And still champ: Ron Guidry gives his all to boxing, golf
BY KAREN MARTIN
Special Sections editor
In 1961, Ron Guidry hung up his boxing gloves for what he thought was the last time.
He’d been a winner in high school — state Golden Gloves champ as a junior — and continued to box during his three years in the Army, where he earned championships in 1959 and 1960. After his discharge, he again entered the state Golden Gloves and won.
Soon, though, it was time to grow up.
“I got married, and I had to make a living,” says Guidry. “And there wasn’t a living to be made in Louisiana.”
Over the next decade he and wife Jean, and eventually four children, moved 22 times as Guidry plied his drafting skills at refineries from Missouri to Texas.
In 1972, the family settled in Baton Rouge. Guidry played golf, hunted and fished, and was always involved in his kids’ various sports.
“I always stayed on the go and stayed in shape,” says Guidry, 76.
And he stayed competitive. In 1999 and 2001, he took second place in golfing in the National Senior Olympics. He was the Louisiana Senior Four Ball Amateur champ for ages 65-69 in 2002 and 2004, and the Louisiana Senior Amateur champ for the 70-and-over division in 2007 and 2008.
As it turns out, though, he wasn’t done with boxing.
In 2007, while thumbing through The Jock magazine, he came upon a story about Master Boxing, a sport for those 35 and older.
“It was about this guy who was 68 and had won two championships,” says Guidry, who was then 70.
It got his juices flowing, and he decided to get back in the ring.
With only two months until the Ringside World Boxing Champsionhip in Kansas City, Mo., he started training with Beau Williford, head coach and manager at the Ragin’ Cajun Boxing Club, and Deidre Gogarty, the former world women’s lightweight champ who also coaches there.
“I lost 17 pounds in two months and dropped my cholesterol by 50 points,” says Guidry.
The stringent training — one-hour workouts twice a day — paid off and Guidry took the championship in the 70-75 age category.
But it wasn’t easy.
“It’s 1½-minute rounds,” he says, “and after the second round I told my son, who was working my corner, that I couldn’t continue. He said, ‘Suck it up and get after it.’ I finished the last round, and I won. I ended up champ two more times after that,” he says, proudly showing off the belts with their dinner-plate sized medallions.
In 2010, Guidry was inducted into the USA Southern Boxing Association’s Hall of Fame.
As this year’s boxing competition approaches, Guidry is unsure if he’ll again strap on his gloves.
“I still work out two or three times a week at Foxy’s and hit the punching bag,” he says.
But these days it’s his golf game — he plays just about everyday — that keeps him occupied.
In mid-July there’s a Senior Olympics golf tournament in Cleveland, Ohio, and the boxing competition starts in early August in Kansas City.
“Boxing and golf are two separate types of sports,” he says. “You train differently. And, sometimes, the way you punch gets in the way of your club swing.”
While he decides, Guidry will keep training and auditioning for the occasional movie role, where he’s having almost as much success as he does on the course and in the ring.
Guidry’s distinguished good looks earned him the cover of Masters Boxing magazine and have gotten him small roles in “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “All the Kings Men” and “Benjamin Buttons.”
Some of his scenes, he admits, ended up on the cutting-room floor.
“I just take the acting as it comes,” he says.
But the golf and boxing, that’s serious stuff.