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The rise and fall of the Golden Gloves – part 4

Golden Gloves
In the final part of the investigation into the demise of the Golden Gloves, Jack Hirsch outlines what is needed to save the tournament while admitting we may have already seen the last of the historic competition

THE last time the Daily News Golden Gloves tournament was running as a well-oiled machine it had been under the directive of men like John Campi who was with the Daily News for a half century and held the title of Vice President and director of promotions. Behind the scenes, Campi became known as the face of the Golden Gloves, playing a huge role in how the tournament was run for 30 years beginning in 1982. When Campi retired in 2012, then passed away a couple of years later, the Daily News Charities (DNC) was certainly weakened behind closed doors. As was Metro when Johnny Woluewich died in 2006. Woluewich was well respected in both his roles as secretary, then later president of Metro.

Morrison heads the Yonkers YMCA boxing programme. He cast aspirations over the validity of the election in which he was defeated, going so far as to hire an attorney to look into the matter. “The voting had always been anonymous” says Morrison, “then all of a sudden you had to give the names of the gym and coaches to Colorado [USA Boxing] so they could see who voted for who. There were coaches who might have voted for me and didn’t because they were scared of the repercussions they might face from USA Boxing. An outside agency used to send a ballot to vote so no one could check.”

If what Morrison is saying is accurate then he certainly has a right to be disillusioned with Metro, but at the same time he might be carrying his contempt too far by not entering his boxers in the Ring Masters tournament, which has effectively taken the place of the Gloves. Morrison claims it is not his doing, saying the boxers want the Golden Gloves award, the iconic golden gloves necklace, and not the ring given to the tournament winner. However, it is hard to believe that with Ring Masters being the most prestigious amateur boxing tournament in New York at the present time that fighters would voluntarily bypass it.

Morrison is no fan of current Metro president, Ray Cuadrado, stating he lacked sincerity. “He talked well to Brian’s face then went behind his back,” he says. As for the incident described in Part II of this investigation when Mark Breland was thrown out of an event, Morrison says “anyone who had ties to Brian was targeted. I’ve seen instances where coaches who were required to bring their books did not have them, but were still allowed to work that day.

“Boxers that lost in Ring Masters were still allowed to go to other tournaments. Ray did the coaches favors so he could hold something over them.”

Morrison further accused Metro of being unnecessarily petty at times, claiming that when Dominique Crowder won the Ring Masters tournament, they had tried to blackball him from participating in the National Golden Gloves because he did not have on the proper shirt. “He was being held out until two days before when they relented and decided he could go,” claims Morrison.

The Metro presidency has traditionally had a huge turnover, but Cuadrado at the present time seems secure in the position. Cuadrado’s past only became an issue with his opponents when he became a candidate for the presidency. To them it was less about the rule being changed than it was their perception it was specifically to benefit Cuadrado.

“The whole Golden Gloves situation was a heartbreaking ordeal,” says Cuadrado. “There were a lot of rumours of how the tournament was run. We had problems with matchmaking and communication. When I coached it didn’t matter to me when my guys fought the others in the tournament. To win it they would have to fight them all anyway.”

Cuadrado contradicts Adams, saying the tournament under the DNC directive did show partiality by favoring some boxers over others. “One of the issues was there being an A side and a B side,” he said. “In amateur boxing there is a draw. You should not (deliberately) match someone against an opponent who is overmatched. There were fighters who were favorites and would come to the scales overweight and after a time or two would be passed. There were other fighters who would be given 24 hours to make weight, some [as long as] a week.”

Cuadrado also felt the Golden Gloves competition ceased to be important to the DNC. “In all due fairness to the people who ran the tournament, the DNC looked at it as a fundraiser first and foremost.”

Cuadrado describes Brian Adams’ attitude toward the coaches as being disrespectful. “Brian Adams would not always allow the boxers to have the coach of their choosing. The fighters could not switch coaches during the tournament. I understand what he is saying about the rules, but the fighter should be allowed to get a new coach if he is no longer getting along with the one he is with. Brian asked me to not be involved with this issue, but I had an obligation for the accountability of the tournament. If an organisation has no accountability to the membership there is no motivation to improve.

“In a tournament both the boxer and their coach should be notified,” said Cuadrado. “Brian’s attitude was the boxers were adults and should be the only ones notified. Brian had the ear of the people at the Daily News, he had the power to make decisions for the betterment of the tournament. We wanted the most people to view the shows. They should have also been run on weekends as well, but he did not want that.”

Cuadrado denies Morrison’s allegations claiming he was not trustworthy during his time with Metro. “Whenever we had a meeting John Morrison would forward things to Brian.”

Cuadrado disagreed that a lust for power played a role in the dispute. “Our goal was to improve the tournament, we wanted to add more tools to make it more popular. We knew the tournament would implode without our help.”

Cuadrado says that after the court verdict he and Auclair sat down with representatives of the DNC and came to an understanding moving forward, but were later undermined in an unprofessional manner. “They now felt they had us over a barrel,” he said.

If the DNC was taking satisfaction in holding the upper hand you could certainly understand why. Exclusive documents Boxing News obtained showed Metro attorneys cancellng a meeting with the DNC’s shortly before the court date. Apparently, Metro were confident in their chances of obtaining a favourable judgement and saw no need for further dialogue at the time.

“We never tried to take the tournament away from the Daily News,” Cuadrado continued, “we tried to assist them. There was one year where the Daily News awarded a fake pair of Golden Gloves that had no gold at all. When we raised a complaint they replaced them claiming it was an accountants error. We had to threaten litigation to get them to correct the problem.

“We would love to bring the Golden Gloves back and keep Ring Masters as well. Two things every amateur boxer dreams about are winning the Golden Gloves and boxing in Madison Square Garden. “

“We wanted to keep the Daily News on as a sponsor ” added Cuadrado. Those words are telltale. Being that the New York Golden Gloves is legally the DNC’s tournament, should it not be Metro requesting a role rather than offering one?

Williams for one feels that way and claims to have ran into resistance when she expressed that to the Metro board during her tenure as president. “There was chatter of how the money was being used,” said Williams. “The Golden Gloves was a big source of income for USA Boxing Metro. What the coaches did not understand was that the Daily News funded the tournament and it was not how much more they were willing to give, but how much more they were willing to lose?”

Unless there is a change of heart, the ball is in the DNC’s court. In the next year a firm decision has to be made whether they intend to do something with the trademark. And if so, it would come at the price of revisiting an adversarial relationship with Metro.

There are speculative reasons that should be considered as well, such as if the DNC does maintain the trademark would Metro counter by finding a reason not to sanction their Golden Gloves tournament? With the Daily News suffering financial hardships the cost of going to court again over this issue might be prohibitive, something Metro is keenly aware of. Simply put, times have changed. Long honoured tradition or not, the Golden Gloves does not hold the significance to or for the Daily News that it once did.

The clock is ticking, but you have to wonder if time has not already run out on the New York Daily News’ Golden Gloves tournament.

Jack Hirsch boxed in the 1973 and 1976 New York Daily News Golden Gloves tournaments at 147lbs

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