Boxing:  The Way Out  – Micky Ward On The Benefits Of The “Sweet Science”

Boxing: The Way Out – Micky Ward On The Benefits Of The “Sweet Science”

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every fighter is scared every fighter gets hurt it’s how you
deal with adversity that counts you either quit or you keep going words of wisdom from lowell boxing legend
micky ward micky was able to box his way out of a
troubled life but today with most after-school programs being cut due to
the economy how do we keep high risk kids out of trouble and out of jail hello and welcome to the educational
forum I’m diane sullivan your host for today’s show when you think of boxing all you might
see are two fighters beating at each other are guests see it quite differently your left hand will be number one on this side ok
so I say one you through that there you go two will be this hand over
here so one two there you go then when we do this as a focus mitt
workout it’s the closest thing to sparring it gets the kids used to throwing combinations so this
is where you start their training a lot of it you know first we try to get them to do
three rounds on the speed bag heavy bag shadow boxing jump rope then they’ll come in for three or four rounds of this
so you’re talking fifteen rounds or so in a day you know four or five days a week your nickname is irish is that for
obvious ethnic reasons i guess but i was named so many different nicknames
early in my career i had like three or four of them and uh… and finally irish and I kept that one
I had like the baby face assassin i didn’t like that I hated that you know and a couple others ones
similar to that irish uh it stuck irish is a great name but of course my
name’s sullivan so what would I say right tell us about your early career as a new
england champion boxer well I started when i was seven years old
fighting my brother he took me down to the gym when I was young and you know it just progressed from there
I fought in the silver mittens I fought in the junior olympics when I was a little kid silver mittens then i went to the golden gloves
and the new england aau now called the abs and uh… all those different tournaments and then i
finally turned pro at nineteen you know and the rest is history so it was your brother who actually got
you involved in the sport yes he started me off introduce us to your brother my brother is dick ecklund if you have seen the movie
the fighter you know the crazy one jumping out of windows
there’s one in every family it was him after winning your first fourteen fights you take a hiatus from boxing why was
that well I took a hiatus because you know i i i fought a few fights after
that and in boxing when you’re winning you’re on top
you know everything’s great but when you lose a few flights and uh… you
know you’re not the same they’re not the same to the
promoters you’re like a being at a meat counter next next ticket next if you lose
there’s always ten guys behind you that uh… that’s just as good you know so i lost a few fights and uh i
felt I was just getting thrown in there because you know just using me as a stepping stone and things like that
so i said nah I don’t want that i’ll go back to
work I’m not gonna you know for short money get my head pounded in
and be used by these promoters so I said so I’m done and that’s why I retired the first time and you ultimately have to have some
surgery done on your your hand yeah after I fought zab judah in nineteen ninety
seven my hand was really it’s been bad
for my whole career but it was really to a point where i had to get it done and uh… i went and finally got my hand done
and they took a bone out of my pelvis put
it in here I got three screws and uh
you know it was like a new hand and then you make a big comeback tell us about that came back and I uh… won a few fights locally around here at the wonderland ballroom and um… different little venues you know for like short
money just to kind just to get back to uh get my body back to get get some
wins under my belt and get my confidence up ’cause when you lose so many fights in a row you lose a confidence so I had to win like three
four fights to get my confidence you know get my feel of the ring you get all the
cobwebs out if you want to say that word you now but uh then when i came back i came back great you
know i came back and i come back the second
time in my career because i wanted it not because someone else wanted me to
come back and all because I wanted to come back and do it on my terms and that that’s
how i did it and you travel over to london and
you take on a welter weight champion over there how does that work out for you
great I fought a few fights that i wasn’t supposed to win and i won that put me in position to fight for
that championship the WBU title it was the kid was from liverpool too
and I fought him over in uh… london so i had to go over there and fight him
and i had to knock him out over there because you had to it’s awful tough to you know uh beat one of the guys over there in his
country you know you have to beat him decisively really every round or you gotta knock him
out that’s what i did I ended up knocking him out in
the seventh round good for you what a wonderful memory that must be for you
yeah it is because you know a lot of people never gave me a chance
of even fighting for a title never mind going over there and beating him in his home country
what did the crowd do when he’s laying there unconscious in
the ring and here you are the american that’s done it well it’s funny because he you know i’m irish and I got a little english in me so i mean they booed me when i walked out but
after the fight was over they kinda you know it was fifty fifty
you know they didn’t really boo me when i was done he was also irish to because he’s from ireland shea neary but he came over
from the potato famine years ago from ireland to england and that’s why he was over in england but he’s
really irish too he was the shamrock express and I was irish so well then it would’ve been a good result no matter what right
for the irish right character tell us now about your next three big fights
with gatti is that how you say it yeah gatti arturo okay I mean the first fight was really tough
grueling it was brutal we got fight of the year round of the decade you know things like that you know
we just tried to kill each other for ten rounds and uh
I ended up winning the decision in that fight and the
second fight well stop right there for a moment are
you really trying to kill each other well
I’m not literally trying to kill him but if it if it happens it happens I’m not in there trying to kill him by no
means but if so be i mean if you hit him hard
it could happen yeah it’s part of the sport it might sound brutal but I mean that that’s
the way it is I’d rather hit him than him hit me yeah you’d rather be the one that’s not dead
right right wouldn’t you want to be the one yeah I would hitting instead of getting hit right right
right exactly alright sorry to interrupt you ok so fight number two so the second fight you know was a by biggest purse the day I got there funny
story is four years three years before i
fought gatti I was fighting at wonderland ballroom for six hundred dollars four years after I fought gatti my second
fight for a million so if i gave up back then when people said give
up you can’t do it you know your hands
this that and you know you’re not going to be nothing if I
listened to them I wouldn’t have made it but i knew
