Legendary Kronk Gym put down for the count

DETROIT -- The Kronk Gym, the dingy basement that helped produce world champions including Thomas Hearns and Oscar De La Hoya, has closed.

Former heavyweight champions Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis also trained at Emanuel Steward's gym, which had been struggling after thieves stole copper pipes in September, cutting off its water supply. The Kronk's fighters moved their workouts to a Gold's Gym in Dearborn.

Steward had been paying to keep the Kronk running for months after Detroit shut down the recreation center that houses it because of a budget shortfall.

The cost of fixing the plumbing and making other major repairs led officials to decide to make the gym's shutdown permanent, said the Recreation Department's deputy director, Lawrence Hemingway.

"It's the oldest rec center in the city. It has lived a useful life," he told the Detroit Free Press in Wednesday's edition.

To stimulate fund-raising, Steward is throwing a benefit Thursday at the Star Southfield theater. Organizers told the Free Press that actor Sylvester Stallone will introduce the new "Rocky" movie at the theater.

Any money raised Thursday will go toward a new Kronk Gym, Steward's assistant, Kim Hagood, told the newspaper.

"We really need to look for a new facility for the Kronk," she said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.