Local Boxing Icon Punched His Way into Lowcountry Lore
CHARLESTON, SC (MEGAN RIVERS, WTAT-TV) — He’s a man who has punched his way into Lowcountry lore.
With each slip, jab and uppercut, he has helped mold Lowcountry athletes into champions. We step into the ring with Al “Hollywood” Meggett.
“We have basketball, we have a lot of basketball in this town,” Meggett said. “We got football, lot of football in this town. You’ve got soccer? Lot of soccer in this town, but we only have one boxing game in this town and I’ve been holding down boxing in this town for over 30 years.”
He’s a living legend. “In 1979 I moved in Charleston.” He has been training and managing boxers for more than five decades.
The Harlem, New York native now holds the Holy City close to his heart.
“I came here and said I was going to do something, and I did it,” he said. “And I am happy about that. I’m glad that I got the chance to do it.”
His gym is on upper King Street and although he has trained the likes of Ali, Mayweather and Holyfield, his passion is working with children and giving them a safe place to hang out every afternoon, Monday through Friday.
“If you want to solve a problem with what we’re dealing with today, you have to deal with the youth first,” he said.
At the sound of the first bell, trainees get right to work.
“That’s the work bell,” Megget said. “See, what these guys what they do is work on that bell. They skip rope, they shadow box, they punch on the bag all on that bell.”
Hollywood is always there and now this battle hardened navy man is reflecting on progress, remembering when he was a fresh faced 19-year-old.
“Can you imagine a 19-year-old coming down here from Harlem and they’re telling you to get on the back of the bus? I wanted to jack you up,” he said.
Strong words from an 86-year-old who’s seen more than his share of fights.
“I’ve had five major operations since I’ve been in this town,” he said. “I’m a survivor.”
Hollywood trains boys and girls as young eight and has no cap on age. He said his primary focus right now is making sure they get the funding they used to have so that more kids can come and train for free.