i could do it so that’s why go go with your mind go with what you want to do that’s why i want
you here today i want you to tell those kids never never never give up right exactly but the second one I was we fought and I made that money
not because I made the money we fought the second one and he caught me in
the third round with a right hand over my jab hit me right in the side of the era here knocked me
down i was out pretty much i went down and they gave me an
eight count and the referee and this is a funny story this is
a true story too and it’s crazy but the referee give me an eight count so now I’m
wobbly all over the place and the referee you okay yeah of course I’m okay okay I’m going like this ’cause I said he hit me behind the ear
but he didn’t listen to me so anyways referee says ok fight so we he comes at me
like a mad man and I’m going against the ropes I’m trying to like block
I I’m like ready to fall over again right luckily the ropes are there I’m against the ropes and and he lines me up with a
right hand he goes boom boom he goes boom caught me with a right hand whack i was out I was ready to fall when he hit me with that right hand it woke
me up
I wasn’t even hurt no more
I came at him after that he ended up beating me that fight
he ended up beating me that fight than our third fight he uh… he ended up beating me again the third fight my uh… i got hurt in that last fight
you know people didn’t want me to fight I said no i’m gonna him the third time and my brain ended up shifting in my skull
in the seventh round and stuff like that so i you know plus I suffer from post concussion
syndrome now which i’m in the study with doctor
robert cantu and chris nowinski donate my brain when I pass so they can study the affects of concussions
and how to to you know monitor them or how to not get ’em you know just wonderful of you to do that yeah now ring magazine which is the big
magazine or was the big magazine in your day they tout your fights as the fights of the year am I right about
that right yeah I’m one of the only like six
people in the history of boxing or seven people maybe that was involved in fight of the year
three consecutive years i mean some guys have got it four years some guys have got it five years but nobody like only six or seven of us got three in a row like I think Ali uh… maybe carmen basilio or someone like that back in
the fifties but only like three a seven guys got
three fights i got two thousand one two and three i kid from lowell and if i gave up uh… when i was fighting at
wonderland if I gave up and listened to the people that said I couldn’t do it then I would’ve been probably paving right now and uh… not there’s nothing wrong with paving but I porbably would
have been uh… you know construction again when did you hang up your professional
boxing gloves so to speak and why before i fought my third gatti fight I said
i’m gonna fight this fight hard as I can give everything i have you know and I’m done I’m done that’s when i walked away in two thousand and
three after my third fight wow I said there ain’t no money in the world to get me
back because I’d rather be as it is I suffer from post concussion
syndrome and if i ever got in the third fight after my third fight that’s when I got that
post concussion syndrome but if i fought again if I ever got hit and I’m not normal all the money
in the world doesn’t i’d rather live in the woods and have nothing and be normal than have a big house and have money and be
not coherent be like uhhh you know so you knew when to get out yeah so i
mean good for you it was a no brainer for me and
people say how can you do it don’t you still have that fire burning yeah it does but uh
I’m realistic I know I can’t be the same I am at forty as i was at
thirty why not right yeah well you want to think yeah right like forty is the new thirty
but not in boxing that’s for sure maybe in normal people’s lives
but not in the ring and you can take all that energy and do
other things which you are doing exactly and we’re going to talk about that your story your life
is now a major motion picture known as the fighter
how did you feel when you took your seat
opening night so to speak in the audience and see your life up there on
the big screen you know it was funny because when I first seen the
movie they flew me and my brother out to l_a_ to uh to watch it at paramount pictures at the
theater there so i watched it with christian bale mark wahlberg
christian’s wife and i uh me and dicky and um… you know I’m looking I’m like you know i i didn’t mind it at all i
thought it was good you know it was obviously every thing’s not just like your life
but i mean it’s hollywoodized a little bit and not much but it was really good but uh it was a funny story we were out there watching
it and I’m looking at dicky and dicky’s you know the part where he’s jumping out the
windows and all that stuff so he’s looking like he didn’t do it
so I’m looking I kept looking at him he’s like so when the movie finishes now i say dicky i
goes dicky I goes why was it at that part where you were jumping out the windows
why was you looking like you didn’t do it he goes didn’t do it he goes he goes I went out the third floor not
the second he says and it was no bags under me I hit the ground I know wow huh
is that great but I thought it was very good
you know obviously like I told you it wasn’t exactly like my life
like my sisters never went to the into the gym with my mother and things
like that and they never all come up to my house and uh wanting to fight my wife like the griswolds
they all got in the car you know what I mean bang bang bang bang bang I mean if they came to the house
that would have happened but they never did
yeah right I mean there’s no love lost but
you know that’s one of the things that didn’t happen did you ever in your wildest dreams when you were a tike and you were boxing nine
years old you said seven seven okay did you ever think that you would be the success you are
and there would be a major movie about you no i i was that was the furthest
thing from my mind I never even thought i was gonna be a boxer
like as a professional i did it because my brother brought me down there
and i ended up liking it by I liked baseball and football better when i was
younger and I played baseball throughout like high school when I was in high school to high school when I was
a high school freshmen but i stopped playing i liked football and baseball
a lot better than boxing and wrestling but you were a great athlete right so i mean
but did i ever think I’d be a fighter my whole life and like
that would be my profession and howI would make my money never in a million years so tell us a little bit about what your life is
like today what you’re doing what motivates you what’s your dreams and
inspiration now well actually i have a boxing gym and I train young kids
and and things like that and grown-ups
use it also and stuff like that i have that I’m part owner of an outdoor deck hockey
rink called greater lowell dek hockey you know it’s the ball it’s
it’s like ice hockey but it’s dek hockey I know so much about it because my
nephew is over in czechoslovakia playing on the national team playing for a national championship so i have
that and i’m a teamster local twenty five in charles town wow good for you you’re still involved
helping kids exactly tell me a little bit about what you believe the
benefits are to kids that get involved in boxing well i think honestly
people say oh why would you let your kid go in boxing
