The captain of the 1996 U.S. Boxing Team, Lawrence Clay-Bey, will be inducted into the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame (CBHOF) with six others at the seventh annual CBHOF gala induction dinner Saturday, October 29 in the Uncas Ballroom at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville.
The other 2011 inductees include five-time world champion Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Paz, judge Glenn Feldman, world light heavyweight title challenger Eric “Magic Man” Harding, ringside physician Dr. Michael Schwartz and, posthumously, standout amateur boxer Kelvin Anderson and boxing coach Billy Taylor.
Also being honored are 2011 winners for professional and amateur Fighters of the Year, Delvin Rodriguez and Tremaine Williams. Don Trella will receive the Official of the Year award, and Peter Timothy will be the recipient of the Achievement Awrd.
“I’m pretty excited,” Lawrence talked about going in the CBHOF. “I think it’s cool, not to mention going in with Kalvin Anderson, who was the top fighter at the gym I started boxing at. Eric Harding and I shed some blood doing some sparring and Dr. Schwartz worked some of my fights.”
Clay-Bey, who was born in Hartford and lives in Bloomfield, didn’t start boxing until he was in his twenties, but he was a super heavyweight champion of the National Golden Gloves Tournament, captured a bronze medal at the 1995 World Amateur Boxing Championships, and knocked out “Baby” Joe Mesi to qualify for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Lawrence was selected as captain of the U.S. Olympic Team that included future world champions in the pro ranks — Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Antonio Tarver, Fernando Vargas and David Reid. Clay-Bey was the subject of controversy when he lost a 10-8 decision in the second round to the eventual gold medalist and current world heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko. Clay-Bey stunned Klitschko for a standing 8-count, but, instead of being awarded two points, the officials awarded two points to Klitschko.
“My coaches protested but I didn’t have a problem with it,” the unassuming Clay-Bey said. I never look back and wonder, what if. Who knows, I could have lost in the next round. I was disappointed, of course, but I was a little older than the others and the deeper issue was competing in the Olympics, in which, three people lost their lives in the Centennial Park bombing.”
Clay-Bey had a 60-9 record as an amateur and won 21 pro fights, including 16 by knockout, with only three losses and one draw. Today, he is a transportation officer for the Connecticut Department of Corrections. “I’m just a boxing fan even though I’m asked all of the time if I want to be a trainer,” the 40-year-old Clay-Bey concluded. “If I were to get into tip-top shape today, I could compete with some of these guys, but I don’t want to.
“I’ve always been the reluctant type. I got into boxing to lose weight. With all of my boxing accomplishments, I still don’t like to be the center of attention. I was told by officials that I had to keep my acceptance speech down to five minutes. I laughed and said, nobody has to worry about me going over. I just don’t like the spotlight.”
Like it or not, at least for only one night, Lawrence Clay-Bey will be in the spotlight at the 2011 CBHOF induction dinner.