Scott Daley, a former professional boxer, runs Daley's Gym with his father, Phil. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, March 17, 2014 12:44 PM
Boxing has been in Daley’s family blood for four generations.
The family, which runs Daley’s Gym on Common Street, recently earned some notoriety when Scott, a retired pro fighter who now helps dad Phil run the gym, appeared on a Ring magazine list of fighters with most wins who never lost.
Scott ranked ninth on the list with 24 wins – all by knockout. The list is headed by the legendary Rocky Marciano and includes current fighter Floyd Mayweather and encompasses all weight classes.
“That’s for all weight classes, all the countries, a world list,” Scott said. “Someone Googled me and told me I should look it up. Some of the guys that train here bring me stuff sometimes. When that magazine came out, we started getting calls from all over. I am honored to be among the boxers on that list.”
Scott takes pride in another streak.
“As proud as I am to be on that list, I am equally proud that in over 300 amateur fights, 24 pro fights and thousands of rounds of sparring, I have never been knocked down, never been knocked out,” he said.
“I don’t know if you can attribute that to a good equilibrium, a good set of whiskers or whatever. I have never been on my back and I am proud of that. It means a lot to me because everybody has been down. I have been rocked and I had a standing 8-count before, but never even took a knee.”
Scott grew up in his family’s gyms. He and younger brother Kirk both boxed professionally.
“My grandfather Richard Daley was boxing coach at Landry (now St. Louis),” he said. “I started at 3. I was fighting at 55 pounds, my little brother Kirk at 40 pounds. My dad fought in the Marine Corps. A bunch of different guys trained here. Hector Camacho, Jr., Alexis Arguello, Thomas Hearns trained at our gym up in Ragley.”
Scott lost only seven times in his 14-year amateur career.
“Back in those days, we could fight at three years old, now it is eight,” he said. “I won the Junior Olympics when I was 13. I won the state Golden Gloves, Diamond Gloves, Silver Gloves, Gulf States, any kind of tournament. I went to the USA training center in Colorado Springs. I came back from that and turned pro when I turned 18. I was probably 15 when I knew I would turn pro. I had won Golden Gloves seven times.”
Scott said he kept it simple in the ring.
“I came straight at you,” he said. “My best punch was a rolling left hook. I could feel it in my hand when it landed. When I got the feeling, I could throw my hands up and walk around. Not too many guys got up from that, less than a handful of times. If someone did, I know it was going to be a long night. The first time I felt it was when I was 13. Every fight after that, I was looking for that feeling.”
Kirk came to the rescue when Scott came closest to losing his streak.
“My most memorable fight was in Des Moines, Iowa, against a veteran, Anthony Campbell,” Scott said. “We had decided that Kevin Rooney, who trained Mike Tyson, would do the talking in the ring for this fight instead of my father. I was looking for some strategic feedback from him. He was a great conditioner, but he had no strategic advice at all in this fight. It was a 10-round fight, I had knocked him down a few times, but he kept coming. I was looking for Dad in the corner, but he was looking away so Rooney could do the talking.
“My brother kept my knockout streak alive. About the sixth round, he hollered ‘Hey man, he is switching on you.’ Campbell was going from an orthodox stance to southpaw, and I was not seeing it. I just knew that I was throwing monster shots that were landing on nothing. After that I started waiting on him and started catching him. I knocked him out in the eighth round.”
While living in Las Vegas and Los Angeles during his fighting days, Scott rubbed shoulders with some stars.
“I had the same agent as the guys from 'Star Trek',” he said. “We used to go to parties together. George Takei (who played Sulu) and Walter Koenig (who played Chekov) are friends of mine.”
After retiring, Scott attended McNeese.
“I got a bachelor’s from McNeese, I was tired of the stereotype — ‘you are just a boxer, a knucklehead.’ I didn’t want to be just a boxer, so I went to school to prove I wasn’t. I wish I could get all my kids to do that. I should have done that from the very beginning.”
Scott now cares for his children and helps Phil around the gym.
“I pretty much come around and assist my dad,” he said. “I like seeing the fast progression. They are like sponges. I help out when Dad needs me. I do whatever I can. I found out four years ago I have Parkinson’s disease, so I can’t get in the ring any more.”
Scott said he is unsure if the disease was caused by his boxing career.
“Everybody asks me that,” he said. “I don’t know. You have guys like Michael J. Fox who probably has never had a fight in his life. I don’t know if I am just one of the people who got it. The doctors don’t specify that. They just tell me not to be in the ring, don’t get hit on, no sparring, they told me to put all that behind me. That was the toughest thing for me, I can’t get in the ring to help the young guys.”
Scott fathered 12 kids and now has two grandkids. Most have an interest in boxing.
“I never pushed them in that direction,” he said. “It is impossible to keep them away. My oldest is 26, youngest is 2. Even the 2- and 4-year-olds, if they just hear ‘boxing’ they are putting their guard up. It is incredible, it is like it is just in them.”
Scott said he is happy with where he is in life.
“With my kids, my family, I feel like I am one of the lucky ones,” he said. “I got that education. Walking across the stage at Burton Coliseum felt as good as any knockout.”
Warren Arceneaux writes a weekly column on interesting people in Southwest Louisiana each Monday. Have a story idea about someone in Southwest Louisiana? Call him weekdays at 494-4087. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.