Friends remember boxer killed in crash

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - A Pikeville boxer who once trained alongside Muhammad Ali is dead after a traffic crash in Eastern Kentucky.

Police say 62-year-old Mayfield Pennington's Corvette was hit by a tractor trailer yesterday on U.S. 23 in Floyd County.

Pennington talked to Mountain News in 2007 at his gym in Pikeville. He had a professional boxing record of 48 and 16 and had some notable victories.

Friends say he was a gentle giant who will be greatly missed.

Wednesday at Mayfield's Boxing Gym was a day of remembrance.

"I remember being in the ring with him every day," said Dillon Robinson.

A handful of people shuffled about the gym. With every swing and every step they remembered exactly what Mayfield Pennington and his gym meant to them.

"This place means a lot to me because every time I fought Mayfield he always told me hands up," said Juan Cortez.

It is clear the impact Pennington made on so many lives through years of training and teaching.

"He gave everyone a chance to learn something. Not just boxing as a whole but he actually taught life lessons," said Nathan Sesco.

Pennington had a notable history with boxing.

"It was his life. Everything that he done from the time he was young til now he done for this gym," said Sesco.

His victory over Olympian Sugar Ray Seals stands out to most who knew him, also that he trained under Muhammad Ali's trainer Bud Bruner. But those who knew him say his selflessness stood out the most.

"He was always about other people more than he was himself. He'd give the shirt off his back," said Ryan Bryant.

"It was just an unspoken thing that me and him loved each other," said Robinson.

They all agree it is his faith that gives them faith he is in a better place.

"If we had a dollar for every time he said 'God is good' we'd be rich," said Bryant.

Pennington's funeral will be held at J.W. Call and Son Funeral Home in Pikeville. The arrangements have not been set.

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