The brighter the lights, the brighter the stars. The Daily News Golden Gloves finals always bring out boxing luminaries from all over. Some notable names that were in attendance this weekend included Evander Holyfield, Mark Breland, Erickson Lubin, Joe Cortez, Junior Jones, Marcus Browne, Mauricio Sulaiman, Teddy Atlas and Lou DiBella – just to name a few.
Holyfield’s presence in the building inspired 201+ open competitor, Michael Polite-Coffie who captured a Golden Glove title to cap off the action on Friday night.
"Seeing any of the pro boxers there is motivating, but to have someone of Holyfield’s caliber to come out and watch the fights. It makes you want to come out and step it up a notch.
Holyfield, who is an all-time great, believes that is essential to have the foundation that amateur provides. He thinks that it equips them for the professional ranks.
"It’s important to support the amateurs because this how the good pros come about,” he said. “You have to have that farm system that teaches young people to box".
Holyfield, who won the bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics, feels that the amateurs taught him a great deal. He believes that it prepared him his prolific professional career.
"The amateurs teaches you how to fight and gain confidence," said Holyfield " I won the National Golden Gloves St. Louis. There is something about the Golden Gloves that everybody loves. Everyone gets excited. It’s a great avenue for the boxers."
The "Real Deal" has a lot of history in New York, making his professional debut down the street from the Hammerstein Ballroom at Madison Square Garden.
"New York gave me the opportunity. Fighting at Madison Square Garden was great. It was an amazing thing,” said Holyfield. "You have the best entertainment in New York. It makes you feel like you did something boxing in New York".
Lubin, who had an impressive performance in March at the Barclays Center, came back to see the tournament that helped mold him. He also came back to watch his fellow boxing colleagues in action.
"I had a few friends out here who fought tonight. I love New York," Lubin said. “I am here to support the amateurs. I came up through here. I won the Golden Gloves in 2013, so I had to come out and show my love and support."
The young crafty boxer is currently making his name known through the professional ranks. He believes that the finals help the boxers get noticed by promoters.
"I expect some of the young stars to show the talent that they have and make a name for themselves. They’re the future, one day they’re going to get signed and do their thing in the pros".
Lou DiBella, who is a well regarded boxer promoter, has a big hand in helping the Golden Gloves gain more exposure.
"We’re here creating TV shows for our Broadway Boxing series. We want this great event to be seen on TV."
DiBella feels that the tournament is New York.
"It’s the greatest local tournament in the country. The whole city comes together," said DiBella. "It’s a great event, it’s part of the fabric of New York."
The Golden Gloves puts an emphasis on education and learning not only inside the ring, but outside of it as well. This year featured three special recipients of scholarship awards.
Eight-time Gloves champ Nisa Rodriguez will receive $5,000 for the George Horowitz scholarship. Jack McGrath will receive $1,000 for the Joey Fariello scholarship and Jack’s mom, Lisa McGrath, will receive $500 for the first annual Steven McDonald scholarship.