MYRTLE BEACH — When Ronald Guidry told his wife, Jean, in 2007 that he wanted to return to boxing, she thought it was a bit late for him to have a midlife crisis.
He was 70, and hadnt boxed in nearly 50 years.
I thought, Youve got to be kidding, Jean said. It was a little scary at first.
But it was more than just a whim for Guidry. He had a purpose.
Guidry, a two-time Golden Gloves amateur state champion in Louisiana who stopped boxing at the age of 21 in 1958, read an article in 2007 about Paul Soucy.
Soucy won the World Ringside Masters Boxing Championship in Kansas City twice in his late 60s. Guidry was intrigued and went to a local gym.
I wanted to fight this guy, you know, Guidry said. I went over there and punched a bag and I thought, Hmm, I think Ive still got something here.
Guidry, who is 5-foot-7, lost 17 pounds that hes kept off since in two months to get down to 165 pounds and qualify to fight Soucy, who he defeated to win the 2007 title.
Guidry has won three of the four years he has participated at the age of 70, 72 and 74, losing once in 2008, though he contests the decision. Go on YouTube and look at it and see if I lost the fight or not, Guidry said.
Guidry brought his sense of purpose to the 29th annual Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship this week, as well.
I didnt come all the way over here to just play, the Baton Rouge, La., resident said. Im hoping I can win this world golf championship. That would be great, and have those two big ol [golf and boxing] trophies together.
Im just that way. Whats good about it is it keeps you active and keeps you going. Im still in pretty good shape.
The 9.4 handicap enters the fourth round second in Flight 57 for Supersenior men (70-over) with rounds of 81, 83 and 76 for a net 210.
Guidry played in his first World Am last year, just a few weeks after winning his third world boxing title.
This year he had kidney stones in both kidneys the week before the Ringside championships and opted to pass. The doctor said, You could take a chance, but if they start moving while youre in the ring youre going down, Guidry said. Im not going to lose and say I lost the fight because the kidney stones got me.
He also skipped the 2010 championship shortly after a grandson was killed in a car accident.
When training for a fight, Guidry has a 90-minute workout regimen most mornings beginning at 6 a.m. He runs in three 3-minute increments with a minute in between, hits the heavy bag for 2-minute intervals separated by a minute rest, runs wind sprints, jumps rope, does sit-ups, lifts weights on a Nautilus machine and drops a heavy ball on his stomach.
When not preparing for a bout, he generally works out a couple times a week and plays golf five days.
The short preparation period before his first world title fight in 2007 nearly cost him. After the second [of three one-minute rounds] I told my son, who was in my corner, Man, I dont know if I can make three rounds, Guidry recalled. He said, Dad, suck it up and get in there. So I went in, I finished it up and won.
Guidry fights out of Ragin Cajun Boxing Club in Lafayette, La., where he has sparred with a 19-year-old Golden Gloves champion. He is trained by the clubs head coach Beau Williford and one of his disciples, Ireland native and former womens world lightweight champion Deirdre Gogarty.
Guidry, an electrical and instrument design coordinator for chemical and refinery engineering plants, began golfing at the age of 26, five years after walking away from the ring, and he has become quite accomplished on the links, as well.
He was the National Senior Olympics runner-up in his age group in 1999 and 2001, the 2002 and 04 Louisiana Senior Four-Ball Amateur (ages 65-69) champion with teammate Gordon Conn, and 2007 and08 Louisiana Senior Amateur (age 70-plus) champion.
He retired at the age of 65 in 2002, but that lasted just three months. I tried it out, Guidry said. In three months I did all the work around the house I needed to do, painting and everything else, then I went to playing golf and I said, Oh man, this is boring. Ive got to find something else to do. So I went back to work for a while.
Guidry still works 10 to 15 hours per week checking on design drawings, and considers himself an actor who has had bit roles in a few films, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and All the Kings Men.
The lowest Guidry got his handicap was 6 in his 60s. I did get better through the years, but now its going the other way, he said. I think it has something to do with age, dont you reckon?
In Guidrys case, its hard to tell, as a doctor recently affirmed to the father of four, grandfather of nine and great-grandfather of two when he had a sore back checked out.
He gave me my report and said, You have the back of a 45-year-old boy, Guidry recalled. I said, Oh yeah, well how come its hurting?
It might have something to do with boxing.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.