Saturday Smitty’s Mid-West Boxing Gym and American Legion Post 639 hosted “Always Ready to Rumble V”, an amateur event featuring 35 matches with fighters from eight states.
Four former boxing champions flew to Springfield to support gym owner Darrell “Smitty” Smith and his dedication to amateur boxing. James Toney, Ray Mercer, Al Cole and Angel Manfredy recalled their own humble beginnings in the sport, and said they want to inspire the next generation of champions.
Smitty’s relationship with Mercer and Cole goes back decades, and it goes far beyond boxing. The three trained together while serving in the U.S. Army. They have stayed in touch well beyond the All-Army program, even after Mercer and Cole reached the 1988 Olympics and became professional champions.
Mercer and Cole vowed to return to Springfield in June 2018, when Shrine Mosque will host a USA Boxing national event.