Sunday, November 23, 2014

Marion Barry, Champion For Boxing In DC, Passes at 78!

As many in the Beltway region are saddened at the announcement of the passing of Ward 8 Councilmember and former DC Mayor Marion S. Barry, Jr., so too are many in the local boxing scene.

Quietly and not with a lot of fanfare, Mr. Barry did a lot to elevate the boxing scene in Washington, DC.  Under his tenure as mayor, Barry, a big boxing fan, inaugurated the Mayor's Cup amateur boxing tournament in 1985 and held for many years at Howard University's Burr Gymnasium.  A number of local and national boxers became very prominent names through that tournament.

Barry appointed the first woman to head the DC Boxing and Wrestling Commission -- his future wife, Cora Masters Barry.  Mrs. Barry served on the commission from 1979 to 1987.  Although her tenure was sometimes dubious, it was a time where championship bouts started coming to DC on a more regular basis.

Also during the Barry Administration, new places, new exceptional places to hold boxing events started to appear.  Before, there was only the DC Armory but Marion Barry helped bring us the original Washington Convention Center and then the MCI (now Verizon) Center to hold some legendary bouts over the years.

At the heart, Barry was a big fan of the sport and did all he could to elevate boxing in the nation's capital.  As late as this past September, Barry was honored alongside DC's legendary boxing champions as he promoted his autobiography.

Standing and watching the event at the legendary Ben's Chili Bowl, I could only think of how fitting that was.  As the boxers who represented DC as champions, no one fought harder for Washington, DC and its prominence than Marion Barry.  BATB sends our deepest condolences.

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