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Derby Lane painter's true passion lies with boxing

ST. PETERSBURG — Jim McLoughlin paints buildings and polishes boxers.

For the past 13 years, he has freshened Derby Lane with a brush and a roller. After work, it has been off to his Fourth Street Boxing and Community Center in St. Petersburg, where he always looks to develop the next boxing champion.

Like Jose "Chelo Man" Alonzo, a Spring Hill resident who won the Florida State Super Middleweight title Nov. 11 at A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa. Alonzo, 13-0, is one of five fighters under McLoughlin. All are undefeated.

McLoughlin, 61, calls himself a teacher. Add trainer, manager, cut man and promoter to the list.

"A lot of coaches get a reputation, and champions go to them," he said. "I like making champions. These kids come from never having a pair of gloves on to winning titles."

The St. Petersburg native got the boxing itch from his father, Frank, a former professional fighter and sparring partner for Rocky Marciano, the only world heavyweight champion to go undefeated (49-0) throughout his career.

"My dad was a fighting Irishman and a bricklayer in New York," McLoughlin said. "I think boxing just gets in your blood."

Inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame in June, McLoughlin opened his first boxing gym 31 years ago. He has been associated with three world champions, including Michael Bentt and Tyrone Booze. Bentt won the World Boxing Organization heavyweight title in 1993 with a stunning first-round knockout of Tommy Morrison in Tulsa, Okla.; Booze captured the WBO cruiserweight crown in 1992 with a seventh-round knockout of Derek Angol in the United Kingdom.

A partner with former New Yorker Aaron Jacobs in Fight Night Productions, McLoughlin has orchestrated five area boxing shows with four televised nationally. The Nov. 11 event was a sellout in front of 1,350 fans.

"It doesn't do any good to bring these kids off the street and train them if you don't have an outlet for them," McLoughlin said. "That's why I promote, to give these kids a place to fight."

More greyhounds: Patriot kennel manager-trainer Victor Hall is leaving Derby Lane on Wednesday. Hall, 44, who led Patriot to the kennel win title at the 2010 meet (January-June), is moving to Vermont to be with girlfriend Jill Linsley. "We've had a long-distance relationship for three years and plan to get married in April," Hall said. "I'll miss the dogs. There's no better place than Derby Lane." … Derek Barsell (Alabama kennel) and Kevin Campbell (Campbell) are new trainers. … Two-time stakes winner Hi Noon Renegade (Nova) has won his first two starts since returning Nov. 19. He was sidelined three months with an injury.

HORSES: Forty-nine nominations were submitted for the $75,000 Lightning City, Tampa Bay Downs' opening-day stakes Dec. 3 at Oldsmar.

Derby Lane painter's true passion lies with boxing 11/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 25, 2011 7:34pm]
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