Note: This story appears in the Friday, Nov. 8 newspaper on Page A1.
JACKSONVILLE — For months, they’ve trained and trash-talked. They’ve refined their jabs, hooks, ducks and uppercuts inside Sam’s Gym, or at least a semblance of those things, all in preparation for a marquee bout for the ages.
Chris Chmiel and Kevin Davis will soon go toe-to-toe in the ring — or is it tie-to-tie? — as part of the annual Boxing for Books fundraiser. The event is planned for this Sunday at Trimble Elementary in Jacksonville, beginning at 4 p.m.
Chmiel is an Athens County commissioner and Davis is superintendent of the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Both are courageous, insofar as they have agreed to box in public.
While these palookas more closely resemble butterflies than bees, the two deserve credit for generating plenty of enthusiasm and attention toward this year’s fundraiser, which benefits the Trimble Textbook and Supplies Foundation.
Underdogs they may be, but undercards they are not. This will be the premier bout at Boxing for Books on Sunday.
The Messenger asked a few officials around the county for their tongue-in-cheek predictions on the fight. (Humor and deprecation was encouraged. The two boxers work in politics and education ... they’re used to it.)
Athens County Auditor Jill Thompson: “In placing my bet on this race, you know I would be conservative. Kevin Davis has always been a beacon of light and that man has “abilities!” As for Commissioner Chris, he just seems a bit cheesy. I’m counting on the Beacon Bomber to be the last one standing.”
Commissioners Clerk: JoAnn Rockhold “All I know is Chris better not come back a loser. Chris has muscles on Kevin.”
Athens Supt. Tom Gibbs: “I would think they would make a greater effort to be positive role models for our children. I recommend that instead of fighting, they sit down together and read books to one another. Might I suggest the picture book
“No Hitting” by Karen Katz?”
ACBDD Asst. Supt. Arian Smedley: “The Pawpaw King vs. The Bomber. If their names are any indication of their fighting style, I think we know how this will go.”
Athens County Recorder Jessica Markins: “Both Kevin and Chris have been training hard to prepare for their big match on Sunday, but I think the Beacon Bomber has his work cut out for him. Paw paws are like spinach, after all, and The Bludgeoner of Blight has been eating those things for years!”
County Commissioner Lenny Eliason: “Oh, I think Kevin Davis will win.”
Radio Host/Former Messenger Editor Joe Higgins: “Davis has the reach advantage and maybe the edge on stamina. His nose makes for an easy target, however. If Chmiel can work his way inside and use his speed, it could be trouble for The Beacon Bomber. Prediction: Davis, by split decision.”
County Commissioner Charlie Adkins: “It’ll be the first round, Kevin will go down. Chris will take him out.”