By Steve Adams
As fall approaches, many of the familiar sporting activities we missed last year are returning to Annapolis—for example, high school sports games, busy boating weekends, and Navy football games.
But there’s a new sport coming to Naptown this weekend: boxing.
The City of Annapolis Recreation and Parks Department, in partnership with the Mack Lewis Boxing Gym of Baltimore, will host its first-ever boxing event on Saturday, Sept. 11 at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center.
Rumble by the Bay will not only offer the opportunity for all ages to see 15 high-quality bouts, with the first touching of gloves set for 3pm but will hopefully spark local interest in current and future boxing programs in the Bay region.
“This unprecedented event will bring a professionally-operated, highly-entertaining amateur boxing show featuring fighters from all over the central East Coast to a diverse population of people,” says Annapolis Recreation and Parks Director Archie Trader. He adds that the recreation department will be launching youth boxing programs in the future.
According to Mitchelle Stephenson, public information officer, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley is personally interested in bringing boxing to the city. “The mayor is very interested in the concept of a Police Boxing Brigade that could engage young people and law enforcement,” she said. “Boxing is a discipline that builds trust as well as mental and physical skills, and he believes that this first partnership with the Mack Lewis Gym will be the start of a relationship that could turn into something meaningful for our community.”
Buckley visited the gym in East Baltimore in 2019, which “has a reputation for building community,” said Stephenson.
Mack Lewis was a Baltimore boxing icon known for mentoring and changing the lives of young men from the gym that he opened in an old two-story building in the 1950s, following his graduation from Morgan State University. By giving youth in East Baltimore a safe place to spend time off the streets—an alternative to getting into trouble—also taught them discipline and the value of hard work and education.
“Lewis used boxing as the vehicle to turn neighborhood chumps into world champions while managing their careers as a confidant and a mentor for nearly 50 years,” says Trader.
Lewis trained and managed countless boxers of all ages and skill levels but his most prominent boxer was Vincent Pettway, a Baltimore native who became the junior middleweight world champion in 1994. Lewis died in 2010, at the age of 92, and now Pettway manages the gym from its new location at 929 N. Caroline Street.
“We are excited that they are bringing their lessons to Annapolis,” said Buckley. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to an area nonprofit.
Rumble By the Bay
Saturday, Sept. 11
3-8pm, Pip Moyer Rec Center, Annapolis, $35 w/discounts, RSVP: Eventbrite (search Rumble by the Bay) or pay at the door. Masks req’d.