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Boxing: Golden Gloves finals return for first time since '95

Saturday, May 10, 2003

By Chuck Finder, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Meldrick Taylor started in the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves championships. Paul Spadafora did, too, in the same neck of the commonwealth.

Marvis Frazier, too.

There is a little ring history to the Keystone State competition -- one of 32 regional tournaments nationwide -- which convenes at 7:30 p.m. today at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

For one thing, the state championships haven't been in Western Pennsylvania in eight years, since 1995 in Monroeville, a year after Spadafora was a 132-pound amateur winning the second of his commonwealth titles between weight classes starring 1996 Olympic medalists Terrance Cauthen and David Reid.

For another thing, these finals haven't come to Pittsburgh since Joe Frazier's son was supposed to be the next heavyweight flavor, back a quarter-century ago, in 1978.

"We had 13,000 people there," said Frank Cariello, the state Golden Gloves president, referring to the then-Civic Arena. "Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital, the newspaper and the sheriff were the sponsors."

Jimmy Cvetic, founder of the Western Pennsylvania Police Athletic League and the operator of six local gyms, is scheduled to keep the state Golden Gloves finals in Pittsburgh for a minimum of two years, with the hopes of keeping it here for another four years thereafter. He also wants to bid to play host to the national Golden Gloves championships. Tonight's competition should present some idea about the plausibility of staging such amateur events in Pittsburgh.

"They're in a big place," Cariello said of the convention center, "and I hope the people come out. [The organizers] took a risk."

Spadafora is scheduled to make a guest appearance tonight.

Tickets cost $35, $25 and $20 and are available at the door.

Chuck Finder can be reached at cfinder@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1724.

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