- Bruce Silverglade is the owner of Gleason’s Gym, arguable the world’s most famous boxing gym
- He has a lot of stories from working with boxing’s biggest stars
- One of his best stories is how he helped Mike Tyson avoid jail-time by arranging for him to do community service with children at Gleason’s
As the owner of Gleason’s Gym, arguably the world’s most famous boxing gym, Bruce Silverglade has amassed a lot of stories.
Nearly every major boxer over the last half-century either learned how to box at Gleason’s or trained there in advance of one fight or another. Legendary fighters like Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson – along with current boxing star Floyd Mayweather Jr. – have all trained at Gleason’s.
Over the years, Silverglade has gotten to know nearly every fighter who has come through his doors. That includes Tyson, who grew up in New York City and spent a lot of time training at Gleason’s throughout his career.
One of his most memorable stories about Tyson came after the often-troubled fighter was arrested in 2003 after getting into a fight with tourists in a Brooklyn hotel lobby in June 2003. Three tourists from Pennsylvania came into the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Brooklyn after a night of partying and reportedly asked Tyson for an autograph. Tyson refused and a fight ensued.
Some reports said that the two men instigated the fight with Tyson, threatening him with a pole and suggesting they had a gun. Tyson was arrested on charges of assault and disorderly conduct.
The way Silverglade tells it, an investigator from the Brooklyn District Attorneys office called Silverglade asking him to convince Mike Tyson’s team to talk to investigators. The DA’s office, led at the time by Charles Hynes, a former amateur boxer, felt Tyson had gotten “the short end of the stick,” said Silverglade, but had to investigate the case due to Tyson’s fame and his record.
“I told him that I’d talk to Mike’s team, but so long as we’re on the phone, why don’t you give community service? He could do 100 hours at Gleason’s,” Silverglade told Business Insider in a recent interview.
Hynes loved the idea, as did Tyson’s attorney, Mel Sachs, who trained at Gleason’s at the time. But Tyson turned it down because he felt admitting guilt would open him to a civil lawsuit, according to Silverglade.
Early the following year, Tyson agreed to a plea deal days before the trial was due to start. As part of the deal, the three misdemeanor charges against him would be dropped but he would plead guilty to disorderly conduct, a violation. In exchange, Tyson had to do 100 hours of community service working with children, primarily at Gleason’s, and go through six months of counseling.
On the first day of Tyson’s community service, he was only supposed to show up for 30 minutes to do some paperwork. He ended up staying for two hours to work with boxers in the gym’s program for disadvantaged youths.
“The first day he was due to serve, there wasn’t a publication in the world that wasn’t here. Hynes was here for his photo-opp. Japanese cameras were here. European cameras,” said Silverglade.
Coincidentally, Hilary Swank was also in the gym that day, training with legendary boxing trainer Hector Roca for her role in “Million Dollar Baby.” Swank, according to Silverglade, was confused why the cameras were trained on Tyson and not her.
The plan for Tyson was to work with younger kids to teach them both how to box and about the difficult lessons he has learned through the severe highs and lows of his career.
Silverglade has long had the Give A Kid A Dream program, which offers at-risk youth the opportunity to learn how to box, providing them membership at Gleason’s, instruction, and equipment.
”This is just terrific. This is the perfect way to give back to the community, to the kids, to Brooklyn,” Hynes said at the time.