LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It’s a sad day in the Natural State, as Arkansas Hall of Fame boxer, Ray Rodgers, passed away early Tuesday morning.
A man who touched many lives here in Arkansas.
“He loved kids and wanted to do the best thing he could for kids,” Gary Hogan said.
Ray Rodgers is widely known around the state, nation and in many boxing rings.
“You go out of state anywhere… hey that’s Ray Rodgers,” Ozell Nelson said.
For his passion for boxing… but most importantly, kids.
“He would go into Highland Courts with a van and back in those days, Highland Court wasn’t a great place to be after 6 p.m., and he would pick kids up, bring them to the gym, get them home by ten and a lot of those kids he kept out of jail,” Hogan said.
After his passing early Tuesday morning, people who worked alongside him said it was a hard day.
“He is a person that is going to be very hard to forget if you had the pleasure of knowing him,” Andrew Meadors said.
Rodgers was the cut guy for many professional boxers.
“Tommy Morrison, Jermain, and several others. Who else? Yes! Iran Barkley,” Nelson stated.
Rodgers also held the Golden and Silver Glove Championships here in Arkansas.
In 2007, Rodgers was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
“Everybody knows Ray Rodgers, Ray Rodgers was the man, he was right under Bill Clinton,” Nelson said.
Andrew Meadors said he will do whatever it takes to keep Rodger’s legacy alive.
“Just happy to have known him and to know he was my friend and a lot of the things I have learned from him as my mentor and elder to me, I want to keep him alive and pass those thoughts and those lessons on to others,” Meadors stated.
All of the men said they will never forget Ray’s one-liners or his “zingers”, and that Rodgers was the glue here in Arkansas for amateur boxing.
Funeral services for Rodgers are scheduled for Saturday and will include a military burial at Pinecrest Memorial Park in Alexander.