USA Golden Gloves champ
Mercedes “Red Terror” Carter may look sharp and wear nice Ringside boxing gloves, but she didn’t have it easy in life.
Born on 17 May 1997 and raised in Baltimore, she lived in difficult conditions. Both her parents were drug consumers and resellers, so the household was always troubled by gang violence, with little money to go by. Barely enough to eat, pay rent and survive.
Her parents totally loved Mercedes as well as her brother and sister, so the family got along despite turbulences. Until that night four years ago. Back then, Mercedes had just turned 16. She doesn’t remember what the argument was about, but she remembers insulting her mother and getting punched in the nose for it. She appealed to dad, who said that mom was right.
Mercedes said nothing but she thought: “This life isn’t for me. No more gangs, no more drugs around me, and I definitely won’t accept violence from my parents. I’m smarter and I want to do better.”
At 1:00 in the morning, she got up in silence and escaped the family home. She found the nearest interstate and hitch hiked. A driver was going to Detroit, was kind in conversation and left her there. It isn’t exactly a friendly city but she decided to try and build a new life there.
It wasn’t easy.
Mercedes depended on charitable organisations to eat, get clothing and find shelter on cold winter nights. A newly made friend told her to try and spot a house that was abandoned during the real estate crisis. She used that for a while until she got kicked out by the bank and a new owner. Then she had to return to the streets.
Then, on a cold winter Monday, she walked by a boxing gym. She entered tentatively and looked around in fascination. She had never been violent and the only punch she took in the face made her leave her family, but there was something civilised to the noble art with its sporting and social codings. She looked on.
One of the coaches, Carl Williams, approached her.
Carl: “Can I help you?”
Mercedes was tentative. She wouldn’t easily trust a white man in his 40s. Maybe he just wanted to sleep with her.
Mercedes: “Um, I’m fine. Just watching.”
Carl: “You seem fascinated by what you’re seeing. Are you a fighter?”
Mercedes laughed and snorted: “Not by any means. I never hit anyone.”
Carl: “That’s what many elite fighters say before they try it. Then they fall in love with the sport and kick ass. You have a good build for boxing. Tell you what. Why don’t you borrow some of our old gear and give it a try?”
Mercedes gives him a weird look and thinks: “The old man may be right. I like what I’m seeing here. And he seems cool after all.”
Mercedes: “Ok, I’m in. One session.”
I turns out that she fell in love with the sport and learned it well. Hitting the bag and handpads was fun. The coach took her on as a protégée.
Having lost his daughter a few years back, Carl grew fond of Mercedes. When he found out about her way of life and told his wife, they agreed to offer her the empty bedroom in the house. She’d have a place to stay, warm food every day and a caring adoptive family under one condition: she had to get back to school. Optionally, they also wanted to develop her boxing talent.
Mercedes said yes. It turned out to be an excellent decision. A white-collar from the automotive industry, Carl invested his free time in her. He booked fights regularly to keep her active.
Four years later, she’s a well-respected amateur boxer with 56 wins and 4 losses in the Welterweight (152 pounds, 69 kilos) division. She won the Detroit Golden Gloves twice and has qualified for the 2018 National Golden Gloves and National Championships.
Having won the USA Golden Gloves 2018, she wants to compete at the Olympics in 2020 before turning pro.
|Amateur record: 56 wins (33 by stoppage) 4 losses|
|10||Caitlin Brown||December 2018||Win||Stoppage|