Golden Gloves finalist honoring fallen friend
by The Grand Rapids Press
Saturday May 10, 2008, 12:45 AM
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Odds & ends from Friday night at DeVos Place for the National Golden Gloves Tournament
of Champions:
In memory of a friend
Joseph Elegele lost a National Junior Olympics fight at age 16 to highly regarded Mickey
Bey in Marquette and quit the sport for six years. But after his best friend, Troy Harden, had
his life cut short by a bullet two blocks from their gym in Melbourne, Fla., Elegele returned to
the ring. Harden was killed Aug. 7, 2007. Nine months later, Elegele will box for the National
Golden Gloves light welterweight title. "We started boxing together when we were 11 or 12,"
Elegele said. "When he lost, I would want to fight the same guy and win for him. He was 5-0
when he lost a pro fight. That's what made me come back. I should have been there for him."
A house divided
Detroit and Grand Rapids are on opposite sides of the state geographically and in
arguments about their greatest boxing icons. They had Joe Louis, we had Stanley Ketchel.
Advantage, Detroit, and anyone who argues otherwise is silly. They also had Thomas
Hearns, and we have Floyd Mayweather, and one more self-serving word from Emanuel
Steward about "Tommy would've beaten Floyd" will be one too many. Hearns won his first
of six weight divisions at 147 pounds. Mayweather, a five-division champion, never has
weighed more than 150. If you want to compare them pound-for-pound, Hearns flopped on
his back or face so many times -- and Iran Barkley was no superstar, folks -- that his china-
shop chin puts him in the back seat to Mayweather. Sorry, Detroit.
Fast facts
• Visitors can get a good album picture while paying respects to Ketchel on the highest knoll
in Holy Cross Cemetery. Get someone to drive you there from St. Adalbert's, and you can
follow the same 1910 funeral procession as 5,000 mourners. • John Brown, who trains
heavyweight Jeremiah Graziano, started a boxing equipment and apparel business in his
Lenexa, Kan., home a few years ago. Ringside now is an industry leader and major Golden
Gloves sponsor.
"I wanted these kids to win a national title in their hometown. I even told Jordan Shimmell, 'I
don't want you driving down this expressway 25 years from now, 30 years from now, with
your kids or your grandkids riding with you, and you tell them that's where you almost won
the national title. I want you to be able to say you won the national title in that building, right
-- Randy Sutter, Michigan team manager from Coopersville, before Friday's semifinals
"I'm always saying this, and I can deliver -- we've never had a bad tournament. There's no
such thing as a bad National Golden Gloves tournament."
-- Jim Beasley, executive director, Golden Gloves Association of America
"People try to go around him, but he still gets to them. So I don't know what I'm going to do."
-- Roman Morales, of California, on his bantamweight final tonight against Saginaw's
Ernesto arza, who leads this tournament with three stoppage victories
By the numbers
1 -- Reality TV star in attendance Friday -- Chuck Wissmiller, formerly of Grand Rapids and
star of the A&E reality show "Family Plots," about a suburban San Diego funeral home
33 -- Number of referees who work the semifinals and finals, one for each bout