Part 3 of 3
Cordell Hull boxed in the Golden Gloves Tournaments in the late 1940s and early 50s. As a teenager, he joined the Brazil Eagles Boxing Club and participated in numerous matches throughout the area for four years. He enjoyed the physical challenges boxing posed and the camaraderie with the other boys and trainers.
He recently recalled his most memorable fight. The rivalry with the boys from the Gibault Home in Terre Haute was well known by area boxing enthusiastists.
More than 200 fans watched the action that night at the Gibault Home in 1952. The Hull brothers, Cordell and Walt, had beaten their Gibault opponents every time they'd met.
"They really wanted to beat us bad," Cordell said. "And that night they thought they had the man to do it."
Richard Kiefer was undefeated and he usually won by knockout. The boys from Gibault taunted the 17-year-old Cordell before the bout.
"You gonna get knocked out tonight," they said laughing. "You gonna get it tonight. You in big trouble, boy," they jeered.
And just a couple minutes into the first of the three, three minute rounds, Cordell thought they might be right. Kiefer had a zinging right jab with a straight left punch. The 1-2, 1-2 combination relentlessly pummeled Cordell's head.
"They just kept coming," Cordell recalled. "I was woozy. The ref asked if I wanted to stop the fight. I didn't know if I could last the whole fight and I did want to stop."
But Cordell wouldn't quit. He couldn't accept that kind of defeat. If he was to go out before the match was over, they'd have to carry him out. Right before his next hit, Cordell saw something.
"I noticed that Kiefer would stop and crouch down a little right before he hit me."
It was very quick and subtle and was totally unnoticed by everyone but Cordell.
"When Kiefer took that split second to crouch down, I knew he was coming," Cordell said. "I had to do something, so I hit him.
The left handed Brazil boy jabbed Kiefer with a right jab to the face and gave a full hit to the head with his left.
"It shocked him," Cordell said. "After taking several hard hits, Kiefer tried to figure out how to counter. But he didn't realize he was crouching before his attack so he didn't know how to adjust. I never let him get set again and he never got to beat on me anymore. I jabbed and hit him the rest of the fight."
The Brazil crowd was going crazy.
"Get him, Hull!" they shouted. "Get him, Hull!"
Rounds were scored by points given for each hit. The unanimous decision of the three judges gave Cordell two rounds and Kiefer, one. The fans screamed wildly when the ref raised Cordell's hand as the winner.
The boys from Gibault were stunned. They couldn't believe it. None of them spoke to Cordell after the match, including Kiefer.
"I felt good," Cordell said. "Not only did I overcome what I thought was going to happen to me in the first round, but I showed the others, who thought I was going to get knocked out. I really felt good."
That was quite a confidence builder for Cordell. Boxing had many good things to offer the youth who participated. It taught discipline and anger control.
"The first fight I lost, was because I got mad and lost my temper," Cordell said. "Boxing helped with discipline and improved physical stature."
The Golden Gloves organization has no active franchise in the Wabash Valley area. However, there is still an operative program in Indianapolis. There is also a Golden Gloves for women.
Today, as well as at it's inception, the Golden Gloves program promotes the development of amateur boxing and encourages a positive lifestyle for youth.