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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Father is finally at ringside
By JOHN C. COTEY, IZZY GOULD
Published August 7, 2005
TAMPA - For the first time since he turned professional in 2000, Jeff Lacy's father got to see him fight in person Saturday.
Hydra Lacy, who had 19 pro fights, has been unable to attend any of his son's previous bouts due to myriad health problems, including a stroke. He has seen all of the televised fights, however.
Hydra first brought Lacy to the St. Pete Boxing Club when his son was 9. He was his first trainer.
Hydra had another son, Darrell, who was the one he thought might be a champ before he ran afoul of the law.
"Now that guy, I ain't ever seen anyone with as fast hands as he had," Hyrda said.
And Lacy's younger brother, Kenny, has been a semi-promising amateur heavyweight for years.
But both lacked the one thing that Hydra thinks makes Jeff great.
"Heart," he said. "The other boys, they didn't have it. But Jeff, he loved the game. He goes all out when he gets in that ring, and that's the only way he knows."
FEELING FINE: Akinyemi Laleye's unanimous decision against Gerard Newland almost didn't happen.
Manager Andy Lockhart and trainer Dan Birmingham said they almost pulled "AK47" from the fight card because of a viral infection.
Laleye was bedridden for three days and said he felt about "70 percent" when the opening bell sounded.
"I felt weak all over," Laleye said. "I thought I had the West Nile Virus."
Laleye, who fights out of St. Petersburg, said he spent most of Saturday lying around to conserve energy for his second victory.
CAVEMAN COMETH: St. Petersburg's Glen LaPlante was one of the stars of the undercard, entering the ring in a fireman's hat and jacket and then extinguishing Brian Chiary in a majority decision.
LaPlante landed countless punches to Chiary's head in the third round and almost knocked him out, but the Hudson fighter hung on to force the fight to go the full six rounds.
LaPlante wears the fireman's gear into the ring as a salute to his firefighting family members - grandfather (retired), brother and cousin. But LaPlante's nickname is Caveman, which he says he got from slapping away a friend's hand and growling when he tried to remove a plate of 30 chicken bones from in front of him.
"I guess I looked like a caveman leaning over his bowl of gruel," LaPlante said.
BOXER BOXED UP: Chiary, who continues to carry his right hand at his belt line when he fights, took a beating for the second straight fight.
It might have been his last.
His promoter, Terry Trekas, said that Chiary "will be taking a break. A long break."
Chiary is a student at Pasco-Hernando Community College, and Trekas said he'd rather see the 23-year-old finish school and explore other options.
"There's a lot of other things Brian can do," Trekas said.
WRIGHT RINGSIDE: St. Petersburg's Winky Wright began searching for his ringside seat just after 8 p.m. Fans in the St. Pete Times Forum quickly noticed and began applauding.
A FEW MINUTES LATE: Boxing began five minutes after the scheduled 6:05 start with a sparse crowd still dripping into the St. Pete Times Forum. Official attendance was 15,056 for the Lacy-Reid bout.
"It was a real fight crowd," promoter Gary Shaw said. "When the first fight went off and that first punch landed, everybody yelled. I immediately turned to the person next to me and said, "We're in luck. This is a real fight crowd.' "