Gramercy Gym stood proud on 14th Street off Irving Place in the heart of New York, tucked beyond the temptations of a candy shop and two heavy doors, one more foreboding then the next. A PC Richards now stands where Gramercy once stood. Opened in 1939 by Cus D’Amato, Gramercy Gym stood as a beacon of integrity amidst the growing corruption in the boxing world and year after year saw some of the greatest boxers of a generation step through its doors. Cus D’Amato was 22 when he opened the doors to Gramercy Gym and had a reputation as a forthright and honorable man in a game riddled with corruption. Cus spent his days, and nights, living alone in the gym biding his time, working with ambitious young fighters but waiting for the next champion to walk through the doors. Bags rattled under rhythmic punches, sneakers squeaked along the floor, and young, determined faces peered out from behind headgear, watching new, ambitious fighter walk in, wondering who could be the next champ. Cus D’Amato grew weary of the corruption that had become commonplace within the boxing industry through the years. He refused to allow any of his boxers to enter into IBF matches, holding firm to a philosophy of self-respect and dignity. Cus was actively involved in boxing until 1967 when, during a match behind a protégé, Jose Torres, when a disputed call turned an angry audience into a riot, he decided he had enough and gradually withdrew from Gramercy Gym and boxing overall.
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