The call came in at about 4 in the afternoon. Max, Kevin Yeffeth said, you have a fight today. And it starts in less than two hours!
Max Tassy’s coach just happened to be browsing the Golden Gloves website that afternoon and saw Tassy’s name on the schedule. Nobody had received the customary email with advance notice. So Tassy hopped in a car and sped from his Nyack home to the fight location in Brooklyn.
Even with no time to prepare his body or mind to box, Tassy won his third-round match in the Golden Gloves to advance to Thursday’s championship bout. It was a small rush job in a career that has become one big rush job.
The 21-year-old college student is on the verge of claiming one of the highest honors in New York area boxing, and he’s done it with exactly one year of training and zero prior fights under his belt.
“I’m just happy with making it to the finals and just winning as much as I did with as little experience as I had,” he said. “I’m happy just making it, honestly.”
Tassy is one of seven locals in the finals of the Golden Gloves, the celebrated amateur boxing tournament. Their bouts will take place over two days, Thursday and Friday, in the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Mahopac’s Jennifer Egan is a veteran of the Gloves. Some, like New Rochelle’s Natalie Gonzalez, are new to the Gloves but experienced fighters. Then there’s Tassy, a former street fighter who took up boxing on a whim.
One year ago he asked Donald Content, a family friend, about Content’s experience as a boxer. Content, 39, had won a fight in the Golden Gloves as a youth. He offered to take Tassy down to the local YMCA and do some padwork with him.
“After three or four months I was like, this guy is really good,” Content said.
Five days a week they trained at the Y or on the basketball court behind Tassy’s mother’s apartment. There was no ring, just pads and a bag. Tassy didn’t have money to join a real gym.
“When I was a fighter I wasn’t as dedicated as he was,” Content said. “Every day he was waiting there for me. Days when I wanted to slack off he was the one pulling me to be there.”