Welcome To Easton, Pa: Where The Boxing Gym is Alive

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    How many times have we heard the catch phrase, “Boxing is Dead”, or the “Boxing Gym is dead”?  I took a trip to Easton, Pennsylvania to watch Curtis Stevens work out before his fight with Gennady Golovkin that occurred last Saturday, and what I saw there was far from what I thought a dead boxing gym was supposed to be. Of course, I saw the members of Team Stevens, but aside from them, the gym was packed with other pros in and out the area, and the best part of the gym was the amount of kids that showed up after Stevens and his team left.

    Easton, PA has long been known as the home of heavyweight champion Larry Holmes. The very place I was to watch Stevens workout was Larry Holmes old gym. That same gym is now known as Pintabone Boxing Gym. I sought out the manager of the gym, Frank Pintabone to get a grasp of how his gym was alive when they say others are dead.

    Pintabone was a former amateur boxer who won the Golden in 2004 but left boxing alone after he got a bad cat scan before turning pro. It was his son however that brought him into the sport.

    “My son grew up in the gym but I never really pushed it on him. But about 9 months ago, he talks about he wants to box.” (As he talks about his son, one of the pros there says he’s always talking about his son and they joke back and forth making jokes at each other). When the jawing ends, the boxer says,” The difference between him and other gym guys, he’s positive, doesn’t call me an asshole or is negative cause sometimes; you need some joking around in all this seriousness.”

    As they converse, Frank tells the boxer as long as you keep working, we’re going to get you on a November card, a good one, most likely on the Main Event card on the 16th.

    Frank then told me he thought the phase of boxing for his son would pass and it never did. So he figured why not have an adequate training facility close to home? So he reached out the legend Larry Holmes.

    “I went to Larry, talked to him, he decided to lend it to me, I opened up, put the word out a week later, and we had about 17 kids signed up. We’ve been rockin’ ever since. I got to fights and Ronald Cruz is right up the street. His trainer is a good friend of me. Main Events is here, Peltz is here. A lot of champions trained here. When Larry was the champion, Aaron Pryor, Tommy Hearns, all those guys used to come here, Roberto Duran, there’s history here”, explained Pintabone.

    Easton Pennsylvania is higher elevated than most of the city and that’s what attracted Main Events and Curtis Stevens to make the move to hold camp there for the Golovkin fight.  Pintabone saw the check hook that laid on Saul Roman and welcomed the Stevens camp with open arms. Pintabone and Steven’ head trainer Andre Rozier hit it off so much that Rozier is now training is son and bringing other camps down to Pintabone.  “He (Rozier) started working with Andre, he picked up a lot more, André, he could hard on him where it’s not dad, it a coach.  We’re talking about Marshall Kaufmann and his son Travis the heavyweight coming down and we talked with Andre with Danny Jacobs, bringing Danny over here for camp. I got a house 2 miles from here with ridiculous hills. Lafayette College gives us access to their facilities; it’s just a great environment.”

    While it’s great to have the pros in the gym, for Pintabone, the goal is the kids.

    “Ultimate goal is to get kids off the street. It’s to give the kids a place to be, my son loves it, we can put all the kids in the card between us in Bethlehem and every Saturday I have gyms from all over and we spar all day. It’s really helping the kids. Since this camp, Main events has been great, they donated gloves for the kids. My canvas is looking great. I hope to do a lot more business with Main events with pro fighters. Its Easton, we made a champion and we got Ronald Cruz 10 miles away. We got Derik Parks unfortunately he passed, Sam Davis born and raised in Easton. We got what it takes to make a world champion and I just want to make sure we have the gym to do so.”

    I posed the question to Pintabone if he feels the boxing gym is dying.

    “Honestly I don’t see it, the boxing dying. Just yesterday we signed up 3 kids, 9, 10, and11. Every day we sign up new kids. I’ll be honest with you I have a problem but it’s a good problem, I have more qualified people that know about boxing because I have way too many kids. We’re running nonstop from the time we open and the time we close. It’s not just boxing, it’s like kids come in here box, and ask for help with homework. I see just the opposite, since I got this place 8 months ago; we go from 2 people to well over 100 from kids all the way up. I don’t see it dying. I see it taking a little back seat for the MMA but its leveled out. MMA is not boxing; it’s not the sweet science. I don’t see a decline, not at all.”

    The one thing he feels will uplift the sport is an American heavyweight.” I think it is on the upswing, what’s going to help is an American heavyweight.  We’re surviving very well without any heavyweight. I think it is coming back and Easton is much smaller, if I see it here then I know the bigger cities are cranking up. Only reason we’re not there is the American heavyweight,” stated Pintabone.

    Pintabone Gym is open and cranking, whether amateur or pro, its open for everyone. “All they got to do is come down Southside 228 West Canal St. We charge 25 a month and that’s just to pay the rent. We got kids that can’t afford to pay the 25 and we help them, you know maybe they could sweep and do this. We’re not turning anyone away, we’re open Monday through Saturday and we’re here.”