Golden Gloves comes up light at two weights
by The Grand Rapds Press
Tuesday May 06, 2008, 12:10 AM
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Odds & ends from Monday night at DeVos Place for the National Golden Gloves
Tournament of Champions:
U.S. boxing traditionally has trouble filling the two lightest weight divisions, light flyweight
and flyweight, and this tournament is no exception. There were 12 entrants at light
flyweight, and 13 at flyweight, out of a possible 30 in each. Neither division had enough
entrants to warrant a first-round bout, and will begin competition with Wednesday's second
round. All other divisions are projected to have at least 24 boxers per bracket. A full field of
30 middleweights began competition Monday.
Daniel O'Connor, fresh off his victory in the U.S. Championships in March, won a decision
over California's Antonio Corrales in their light welterweight bout. O'Connor, of Framingham,
Mass., wasn't pleased with his slow start, though, and said he knows why he struggled
early. "My eating habits are usually good for the most part, but maybe I ate a little bit too
much today, and I was a little bit sluggish," he said. "I was a little bit hungry today, and
maybe I had too much to eat. I don't know exactly what it was, so I'm going to have to go
back and tweak something. Maybe something didn't digest properly."
Heavyweight Nicholas Kisner of Washington upset Michael Bissett of Knoxville Golden
Gloves. Bissett, of Smyrna, Tenn., was runner-up in March at the U.S. Championships. All
four heavyweight semifinalists at the U.S. Championships are here, led by national
champion Jeremiah Graziano of Lenexa, Kan. In the same division is Hudsonville's Jordan
Shimmell, the 2006 National Golden Gloves runner-up.
A legal snafu between Golden Gloves Association of America and television provider TVSN
apparently is headed for court. Golden Gloves intends to sue, alleging breach for failure to
pay money owed from last year's tournament, according to Michigan Golden Gloves director
Dave Packer, a member of the Golden Gloves national media committee. Public access
WKTV will produce Saturday's finals, with former lightweight champion Sean O'Grady and
local analyst Bob Serulla calling the bouts from ringside, and Golden Gloves hopes to sell
the telecast to a national sports network. WKTV will retain local rights.
A protest over scoring in the Knoxville Golden Gloves middleweight final went all the way to
USA Boxing, where a do-over was ordered. So the winner and runner-up were forced to
fight again here. Keandrae Leatherwood, initially ruled the winner in Tennessee, reaffirmed
his victory with a 4-1 decision over Kenneth McNeil, whose trip here was paid by the
national governing body. Both competed unattached, and Knoxville was denied the first-
round team point, although Leatherwood will represent the franchise the rest of the way. "It
was parents gone wild," said Knoxville franchise director Jerry "Ace" Miller. "It was the first
time in the history of this tournament it ever happened -- and the last time it will happen, too."
Leonard Ellerbe, adviser and closest confidant to Grand Rapids pound-for-pound king Floyd
Mayweather, whose $140,000 donation covered expenses for the entire tournament, was
denied admittance to DeVos Place for a few minutes because he did not have credentials.
"I'm just being patient," Ellerbe said. Longtime Golden Gloves figure Bill Chrisman waved
Ellerbe through when he was alerted to the issue.
• The most outstanding boxer of the tournament receives the "Golden Boy Award," though
for $140,000, Mayweather might have gotten the name changed, if he had asked.
• Just in case anyone is interested, round-card girls will work Saturday's finals, which hasn't
happened at Golden Gloves here in, oh ... ever?
• From the Roy Jones "Y'all Musta Forgot" file, the old Civic Auditorium columned entrance
is open for nostalgic ticket-holders to enter the competition venue. Hardly anyone used it
3 -- Bouts that did not last the three-round distance Monday, out of 45 contested.
81 -- Number of second-round bouts projected for Wednesday, 27 in each ring, if every
qualified entrant clears weigh-in and physical exams.
97 -- Projected total first-round bouts, if every qualified entrant clears the scales today.
There were 45 bouts Monday, and another 52 projected tonight.
266 -- Total projected entrants, if all qualifiers clear the scales and physicals today.