Life of a Legend: Remembering The Immortal Jimmy Glenn
Article by Rick Mohamed
Former boxer turned trainer and renowned cutman to the greats Jimmy Glenn has been gone for a year now. Time to remember him and what he gave…
To many folks, Jimmy Glenn was the owner of the popular dive bar in New York’s world famous Times Square named Jimmy’s Corner. It wasn’t a large bar that attracted the high end patrons that other places did; it was a place that, inevitably, grew on you.
Over the years, many flocked to this very special bar, this small piece of humanity just to have a good time, have a drink and talk to good friends. If you didn’t have friends, you were sure to make a few before long.
The bar reflected the man who owned and operated it for over 50 years, James Lee Glenn, better known to his friends as Jimmy. Born on August 18,1930 in South Carolina but moved to New York soon after. After spending the WWII years with his grandfather in South Carolina, he moved back to New York in the 1940s & experienced the hard, rough street life there.
Dedicated to his family, he dropped out of high school like so many young men at the time to work to support his loved ones. He eventually made his way into the boxing gym at the Police Athletic League and became a decent amateur fighter, amassing a record of 14-3.
He even fought and lost to a young up and coming fighter named Floyd Patterson. Later on, he would become a legendary cutman and trainer, even working as a cornerman for Patterson, who would go on to become the heavyweight champion.
He opened the Times Square Boxing Gym in 1978, where even Muhammad Ali would go and train whenever he was in town. In 1971, he opened the famous dive bar Jimmy’s Corner in New York’s Times Square, on West 44th St. between Sixth & Seventh Avenues,, not too far from his gym.
Proceeds from his bar helped fund his gym and kept the doors open for 15 years, when it finally closed.
Jimmy’s Corner served drinks, plus tons of boxing chatter and history, especially during the week of a big fight. There was even a sign on the wall demanding that bar patrons refrain from talking about politics.
It makes sense: drinks and highly opinionated political talk do not peacefully mix. Boxing memorabilia fills the walls, with nary a blank space left on them.
It was a boxing shrine, a Holy Ground for Boxing, if you will. Jimmy was often in attendance to chat and rub elbows with the many friends he’d accumulated over the years. He worked at the bar 6 days a week, alongside his 2nd wife Swannie, who passed in 2015.
While he never trained a champion of his own, he did work as a trainer/cutman with Patterson and former heavyweight & light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks. Other notable fighters we worked with over the years include: Monte Barrett, Jameel McCline, Terrance Ali, Bobby Cassidy, Glen Robinson, Aaron Davis, Mark McPherson, Jimmy Lange, Howard Davis, Kevin Hill, and so on.
At times, he lent his boxing expertise to live broadcasts, such as HBO Boxing (1973) and ESPN Friday Night Fights (1998) as the legendary cutman he was.
On May 7, 2020, James Lee Glenn lost his battle with the Covid virus, which he fought for 30 days. He was 89.
His son Adam remembers that his Dad’s bar resisted the many changes in the area that closed many other businesses. Hs business was quite resilient-and his landlord liked him.
They loved my Dad,” he reflected.
A Memorial Service was held live via streaming video, and many remarked how much they missed him.
Jimmy’s Corner had resisted the changes in the area, the redevelopment, the mob and other factors that had closed other businesses. However, the obligatory Covid shutdown finally closed it’s doors, for the first time in nearly 50 years.
RIP Jimmy Glenn. It was a great place in a terrible part of town. pic.twitter.com/EdqhCzYuwP— Aaron van Dorn (@aaronvandorn) May 7, 2020
It remains closed to this day, but the bar’s Facebook Page said that an announcement to reopen the bar would be coming soon. As of the writing of this article, that hasn’t happened.
Many have lamented that Covid has forever changed New York City, “the City that never sleeps”, as the famous song says. The reopening has given many hope that they can begin to bring the city back to its former glory. Reopening old places like Jimmy’s Corner is a sure step in the right direction towards New York’s renewal.
Lest we forget: the state was the hardest hit by Covid at one time, but it recovered mightily.
Brawlers Sports would like to take the time to remember a very dear friend and a great boxing figure in the person of the great Jimmy Glenn; he’s gone, but never forgotten. We look forward to the day when Jimmy’s Corner will finally reopen! LETSGOCHAMP
About the Author
Brawlers Sports Media is a media company that built their level of reporting boxing news to all the boxing fans out there from ground zero. CEO Rick Mohamed vows to deliver top quality content and one on one interviews as well as articles for the boxing communities’ entertainment.