The name of Robert Cléroux is associated with a generation of Quebec boxers who are too often forgotten by fans. The one nicknamed “the Beu de Chomedey” kindly reconsidered his busy career.
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Cléroux, now 82, still vividly remembers the ups and downs of his career, which took place between 1957 and 1969. He is of the opinion that the mentality in boxing did not change much between his generation and that of today.
“I look at boxing the same way I did during my career,” says Cléroux. Nothing has changed. I have always said that boxing is not a sport, it is a killer. You have to really like to fight to practice it.
“You must have the mentality: kill, kill, kill. The more you trick your opponent, the more chances you have of winning quickly and the more contracts you will have. In the ring, I was an animal. “
He participated in a total of 54 fights (47-6-1 record, 37 KOs) during his career. He notably fought three times for the Canadian heavyweight title against Georges Chuvalo. Several thousand spectators attended their clashes.
Draw a line
Cléroux hung up his gloves after a heartbreaking loss to Billy Joiner in 1969. He was only 31 at the time.
“It wasn’t a difficult decision. I drew a line and it was over. In my life, I have always been able to turn the page quickly.
“Besides, I never understood the boxers who want to come out of retirement. “
In the last few weeks, there has been an exhibition duel between legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. The same type of event was presented in Quebec at the time. Cléroux then put on the gloves with Yvon Durelle to collect money for a charitable cause.
“At first glance, it was pretty uneven because I was fighting at 200 lbs while he was doing it at 180 lbs. It was a five-round, two-minute fight.
Taken in 1985, we see him shaking hands with Joe Frazier under the gaze of Régis Lévesque for a fight that never took place.
“We had 12 ounce gloves so we wouldn’t get hurt. From the first moments of the duel, Durelle had launched himself on me and he had tried to knocker striking with all his might. “
Cléroux did not make himself rich with boxing. Far from there. The stock markets had nothing to do with what we see today.
“I didn’t make a lot of money,” he confirms. My biggest purse was $ 15,000. It was not bad in the 60s.
“On the other hand, my manager took 50%. Subsequently, I had to pay my coaches. At least the promoters were paying my expenses. “
In good health
After his career, Cléroux was the owner of several bars in the Montreal area. He built an interesting pension fund with the sale of his businesses. He now leads a peaceful life in a retirement home in Laval.
With the exception of some short-term memory loss, Mr. Cléroux is in good physical condition. His career between the cables has not mortgaged him too much.
“With or without a doctor nearby, a punch to the head is not good for anyone. I had a sore elbow for a few years.
“My legs are still good and I could run. However, it is my backbone that would not want to collaborate. “
His little ailments do not make him regret his many fights.
“I came into the world to fight. If you don’t have that spark inside of you, you can’t become a boxer. “
He has only one regret and he kindly shared it with TheJournal of Montreal.
“Today’s promoters no longer invite me to their events. It does something to me. Looks like people tend to forget what the boxers of my generation built. “
The message got through.
From boxing to teaching
Mick “the Unique” Gadbois made a 180 degree turn after his boxing career. He finished his university courses to become an elementary teacher in Montérégie.
According to him, boxing and teaching cannot compare even if the strength of character of teachers has been put to the test since the start of the year with health measures.
“Boxing, there is nothing more difficult. The pandemic is bringing an additional workload to schools. You have to disinfect everything all the time.
“It’s impossible to think only of teaching. As if you step into a ring for a 10-round duel and are told that, in the end, it’s for 20 rounds! “
Despite everything, he enjoys this field to follow the development of children and to help them make informed decisions for their future.
In addition, the former pugilist is currently doing a master’s degree in education, didactic profile.
What about boxing?
He is assistant coach Marc Seyer with boxer Raphaël Courchesne while taking care of the competition team of the Saint-Hyacinthe Boxing Club.
“Last year, I put the gloves back on with Martin Germain and I realized that my gloves had to stay away from me. I found that it wouldn’t take much to rekindle my flame. Boxing never comes out of you.
“Regarding my role with Raphy, it is above all strategic. I study the opponents and participate in the development of the game plan. “
Boxing in the blood
Even if he has hung his gloves since 2014, Sébastien Gauthier still talks about boxing with passion. It’s part of his DNA.
When he does not analyze the fights of Quebec pugilists on radio or television, he watches them with his amateur eyes. In addition, he is a volunteer trainer in a boxing gymnasium in Sainte-Adèle.
“Boxing will always be part of my life,” says Gauthier. It’s a sport that has brought people together for my family.
“My parents often traveled to see me when I was competing at the Canadian Championships, but also for events I was not even involved in. “
Retiring was not easy.
“It was the hardest part of my career. You do something for 18 years. You don’t want to let her down. On the other hand, you don’t want to become a trouble for your family. “
A null verdict against Javier Franco made him think about his future.
“At a certain age, you’re not ready to die in the ring anymore. You have a good life and you have amazing people around you. You wonder if you are ready to sacrifice this. “
Gauthier also works in the family business, which specializes in selling tools to small businesses.
“We started our business in the family garage. Now we are in a 10,000 square foot warehouse. When a big company closes, we try to help a small one to build itself. We are far from current prices. We often sell new at the used price. “
Stéphane “Brutus” Tessier
On the other side of the fence
Despite his lackluster 3-30-2, 1 KO record, Stéphane “Brutus” Tessier was one of the most respected boxers in Quebec during his career.
The heavyweight did not hesitate to accept fights at the last minute to help out promoters in bad shape. He never complained and he always fulfilled his obligations.
“It was my life in boxing,” says Tessier. At one point, I had no more requests. I had pain in my joints and my wife asked me to stop. One shot too much can have more serious consequences than a fight and money. I loved this world and felt appreciated.
“I was always telling myself in my head watching my opponent that he would not fold me. “
During his career, he took the power punches of several boxers of the world elite, but he did not go to the floor often.
“I had three knock-down flashes in 35 fights. I’m lucky I didn’t have a concussion. Moreover, I do medical follow-ups on a regular basis and I am part of the research work of Dr Louis De Beaumont. ”
Today, he is a warehouse clerk for Lowe’s company. He is also a supervisor for the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux during boxing galas.
“I always worked at the same time I was boxing. I needed physical work after my career. As for the Régie, I wanted to keep one foot in boxing. “
Before and after the fights, he supervises the boxers in their locker room, in particular during their anti-doping tests. Moreover, he had an important role in Adonis Stevenson’s locker room after his defeat against Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 2018. Tessier had reacted quickly when the Quebec boxer had been the victim of discomfort.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116