Vero Beach, Florida — As a fighter, James “Buddy” McGirt won his titles the old-fashioned way. He didn't fight for a world title until his seventh year in pro boxing. It came in his 39th fight.
His success as a trainer has come the same way.
After retiring from boxing in 1997, the former junior welterweight and welterweight world champion became a trainer. But like his career in the ring, his career out of the ring didn't come easy. He hooked up with promoters and managers but every relationship seemed to fail, but McGirt stuck with it and today is the hottest trainer in boxing.
McGirt's Elite Boxing Gym in Vero Beach, Florida has become the Stillman's Gym of the South. It is filling the void left in Florida with the demise of Miami's 5th Street Gym. Countless champions — most trained by McGirt — have walked through the garage door entranceway to his two room gym.
Nate Campell, Antonio Tarver, Arturo Gatti, Joel Casamayor, Mike Tyson, Mike Anchondo, Jameel McCline, Freddie Cadena, Sharmba Mitchell, Francisco Bojado and Lonnie Bradley are just some of the fighters who have graced the building.
The gym sits just off U.S. 1 in Florida, nestled in an industrial complex where windows and siding are manufactured. Inside the gym, McGirt manufactures champions.
Sitting outside the ring between the workouts with WBO junior lightweight champion Mike Anchondo and heavyweight contender Timo Hoffman, McGirt talked about his upcoming schedule.
It appears the Gatti-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight is on for June: “The better the opponent, the better Arturo is. That's the fight he wants right now and I think that's the best fight out there for him.”
Buddy talked about some of the fighters in his gym.
Antonio Tarver: “Tarver is coming in next week. He wants to get a week of training in. Then he'll head back to Tampa for conditioning before he starts serious training for the rematch with Glen Johnson. They are working on the rematch right now. There was a rematch clause in the contract. So I think it's going to happen.”
Mike Tyson: “Mike came in and trained for two weeks. He's coming back. But we haven't made definitive plans for when yet.”
Mike Anchondo: “He's defending his title on April 8 against Jose Barrios on ESPN. I think Mike can be the best junior lightweight out there. He's young, he can box, he can punch. He's very smart. He's creative. He wants to learn. When you show him something, he wants to know the how and the why, and once he understands that, he applies it.”
Timo Hoffman: “Timo is fighting for the IBF intercontinental heavyweight title on March 12 in Germany. Watch out for him. He's going to be the future of the heavyweight division.”
And watch out for Buddy McGirt.