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Four Corners of Success

Pawan Singh and Laura Valdez

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Kenny Bayless, a world famous boxing referee, visited River City on April 17, during second period, in the career center. Despite refereeing over 150 world boxing title fights, Bayless still has time to give motivational talks at school like the one he gave here.

BSU, Black Student Union, organized the event and it was mainly targeting at risk students who had much to benefit from a speaker who had been through tough times before getting to where he is today.

“It’s really cool to think that I met with someone who’s reffing the fight of a century,” says senior, and member of BSU, Devontra Beaver.

Bayless spoke about how he was a track runner in high school and how he eventually got a teaching job, forcing him to move from the Bay Area to Las Vegas where he dealt with racism from many of the people.

After almost 35 years after teaching at the Clark County School District, Bayless went to teach at a juvenile detention facility. He said, “That’s what’s so beautiful about this country, is that you can go out and commit a crime, get put in a juvenile detention, and teachers come around to continue to educate you.”

Bayless explained how actions people make are like apps on a phone.

“That app is something that helps you because you like that app,” he spoke, “Now, what are those apps out there that are touching your brain?…Keep that [college] app there, keep it alive because if you don’t, there’s gonna be other apps that may slip in there that might distort that app that you choose to want to go to college on.”

Bayless continued on talking about his love for sports and the lack of any official teams in Vegas. He speculated on how even though there was lack of sports the hype that fight and how he eventually got into boxing to become a referee but wasn’t able to ref for about 10 years.

Since he hadn’t been given any fights, he was thinking on giving up the position of a referee when he talked to his friend about it. “A colleague said to me, ‘Kenny, there isn’t anything we can do about assignments…you know what you need to do? You need to put it in the hands of the Lord’,” he said. Afterwards he was assigned some of the most memorable fights in boxing and his career went uphill.

Though his success was astonishing, Bayless did run into a stumbling block. On the day of his youngest son’s birthday, he got a call from his doctor telling him he had cancer.

“It was tough. But again, where I put my faith, it says a lot,” he spoke.

After winning his fight against cancer and becoming one of the biggest boxing referees in the world, he told the students about the problems colored people face mentioning the shootings in Missouri and how it’s better to do as they say than to cause more trouble and potentially get hurt.

Bayless ended his lecture by asking the audience, “My mom has raised me to say yes sir and no sir…so it’s easy for me. Question is, is it easy for you, to show respect?”

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