he’s gonna get hurt blah blah blah it’s not about going into boxing to go in the ring
and fight and blah blah blah it’s about teaching respect and kids learn a lot of respect from boxing
if you have a trainer doesn’t care about the kids what they
do you know just lets them come in there and
kill each other that that’s different but if you monitor a kid you get a kid
comes in and say uh you know he’s in trouble or whatever i
mean it it teaches so much respect
boxing for other people you know what i mean and especially in gyms gyms are like uh you know you have whites blacks spanish
you know whites are like oh you know if you get a little white kid in the
gym and he’s like really timid and stuff and he comes
into the gym and he starts training with these kids in my gym he’s one of them and they all shake
his hand and give him a high five and he feels like one of them and you know it gives him like belonging
it gives him a belonging to something team and it also gets him involved with
ethnic groups where he never would outside of boxing have exposure right and you can bring that
into the schools and kids in school there’s my friend he’s a little kid but you know where he’d be timid around these
people I mean so boxing teaches a lot of respect you know and that’s the way it
should be i don’t mean like if kids in my gym if they start
coming into the gym and they go into the school and start using it fighting with people then you get kicked out of the gym
good for you
you have to show respect show respect for elders and like that show respect for each other
and uh… that’s what it’s all about you know it’s
not just about going in there and hitting someone no it’s about learning the craft of boxing and
respecting people and in return you get respect back and how
about self-discipline it must well exactly self-discipline you have to uh watch your weight
uh I mean if your gonna fight you have to watch your weight
obviously for the normal person in there basically a lot of people go in there just to lose
weight woman I better sign up woman men um… kids they go in there some kids go in there woman
go in to lose weight to get in condition cuz they don’t want to go in there and fight they just
want a boxing work out right and there’s nothing like it you know ’cause it
the whole body and i have heard that now in gyms you have grandmothers in
there to quote get in shape exactly yeah i mean they’re more they’re more enthusiastic than
the kids you know because yeah they’re in there they’re like you know they’re getting out of the
house finally all the kids are gone out of the kitchen
forget about the house they want out of that kitchen right exactly so
it’s a good outlet for them too
i want to talk about whether you see
you’ve talked about the concussion side of things as boxing generally being safe because people compare and
contrast it to things like hockey and football which can be very physical very
you know dangerous but the differences some would say is that boxing
specifically rewards a blow to the head so is it a violent sport is it a dangerous sport
how do you see that it can be honestly I’m not going to sugar-coat it it can be yep because if you caught like I fought
it can be it is you know but if you fight like not saying that I faught the wrong way but
if you uh… it’s it’s a craft and it’s a science like muhammad ali you watch him fight he moves around box dance but if there are fights that
you can you know you can get hurt but that’s a chance you take boxing like
there’s no way around getting hit in the head you know it’s a you know when they say the concussion when you
write about concussions and what can you do to like um… you know stop ’em or not have as many
in the i think it’s in the gyms
i think maybe the sparring lesson the sparring because all your injuries happen in the gym
pretty much obviously you get hurt out in the fight but most of your injuries happen in the gym
where you’re sparring almost everyday getting ready for a fight for two months sparring hard you
know getting hit in the head so maybe if you don’t spar as much or stuff like that that could probably
minimize the concussions but you’re never gonna get rid of getting hit in the head because that’s the name of the game what about those protective cages
you see well see the head gear is I think the head gear doesn’t do nothing for for your head your brain
shifting if someone hits you okay your brain’s gonna still squish around you know what i mean it doesn’t take you know
getting hit in the chin it doesn’t stop that the thing what head gear does butts
i think like if you’re gonna go in with a guy and you get close and you hit each others head you know you get an elbow in the head eye or whatever hits the head gear so that’s what it helps it does not help from your brain shifting but then if most of the injuries do
occur in practice and sparring that’s no different than kids on high
school hockey teams you know going into the boards right
exactly maybe minimize the sparring cut it down or maybe if it gets worse and worse
cut it out but i don’t really don’t see that we’ll see do you believe that certain classes of kids
that are in trouble with the law or maybe i
might say are hyperactive to the max uh can really benefit and keep out of trouble
by engaging in boxing and why I’m asking this is I’m aware of police
departments that are really taking troubled kids and getting them into boxing programs i think it’s great for hyper kids
for kids that get in trouble because uh kids that are in trouble in school and things like
that when they come into the gym they’re not in their element no more so now they’re
like they’re a different person yeah and they start respecting the not just the sport but other people and then when they go back to school and
stuff they realize that they ain’t all that bad because when they’re in that gym they ain’t
the same guy being a punk in school so when they’re in that gym right they gotta watch you know watch what you say
around certain people you have to respect people and i think when you when they
learn that they take it back into school and they’re a better person for that and hyper
people i mean you wanna be hyper go in the
gym three rounds right you won’t be hyper no more it will slow you right down hehehehe is it a stretch to say then that boxing
is a positive alternative to crime for some kids i think it really i think it is being taught by the right person someone who cares
about kids because anybody can put a towel on their shoulder
and say I’m a trainer you know what i mean and there’s enough of them
out there mhm someone who cares about the kids knows the sport and respect the sport and shows respect to the kids and in turn
they get it back you know uh… you gotta respect the kids and you know if you don’t know what you’re
doing you know you gotta work with kids you know kids don’t just pick up it up just like that you know they’re a sponge when they’re young so they take everything in but they don’t
learn you know fast some times and you gotta be patient with them and just give ’em respect do you enjoy working with
kids i do i really do because you see
the progress you know when you got a polished
fighter you know you he’s at his peak and he’s not gonna
really he’s gonna get in better shape and all that
but he’s already learned everything he’s going to
learn and all that
but seeing the kids you know like i said he’s
they’re like sponges and you see ’em progress as a fighter and as a person they just
