by Aaron Tallent Special to Stiff Jab
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Bernard Hopkins’ dominating win over Beibut Shumenov at D.C. Armory on April 19th was proof that Washington has re-emerged as a first-rate fight town. Almost 7,000 fans crowded the Armory to see Hopkins confirm his place as the top contender to light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. The rise of Lamont Peterson is what brought the TV networks back to the nation’s capital, but BHop was first out-of-town fighter to headline here in almost a decade.
The irony is that Hopkins was there the last time D.C. hosted a huge fight when he faced Roy Jones Jr. in 1993 at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial (RFK) Stadium, just a stone’s throw away from the Armory. The story of that debacle is much less about Hopkins and Jones than it is about Riddick Bowe and his manager, Rock Newman.
Entering 1993, Bowe was flying high. He won the heavyweight title from Evander Holyfield in November 1992 and was building a mansion in Fort Washington, Md., a suburb of the District. That allowed him to be near Newman, a graduate of Howard University who lived in Washington. The D.C. boxing community had already embraced “Big Daddy,” and a lucrative deal with HBO was in the offing, provided Bowe keep winning.
by Gautham Nagesh
WASHINGTON, D.C.—It started almost 20 years ago in a storage room at Lincoln Multicultural Middle School in Northwest Washington. A friend told Barry Hunter the school had set aside a small space for boxing. Hunter, a carpenter by trade, agreed to pitch in, dug out his old equipment, and headed over to share his lifelong passion: the Sweet Science.
"I didn’t go to stay, I went to help a little bit." said an emotional Hunter on Thursday at Bald Eagle Recreation Center in Ward 8. But once he met the kids and saw their need, he couldn’t walk away.
"The ride I got on, I couldn’t get off."
So Hunter stayed to teach the kids boxing, and more than anything, to show them that someone cared. There have been plenty of ups and downs since, from training world champions and amateur stars, to skipping a national tournament and using the funds raised to pay for a kid’s funeral.
But few days could be better than today, when the District of Columbia finally repaid Barry Hunter by opening the new Dr. Arnold McKnight Boxing Annex. The magnificent 6,600-sq. ft. facility is attached to the Bald Eagle Rec Center, one of the original homes of Hunter’s acclaimed Headbangers Boxing Program, which has produced 100 national amateur championships, two professional world titlists, and saved countless young men and women from the wrong path.