NewsInspiring South Florida


West Palm Beach boxing coach inspires new generation of fighters

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 09, 2021

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Inside Palm Beach Boxing in West Palm Beach, fighting is a daily ritual.

The day begins with laughter and then transitions quickly.

"As soon as you receive the first punch, all that changes," says Charles Mooney.

The 70-year-old took a swing at boxing when he was a teenager and never stopped.

"I was born to do this, every time I come here, I'm lit up, I enjoy every minute of it," he said.

He's been fighting for 50 years and has spent much of the last decade inside this local ring.

He's coaching the future of the sport, like 31-year-old Argentinian, Alberto Palmetta.

Palmetta is an Olympian from the Rio games now at the front door of another life achievement.

"He's the coach that can make me be a world champion," says Palmetta.

Mooney has taken so many young men and women to new levels of boxing.

It's all part of journey that began in 1976.

"Yeah man, that was a great year for me," said Mooney.

He was a proud member of Team USA in the Montreal Olympics alongside the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard and the Spinks brothers.

Together they fought their way to victory earning medals, popularity, and a chance to fight professionally.

However, Charles Mooney took his fight to a different stage that carried a bigger personal incentive.

"To be in the service and be able to do what you want to do, I had a dream man that was perfect," Mooney said.

He spent 22 years in the Army making it a career, winning countless titles in the military ring. All of which nearly ended one day in 2008 when he was knocked out.

"They cut me open, took my heart out, fixed some stuff, put it back in and here I am," says Mooney.

Shoulder pain led to a devastating blow.

He had a near full blockage of all four arteries.

Quadruple bypass surgery laid him out for a year.

Yet today you'd have see the scar to believe it.

"My mother always told me, always go where you are celebrated, so it makes me feel good here," he said.

He's one man blessed with speed and strength who never stopped hitting, even now striking his skills on the next generation of fighters.

It's a one-two-punch of inspiring endurance and passionate spirit that has made for one powerful journey inside the ropes.

"When I can't do it, I'll stop but I'm gonna keep kicking until it's done," said Mooney.

Mooney is married with 3 children, 9 grandchildren and one soon-to-be great grandchild.

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