keep getting better and better and and it give them self-esteem
because you know they lose weight they start
lookin better they feel better in school they’re not heav you know what i mean right so it’s good for their
self-esteem also my final question to you micky tell me about your new book your
autobiography yeah a warrior’s heart written by love the title thank you
written by joe layden it starts when i was seven years old going
through you know my young ages and stuff thirteen
twelve thirteen up to when I retired and after so uh it’s a good read so people out there
should get it inspiration to the readers it is really it is because you know like I said
uh… don’t anybody tell you you can’t do it because
that that should motivate you right there to
want to do better when someone says you can’t do it or you shouldn’t do it that’s enough motivation right there you know so listen to your heart don’t listen to other people one two now bring your hands back to your face the big thing here is we like to have the kids
come back we work ’em out big on defense so i like that cut down on that injuries i’m ready one two one two four punches ones two
one two there we go excellent the better you get at fighting the pros that we’ve had
here are the most polite guys you want to meet they’re not tough guys
they’re not going out there to be a tough guy they are fit most of them are family men they have children
they come in and they put in a good workout and they help the kids when
they’re here it’s amazing to watch them work with kids it’s a sport that when you’re like billy
he devotes his life to this
he’s been doing this now for ten years we’ve been here so uh it’s just a great way to give back to your community you know
kids love it it’s a great work out
well I’m a thirty two-year-old mayor I’ve been
mayor for about four years uh… somebody who’s a big advocate of
uh… really making sure a community uh… is inclusive from from the ground
up making sure that places like this a small business a boxing club uh… survives uh… make sure that
uh… the youth of the city are part of the political process so for me places like this that we’re sitting
in is is more than just a boxing club it’s really a place to teach kids about uh
civic engagement it’s a part of your community it is it’s in the heart of the community
actually it’s really rlght in the middle of the community how does a young woman grow up to be mayor of a large city oh boy well there there’s not a lot of examples but in my case i actually grew up in a a
small restaurant so growing up in a small restaurant in the heart
of an inner city makes me really love the idea of being
able to help out other small businesses my dad actually said you know do you
want to take over the family restaurant business and I said dad what if i was that public official that helped small businesses like a boxing gym or
like a chinese restaurant where I grew up in and that’s really how i ended up in the job
um…that i’m doing right now so you would would you say that your parents
are among the significant influences that have really steered you in this
direction uh no ok yes and no I think explicitly i think sometimes they they think that
that the idea of success is doctor engineer lawyer uh… but what they taught me uh
it’s not what you said in terms of the career it’s what you taught me in terms
of being a part of the community giving back working hard so being mayor for me seemed to fit that
description more than being a doctor and engineer or a
lawyer tell us a little bit about the city of
fitchburg my father came from an irish immigrant family and he worked in the paper mills
here in fitchburg my uncle french-canadian same thing they were both mill
workers those jobs have disappeared as i can see
it mostly from the fitchburg area so tell us a little bit about the roots of
the city and uh how you are handling the
transformation absolutely so this is what some people have said and old mill or old
manufacturing city the great thing about growing up in a
chinese restaurant in inner cities is i’ve seen old mill or manufacturing cities come
back when we opened up our restaurants in
downtown haverhill and downtown cambridge there was factories all over and our
customer base was all the workers from the factories then they closed we we suffered but we held on and then
the city really worked with the owners uh the small businesses uh… the mills developers brought in new money converted the
condos into modern businesses into incubator space in the condos and that actually helped small businesses like ourselves because
it’s completely changed uh… our base it brought in new
jobs and it helped us continue to thrive even after decades in business so we’re
doing the exact same thing here in fitchburg we’re saying if if we can help
that chinese restaurant in main street or in downtown cleghorn than we know that we’ve done our job in
terms of taking these old mill buildings and filling them up again with new uses is it hard for kids that are born in these old manufacturing cities in
urban settings to move ahead in society it certainly is a challenge i think that
there are a number disadvantages that um…
especially in the downturn in the economy might have in terms of lack of
jobs in terms of less money for social programs or education but I think one of the
great things about fitchburg is that we don’t necessarily need money
and we actually don’t necessarily need the government to intervene I mean we have people like bill we have
places like the wachusett boxing club where very few dollars are needed to make a
significant impact on a child and I think what they’re learning
is not that there is something that’s being served up on a plate to them
they’re actually learning hard work they’re learning discipline they’re
learning consequences very early on so in many cases i think that what you
might see as disadvantages are actually advantages that many many
people don’t have i have heard through the grapevine that from time to
time you do rounds here at the gym tell us about that uh yes i i have come here uh… i try
not to tell people when i do uh… because sometimes people wanna see
me get beat up I say I get beat up enough on
TV at city council meetings do you really want to see me at the wachusett boxing club
getting beat up physically uh… I love it though this is a great
place I wish i could get here more often i come here and and and for me it’s not
just a way for me to to learn about the sport ’cause it’s you know I’m not that great it’s always arms up arms up keep those arms
up uh but i get to see all the other
people that come here and it’s it’s definitely a time for me to
get out of my office to hear what people are saying uh to talk with people and i think that
that’s so valuable are you any good am I any good um… my boxing instructor is
not around here so i mean he said i did pretty well i mean
i i was standing at the end of you know a round and i guess actually somebody said wow you
actually did some extra rounds I was like great
thank you for telling me
you’re trying to torture me
uh… no it’s wonderful though i mean it’s it’s certainly taught me a lot here would it be a fair statement to say that
whether we’re talking about boxing or basketball or hockey kids that engage in these sports they
learn as you mentioned discipline and perhaps a way out if they don’t
want to continue to live in an urban setting i agree with that uh… whole heartedly
i believe that this is uh… really a way where kids can grow
