The Kronk Khronicles: A chat with Travone “Third” Chambers
Before J’Leon Love steps into the ring against Peter Quillin on Saturday night, at the Nassau Coliseum, in Uniondale, New York, our own John Lepak caught up with old friend and fellow Kronk Gym denizen Travone “Third” Chambers, who will be working as Love’s chief second against the former WBO middleweight titlist, in a 10-round super middleweight attraction (FOX, 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT).
John Lepak: Third, my old Kronk brother! Before we get to this weekend’s fight with J’Leon Love versus Peter Quillin, let’s take a stroll down Memory Lane. Your family is rich in Kronk history. Can you give our readers a little history as to just how close you are affiliated with the Kronk Dynasty?
Third Chambers: My uncle Darrell Chambers used to take me to the gym with him, at age six, and bet the other guys I could do more push-ups than them, like Thomas Hearns, Milton McCrory, Rick Jester, Arthel Lawhorn, Mikey Goodwin, etc., and I would do 100 push-ups and even after losing the bets, those guys would give me $5! (laughs) One day Emanuel Steward came to my grandparents’ house for Christmas, and my dad Theotrice Chambers was talking to Emanuel, so I was asked to shadow box. Emanuel was impressed; he told me there was a Silver Gloves state tournament, two weeks from now, at the Northwest Activity Center. Go there and sign up under the Kronk Gym. He went in his Mercedes-Benz, and gave me a Kronk tank top. Two weeks later I won the state Silver Gloves, and I was directed then to start training at the Kronk Gym with Alex Sheer.
JL: Your dad was always a big supporter of Emanuel, and so many guys inside Kronk, back in the days. What was it like as a young kid growing up, being so close to legendary Emanuel Steward, and all those great fighters?
TC: Unbelievable! The whole gym was like father figures or my big brothers, so I was well-protected! (laughs) I learned later that my family used to help Emanuel take fighters to tournaments too. So many fighters and not enough cars, so my family was involved, when all the world champions was once kids in the amateurs.
JL: I have written about those legendary Kronk Gym wars many times, and people do not even know how to grasp how it was back in those days. Here are a couple questions about those days. Who was your toughest sparring in the gym?
TC: “Bluesman” Steve McCrory. We sparred one day, and Steve told me, “Man, you knocked the taste out my mouth.” I replied, “What?” I didn’t understand. The very next day, we sparred each other again. Now Steve wasn’t a big puncher but very crafty, and had very good hand speed. He set me up with a fast pace, slowed it down, which slowed my attack. We call that “rolling a guy to sleep.” I threw a slow jab to his rhythm, and he quickly threw a right hand that had to be the hardest he ever hit me, and I couldn’t taste anything in my mouth. At that point I knew what he’d meant by “knocking the taste out of his mouth”! (laughs) He got me back.
JL: (laughs) Great story! Am I lying when I tell people it was over 100 degrees in there every day?
TC: Man, the walls would sweat! It was so much energy in that basement that the heat didn’t bother no one.
JL: I get a lot of people saying you do not need such tough sparring these days and they seem to be more impressed with this bullshit, pitty-patty pad-work. What did you learn from that tough Kronk sparring?
TC: These fighters today are softer, complainers. Back then everybody was hungry. To me boxing is an expression of who you really are. I learned quickly, boxing is not a sport; it’s a hurt game. You could lose your life! So there’s no such things as pitty-pats. I tell guys all the time, “Pad-work is no good without sparring. Shadow boxing and sparring are the most important.
JL: How was your amateur career with Kronk?
TC: Ninety-five wins, 16 losses. I won nine national tournaments.
JL: You had solid little career as a pro yourself. What are some of your memories wearing the Kronk Gold as a pro?
TC: Man, my first pro fight, I finally got the gold trunks with my name across the front. My mentality was kill or be killed.
JL: Now you were one of the old-school, at Kronk, who actually boxed there in the gym’s prime years with some of the great trainers like Walter Smith, who were “teachers.” What did you learn from teachers like Emanuel and Walt, when it came to teaching the science of boxing?
TC: Basics! The first fundamentals is the most important teachings. Balance, the proper way to carry your stance and punching power. Emanuel Steward once told me, whenever you get hurt, go back to your basic fundamentals.
JL: My man, Third! Great answer. So here we are, all these years and pounds later on both of us (laughs), and you are now training J’Leon Love. How did you end up working with J’Leon?
TC: Well, I knew J’Leon since he was age 14, when he first started at the Kronk Gym. Walter Smith was working with him, and Walt introduced me to him and I helped him out here and there, as an amateur. Thirteen years later, he reached out to me. Now here we are.
JL: How has camp been leading up to this Saturday’s fight?
TC: I came into camp late this time; I wish I was here earlier to sharpen him up but he’s looking good, and he’s catching on to what needs to be done in this fight against Peter Quillin.
JL: In closing, how can our readers stay in touch with you on social media?
JL: Third, it’s always love, my brother, and I miss the old days! It is always great staying in touch, and I am always in your corner!
TC: I know you are, and it’s good seeing and hearing from one of my brothers from the famous Kronk Gym.