For many of us it’s hard to believe that it was 30 years ago that Rockford’s Kenny Gould won an Olympic bronze medal in the sport of boxing.
When Gould was a student at Auburn High School he was as good as any amateur boxer in the world at the welterweight division. He was a Junior Olympic champion and the 1986 World Amateur Champion. Then in 1988 he went to Seoul, South Korea to the Olympics and he won the bronze medal. For many of us it’s hard to believe that was 30 years ago.|
“30 years…you can see the experience, you can see the experience and the difference right here,” says Gould stroking his gray beard, “but 30 years, man!”
Gould was nicknamed the “Candyman” by his Olympic teammates.
“It’s because I ate a lot of candy,” says Gould.
Gould won his first four fights in Seoul…three of them by unanimous decision, but his fifth fight he lost to France’s Laurent Boudouani and Gould’s chance for gold was gone.
How often does he replay that fight in his mind?
“Here and there. Here and there,” he says. “I beat him before in the World Championships in Reno, Nevada.
Before their Olympic rematch Gould came down with a cold before that fight that sapped him of some of his energy.
“It was not just a regular cold,” says Gould. “It was like my body was just through. Personally I needed medication but I couldn’t take medication because of the rules and regulations there.”
“I did have personal feelings on that matter of letting myself down, my family down and my country down. It weighed a little heavily on me over the course of time, but eventually almighty God and family allowed that to ride out.”
Other than missing out on the gold medal Gould says overall his Olympic experience was perfect, and he still feels close to his 12 teammates on the USA boxing team a team of stars that included Roy Jones Jr, Andrew Maynard, Ray Mercer and Riddick Bowe. Now after 30 years they all plan to have a reunion in mid-August in Las Vegas during the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame inductions.
“I’ve been calling Riddick, Roy, Ray Mercer. All of them. They’re really excited about meeting up with each one of us. It’s going to be a great because we’re going to be taking pictures and talking crap. (laughs) Once in a life time. It’s beautiful!”
On Friday, July 27 a fundraiser will be held at the newly renovated Cliffbreakers to help Gould finance his trip to Vegas.
“We’re going to be having hors d’oeuvres from our great new menu. We’re going to be doing live music. We’re also going to be doing karaoke,” says Cliffbreakers’ sales manager Traci Honings. “There will be a cash bar. The dance floor will be open. It’s just going to be a great time!”
“I just feel like it’s a really great way for the community to come together,” says Honings. “Just like Cliffbreakers and Riverview Inn and Suites with a new beginning, a second chance. Just as a boxer you get knocked down you bounce back up. That’s what we’re doing here. We’ve reinvented ourselves.”
Rockford’s latest boxing sensation Angel Martinez will also appear at the fundraiser.
To order tickets for that event call Traci Honings at (815) 282-3033 Ext. 514 during business hours or call Tommy Meeks at (815) 218-2861. Tickets go for a $20 donation. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the event Friday, July 27 . The event runs from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.
Cliffbreakers and the Riverview Inn and Suites is located at 700 W. Riverside Blvd. in Rockford.