In spite of the COVID-19 virus, the first class of Final Round 2020 Ogdensburg boxers completed their three week training in the beginning of August. Thirteen young people and families gathered at the Heater’s Pond Pavilion to celebrate, along with pizza, cupcakes, and new “Final Round” t-shirts.
Final Round protocols
Before training each week, students have their temperatures checked, clean their hands and equipment – also after training, and use face masks. Chains hang from the pavilion rafters, waiting for students to punch hanging bags.
The kids practice: jumping jacks, mountain climbers, sit ups, step ups, running, jumping rope, dancing to music, boxing, and sparing with Nelson Alvarez, thus, adjusting to an aggressor. They wear head gear, a protector, and learn to wrap their hands, along with acting out scenarios.
Additionally, they learn leadership, respect, dedication, accountability, self-defense, self-motivation, friendship, and negative comments are never tolerated.
“It’s all about movement, and kids being themselves,” Owner and Developer Nelson Alvarez said.
After the quarantine, he said, they almost did not know how to act after finally being able to see each other again. They had to control themselves, while at the same time being social beings.
Life lessons from the ring
Alvarez explained the program is not just hitting, “Anybody can hit.” The program was initiated as a way to combat bullying.
He said that his main goal was for students to be that self-confident individual “to control that scene, that moment, help the needy, themselves and family.”
He also said the boxing program teaches the “future warriors” that from every angle comes a punch, which is similar to life.
“Nothing is going to be easy,” Alvarez said. “From every punch comes a responsibility.”
The students are genuine motivators, he said, with passion, courage, and strength which have made them outstanding leaders. Alvarez added that behind every strong and willing child there is, a parent guiding them, pushing them, and supporting them.
Additionally, he said, he was there because of one of his motivators – five time World Champion and professional boxer Luis Ruiz. Alvarez said he sparred with his mentor Ruiz, a veteran from the 87th Airborne Division. They met working security in New York City night clubs around twenty years ago, and “the boxing bug” bit him.
Ruiz said he plans to come to the Final Round Boxing Gym program on Saturdays to work and train with the young ladies and young men. He also hopes to coordinate with “Nelson” and bring individuals to Long Island, where he currently trains others, so they may have a training session altogether.
Ruiz even hopes for an exhibition show with the Final Round Boxing students.
O’Dell said it is a great all around community event, with all the accountability, respect, protecting and defending oneself, strength training, and meeting new people. She said the program is so beneficial to the kids in the community.
O’Dell and Patrolman Dave Cowdrick were available to help with the program if Alvarez had needed more coaches.
Superintendent David Astor also attended the celebration in support of Alvarez and his students.
Alvarez said the students meet three times a week at the Ogdensburg pavilion. She also said they want to continue and expand the Final Round. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nelson said he is planning to complete another Final Round set in the fall for the kids and adults.