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Let's Get Ready to Rumble ... White Collar Boxing

By Todd McClamroch in News on Sep 19, 2006 2:01PM

09_19_06_white_collar_boxin.jpgChicagoist knows you have wasted a Saturday watching all the Rocky movies or watching a marathon of ESPN's "The Contender." Now it's time to get off your couch and get in the ring for the workout of a liftetime. Get started by heading down to the Chicago Athletic Association next Monday to hear John E. "The Pecos Kid" Oden talk about the sport of White Collar Boxing. Oden will also be signing copies of his book White Collar Boxing: One Man's Journey From the Office to the Ring.

Chicagoist talked with "The Pecos Kid" about boxing, a sport he did not pick up until his forties. Oden has travelled around the US and to London to compete in White Collar Boxing matches. Oden mentioned there are three levels of boxing in America.

The first is professional boxing (although that does not always define how the boxers act in the ring; yeah Iron Mike, we're talking about you). The next level is amateur, which includes competitions like Olympic boxing and Golden Glove boxing. Both professional and amateur boxing are fought on a competitive level. The third tier is reserved for average Joes, maybe a businessman or woman, attorney, doctor, accountant, or police officer by day, and a White Collar Boxer by night. Although White Collar Boxing is spirited, many matches are fought without a winner being declared and both fighters' hands are raised at the end of the match.

So why should you risk getting hit? Oden says, "Boxing is a sport that can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age, background, physical condition, handicap, or disability. It is the best form of exercise." Oden was honest about the pain factor, saying "getting hit does hurt. I really hate getting hit, therefore I train consistently and box defensively." What he calls the fear factor motivates him "to train harder, get up earlier, run further, diet better and do all the things you should be doing, 'cause if you don't do it you might get hurt."

Even those who fear getting hit can get into the sport for training purposes - combining bag work, weight training and road work (running) - then wait until they feel comfortable enough to go from training to sparring, which involves two boxers in a ring, mano a mano. Oden commented that all his hard work and dedication has paid off. "I have gotten in great physical shape ... it has been a great thing for my business and for me personally" he says.

In doing research for his book, Oden found that Chicago has more boxing gyms than most other cities in the country. Two that he recommends in his book are
Jabb Boxing and Fitness Formula Clubs. Oden's presentation and book signing is open to the public. It is at the Chicago Athletic Association from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, September 25.