Persons who have been around the boxing business for a few decades or so are at times tempted to do a compare and contrast, and drift into a nostalgia haze. The good old days, they will dream of, when the fighters were a bit hungrier, the crowds beefier, the sport healthier.
For a lifer, Gleason’s Gym proprietor Bruce Silverglade doesn’t often drift into that mode, wherein he finds himself lamenting a perceived dip in popularity of the sweet science. This has much to do with his acumen as a businessman; Silverglade has like a skilled fighter, adapted to the moment. So as many pros don’t dot his landscape? He has made up ground by helping to get a a wave to crest, of interest in the sport as a fitness regimen, among white collar types. A goodly percentage of the day in-day out visitors to his new facility on Water St, in DUMBO, a hop and a skip from the old Front St digs, are white collars.
Boxing flourished Tuesday night at the gym; the Golden Gloves, the NY version, had a quarterfinal event there.
“It was great,” Silverglade reported. “It was our second one of the year held at the gym. It was successful crowd wise, and the boxing, too. There wasn’t a bad matchup. Eight bouts in all. Now, overall, the quality of the boxing isn’t where it was 20-30 years ago. But indiviually, the talent, it’s there. The volume is down. You used to have four, five, six fights before the finals. Now, less. But the enthusiasm in the fighters hasn’t subsided! That’s the same!”
Bless his enduring and upbeat soul; he doesn’t whine about the days being better. He recognizes that there are reasons for the sport being where it is now, and that while we have receded in some ways, the world as a whole is in some ways more progressive, and…it is what it is, sort of. His gym is thriving, still home to TV and film shoots, still a destination for good souls, amateurs, pros, searchers, seekers, wanting to find a hobby or workout that is fullfiling to body and mind. They find that in boxing, in Gleason’s.
“Gleason's Gym hosted the quarter final round of the Golden Gloves and all boxers came to win,” Adams said. “It's always exciting because they know if they are not ready the chances of them winning the tournament will be slim to none because the opponent will be prepared. Every NYC boxer has that common goal of winning a set of Daily News Golden Gloves and I'm blessed to watch them all try. When you get to the championship rounds it's always a treat because these boxers come ready to showcase their skills and impress everyone watching.”
Six events are remaining, he told us.
“This is the time within the tournament where the boxers elevate their game because all of the “top” guys are remaining. I remember all of the former champs such as Daniel Jacobs, Sadam Ali and Will Rosinsky all having the same nervous look during the quarter finals,” said Adams.
Yes; the times have changed, to a degree, but many of those elements which make the event so durable are front and center. At Gleason’s, in the Gloves, people are fighting not to beat the other guy, but to lift themselves up. That is a useful endeavor, in any age.