Jimmy Glenn was one of boxing's most beloved figures. He had a career that spanned more than 70 years as an amateur boxer and trainer, but on Thursday fans got the crushing news from his son Adam that the longtime fighter had died from COVID-19.
“After over a month battling coronavirus his body, his reserves, were just depleted and he couldn't keep fighting it,” said Adam Glenn.
Fans had been pulling for Glenn, who was hospitalized for nearly a month. Glenn was a father of seven. His youngest son, Adam, had also tested positive for the virus but was asympomatic. He fought to be with his father in the hospital until the very end.
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“Those final moments, he had a really good day that day,” Adam said. “He was talking and for me I really hoped he was turning the corner and getting better. Looking back, I think it was just the last energy that he could just talk to me and talk to some of our family to let us know how much he loved us.”
After his death, fans left flowers and candles outside Jimmy Glenn's dive bar on 44 Street, which he opened almost fifty years ago, back in 1971. Inside, the bar is decorated with pictures of famous people and boxing memorabilia. Many of them are from the days when he also owned the famous Times Square Boxing Gym, which was a premiere facility for top name fighters like Mohammad Ali, who he once trained.
“Mike Tyson and Mohammad Ali was in there. Sugar Ray Leonard, Julio Ceasar Chazez, Roberto Duran,” said Adam. “If you boxed in New York between ’75 and ’93, at some point you stopped in that gym.”
Before that he owned a gym in Harlem.
“It was a tool for him to kind of help kids get off the street,” Adam told NY1.
Lou DiBella is a boxing promoter who was a close friend. He spoke with NY1 to remind us of Glenn’s incredible character.
“Jimmy was the kind of man that he connected with you immediately,” said DiBella. “He cared about people. He loved people. Jimmy Glenn was all about love. He was an iconic boxing figure, but it was his heart that defined him.”
Glenn was 89 when he died. His son is hoping to have a public memorial for his father around what would have been his 90 birthday this summer. He's also vowing to keep the bar open and carry on his legacy.