The saying goes ‘nothing remains the same’, and when Jesse Mora made the decision to retire effective June 30, 2011, as Chairman of the Colorado Golden Gloves, concerns were if things would move in the direction Mora had dedicated himself to achieving.
The selection of Mr. C.C. Edwards, head man of the Denver Police Brotherhood Boxing Program as the Mora successor, ensures that direction continue.
A product of Northeast Denver who inherited his work ethic from his dad, a hard working brickyard worker who came from Mexico, and mom, ‘the brains’ of the house who had the Mora family constantly on the move as she purchased homes they would live in and then renovate with the sole purpose of selling for a profit.
Nowadays Mora’s mother would be widely acclaimed as a premier ‘flipper of homes’, and was well ahead of her time in that enterprise.
Jesse Mora, a true ‘Eastsider’, fondly recalls living on 31st & Stout, 37th & Williams, 33rd & Humboldt, 27th & Fillmore, 34th & Josephine, and 35th & Gaylord, before the family finally settled in Thornton.
Jess and his wife, the former Julie Gonzales, met in 1957 and he made an immediate impression by pushing her into the old Congress Park swimming pool.
Having survived that ordeal, the two have been married for some forty seven plus years with son Tony their only child.
‘The Gloves’ has always been a family affair and son Tony Mora, a maintenance engineer at Kipp Sunshine Peak Academy (Alameda & Tejon), has run the gloves table since around ten years-old with his own 19 years-old daughter Kortni and 17 years-old daughter Amanda continuing the legacy themselves helping out at the glove table during tournaments.
Jesse Mora attended Annunciation elementary school where he credits Gil Trujillo with “pulling me off the streets” to box from 1958 to 1963, and in his mind probably saving his life.
Moving on to the Elks Boxing program in 1963, many may be unaware Jesse Mora compiled an amateur boxing record of 45-9, where in 1964 he won the ‘B’ Class, Open Class, and was the State AAU runner-up in the 112 lbs. division.
In 1965 Mora lost in the finals of the National Golden Gloves Tournament, but competed in a Wyoming tournament where at 119 lbs. he took on the Wyoming, AAU, and Junior Olympics champion who Mora defeated by unanimous decision, and was politely escorted out of town.
In 1966, ’67, and ’68, Jesse Mora was the Colorado Golden Gloves State runner-up at 119 lbs. making his 1969 selection to the Bill Daniels run Denver Rocks Boxing Team an easy choice.
1969 was the end of one career and the beginning of another as Mora competed in an IBA (International Boxing Association) event in January as a member of the Denver Rocks Boxing Team that saw him the only Denver Rocks boxer to lose, the result of a rib injury during the fight that left him ineffective and afterwards he retired.
Retirement was only meant as an active fighter, and Mora immediately became a coach for the Denver Rocks.
In March of ’69 Art Irlando quit the Denver Rocks team and Mora was promoted to Assistant Head Coach alongside Joe Garcia, who remained the Head Coach.
From 1969 until 1973 Mora coached the Elks Boxing Team in a parking lot on 15th & California that was widely referred to as ‘The Punch Bowl’.
Jesse Mora had a fantastic amateur boxing career and along the way he coached some five Colorado State Champions, five Regional Champions, and from 1972 to 2011 was the Chairman of the Colorado Golden Gloves, all making his well-deserved earlier (2001) selection to the National Golden Gloves Hall-of-Fame a ‘no-brainer’.
Appointed the Colorado franchise holder along with the legendary Joe Garcia who Mora says “Coached, tutored, and made me realize the Golden Gloves really was for the kids”, Garcia remains the driving force behind stressing the importance of a college education with the advent of the Golden Gloves Scholarship Program started some 5 years ago.
Back in 1972 Harry Miller, after the Elks Club had given up its rights to the Colorado Golden Gloves, selected Jesse Mora as the man to run the organization and he has not disappointed anyone while quietly building one of the more respected amateur boxing franchises in the country.
Jesse Mora remains the Colorado/New Mexico franchise holder, so he will continue to keep his ‘finger on the pulse’ of amateur boxing business in the region.
What will Jesse Mora do with his free time now that he’s retired? “I plan on fishing as much as possible, but there’s still lots of catching up to do with ‘The Gloves’ work”, he said.
Appearing to have much left to offer, Mora is direct and blunt when describing why he chose this summer as the right time to step down as Colorado Golden Gloves Chairman when saying, “To be honest, it’s just not fun anymore. The majority of coaches are never satisfied and always complaining. They’re always right and never wrong. The USA Boxing rule changes along with the now too often confrontations just make it seem like it’s not for the kids anymore and I will be focusing on that situation as a priority”.
For the sake of amateur boxing, let’s hope Jesse Mora is wrong and the priority of all involved with the organization can go back to what he, Joe Garcia, Gil Trujillo, Harry Miller, and the numerous men who founded ‘The Gloves’ intended.
Jesse Mora is a legendary boxing figure here in Denver that has quietly gone about his business with little fanfare while keeping the Golden Gloves relevant.
Now that he has retired don’t expect him being too quiet as there’s much work left to do and he will keep the best interests of the organization his number one priority as he understands the value of ‘The Gloves’ to amateur boxing.
Stephen Johnson writes for INSIDE BOXING.com, BORICUA BOXING.com, and UNTIL THE NEXT ROUND.com