in a number of ways i think it keeps them off the street uh it provides them with
direct access to to mentors but it also keeps themselves um… really
accountable so for example this isn’t just an island this is really
connected to a lot of the programming that we do throughout the city uh this is actually uh… one of the uh… grantees of a uh… tri- city anti-gang initiative so this is really a way to keep kids off
the street um have it be a positive group versus
the gangs on the street uh but also if kids are acting out
in school well guess what if they want to come to the gym after school you know we don’t allow them to soak there’s definitely discipline that they
learned that what they do here is connected to what they do outside
of the uh… this uh gym so for some kids this is an alternative
to crime would that be a fair statement i would say absolutely it’s
an alternative to crime but it’s also something that they not
only work hard while they’re here but they have to work hard to be here
and i think that’s an important point to make some people would argue that boxing is
crude an undesirable what do you say to those naysayers I mean
this this country is all about uh… football uh… i think that what they what they
do you hear uh… is is is not any different from that
uh… i think it’s it’s it’s different in the respect that there is uh…
just a different level of discipline because you’re not there necessarily as
a team you’re really there as an individual
and the focus is on you uh… so i think that that in in essence whatever crude there is it’s not
really any different from the other sports i wouldn’t call it crude I hope we
would change the terminology to um… athleticism and discipline uh… competition because that’s really
where i see a sports like football and sport like boxing that’s right last question is there anything that can be done to
help boxing gyms such as this one because from where i sit tonight i see a
wonderful spot for kids to go what’s great about gyms like this is
that they don’t look at just profit you know if they were looking at profit then they would look at people who can
pay and really uh… up the membership fees but a place like this does require donations
the city works with the boxing club we help find grants but it isn’t enough
so we do ask people to send in donations bill tell us about yourself and take us
back to those early years my father was a fighter he wanted my brother and i to be fighters and I entered the YMCA tournament
and I were twelve twelve years old i was bantum boxing champion I just continued on from there what were your boxing goals did you see
yourself as being the recipient of golden gloves at that time not right at that time but a couple years later i was entering the gloves and I won the gloves
when I was seventeen wow what an achievement two weeks later I won the new england amateur athletic union
championship which qualified me to go fight in the nationals and what happened there I got uh beat by bobby buford from cleveland ohio he was really a good fighter why did you get involved in boxing i
know your father wanted you to but you stayed with it all those years so certainly there was something
self-fulfilling about you being involved with boxing well I played football
and there’s ten other guys to help you baseball there’s eight other guys in boxing you’re doing it all on your own it’s strictly an individual sport and all the glory
is yours or all the defeat is yours right it’s up to you tell us about your years in the marine
corps were you boxing then yeah I boxed in the marine corps at parris island I
had two fights then I went over seas and fought the all navy champion in
morocco I beat him and I was transferred to mass camp lejeune to fight for the marine corps boxing team i made it to the semifinals of the all marine
corps championships before I got beat wow good for you alright well come post marines tell us
about your later boxing years I got out of the marine corps I fought for three more years as an amateur then I turned pro and uh… I did alright I won my first five fights then I lost one then I won a couple more and then I lost two in row
I lost two in row they were both by split decision I thought they don’t want me I just quit I was disgusted and i shouldn’t have quit because there were a lot of guys
that lost more than two in a row folks around here are very lucky that
you have stayed with boxing so tell me what your goals are here at this boxing
club and tell us about some of the kids that you’ve been involved
with well i like I like keeping them off the streets that’s the main thing when i was a young boy there was plenty of
trouble to get into but john connolly from the sentinel used to
take all of us and take us to the gym train us and he had guys there that would help him it really worked wonderful and that’s
what i want to do here i’ve got a half a dozen helpers here
that donate their time trying to keep these children off the street the ones that don’t have a mother or father at home
and that no parental image how does boxing help kids are you trying
to build discipline self esteem or is there some
other objective it’s a little of everything there is definitely self esteem
you’re proud of yourself and it’s discipline you have to be tolerant to the rules keeps you in great shape and do you believe that you’ve helped a
lot of kids in the community oh yeah I know for a fact that we have helped quite a few kids so would you say that some kids by
getting involved with boxing perhaps keep out of trouble keep out of
jail would that be an accurate statement I know for a fact there’s two or three that
would’ve been in jail right now if it wasn’t for this gym and getting in there and learning how to box and a couple of them went on to do very well boxing and uh we had one child in here he wasn’t a child he was about nineteen
and he said uh I looked at his back and it said latin kings on it and I called him aside and said hey I don’t want any trouble up
here that’s dangerous stuff and he said no no i’m trying to get out of the gang he
said he worked out here about three or four months then he completely moved away from the
area but he was up here every night faithfully is boxing safe yes it’s just like anything else you can get hurt
playing football you can get beaned in the head playing baseball hit with a hockey stick in there you’re just boxing with another man now that’s just
trying to you know he’s trying to knock you out but uh it don’t happen that often and they stop the fights a lot quicker now more protection for the fighters some would say though that boxing unlike football or hockey rewards specifically
blows to the head i don’t think there’s that much damage being done i had over a hundred and fifty fights you still look pretty good I’ve never been
knocked down never been knocked out I danced a lot I was a defensive fighter and very few of them guys you ever see get hurt do the kids that you’re working with do they dream of being a world champ
or are they some of them do they have thoughts everybody does I had them same thoughts when I was a young boy do you think that some of those kids
work out their aggression in the ring they probably do probably mad at their mother or father take it out on the kid or try to take it out on them but they’re using big gloves and they’ve got head gear on fully protected so they wear adequate protective gear and that helps
prevent any injuries so some in regards there’s a lot of
