Club owner Ray Rivera hits up the bank for a personal loan when the heating bills pile up four or five months deep, and the doors continue to open. That's been the life of the Washington Street gym since it opened - one step ahead of collapse.
And here, on Wednesday, is 20-year-old Shawn Worker, a rangy amateur from Washingtonville with a 12-6 record and a penchant for cruising the Internet for long-shot sweepstakes. He's on a cell phone with TV talk show host Jenny Jones. A long shot has paid off.
Rivera is on his way to the gym. He doesn't know about Jenny Jones or any of this yet. His assistant coach called and said he needed to take off work and head for the gym because a bunch of fighters from New York City are on the way to spar with the guys.
On any given day, the guys could include pro fighters such as 21-year-old Orlando DelValle and kids who wander in off Newburgh's streets with nothing to do. Rivera lost his son to violence, and he wants to help all of these kids. Someday, he wants to put in a community room on the first floor of the gym building so kids who don't box have a place to hang out and use computers. But that's a long way off.
Rivera walks through the door, and the cameras flash. Jenny Jones wants to talk to Rivera. Have Shawn tell you what he did, she says.
Shawn tells him how he was searching YouTube.com videos one day when he saw a heading for Jenny Jones. She was giving away a total of $1 million dollars in $25,000 chunks to people working in their communities.
He thought immediately of the Newburgh Boxing Club. He filled out a form and sent it in. A week later, Jenny Jones was calling his house. Suddenly, the community room is much closer to reality. "Thank you very much," Rivera tells Jones on the phone. "We need it."
The money won't cover everything, but it seems like a fortune right now. Jones is on the phone again. She asks Worker's mother, Joyce, to go downstairs and take a photo for her. She wants the "before" picture.