Calvin Brown was a rising amateur boxing champion when his finely tuned skills in the ring caught the eye of a boxing official at ringside.
That official at ringside was an illustrious figure in the sport, Dr. Wilbert “Skeeter” McClure, chair of the Massachusetts State Boxing Commission and a 1960 Olympic gold medalist.
Brown, who was mentored by Dr. McClure and became his lifelong friend, later served as a state Deputy Boxing Commissioner on the commission that was chaired by Dr. McClure.
Dr. McClure, who had a successful professional boxing career following the Olympics, died on Aug. 9 at the age of 81.
Dr. McClure graduated from the University of Toledo and following his career in boxing, he earned his doctorate in Psychology from Wayne State University. He was a U.S. Army veteran and taught at Northeastern, Bentley, and Mount Ida College in Massachusetts.
“Dr. McClure was a gentleman and one of the nicest persons ever to grace the sport of boxing, not only as a fighter but also as a human being,” said Brown.. “He got the name “Skeeter” from his father because we he was born so small and gentle.”
Brown said Dr. McClure, who was a two-time national champion, always told him that “the highest point of my boxing career was sharing a room at the Olympics in Rome with my lifetime friend Muhammad Ali.”
Brown, the District 8 city councillor, said Dr. McClure often visited his home in Chelsea and shared many happy occasions. “My whole family admired him – he was a legend in the sport of boxing,” said Calvin.
Brown said he was appreciative of Dr. McClure’s mentorship in his days as a rising amateur boxer.
“I was a young boxer and he took me under his wing,” said Brown. “He directed me on the right path to becoming a deputy boxing commissioner and learning the responsibilities that the position entailed.”
Brown, who is still active with the Mass. State Boxing Commission, was with Dr. McClure in his final hours.
Calvin Brown and well-known boxing promoter Al Valenti released the following statement paying tribute to Dr. Wilbert “Skeeter” McClure: “There will never be, nor has there ever been, an example of a true champion inside or outside of the ring of boxing like “Skeeter” McClure.