Even without a regular place to train, amateur boxer Marco Rangel made quite a debut in the open class of the national Golden Gloves tournament last week.
The 16-year-old Scottsdale kid advanced to a quarterfinal bout and lost a close fight to the eventual champion in the 112-pound division.
“Did a great job,” said his friend and volunteer coach Doug Offerman.
There’s no telling how good the kid might get with a bit more strength, speed, and technique — and a regular place to develop those traits.
Offerman figures Marco and his 14-year-old brother Luis would benefit from training at Scottsdale’s city-owned boxing gym, Club SAR. After all, the Rangels live near the low-frills facility at 4415 N. Hayden Road.
It hasn’t been that simple, though.
Offerman, a Club SAR employee, initially trained the Rangels at the gym as part of Scottsdale’s now-defunct amateur boxing program.
The city dropped the program in a cost-cutting move last year. Offerman continued to train the boys on on his own time. He lined up another sponsoring organization to cover their expenses, including the Golden Gloves tournament in Kansas City, Mo.
However, managers at Club SAR rebuffed Offerman and the Rangels’ attempts to continue to train at the gym, Offerman said. They told him the Rangels couldn’t work out at the facility because they no longer were part of the city’s amateur program.
Offerman tried to dodge a confrontation by driving the kids to private gyms, including several backyard gyms that were little more than punching bags hoisted on tree limbs.
After a couple of months, he got fed up and began bringing the Rangels to Club SAR again. He figured they had every right to train there since he personally had paid their annual dues.
When gym managers objected again, Offerman said, he took his concerns to the city Office of Diversity and Dialog. He said Club SAR managers welcomed white boxers, who similarly lined up alternate sponsorship, but not the Rangels, who are Hispanic.
That was three months ago.
Obviously, there has been a fair amount of disruption at the diversity office since that time. Director Don Logan suffered serious injuries to his hands and arms on Feb. 26 when he opened a package bomb addressed to him. Two others also were injured in the blast, which remains unsolved.
Logan, who is back at his post, said this week that an investigation into the Club SAR issue has taken longer than he would have preferred and that a report is undergoing final wordsmithing at the city attorney’s office.
Meanwhile, Offerman, who is more comfortable with decisions meted out in three-minute intervals rather than three-month intervals, awaits a determination.