Russell Lamour worked a few extra shifts this month at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland in exchange for some time off this week. He needed time to prepare for his other job.

On Saturday night at the Portland Expo, Lamour will fight Laatekwei Hammond of Worcester, Massachusetts, for the New England middleweight boxing championship.

Lamour works the graveyard shift at Long Creek, monitoring a pod of residents. He didn’t want to be punching a time clock at dawn too many times this week. Not when he’s facing a punch-and-be-punched situation in the ring. Not when he’ll be putting his skills on the line in front of a hometown crowd of family and friends. He needed time off to get his mind right.

Boxing isn’t so much a job for Lamour as it is an obsession.

He’s a 30-year-old professional who will earn something in the neighborhood of $4,000 for Saturday’s work.

It’s not about the money, he says. He’s had seven pro fights to Hammond’s 27. He’s never lost a fight; Hammond has lost six times. Lamour believes that the way he fights Hammond will be another down payment.

“My goal is to be the world champion and unify all the titles,” he said. The Deering High School graduate wasn’t kidding. “This is why I can’t stop. It is my obsession.”

Nearly 200 miles away, in the rolling farm country of central Vermont, Chris Gilbert had to ask his boss for time off, too.

Gilbert is 29, a light middleweight and unbeaten in 11 pro fights. He’s a graduate of the University of Vermont with a degree in business. He said, “I interned for a mortgage company, but I love working with my hands.”

He’s the grounds manager for Sunnymede Farm, a historic 600-acre spread of pasture land for its livestock and a forest of sugar maples. If he’s not logging, he’s haying or helping his mom and the rest of the family manage the farm.

It’s fun, Gilbert says. It’s even satisfying. It’s not his passion.

“I go to sleep thinking of fighting and my career, and I wake up thinking the same things,” he said this week. “Fighting is my biggest test and I want to see where it takes me. The money isn’t important.

Gilbert is in one of the fights on Saturday’s undercard. His opponent will be Daniel Sostre (11-9-1), a native of Puerto Rico who is trained by Tracy Harris Patterson, a former super featherweight world champion and the adopted son of heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson.

Lamour and Gilbert are hard men, but not hardened. Aggressive and physical, both can turn to introspection. Both played high school football, both are social creatures with personalities that attract others.

Lamour, the Deering High graduate, walked into the Portland Boxing Club nearly 14 years ago. This spring, his 8-year-old son, Iziah, followed. “I don’t know,” Lamour says with a laugh. “I think basketball is going to be his sport.”

Maybe not. Lamour knows he can be an example to others, whether it’s in a gym or in a juvenile correctional facility. His 14-year commitment to boxing is astonishing in today’s world. The rewards seem so meager, so intangible.

Lamour usually leaves work at Long Creek around dawn. He decides whether he’ll run the roads for his workout or take a nap and then run. He spends many afternoons with a personal trainer. By early evening, he’s at the Portland Boxing Club, working with his longtime coach, Bobby Russo.

An uninterrupted eight hours of sleep is a dream.

Gilbert laughs when he’s told about Lamour’s schedule. “I know, boy do I know. I wouldn’t change it.

“People tell me I’m putting too much into (boxing) for the payoff. I live for when my hand gets raised. It’s what drives me, that 10 or 20 seconds after I’ve won the fight. That was my test.

“In boxing,” he said, “when you think you’re standing on the mountaintop, you’re not. There’s always someone else trying to take you down.”

His boxing career started 10 years ago, after he graduated from Windsor High School in a class of 70. A college education beckoned. So did another learning experience.

Lamour and Gilbert know why they still fight. If their rewards are still measured by the satisfaction they feel, rather than the money they make, so be it. Either way, they earn it with their blood and sweat.