next time he gets a shot at the belt. "For him to get to this level is unbelievable," says Van Syckle. "Now he believes he should be at this level. He's going to come back stronger than ever."