Their relationship as fighter and trainer provided James Warring and Dave Clark countless memories through a boxing journey that included championship achievement.
Warring and Clark will have another occasion for additional recollections. On Sunday, Warring and Clark will be inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will culminate a weekend of festivities at the Wyndham Hotel in Tampa.
“I never dreamed of an honor like this,” Clark said. “Boxing has been my life. Thanks to boxing, I was able to travel all over the world and it didn’t cost me a cent.”
Clark, 81, worked as a trainer with the Miami-Dade County amateur boxing program for 32 years until his retirement in 2003. Clark also is lauded for training Warring and Robert Daniels to professional world titles. Daniels became the first native Miamian to win a professional world belt in 1989, followed by Warring’s title-winning performance two years later.
“James was such a smart fighter, so disciplined,” said Clark, a Coral Springs resident. “When I found out we were in the same Hall of Fame group, it made the selection even more special.
“I have been truly blessed. I enjoyed the opportunity of going to the gym every day and teaching kids like James not only about boxing but life’s challenges. To this day, I get phone calls or cards from many of them during Christmas and Father’s Day.”
Originally a kickboxer, Warring, 54, met Clark when he joined the Tropical Gym’s amateur program after a college football career at Eastern Illinois University.
“I turned to boxing to help me with kickboxing,” Warring said. “Boxing became more than an activity and I decided to pursue it as a career.”
Warring, who lives in South Dade and currently runs an after-school program at the 27th Avenue Gym in Liberty City, knew of Clark’s work with Daniels and 1980s heavyweight contender Jose Ribalta.
“Dave was a great teacher and coach and I appreciated what he did with my career,” Warring said. “People have told me I should have been in the Hall of Fame sooner, but God has a plan for everything. I feel great that Dave and I are going in together.”
Warring, who remains active in the sport as a referee, won the world cruiserweight title, knocking out James Pritchard 24 seconds into their fight in Italy.
“I didn’t have a chance to see the knockout,” Clark said. “I was going down the steps to settle on my seat at ringside and when I turn around there is all this commotion. The fight was over.”
Clark and Warring credit Dwaine Simpson, the retired director of the Miami-Dade amateur boxing program, for the influential role he played in their careers. Simpson, a Florida Boxing Hall of Fame inductee two years ago, also was instrumental in nominating Clark and Warring for this year’s class.
“Dave is the best boxing teacher that I’ve ever known, bar none,” Simpson said. “The world is full of trainers — they can get you in shape and tell you what to do. But there are a few left that can teach you what to do. Dave was that type of trainer.
“James showed what a fighter can accomplish with determination and the willingness to learn. Of all the boxers that came through our program, James stood out not only for his skills and dedication but how he treated people.”
In addition to Clark and Warring, the 2013 Florida Boxing Hall of Fame class features other members of the local boxing community: trainers Howard Davis Jr. and Roberto Quesada, promoters Brad Jacobs and Henry Rivalta, and retired boxing writer Sharon Robb.
“With the exception of my family, boxing is what I love more than anything in the world,” said Quesada, who has worked with 17 world champions in a 37-year career. “God has blessed me with the opportunity to work in a sport that I know and love the most.”
Luis Sarria, one of the notable trainers in the original 5th Street Gym and a member of Muhammad Ali’s training team in the 1960s and 1970s, will be inducted posthumously.
Three-division world champion Joan Guzman will return to the ring after the first loss of his career seven months ago. Guzman will face Vicente Mosquera for the interim World Boxing Association super-lightweight title June 28 in Kissimmee.
In his first attempt at a 140-pound title, Guzman (33-1-1, 20 KOs) lost a technical decision against Khabib Allakhverdiev on Nov. 30 at the BB&T Center. Guzman sustained arm and knee injuries during the fight that required hospitalization and a lengthy recovery.
The Guzman-Mosquera fight will be televised by Telemundo. The card and telecast from the Kissimmee Civic Center also will feature featherweight contender Orlando Cruz.