Ronald Mixon was going down the wrong path after his mother passed away when he was 16 years old, but boxing has brought him back to being the man that his mother raised him to be. Photo by Jason Lewis
Mixon trains with Anthony Sands, owner of L.A. Sands Boxing Gym. Mixon is preparing for a shot at the 2012 Olympics and then a professional career. Photo by Jason LewisBy Jason LewisSentinel Sports Editor
Twenty-two year old Ronald Mixon has lived through the ups and downs of life. He was on an upswing through the age of 16. Even though his father passed away when Mixon was only two years old, his mother made great efforts to raise him right, and she did a great job of it. Life changed for Mixon when he was 16 because his mother passed away, and he lost the one person who could guide him down the right path. “It was easy to get into trouble,” Mixon said. ‘There was nobody to get on my case. Everybody tried, but I was young and I felt like I was grown at 16 years old. So it was hard to stay out of trouble.”Trouble easily found Mixon, or he found it. His dreams were to be a basketball player, and being a freshman at Fairfax High School, one of the top programs in the nation, he seemed to be at the right place. But that did not work out, and he ended up at Compton High School, and then out of school. The road was not looking too bright for Mixon, but deep inside, he wanted to be a special person. He had just lost his way. While at his stepfather’s house, Mixon stumbled onto a makeshift boxing gym in the garage. His stepfather showed him some basics, and Mixon was hooked on the sport.
Not too long after that Mixon ended up at L.A. Sands Boxing Gym in Downtown. He had a friend who trained there, so Mixon decided to give it a try. That decision put Mixon’s life back on the upswing, and for the past nine months he’s dedicated himself to becoming one of the top amateurs, and he wants to make a run at a professional career. Standing at 6’4” and fighting at 178 pounds, Mixon’s lengthy body and quick reflexes are giving his opponents fits. Through 15 bouts he has won 13 of them. One loss was by disqualification, and the other was a close decision against the No.2 fighter in the nation in that weight class. Mixon feels that he won the bout, but the fact that he gave one of the top fighters a run for his money speaks volumes about how far he has come in a short period of time. Mixon won his first 12 bouts, which included a Golden Gloves tournament championship. A professional career may be about a year away, but for right now Mixon is focused on one goal. That is to make the 2012 Olympic team. He is preparing for the Last Man’s Chance qualifier tournament in Cincinnati in July. Winning at the weeklong tournament could take him to the highest level that an amateur can go. To get there Mixon outworks pretty much everybody at the gym.“Nine times out of ten I’m the first one in the gym,” Mixon said. “I’ll be here for about four hours, and I never cut any corners.” Mixon’s trainer and owner of L.A. Sands Boxing Gym, Anthony Sands, backs up Mixon’s claims. “All of my kids are special, but what separates those that are special from being just a good fighter and a great fighter is their work ethic.” Sands said. “Ronald has exemplified to me one of the best work ethics out of any boxer that I’ve worked with. He’s like a gym rat. He’s the first one in the gym, and he’s the last one to leave the gym.”Mixon, who lives in Compton, is at the gym Monday through Saturday. The only reason that he is not there on Sundays is because the gym is closed. If his car is not working he will take the train, and he says that he will still be the first person there. Boxing greats Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather are the two fighters that Mixon patterns himself after the most. “I want to be a blend of Mayweather and Ali,” Mixon said. “Ali had the length and he was always the quickest in his weight class. I’ve come to realize that that’s what I am. Mayweather wise, defense. I don’t like to get hit. A lot of times I get out of a tough situation when a lot of punches are thrown at me.”Defense is extremely important to Mixon.“Somebody can be the hardest puncher in the world, but if he can’t hit you, he can’t win,” Mixon said. “He can throw his hardest punch, and if you make him miss, he’s going to be out of position to defend himself. Then you have a chance to catch him and put him down.”Mixon is able to use his jab as a stiff arm to keep his distance from his opponent and avoid being hit. Because he’s lean, he’s usually quicker than his opponent, which gives him the chance to slip under and around their punches. Mixon has a great shot at making it far in this sport, and he credits his mother as his driving force. “She’s not here but she’s still in my heart,” Mixon said. “For a while when she was gone, I was doing really bad in life. I know she wouldn’t want that because she raised me really good. So I want to show that I’m still her little boy.”The next fight for Mixon will be at the Rumble in Venice on May 29 on the Venice Beach boardwalk. The daylong event features youth through adult boxers and it is free to the public. The event starts at 1pm. Mixon is looking for support for his trip to Cincinnati. He carries around a bucket with his picture and name on it, and people donate money. He has to fund this trip mostly on his own.If you would like to donate funds to help him achieve his goals, checks can be made payable to L.A. Sands Boxing Gym, in care of Ronald Mixon, and mailed to L.A. Sands Boxing Gym, 1515 Compton Ave, Los Angeles, Ca 90021. The boxing gym can be contacted at (213) 765-0057, or visit their website at lasandsboxing.com.
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