Mayweather's gift to Golden Gloves draws praise
by David Mayo | The Grand Rapids Press
Sunday April 13, 2008, 2:33 AM
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WYOMING --Floyd Mayweather's $140,000 donation to cover projected expenses
for the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions brought similar
responses, in separate interviews, from the highest-ranking officials in the
organization's national hierarchy last week. The national tournament visits
DeVos Place May 5-10. "People say that the first thing to go on a boxer is his
legs," said Jim Beasley, the Golden Gloves Association of America Inc.'s
executive director, and only paid employee. "I've always said the first thing to
go is his memory. "He forgets who helped him get there. He forgets the
coaches who took him around the countryside. He forgets who bought him
tennis shoes when his family didn't have the money for it. And when he turns
pro, and if he is fortunate enough to make it big, he forgets where he came
from. This is a reverse of that. Floyd Mayweather remembered. It's a brand new
day." Ray Rodgers, the organization's president, and highest-ranking elected
official, has been involved with Golden Gloves for decades, and has served as
cut man for professional boxers from Jermain Taylor to Tommy Morrison.
"This is the first time a person who came through Golden Gloves, and
accumulated an excessive amount of wherewithal, really stepped up to the
plate and remembered where he came from," Rodgers said. "Most boxers, you
can buy them 50,000 hamburgers, 22,000 milk shakes, drive them 500,000 miles,
and when they come back to their hometown and turn pro, you have to pay for a
ticket to watch them fight. Floyd Mayweather didn't forget." Local TV station
could get national gig Public-access WKTV could figure prominently into the
television production of the National Golden Gloves. The Golden Gloves
Association of America has been involved in a financial dispute with TVSN, its
contractual television producer. Beasley said he hopes the situation is resolved
before the national tournament. If not, WKTV already is planning to do the
production, for rebroadcast on ESPN Classic, of the May 9 national semifinals,
and May 10 finals. Catch the finals on TV WKTV's production of Saturday's state
finals will be rebroadcast at 11 a.m. today (channel 24 on Comcast Grand
Rapids). Cover guy Jarvis Edwards, who lost to Jordan Shimmell in a
much-anticipated West Michigan final between local heavyweights, did not
show up for weigh-in Friday. That left Shimmell to fight Saginaw's Kyle Delgado
in Saturday's late state heavyweight final, for the national tournament berth, a
bout he won on a second-round stoppage. Shimmell and Edwards were featured
together on the state tournament program cover. Oops. Hall of Fame inductees
Michigan Golden Gloves president Jim Brown of Cedar Springs, and longtime
Davison trainer Arnie Wells Sr., became the 29th and 30th inductees into the
Robert C. Todish Michigan Golden Gloves Hall of Fame. Award winners
Jose Rodriguez, a freshman majoring in agriculture at Michigan State University,
was named as the sixth recipient of the $500 Max J. Harnish scholarship,
awarded annually by friends and family of Harnish, the legendary late referee
and Grand Rapids Hall of Fame inductee. Rodriguez boxes for Lansing's Crown
Boxing Club. ... Holland light welterweight Johnny Garcia received the Jack
Evola Memorial Award as the outstanding open boxer, and Grand Rapids
heavyweight Craig Schwallier received the Morey Bowman Memorial Award as
outstanding novice. ... Nekhai Hong, who won a 5-0 decision in a featherweight
women's final that may have been the night's best, received the Nick Spruit
Memorial Award as the boxer best exemplifying the spirit of Golden Gloves. ...
Mark Harrison received the William C. Flynn Memorial Trophy as coach of the
year. ... West Michigan won the Coors Light team championship trophy by a
104-71 score over East Michigan, after boxers from the local sub-franchise took
eight of the Michigan team's 11 spots for the national tournament. East Michigan
took two spots, with one vacancy at light flyweight.