concern but perhaps it isn’t fully merited and even in the amateurs you have to wear head gear now when I fought in the amateurs we didn’t have head gears so they’ve made it a lot safer have you had any the world class uh boxers here in the gym had the
middleweight champion of the world here harry simon one of the greatest fighters around and he’s still fighting now wonderful he was in an accident and he spent time in
america recuperating he worked out here for two months he’s fought on TV he was the first one to beat
winky wright who was a top five fighter in the world what lessons have you learned from
boxing in life not to sell anybody short think that guy’s a pushover over there just like in in real life you don’t go up
walk into a job and think I’m gonna get this job I’m gonna do this I’m gonna do that you have to respect everybody to those who would say that boxing is not a
positive sport what would you say to them they’d have to be more focused on what they consider positive I mean it’s definitely a positive sport
your in there by yourself doing this you’re trying as hard as
you can you see to fighters at the end fighting they’re both exhausted give each
other a hug they know they’ve done their best they’re not mad at each other it’s great are there other urban cities that
have boxing gyms similar to the one we sit in oh yes lowell has two or three gyms down there micky ward’s
got a gym down there arthur rapello has a gym down there
he runs the golden gloves now down in lowell every year which is coming up in january so there there are quite a few worcester has a boys club how can our audience helps support you
here or help support the local boxing gym
that helps kids well if anyone wants to send a few donations here to help pay for the heat wachusett boxing club 106
clelhorn street fitchburg mass here in the heart of fitchburg that’s right the capitol
of fitchburg well I’m from west fitchburg originally so i will never agree this is the
heart we used to say that the west is the best bill so I’m gonna close on that excellent can you feel that in your body i could feel it all over it does and you
do that for three minutes and you’re moving around the ring you’ll feel it you know three four five rounds of this this is fun it is oh people love it you should
come up and try it out I’m gonna have to come back mike how did you end up in a boxing ring for getting self confidence it teaches you you know i mean just learn to relax in stressful
situations from it did you ever dream of going professional mm not really I sparred with some pros and they
were tough they were you know they come from that’s
how they make their living and it’s tough to to fight somebody that that’s their way out of
the ghetto or whatever you want to call it hm describe the training regimen to be a boxer especially with billy he used to put us through
a lot um you know you got the road work in the
morning and in the afternoon or early evening you get to the gym and you’re gonna put a couple hours in of hard training you know the shadow boxing the speed bag heavy bag
sparring what is the hardest part of doing rounds
inside the ring learning how to stay in there and breathe and not
get nervous you know what I mean and relax and the hardest next sparring’s he hardest
second hardest is when billy or one of the guys under him would have
us hitting the mitts are you ever afraid you’re gonna get
seriously hurt it doesn’t cross your mind while your in there
that’s for sure not with the amateur fighting so much you’re only
talking three two minute rounds but even the professionals i mean you
look at other sports compared to you know football or hockey you know fighters that’s the way they
make a living they’re there it’s a choice they make right do you work out your aggression in the
ring do you think more on the bags i think more of your aggression comes out hitting the bags and then when you’re with
an opponent you have a mutual respect for each other tell me about some of the kids now that you
train you’re giving back to the boxing uh
world so to speak it’s just nice to see them get them off the street get
them in here and you see them change their lives
I’ve seen ids that were so allegedly you know gang members
who came in and really changed their lives others others have gone on to college just an incredibly positive opportunity for them keith what brought you to the boxing
ring uh… well i was always interested in it in high school you know I went and bought a heavy bag and stuff put it in my room
you know practiced on it then after i graduate high school I just decided i wanted to do it I had braces on
at the time so kinda pad out my timing to get them off but i found the number for this gem
online you know didn’t have a website or anything it was just the number called them up you know walked through with
billy and said yeah i wanna do it you know and uh… I’ve been here ever since I started last year end of july what role would you say that adding
boxing to your life has played in your overall happiness or well-being you know self-esteem confidence physical health all that good stuff you know a lot of nice
people here everyone’s always friendly you know wants to help out so you know just positive impact definitely are you stronger than
you were when you started physically yeah definitely what’s the hardest part though of doing
rounds in that ring I love being in the ring so i i think the hardest part is
actually out of the ring you know just balancing free time and you know working full
time coming here at night so other than that you know the training being in the ring sparring it’s amazing what lessons have you learned from boxing teamwork i mean i know it’s everyone’s saying
it’s an individual sport but just the whole sense of community in the gym itself you
help the newer members the older members help you you know everyone gets along for the most
part that i noticed and if they don’t you knock ’em out
right settle your differences in various ways I’m marvin garcia and I started fighting
like four or five years ago i had a trainer named steve miller
he brought me to the silver mittens i won two fights then I had another single fight so that made me three and 0 now this year I’m doing the golden gloves
and the trainers named geno he’s training me and yeah I like boxing a lot now there’s also three and four for hooks five and six
for upper cuts there’s different styles for using the mitts one
of my trainers has a different uh technique billy taught me this this was handed
down from cus d’amato to mike tyson to floyd patterson all the people that
cus d’amato trained numbered system so when his fighters were in the ring if he said one they knew it was a jab
’cause you can see something from the corner the fighter don’t see joining me now is daisy martinez owner of the canal street
gym daisy tell us about your gym new your mission
your goals here canal street gym is a family-oriented place we welcome
everybody all walks of life we do not judge anybody our door’s open to the whole community and
others outside of the community our mission is to help keep troubled kids and
others off the streets of lawrence to avoid them from getting involvement with gang
activity and stuff like that how did you get involved in boxing are
you a boxer yourself not myself my daughter used to box
she started when she was twelve years years old up until she was seventeen years old she was a two time silver mittens champion
and new england golden gloves champ and she is working and she has
