For more than four decades, the Morris Park Boxing Club has been a staple in the community. But the business has been shuttered since March due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While owner Aaron Davis is doing okay financially, he recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for his trainers. So far, donors have given $265 toward the cause with an end goal of $100,000.
Davis, 53, a former welterweight champion, has run the gym for six years. He told the Bronx Times when the pandemic arrived he envisioned being closed but never for this long.
Fortunately, he has been able to keep the place afloat and continue to pay rent. Davis’ concern is the trainers and his optimistic view may change if he isn’t open in a few months.
“If I have to go into my savings that’s what I’m going to do,” he said. “I don’t want to be in the red.”
Morris Park Boxing Club at 644 Morris Park has been around for 42 years, trained famed boxers, including Davis and Lou Del Valle and burned down in 2009.
Sharice Pegram, co-founder of a business consulting group called the Now Project, helped set up the GoFundMe. Pegram explained that since Governor Andrew Cuomo has given no indication when gyms can reopen, she felt it was important that the Boxing Club get as much financial assistance as possible.
“What happens if the gym can’t open for another six months?” Pegram said.
Davis is much more of a glass half full kind of guy and feels things will resume in a few weeks. He only received $4,000 from the federal government through the Paycheck Protection Program loan and just applied for small business loan from the city.
While his wife urged him to stay home and quarantine, Davis wanted to be there for the fighters. The former champ waived the monthly membership fees for the boys but has been training a few of them three days a week in Pelham Bay Park at no cost.
Even if it’s in a park, he’s doing the best to prepare them for their bouts.
“There’s nothing like being in the gym,” Davis said.