When little Joey Alday started training at age 8, he could scarcely imagine where following his dreams would take him. All he knew then was that he was full of heart and energy. He and those around him quickly learned that he was something of a prodigy with most anything athletic that he tried, and his favorite quickly became boxing.
Joey’s whole lifestyle is built around his boxing career- he and his trainer, who happens to be his father, treat it as a full-time job. Their work is aided by the facilities at Montoya boxing Gym, a small compound dedicated exclusively to training fighters to their peak, and they do it well. Joe has spent a young lifetime turning his mind and body into a weapon, but you wouldn’t think it to talk to the man, who’s much more Holyfield than Muhammad Ali. He reminds me of Clark Kent- Mild mannered, polite, forthright, positive. “I’m always polite, always respectful. But when I step into that ring, I become a different person.”
That heart and dedication manifested themselves in hundreds of successful bouts- (231 successful bouts, as of this writing, to be precise), three national championships, and a powerhouse trip through the Junior Olympics, that nearly ended with Joey following his dreams to the 2016 Olympic team, but those dreams were cut short. “I just let it slip through my fingers,” he said to me behind the unairconditioned shed he works out in 6 hours a day in the Texas heat. “It was hard at first, I got very emotional, very sad… very down on myself because I had been on top for so many years. But hey, that’s OK, We’re going to go another route, in the pros.”
I asked him if he was confident in his ability to beat his opponent and he smiled. “Oh, we’re going to go in there and take him out in the first round or two… I’m going to send a message, that Joey Alday’s going to be heard.”
Jason Henderson, a 5-year pro, heard that message loud and clear when his team roused him after being knocked out in the second round on Saturday June 25 2016, and after seeing the passion with which he trains, and the care with which he is trained, I think it’s only a matter of time before the whole world knows the name of Joey Alday.
-By D.M. Eaton