graduated from nursing she’s gone from a boxer to a nurse what an incredible story and i guess she
must have got you involved in this gym experience so to speak
she told my husband she wanted to box when she was twelve years old and we’ve been doing it ever since
you have all kinds of people you have kids that are finding a positive activity to keep
off the street and you have women here to get in shape and everybody else
in between yes we have all walks of life that come in here including parents that come with their
kids to train we have the regular kids that are training and police officers we have uh… mothers and men on their own that must be a
wonderful thing to see police officers coming in from the city of lawrence and the
kids interacting with them and everybody having a very
positive experience as an alternative to crime right we’re one big family here including the
officers that come everybody sits down they talk at the end of the night they just socialize like friends they
don’t even look at him like a police officer talking out in the streets they look at them as another friend or
family member this is a beautiful gym so congratulations are you making money no
everything and everybody here volunteers what we make for money
it goes right back into the gym to pay the bills and to buy any other equipment that we need what do you say in response to the
concern that kids that are boxing may get hurt they may take blows to their
head everybody wears protective gear when
they’re in the ring and aside from that they’re just hitting the bags and things like that they don’t really get hurt
getting aggression out on the bags they leave all that stuff there tell us about your affinity or your love of
boxing when i got into it uh… it was a at a young age and i was from the projects and that felt
good being at the gym by getting some aggression out having a rough home and uh I didn’t get too much into it I got into a little bit
of amateur not much and i got out and uh… years years
later i i got into it through my daughter
uh… she seen a fight and she watched it and she told me she was
interested in in boxing and i told her are you serious she said
yeah I’m serious ever since then it’s been twelve years i’ve
been in boxing so you trained your daughter in part yes when i when she was boxing I was training my
daughter some time she comes in here and i’ll train her once in awhile just to stay a little sharp and you’re here
helping a lot of these kids develop boxing skills as an alternative to
crime or to just simply enjoy life yes they know they need a place to go
here in lawrence it’s a place that it’s rough and uh…
not too much recreation for kids like eighteen years old and up after the boy’s club you’re like seventeen
eighteen years old you can’t go there no more right so you need something after that you
have to have a place to go and engage in a positive activity yes and this is a
city that it really needs that a lot I I argued that that many years now and a
great thing is there’s four gyms here now in lawrence instead of uh… none and it’s a slow progress but
it’s working you know the the boxing keeps them
not only off the street it takes some some stress out of them and it takes it gives
them somewhere to go they start to learn to socialize and get along with
others you know it’s a it’s a positive place
I’m really appreciating watching them in the past days is uh… or weeks is watching them work with each other help
each other and if there’s days that i’m not feeling too
strong that day to work with them i could see them team up with each other and socialize
and it’s just very nice it’s very positive you know tell
us a little bit about your years on the city of lawrence police force I’ve been a
police officer in lawrence for sixteen years currently assigned as a detective the
uh… safe and secure youth initiative which is to work with uh… at-risk youth try to steer them away from the uh…
negative things that could occur in their lives terrific now do you have a relationship with the gym in which
you come in and check on or box with or simply check up on these kids lately it’s been
more more of a visiting checking out saying hi things of that nature I was introduced uh… to boxing
through the canals street gym do you interact with the gym or what other officers are
involved with this project uh… one of the other officers who is one of
the trainers here is radomes gonzales he’s here quite often quite often he works a lot with the kids in the gym he works with our own police officers they do
private training sessions our officers are always welcomed here something the the gym
encourages is interaction between the police and the youth in the city that do come
and train here to kinda weed out any negative type
relationships that have existed in the past between the youth and the police and make
it positive a lot of the uh… youth that come here
and box interact with the police officers such as radames gonzalez
and they see a whole other side to us that we’re not just out there arresting people or things of that
nature we’re we’re trying to build relationships with the community the
city of lawrence like any big city you know has certainly difficulties in managing
gangs or or problems or aggressive uh children it’s an outlet it gives them something to
do uh there’s not a whole lot to do once they reach a
certain age and the street’s not a great place to be all the time this place here is the right turn for
them you know there’s a lot of wrong turns they could take but we there’s
a bunch of kids in here they’re good kids they’re here all the time makes my job easier makes
police officer’s job easier when you have rather than the them hanging in the
streets late once they get out of here they’re exhausted
I bet they go home they take a shower they watch some TV and they’re done
and that’s a positive for them it’s a positive for the city and uh… you know it’s uh… it’s something you have to support
how can you not support something like that a place like this has to be supported and
how about the martinezes i mean they do this for free they volunteer it’s
incredible you don’t hear much about that anymore you know they’re working
hard they’re reaching out to people they’re trying to get people involved you know there’s all walks of life in here you know you have young men you have professionals that come here um… you know
lawyers doctors a lot of police officers come here that
mainly come during the day there’s a small group but again radames gonzales is one of
the main trainers he trains our guys uh… it’s good for us stress reliever so it works it works for everybody how did you get involved in boxing well i’ve always wanted to be a boxer since I
was a kid uh… I was uh… I lost sight of that dream for a while and then
as I you know I made some proper changes in my life I restarted to seek that childhood dream and
then i just fell in love with the sport so you are presently doing rounds in the
ring i mean this is something you do on a regular basis yeah i’m actually here
every day not only am I a boxer I’m a professional MMA fighter I’ve always wanted to do boxing but i got started at a like at a i wouldn’t say like an old age but a
for boxing it’s a little too old so MMA was right in the alley around that
way uh so i tried it and i fell in love with it and now I’m in love with two sports so i heard a rumor and the rumor is that
you have a nice contract and you’re heading overseas tell us about that um I was offered a contract to go fight
