Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jim Finley, Owner of Finley's Gym, Passes!

 (courtesy of Capitol Hill History.org)
 
His gym on 10th and Maryland Ave., NE was, for decades, the home to a who's who of local and national boxers like Bob Foster, Sugar Ray Leonard and Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson.   It's very walls contained a large portion of Beltway Boxing history. The gym was so famous, it was once featured in a boxing video game. Also, the boxing scenes in the 1973 film Scorpio were filmed there.

We hear word that the owner of Finley's Gym -- Jim Finley -- passed away this morning.  He was 84 years old.

Mr. Finley was born in Greenville, SC in 1929 and came to Washington, DC in 1943.  Mr. Finley was an amateur boxer but also took to fixing cars.  In the 1950's, Finley's Garage opened and, above that garage in 1960, Mr. Finley opened his gym.  The gym was opened to anyone who wanted some real hard core boxing training.  That wasn't exclusive to pro or amateur boxers.  Chuck Brown was a frequent visitor to the gym as was Miles Davis whenever he was in town.  The gym stayed open until 2001.

The gym was, indeed, a museum devoted to the history of Beltway Boxing. The walls and ceiling contained many posters that allowed visitors to reminisce about great moments in local boxing.

Mr. Finley himself was a very humble man who was incredibly nice.  A lot of what we are as the Beltway Boxing community can be traced directly back to James C. Finley.  RIP to a wonderful man and deepest condolences to his family.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

May he rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

My first taste of a boxing gym wqs at finleys with the late Henry Thomas
S.F.
If only those walls could talk.

Anonymous said...

Very nice man & a DC boxing legend. RIP.

Anonymous said...

Very nice man R.I.P.

Ryan said...

I trained at Finley's for years till Mr Finley retired in 2001. Mr Finley was no-nonsense gym owner and was full of stories of the history of DC boxing. I got along great w/Mr Finley because I adhered to his rules, paid my gym dues on time and loved to listen to his stories. I miss him and love him for providing a place for me and so many others to go and train. What memories!

Ryan

Foster said...

He called me on Christmas n the 90 s.really nice. The Gym was his home. He opened it to everyone.

Mario Hodge said...

My name is Mike Hodge. Mr. Finley and the gym saved my life and taught me so much about displine,fairness,honesty patientience. I spent 22 years under his tooteledge. Will be forever loved and dearly missed!!!! Sleep well my father.

Gary Digital Williams said...

Mike, It's great to hear from you even at such a time as this. Hope you are well.