Golden Gloves meaningful to Mayweathers
by Steve Kaminski | The Grand Rapids Press
Sunday April 20, 2008, 12:14 AM
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Floyd Mayweather Sr. lost in the finals of the 1973 National Golden Gloves as a
welterweight. Floyd Mayweather Sr. enjoyed a successful professional boxing
career -- then found even greater success as a trainer. As a fighter, Mayweather
posted a 29-6-1 pro record during a career that pitted him against the likes of
Sugar Ray Leonard. Mayweather often is credited for developing his son, Floyd
Mayweather Jr., who is considered the world's greatest boxer, and today trains
Oscar De La Hoya. He also was named Boxing Writers Association of America
1998 Manager of the Year for moving his son quickly to a championship. But
after all his successes, there is still one fight that gnaws at Mayweather, and it
came 35 years ago. Turn back the clock to 1973 when Mayweather had fought
his way into the National Golden Gloves welterweight championship finals in
Lowell, Mass. Mayweather squared off against a seasoned fighter named Larry
Bonds of Syracuse, N.Y., who already had won a national light welterweight title
in 1970. Want to agitate Mayweather? Bring up that fight. "I lost in a very
unpopular decision," said Mayweather, 55. "I had messed up my hand, but I kept
beating people on the way to the finals. I know I won that fight. There is no
question I won that fight. "I went back to nationals in 1974, and the third fight in,
the guy dropped me, and I can accept that. But I know I won in '73." Mayweather
will return to his roots when Grand Rapids hosts the National Golden Gloves at
DeVos Place. He announced he will attend each night of the tournament, which
will run May 5-10. The younger Mayweather paid $140,000 to cover the
tournament's projected operating budget, underscoring his father's remarks
about the tournament's impact on their entire family. "The Golden Gloves got
me where I am today, and I am a wealthy man," Mayweather Sr. said. "I was the
first one in my family, and they all followed me, Roger, Jeff and my son. I'm a
blessed man today because of it, and I'm very proud of the Golden Gloves.
That's why I'm going to go there for the week, to say thanks to everyone for
giving me my start. "Golden Gloves made me a better fighter. There is so much
you can learn from it. I was kind of a violent man. I would get into a lot of fights.
That's what got me into the Golden Gloves. But now I'm a calm, cool and
collected guy, I'm now a citizen and a senior citizen." Mayweather could not
recall the final score of his loss to Bonds, and neither could Dave Packer,
director of Michigan Golden Gloves. Jim Beasley, the executive director of the
National Golden Gloves, said he was unable to locate records of that fight.
While Packer can't recall specifics about the bout, he does recall there was
controversy. "I vaguely remember the fight because I have been to a lot of
nationals, but I remember thinking that Floyd won, and we talked to some
people who thought Floyd won," Packer said. "Floyd was a very good boxer. He
was probably one of the best to come out of the area."