Cubs manager Joe Maddon finds inspiration in Chicago’s boxing scene

SHARE Cubs manager Joe Maddon finds inspiration in Chicago’s boxing scene

One thing Joe and Jaye Maddon set out to do when they started their Respect 90 Foundation was to inspire youth in Chicago and beyond. At their Main Event fundraiser Friday night, the Maddons were the ones inspired.

‘‘We all have bad days,’’ Joe Maddon said. ‘‘Kids like this who aspire and then succeed are very inspirational to all of us.’’

One boxer was Maddon’s guest of honor, Julian Smith.

Smith was personally invited to the Main Event after Maddon heard about his triumph in the ring.

A deaf boxer, Smith’s motto became ‘‘put the guns down, put the gloves on’’ after he lost his older brother Brandon to gun violence in Chicago. Smith, who recently became a Golden Gloves champion, was honored before the bouts began.

‘‘I was excited that I inspired Joe Maddon,’’ Smith said. ‘‘He’s really a champion, and he thinks I’m a champion. I’m just overjoyed.’’

The Maddon’s fourth annual Main Event featured amateur boxing bouts and a silent auction, with proceeds benefitting youth boxing in Chicago.

One item being auctioned off is a piece from Maddon’s ‘‘Putting the Art Back Into THEE Game’’ project. The piece features Muhammad Ali and Maddon’s five levels to being a professional.

This is the third piece to be auctioned to benefit the Respect 90 Foundation and other Cubs charities. Maddon’s version of the ‘‘Mona Lisa’’ was sold for $50,000, and his ‘‘David’’ went for $25,000 at Anthony Rizzo’s sixth annual Cook-Off for Cancer.

With the Main Event, Maddon wants to highlight boxing and spark a deeper interest in it, especially in Chicago, where he believes the sport is vital to the community.

’’This sport creates a discipline that I think could help create a path as these young kids move forward,’’ Maddon said.

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