over in uh…the philippines it’s actually stationed in guam uh… for MMA uh… but i was hurt
um I’m coming back off of injury
I’ve been back for about two months and once i get better um i will be going I’m actually waiting for them to
hear back from them now to go fight over seas you you put in a lot of work into it
I train twenty twenty hours a week uh…in between boxing and MMA it’s great because you have to learn all
the arts you have to learn muay thai boxing karate you have to learn all these different types
of arts that combine into one ask me i mean i love it it’s it’s a
rough sport don’t get me wrong
it’s good to be in love
with sports isn’t it yes it’s the best keeps you off the streets keeps
you out of trouble yes keeps you focused keeps you in shape exactly
anything else discipline yeah and it’s uh… not only just about you know uh… coming in here and working out it’s also uh…
for me it’s self rewarding to help out give back and just working out it just clears my mind clears it you know clears the air
whenever I have a any anger or frustrations I just
come in here hit the bag and I’m a new man when I leave now do you do you help
coach some of the younger kids do you give ’em ideas or do you work with them
or visit with them
come in here and tend the kids is actually a good thing for me
it’s actually a good thing ’cause I’m mostly a youth counseler and to the city and uh… a lot of the
kids that I do meet on the street i bring ’em to the gym and then um work with them you know after a while we see if they’re
proven see if they want to pursue it in terms of fighting doing golden gloves or
doing whatever it is they want to do depending on their age or if they want to turn pro eventually and it’s it’s great because um… not only are they learning but again it’s
rewarding because you know uh… you know you’re helping somebody out
you know congratulations on that you are
literally pulling ’em off the street and putting them in the ring yes good for you
um one of the things that i’m realizing with myself is that you know
I’m from lawrence and you know uh… we’re from lawrence and we’re familiar with lawrence and you know
how poor is it and what not so we um come over a lot of obstacles so just having
that alone it’s we’re tougher I like to say it’s
we’re tougher than most kids in surrounding towns so we put that into use and we put that into
a you know we gain something it’s it’s real powerful trying to make them believe
that as well tell me do you ever worry about injury to your brain or your head as a result of boxing or for the
kids yeah of course we all I mean it’s it’s a physical sport me me for instance
I just came off an injury I just had shoulder surgery heh heh um but for the most part we’re concerned
but that’s why we always take uh… super precaution always be safe
safety comes first before anything so you know for the most part though uh… we do focus on that a lot and you know so whatever
we’re doing preparing each fighter or you know each student we we
can say we we take extra precautions so that they won’t be hurt but it’s a
physical sport though you know things like that are you know bound to
happen hopefully we try to prevent it as much as we can juan you’re with the canal street gym tell me what you do here i’m one of the coaches
I’m also I volunteer here with some of the little smaller kids that come in I show them the ropes I basically get them
involved make them feel welcome and uh show to them the basics
just you know repetition repetition repetition are you a boxer I started
out being a boxer yes in order for you to be a boxer be a successful boxer you
have to dedicate a lot of time and time was something I didn’t have at that moment so i couldn’t really you know put all that effort into it if i was not gonna be
all you know all dedicated to it so I did a
step tback and i said you know maybe i could help you out in another way maybe I could get
involved a little bit show them what that what i know and take it to a next level
you did not have time for yourself but you have time to help all these kids way
i see it it was um i saw other people give it back to me you know when i was i i i uh… kid other
people that were involved in my life that actually showed me a path took me
out of the street you should do this you’re very talented in
this you should do that you know you’re very good with other people you should take the leadership role
and just guide them and you know show them a better path than
whatever they’re doing so um i saw that and and you know i wish many
of my friends had the same guide that i had soul so it’s always good to
give back that’s the way i see it jeannie they tell me not only are you a
trainer here at the gym but you’re also a boxer is that true very true I dabble
a little with boxing I train with radames as well uh… I focus more on training the
women and doing strength and conditioning with the
other boxes but I throw a few punches here and there what’s it like to do rounds in the ring it’s amazing
actually when you start off you realize how much endurance you have I’ve
been an athlete all my life and i think about wow you know i thought i
was in shape but then you get in the ring and you do rounds and
you really appreciate um the time the effort and the
condition that it takes for boxers so how did you get involved in this very
important and worthwhile project here well my daughter’s always been
interested in boxing and um i’ve known bugsy i was a
project kid as well known bugsy for a very long time heard about his gym
through one of the police officers and went to the gym and had my
daughter train with bugsy and i seen it was such a family oriented environment that I was like
you know I’ve never been to a gym but i think I might try this so
i started to get involved and then i started doing women’s class and then
we started getting the boys involved and it was actually through my daughter who trains with bugsy that i became a
part of this gym and what are her dreams or boxing aspiration actually uh
giselle is actually one of her inspirations uh she would like to train well she’s going to start training with bugsy for golden gloves so
she’s she’s trying to get in there she’s
excited about it now tell me about some of the women that are in your classes typically uh we have all age ranges we we try to create an environment for women who have children have teenage kids so that it’s a
bonding experience as well because they bring their daughters I myself bring my daughter
do training with them it’s it’s actually an an amazing bonding experience with your kids women who are you know a little bit older a
little bit out of shape who are kind of you know worried about their appearance
we give them a very positive very good environment to come in and say you know
what nobody’s watching you just come everybody’s helpful we push it’s actually we have an amazing variety of women who
leave hear extremely exhausted and excited and i get texts all the time oh we love the hits we love the mitts
so much aggression we released some stress so they go home happy
big baggy t-shirt and a pair of shorts they don’t have to worry about how they
look appearance is not an issue here you can come
in a t-shirt you can come in a tank top however you feel comfortable we would like to thank our guests for
giving their time help these kids and for sharing their stories we’d like
to thank you for watching so until next time you be well

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