Byrd wins National Golden Gloves flyweight title
by Steve Vedder | The Grand Rapids Press
Sunday May 11, 2008, 12:45 AM
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Louie Byrd, left, of Colorado-New Mexico, celebrates his National Golden Gloves light
flyweight victory over California's Malcolm Franklin. GRAND RAPIDS -- Louie Byrd
attempted every sport he could find as a youngster growing up in Denver. He played
football in the Police Athletic League in the attempt to stay in shape, tried his hand at
baseball and even contemplated getting into wrestling. He enjoyed all the sports, but at
5-foot-2, 106 pounds, Byrd was limited what he could athletically. Then at the behest of his
sister, Candace, who enjoyed the sport, he found boxing. He's never looked back. Byrd
defeated Malcolm Franklin of California 3-2 in Saturday's light flyweight division of the
National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions at the DeVos Place. The win finished
off a string of four national titles for Byrd, ranked No. 2 in the country by USA Boxing. He
won two junior Olympic titles in 2006 and 2007. The 17-year-old junior at Wheatridge High
School in Denver said after trying to play other sports, there was a simple reason why he
eventually traded them for boxing. "I tried playing football and boxing together, but it didn't
work," he said. "Those sports were okay, but fell in love with boxing." It's become a physical
match for Byrd, who uses quickness, a solid punch and an ability to change strategy on the
fly. Byrd said it's a sport where size isn't necessarily tied to success. "I don't care about size
and no one I hit cares about my size," he said. "I've always liked the one-man team concept
about boxing. It's up to yourself how you do." Byrd said it's important not to confuse
confidence and cockiness with how he approaches boxing. He said he came to Grand
Rapids for one reason: to win. "If I was second, then I'm last. You have to be first," he said.
"There is a difference between being cocky and confidence and I was confident I could do
my best all week." Byrd's father and coach, Jeff Byrd, said the win over Franklin was an
example of his son being able to switch strategies when one was flagging. "He changed to
southpaw," Byrd said. "We knew he had to do something different to catch Malcolm. Louie
changed to lead with his power instead of his jab. He made an adjustment, but he can make
those. "I believe in that old saying, 'You make your mind like water and let it flow.' " In the
second bout of the night, Jorge Abiague of New England defeated Daniel Lozano of Florida
5-0.