Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fighting In Cicero

This photo of Brandy after she warmed up on the punch mitts is from last year's Golden Gloves.  It was held at Gordon Tech High School.  This year, it's at a new venue, Cicero Stadium, a field house that is part of the Cicero, Illinois park district.  Alan couldn't go to the matches last night, but I went because two people I know - Metzger and Eric - competed.

It took me over two hours to get there.  I was poking around at my apartment, and I left late.  When I finally got to Cicero via the Chicago Transit Authority, my poor sense of direction delayed me finding the place.  Cicero Stadium is okay, but it's a little smaller than Gordon Tech's gym.  It's way smaller than St. Andrews' Gym where the Chicago Golden Gloves were held for decades.  I know that parking at St. Andrews was a problem, and that's one reason why the Gloves aren't held there anymore.  They had a small lot, and finding parking close on the street was difficult.  But the atmosphere seemed more charged at St. Andrews than it was at Gordon Tech or Cicero Stadium.  St. Andrews had history with the sport; the other two venues don't.

I arrived just in time to catch Eric's match.  The weight class for his match was in the 112 pound category.  He and the other guy were about even in the first round, with the other guy throwing a few more punches, but near the end of the second round, Eric used his long arm reach to pin the other boxer in the corner.  In the end, the judges felt the other guy was more aggressive, and Eric lost the match.

Metzger had a time with the guy he fought.  The other guy kept banging away, and Metzger had an eight count called on him twice.  The judges' decision wasn't in his favor, either.  On Facebook, Metzger thanked everyone who came out to see his fight.

Most of the trophies and belts were handed out to the winners by current and former professional boxers.  A guy stepped into the ring with a small boy in his arms to give out one of the awards.  The guy wasn't the celebrity.  Instead, the little boy was the focus: the kid was the grandson of Muhammad Ali.  One of his younger daughters, the boy's mom, smiled proudly at ringside.

There were a couple of female boxing matches.  As I watched them, I made my usual wish that I could compete in the Gloves, but I know those days have past.

I saw a lot of familiar faces, including Alan the judge, Celestino who had refereed at last week's Battle of the Badges, Rico, who was in attendance at that match, and Percy, who always works the glove table.  It was a nice time.  The best match of the night was the very last one, the 19th one, I believe.  Those two guys really took it to each other, and they got a standing ovation when it was over.

The Gloves are always a long night.  It took about an hour and a half for me to get back to my apartment.  I got home in time to watch "The Jack Benny Program".  That comes on at 1:00 AM.

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