By Sandy Goldberg
Former two-time world champion and trainer of the year James "Buddy" McGirt is known for producing champions. On Friday, he will take his producing a step further as one of his fighters, son James McGirt, fights his last six rounder before moving on to bigger things. James McGirt fights Vincent Harris on Friday at the Club Med Sandpiper in Vero Beach, Florida on a show put on by Eventco Sports.
The 22 year old James McGirt, with a professional record of 6-0 (2 KOs) is trying to continue the McGirt family tradition. James, who played college basketball, called his dad one day to tell him he was leaving school to pursue a career in boxing. Although this can be a parent's nightmare, this decision was understandable. James fought as an amateur for two years, winning 65 fights.
"I had been around the sport all my life so I had no choice than to learn. Dad wouldn't let me when I was younger so I kind of knew I had to prove myself to him," said the younger McGirt. When he was rated sixth in the nation, dad started to pay attention.
So, what's it like training with your dad? "It's really cool, I watch him with other fighters and he is definitely harder on me. I have to just suck it up as I know he wants the best for me." Being the father of a 15 month old son, James understands fatherhood.
James fights at 160, yet his opponent, Vincent Harris, couldn't make the weight so the fight is set at 168. Harris weighed in at 167 1/2 and James weighed in at 164, saying, "I ate first too."
Buddy has trained some of the best fighters in boxing, including Arturo Gatti, Antonio Tarver and Nate Campbell.
How did he feel when his son came to him with the notion of fighting? "I thought he was crazy, and it was a bit hard to accept."
Can you separate being a dad vs being a trainer? "I'm a pain in the ass...I'm a pain in the ass to all my fighters. I want to be in their heads all the time...with my son it's actually easier because there's already a close bond yet I know if I wasn't his father, he sometimes would like to tell me to go to hell."