People judge everything they see either consciously or sub-consciously.
Coaches judge how their fighter is doing in a boxing match in order to give instruction between rounds. Fans judge a fight and shout out encouragement hoping to cheer their favorite to victory. The official “ Boxing Judges” are looking for which boxer landed the cleaner and more damaging punches. Jake Benson takes his job very seriously and is a professional. I asked Jake to give us a background on his years in boxing and to share some of his thoughts.
Growing up in he late 1950’s and early 60’s I would always look forward to the night I got to stay up late and watch boxing with my father. I had working parents and The Gillette Friday Night Fights were a time to spend together.
I am not sure why my father liked boxing. If could have been because television was beginning to make a major impact which provided the viewer an opportunity to watch sporting events live.
More likely it was because he grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts. It’s a town known as the “City of Champions,” because of the success of two of its native sons, Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler.
It was not until I was in my teens did I realize that my town, Proctor, Minnesota, had a rich boxing history with nationally ranked boxers. One went on to become a Minnesota Golden Gloves champion, who went undefeated and won the national championship. His college team season record for attendance averaging over 14,200 fans a fight.
As I grew up, I knew him as a man who focused on youth sports and training young Golden Glove boxers, though I was never one.
It wasn’t until 30 years later that I would get reacquainted with boxing. I was at a Chanukah observance when three of my friends suggested we go to a local gym and watch some fights.
It wasn’t the boxers that caught my attention, but a spry man in the corner yelling commands at them. It was my introduction to Chuck Horton over a decade ago.
Horton had opened this gym as a legacy to his father in 1994. The same year my father had died.
For whatever reason Chuck Horton accepted me into his close-knit cadre. Before I knew it, I was helping to officiate matches, first as a timekeeper and knockdown judge then as a judge.
I have been struck most of all by how generous and straightforward he is.
Because of Chuck Horton, and his passion not just for the sport but also for all kids, I have been a witness to an amazing resurgence of the sport, which for years languished in obscurity.
Chuck Horton has taken a small step back from the, handing the gloves over to his protégé Zach Walters.
Though his duties at the gym has diminished slightly as he continues his college education, he remains intensely committed to seeing his athletes, his kids, along with others who can not make it to a gym, stay away from drugs, out of trouble and respectful.
Chuck Horton frowns on bad behavior. While he demands accountability in his gym he is a kind leader who provides a supportive community.
“We all need an opportunity for redemption,” he told me recently. Noting, “mistakes do not define people. It’s important we see the humanity in each other.”
Horton worries about the amount of human interaction people are willing to share these days. “I fear we are giving the impression that we aren’t really there for younger people.” “We walk down the street, but do not look at each other and do not say hello. The kids are almost invisible,” he observed. “When I see a kid, I say hello and make eye contact.”
Horton has not been bashful displaying his gratitude to those who have helped him, his gym and his fighters. “It is amazing the relationships we have formed over years, helping kids and boxing,” he said. Chuck’s cadre of officials, the majority former military like himself, have grown to include five, all with strong Proctor connections. While Chuck Horton is thankful for the help he has received from his officials, we are equally appreciative that he has allowed us, in a small way to continue a city’s boxing heritage born three-quarters of a century ago.