Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

Trader Joe's could displace boxing club

If Trader Joe's is headed for St. Petersburg as everyone expects, it won't be good news for those in the business of trading leather.

Jim McLoughlin, patriarch of the 4th Street Boxing Club, said he was told last week he has 60 days to vacate the gym he transformed from a condemned throwaway building in 1993 into one of the hubs of the once red-hot St. Petersburg boxing scene.

"They're killing us," said McLoughlin, who has trained hundreds of fighters. "I have all these kids that depend on me, and they gave us very little notice."

McLoughlin, 63, said rumors have been swirling about a Trader Joe's or some big business on that site for at least a decade, but the news was a "kick in the groin."

McLoughlin pays $1,300 a month rent, with assistance from sponsor Crawford Ker of WingHouse, but other options in the area want $3,000 or more "and we can't afford that."

McLoughlin has been training fighters in St. Petersburg since opening the St. Pete Boxing Club at 1032 Fourth St. N — where former world champion Winky Wright got his start — in 1982.

David Santos, who still helps McLoughlin with fighters, was the club's first star — and McLoughlin's star pupil.

McLoughlin, inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012, had to change locations over the years because of financial constraints. He said he never made much money off running a gym but it was a labor of love.

When he was offered the building on Fourth Street, he thought he had found a permanent home.

"The city was really good to me," he said.

Over the years, the 4th Street Boxing Club has had its share of local champions, such as Santos and Tyrone Booze, and has been used by the likes of Jake Rodriguez, Corrie Sanders, David Tua and Miguel Cotto.

"That gym's got a lot of memories," McLoughlin said.

McLoughlin retired this year and said he is financially secure. But he said there are kids out there who need a place like the 4th Street Boxing Club.

And while he is unsure where he will store the ring posts and heavy bags and all the treadmills and exercise bikes, he wants to continue somewhere, somehow.

John C. Cotey can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 8-4 win over Orioles

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 8-4 win over Orioles

Marc Topkin's takeaways from the Rays 8-4 win over the Orioles on Wednesday:* RHP Alex Cobb is going to be Alex Cobb again. But it seemed clear from watching him against his old Rays mates he's not quite ready yet, the result of signing in late March...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Three things to know about new Land O’Lakes football coach Chad Walker

Three things to know about new Land O’Lakes football coach Chad Walker

Chad Walker, 34, is the new football coach at Land O'Lakes, inheriting a team that went 4-5 under Brian Wachtel in 2017. Walker played college football at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., from 2002-05. He didn't move to Florida until Jan. 1, 20...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
A look at the Lightning-Bruins series

A look at the Lightning-Bruins series

So it is the Bruins.The big, bad Bruins.The Bruins come to town Saturday for the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Lightning, a best-of-seven series that begins with a 3 p.m. puck drop.It is the second-round series nearly everyone p...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

The 12 years he spent in the Rays organization, and the seven seasons he was around the big-league team, mean the world to Alex Cobb.But Wednesday he wasn't in the mood for memories.After a third straight outing for his new Orioles team ended badly, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Five reasons Palm Harbor University football will be better this season

Five reasons Palm Harbor University football will be better this season

PALM HARBOR — There is plenty of optimism at Palm Harbor University, which has some key returners in place that can help the Hurricanes improve on last season's 3-5 football record. Here are five reasons PHU can turn things around, starting thi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
After Twitter backlash, Jeff Garcia won’t announce any Bucs draft picks

After Twitter backlash, Jeff Garcia won’t announce any Bucs draft picks

The Bucs still don't have a third-round draft pick this weekend, but if they do trade for one, former Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia won't be the one to announce it.It's been a rough few days for Garcia, who played for the Bucs in 2007-08, ma...
Updated: 2 hours ago
IAAF rules to limit testosterone levels for female runners

IAAF rules to limit testosterone levels for female runners

MONACO — New rules for female athletes with high natural testosterone levels which could force two-time Olympic 800-meter champion Caster Semenya to stop running middle-distance races. From Nov. 1, the IAAF will limit entry for all international even...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: John Clayton breaks down the NFL draft

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: John Clayton breaks down the NFL draft

It's NFL draft day. John Clayton joins Rick Stroud to talk about how many quarterbacks will go early and who the Bucs will take with the seventh overall pick, considering their obvious needs on defense.Plus, the Lightning will face the Boston Br...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Is former Florida Gators lineman Taven Bryan a first-round NFL draft pick?

Is former Florida Gators lineman Taven Bryan a first-round NFL draft pick?

Aside from former Florida State safety Derwin James, the most likely first-round pick from a state college is ex-Florida defensive lineman Taven Bryan.He hopes, at least."That would (stink) if I didn't," Bryan said last month at Florida's pro da...
Updated: 4 hours ago
The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

TAMPA — As the Tampa Bay Lightning wait for its next playoff opponent to come to town, the city’s business community — large and small — say they’ve already won this NHL postseason.At WestShore Plaza this week, with blue and white banners surrounding...
Updated: 5 hours ago