Internet video adds twist to Golden Gloves scouting
by David Mayo | The Grand Rapids Press
Thursday May 08, 2008, 4:25 AM
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GRAND RAPIDS -- If you don't want the whole world to see something, don't put it on
YouTube. Among National Golden Gloves participants here this week, the philosophies
vary widely. Some want their bouts exposed on Internet, while others protect against it;
some scout the publicly provided videos intently, while others ignore them entirely.
This much is certain: Internet video offers amateur boxers an opportunity to scout future
opponents in a new-wave fashion, and they are doing it en masse. Early this week, several
team members from Washington crammed into a small cubicle where computer terminals
are provided in their hotel lobby, scouring videos of opponents they never had seen.
Andrew Council, the former middleweight contender from the nation's capital, whose 2005
loss here to Troy Rowland was his last professional fight, monitored the video study.
Some coaches cast a suspicious eye to the whole YouTube endeavor. Jordan Shimmell of
Hudsonville and U.S. champion Jeremiah Graziano already anticipate the possibility of
meeting for the heavyweight national championship Saturday night. John Brown, Graziano's
trainer in Lenexa, Kan., has likened the potential championship bout to a Muhammad
Ali-Mike Tyson style of fight, saying Graziano will fill the bomb-throwing Tyson character,
and Shimmell the Ali character, "because we hear the Shimmell kid likes to get up on his
toes."
Brown finally got a first-hand look Wednesday, when Shimmell did little dancing, and
Graziano even less, in a pair of decision victories, both after drawing first-round byes.
Once the tournament begins, and everybody sees everybody else, the advance scouting is
public, and quite basic. In pre-tournament preparation, however, Shimmell was just a
concept to Graziano, while the Kansas City Golden Gloves boxer is well-known to Shimmell.
That's because of their approaches to YouTube. "I put my own fights on there," Graziano
said. "But I never scout nobody. If I try to see somebody, and how they fight, and if I see
someone is susceptible to the right hand, I throw nothing but right hands. I'd rather just go in
there and fight my fight." So what is the benefit to posting his fights at all? "I do it because
my family has never seen my fights, and my friends have never seen my fights," said
Graziano, 21, an Oregon native who moved to Kansas to work with Brown. "And I'm proud
of a lot of them, so I want to show them off." Not all viewers are family or friends, nor are
they all watching for entertainment purposes. Shimmell, 19, doesn't scout opponents, either.
But his father, Dennis, certainly does. "By the time I fight someone, my dad can already tell
me everything about the guy," Shimmell said. Dennis Shimmell, a local attorney and former
boxer, has pored over all those videos Graziano so graciously provided. His son, after
sneaking up on everyone for a national runner-up finish two years ago, is arguably the
featured boxer this year, and needs every edge. It will be difficult to keep Jordan Shimmell
videos off YouTube after this week, but his father has done a remarkable job until now of
limiting them to "just little clips that I've put together." Tyler James' brother scouts Internet
video of future opponents for the Grand Rapids flyweight. James also is headed for tonight's
quarterfinals. Another YouTube boxing geek in the quarterfinals is Cleveland welterweight
Eduardo Alicia, who won the only in-state rivalry on Wednesday's 81-bout card when he
decisioned Toledo's Adrian Wilson. The 17-year-old Alicia already knew Wilson, though --
his win avenged a loss in the 2005 Silver Gloves, for junior boxers -- and isn't quite as
advanced in using YouTube as a scouting tool. "I only watch (Floyd) Mayweather," he said.
"He's my favorite fighter."