Former boxer Burns turns matchmaker for local fight card
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Shiney Burns hasn’t faced a conundrum like has during the past few weeks. Not as a fighter or a trainer.
Burns has embarked on a career as a matchmaker. He’ll see how good he is at matching two fighters, especially when it comes to matching local boxers.
He is trainer of two of them and therein is his pickle – matching the boxers so that fans would see a competitive bout, while at the same time making the bout one that give his fighter a fair chance.
“I try my best as a matchmaker to choose the best opponents I can for my guys,” said Burns, who retired from the ring 13 years ago. “The other thing I want to do is give the other opponent a fair chance.”
He will know how good a job he does Saturday when an eight-bout card takes place at Gaither Gym on FAMU campus. Tallahassee’s Willie Ferrell will headline the card in his pro debut.
Every bout will be highly competitive no matter the outcome, he said.
“These fights are going to be some very good fights,” said Burns. “Some of these fights will be to the point that you will be on your toes trying to figure out who is going to come out on top. These guys are really hyped up to fight; on both sides.”
Admittedly, being a matchmaker brings a different challenge than any he’s faced in the ring. Most tedious is making sure that fighters aren’t overmatched, a skill that requires calling on every resource.
That could include his brother, Richard, another former boxer. Burns said he also calls on promoters who once put on his bouts as well as former opponents.
The internet also is a great resource for scouting boxers to ensure a competitive matchup, he said.
Burns knows a few things about being in competitive fights. He started his career as an amateur boxer and after about 20 bouts turned pro. He won just four of his fights, but said he has no regrets because it was a life-changer for him.
While many of his friends were living a life on the streets, he opted to put in the hard work training.
“The demons that were on my back, I champion them through boxing,” Burns said. “I look at boxing in a very positive way. A lot of my partners didn’t go down the path that I did as far as boxing.
“They went to prison. A lot of times when I was training to be a champion, my partners were getting in trouble. Boxing saved me.”
These days, Burns is trying to do the same for young men at his gym in Midway. He wants them to have the same exposure he had when he appeared on cards headlined by former world champions – some like Nate Campbell and Henry Akinwande who had ties to Tallahassee.