Ray Rodgers, Jermain's cutman!
When undefeated middleweight contender Jermain Taylor faces undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins on Saturday night July 16th, Taylor will have one of the best cutman in the sport - Ray Rodgers
Equally well known as a legend in amateur boxing circles, Rodgers
has lived and breathed the sport of boxing for about 50 years.A member of the Silver
and Golden Gloves Halls
of Fame, he
has also worked at the highest echelons of professional boxing.
In each fight, Rodgers
practiced his craft in the corner and the cuts were no longer factors as Taylor went on to victory in both contests.
...Taylor's trainer Pat Burns feels confident with Rodgers as the cutman in his fighter's corner.
"He is the best in the world bar none," says Burns, a longtime friend of Rodgers
who has worked with him for more than 25 years.
Burns's sentiments of Rodgers'
abilities as a cutman are shared by many others learned in the Sweet Science.
"There are some great cutmen who learned their trade from Ray Rodgers
." "I used Ray as a cutman when I trained and managed Tommy Morrison," says John Brown, owner of Ringside Inc.
You get 2 for 1 with Ray
- a top-level cutman and comedian." Rodgers
possesses a quick mind and the ability to spout off witticisms at the drop of a hat.
learned his craft in the amateur ranks and soaked up knowledge from people like Biff Holstein and Percy Richardson.
"You need to know what to do, when to do it and remember not to get too excited," Rodgers
instructs."I always assure the fighter that a cut is nothing but a scratch even if you can see their bone." Rodgers
doesn't boast of his
accomplishments but admits that he's
never had a fighter lose on cuts.
"I guess I preserved the decision for him," Rodgers
manager at the time, is more direct in his
saved the fighter, period; Ray Rodgers
won that fight for us." Rodgers
worked miracles in June of 1992 when Morrison fought rugged Joe Hipp in Reno, Nevado.
part of a dying breed, as many topflight cutmen have passed in the last year or two.
shows no signs of slowing down and, indeed, has picked up far more responsibility in amateur boxing.
Amateur Boxing Rodgers was a good amateur boxer who first laced on the gloves in his home state of Oklahoma in 1947.His
family moved to Arkansas when his
father got a job transfer with Mobil Oil Company
has worked with young kids in boxing for years in his
Ray Rodgers Boxing Gym in Little Rock, Arkansas.Ray Rodgers
has had a boxing gym in Arkansas for the last 40 years.Jermain Taylor, Terry Smith and Dominick Guinn all boxed in the amateurs in the Little Rock area and fought at amateur events run by Rodgers
"It means a lot," Rodgers
says of his
Gloves a major force in amateur boxing," Miller says."If Ray Rodgers
had not been made the director of that tournament, the Silver
Gloves would not have been what it is today.He
took it from its infancy and turned it into one of the most dominant amateur boxing programs in the country." "Ray Rodgers is the epitome of an astute Golden Gloves persona, says Miller, who himself is a supervisor of Golden Gloves charities boxing program in Knoxville and is a past president of the Golden Gloves.
has nothing but the best interest of the program and its kids at heart."
Helping Kids Rodgers
likes amateur boxing not because he's
achieved great levels of success and personal accomplishments in the Silver
and Golden Gloves
likes it because he
loves the sport and loves helping young kids."I'm most proud of the fact that I've helped many, many kids," he
"Arthur's father was all for it but his mother nixed the idea," Rodgers
"Race, color, creed, ethnicity … none of that means anything to me," Rodgers
...When asked about more pending federal legislation, such as the most recent legislation proposed by Senator John McCain, Rodgers responds: "Certainly, something needs to be done."
"Arkansas is the most pitiful in terms of professional boxing," Rodgers
"I plan to continue in the sport till the undertaker throws the last shovel of dirt on me," Rodgers
says."I'm just a kid."
To others, however, Rodgers
is far more than a kid.He
is a close friend, a mentor, and a father-figure.
If Jermain Taylor pulls off the upset on Saturday night and walks into the promised land of boxing, it's partly because of men like Pat Burns and Ray Rodgers