I grew up in Denver. The population has exploded here in the last 4 or 5 years but its certainly not what most people would consider a 'big' city like NY or LA. When I was a teenager this city was much smaller it seems, but one thing I have noticed, when I grew up there were a large population of racist skin heads in this city. Now there seems to be none. (Although anyone familliar with Denver knows about the Nathan Thill shooting of an African immigrant a few years back and the skin heads shooting of a police officer only a month before.) When I grew up it seemed as though my friends and I were always fighting with skinheads. They would be down at the poolhall, the malls, the lake where we would hang out and there was always trouble. Twice we even had a meeting for a "rumble" which blew over with only 3 or 4 fights happening and everyone else watching. I wanted an advantage in fighting these guys. I considered a martial art. I had taken judo off and on as a kid and really enjoyed it but didn't feel it would really work against punches and striking. (A view I now have changed). There was a rumor going around that some of these guys were looking for me. I was aware that some of these guys had jumped a guy at a gas station and put him in the hospital not long before I heard this rumor about them coming after me. I was in highschool at this time and was taking a simple weight training class for gym. I really enjoyed it and I took to it well. I started to work out at school and again when I got home on a rinky dink little weight set in my back yard. I thought this would help me in some way when it came time to fight. (Figuring it would help my punching power.) I decided I would like something simple that could help me fight so I flipped on some boxing (Tuesday night fights). I didn't understand a thing about boxing at the time and thought it was just a sport of two guys slugging it to see who was stronger, but I thought I could maybe pick something up. I watched the fights and enjoyed them. I really enjoyed it and started to realize how much a science the sport was. I watched every week and every chance I could get I watched boxing.
I even watched the boxing on the spanish channel, totally enraptured. Soon after was the Tyson v McKneely fight. The hype had me very excited and it never occured to me that this was a tremendous mismatch and not worth the money. I watched the Tyson fight and thought that was a "great fight". Tyson running over some punk in 10 seconds. Monday I went down and hooked up with a boxing gym. Of course I made an ass out of myself trying to copy what I thought I had learned by watching television obsessively. We did a bob and weave drill with everyone on a line and I came out of my crouch and threw a bunch of bullshit arm punches. I didn't know what a 1-2 was, I just wanted to PUNCH! I ended up doing some defensive drills which consisted of all the experienced boxers in the gym beating the shit out of me, did a lot of running and jumped rope. The next month I jumped rope every practice. I didn't understand why I wasn't learning anything and got fed up and left. I went to another gym thereafter because the bug really had me. I learned a little bit but it wasn't a good fit. I bounced around to one more gym and then another before I finally found my fit. I found out later that the fist gym I went to, (A little gym right next to Mile High Stadium called Rude Park pronouced RUDY) produced great pure boxers but the guy who was head coach there didn't like teaching guys who were not Mexican. At my gym where I found my fit, as usual I was the only white guy. I was just fed up and watned my shot at boxing. I loved the sport, or what I knew of it and I wanted to prove I could be good at it. I drove every mon, weds and friday one hour after my college classes were out to go down and train. The guy I trained with one a tough, tough guy. He was a Sgt. on the gang squad in Denver. He was a state champion wrestler in highschool, joined the airforce and continued boxing, (he started in jr. highschool.) He won a lot of amateur titles and had a few pro fights despite his coach in the Air force being what he described as "not very knowledgable"
He liked boxing as a sport and we would hook up and watch boxing at his place on the weekends, he'd drive me to all my tournements. He taught my how boxing could be used as street defense and as sport. He showed me some shitty police subs, which I didn't pay much attention to. Never any wrestling but a lot of boxing as defense and boxing as art. We took trips down to Colorado springs to spar with the airforce, and trips to other states to fight in tourneys, I was very close with my coach, but he was extremely hard on me. He seemed to relish embarrassing me. "YOU ARE FIGHTING LIKE A BITCH, you look like a woman" I remember him screaming in the middle of one of my sparring sessions. The whole gym stopped and stared at me. I was so embarrassed. But it pushed me, it showed me that he wasn't going to be easy on me and that whatever adversity I had to deal with I could push through it. "YOU ARE THE WORST ATHLETE I HAVE EVER SEEN!" he told me once. Then when we'd travel to another gym he'd tell the other coaches "this is my best fighter, he's damn fast for a white boy and boy can he hit" I will always thank my coach Leroy for what he has given me, the teching and the knowleged that whatever I put my mind to I can achieve. I never got in many fights after I started to train with him, because he always had me in bed early, up at 4 AM running and training the rest of the time, there was not time to get in trouble. That skin head thing blew over, although I did punch one guy in the mouth once that was with that gang and dropped him, ending the fight and splitting his lip. I just though I'd share my experience and how it changed me for the better. I know now after all the humiliaton I worked through, and the work outs so hard I felt like I'd drop but I kept going, through the times I was pushed so hard I actually puked and kept moving, I can do anything I put my mind to. I owe boxing a lot, it helped me become a man.
great story thanks for sharing. All those groups that are trying to ban boxing like the AMA should read your post. Maybe it would enlighten them.
boxing showed me how to succeed and also kept me from becoming a thug. George Foreman, Archie Moore, Joe Frazier and Roy Jones Jr. have also made similar statements.