Michigan vs. Detroit: Golden Gloves' in-state rivalry
by David Mayo | The Grand Rapids Press
Friday May 09, 2008, 3:35 AM
Email Webmaster
Website By:
Racecol Web Solutions
Hudsonville's Jordan Shimmell, will face Detroit's Craig Lewis in one heavyweight semifinal
at the National Golden Gloves on Friday night. Shimmell is 0-2 in his career against Lewis.  
GRAND RAPIDS -- Hey, Craig Lewis and Walter Burns deserve love, too -- even if they
aren't feeling it much. They are of Michigan, though not of Michigan Golden Gloves, and if it
weren't for the old-fashioned east vs. west rivalry going on, the two representatives of
Detroit Golden Gloves might even find themselves becoming residual fan favorites here.
Except there is little probability of that, what with the Detroit vs. Michigan showdowns
looming at heavyweight and super heavyweight. Everybody loves the big boys. Everybody
loves a rivalry. That's where Lewis and Burns find themselves uniquely placed in this
National Golden Gloves framework. This is their home-state tournament too, though they
are not the home team. They are the only two Detroiters still alive, compared to three from
the Grand Rapids-based Michigan franchise, which might make for a nice little balance, if
two of Michigan's three semifinalists weren't in those same weight divisions. The first
moment of reckoning comes tonight, when Lewis, 23, meets Hudsonville's Jordan Shimmell
in a heavyweight semifinal. Lewis, who has extensive national tournament experience, said
he has enjoyed "a little momentum, a little fan base. I'm not used to that at the nationals."
He also has beaten Shimmell in the last two Michigan USA Boxing tournaments -- when
there is no such division between Michigan and the four-county Detroit area, like in Golden
Gloves -- and denied the local boxer a chance at the U.S. Championships. Within moments
after Thursday's unanimous win over Isaac Atencio of Colorado-New Mexico, Lewis shifted
focus to Shimmell. "I've beaten him twice and it was very close both times," Lewis said. "It
can't be close this time, because it's in his hometown. If it's close, they'll give it to him. I've
got to earn it." Burns, 26, of Westland, has the grand total of 11 amateur bouts. He faces
New York's once-beaten Tor Hamer tonight, with Grand Rapids' Ryan O'Neal in the other
semifinal. Burns said it feels "special because we're boxing in Michigan." "Michigan looks
like your palm," he said, "and I feel like I'm right in the palm of God's hand." For our visitors
who don't know what he's talking about, either ask someone from Michigan, or just keep
reading. First, we didn't mean to cram Michigan down your throats. Honest. These guys
made us. Michigan has won a national team championship, oh, never. So this first-place
stuff, and unusual preoccupation with our palms, is pretty heady business. Second, this
Detroit vs. Michigan rivalry also caught us a bit by surprise. But since we're on the subject,
do you know what they call us in Detroit? "Outstate." That's right. If you're not from Detroit,
you live "outstate." I've lived in state 23 years, and still have just about as much idea what
that means as the rest of our visitors do about Burns and his palm. Still, you have to feel
good for the super heavyweight from Westland, and besides, rivalries can be pliable, when
it suits the need. Take Burns, of Dynamic Gym, and Lewis, who trains at Kronk. "It's one of
our rival gyms," Burns said, "but he's my roommate here, and we've been getting along, so
we've used this opportunity to come together and just forget all that stuff, you know? I had
heard of him, and heard he was a great guy, but I'm really glad I got to go on this trip with
him." It's that way on the west side, too -- O'Neal, of Martin Luther King Park Gym, and
Shimmell, of Michigan Golden Gloves Association Gym, set aside rivalries to spar before
this year's tournament. But until they all group-hug someday, there is a rivalry to feed,
starting tonight, Lewis vs. Shimmell, Detroit vs. Michigan. "There will be a nice crowd and I
know the fans are going to love it," Lewis said. "Me and Jordan will give them a tremendous
fight. No matter what, it will be a tremendous fight. "People will be talking about this for
years.