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updated: 11/22/2011 8:46 PM

'Unique' Hitz can't get enough boxing

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Bobby Hitz is still sold on boxing and still selling the sport to the public.

Hitz was born on the West Side of Chicago, grew up in Glendale Heights and lives in Bloomingdale.

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However, it could be said that Hitz's permanent residence for most of his life has been the world of boxing.

"It takes a special person to be a boxer," the former boxer proudly said Tuesday afternoon.

"We're unique. That's what makes you special, makes you different. It takes a special makeup for a guy to be a boxer, a certain instinct."

Hitz talks from experience. He is a former heavyweight who was a Golden Gloves champion, 21-4 as a professional and one-time opponent of George Foreman.

Now 49 years old, Hitz is helping keep the sport alive in the Chicago area as a promoter whose next card will be staged Wednesday night in the Northwest suburbs.

For years on this date Hitz held the "Rumble at the Ramada" in Rosemont. After a few years off, he's reviving the event with the "Thanksgiving Eve Belvedere Bash" at Belvedere Banquet in Elk Grove Village.

As Hitz sat next door to the Belvedere in the Real Time Sports Bar and Grill on Tuesday, his passion for the event, sport and fighters was unmistakable.

"It's a good night out," Hitz said. "A lot of guys have family in town. They can come with their fathers, their sons, their nephews."

Don't forget women. Hitz claims the sport appeals to them, too, along with fight fans of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.

Some might think that when he talks up boxing that Hitz must have taken too many hits to the head during his 25 fights.

After all, the sport that used to rank with baseball and football has drifted a bit outside of the American mainstream.

Those are fighting words to Hitz, who cites the success of major bouts like the recent Pacquiao-Marquez bout that attracted 11.2 million pay-per-viewers at $70 apiece.

Then there is the challenge of mixed martial arts, a sport that appears to be siphoning fans away from boxing.

Ah, but mention that to Bobby Hitz and he politely bristles.

"No," he protests. "That's like saying badminton fans are going to cross over to become NASCAR fans. (MMA has) their fans and we have our fans."

You get the feeling that when Hitz defends boxing, he's still that young kid who was able to train right behind his house when the village of Glendale Heights built a boxing club in the basement of the police station.

"Let's go down there," Hitz and two of his friends said to each other. So they did, and it changed everything for him.

Approaching his 50th birthday, Hitz still is as excited as when he was a young man who didn't know what he wanted to do with his life until boxing came along.

"I'm not good at a lot of things," Hitz said with a smile. "I'm not the most intelligent guy in the world, not well-read, but this was something I was good at."

Boxing opened countless opportunities for Hitz and over the years enabled him to interact with the rich and famous inside and outside the fight game.

So Hitz will be back at it Wednesday night, specifically promoting a card in Elk Grove and generally defending boxing against all detractors.

"It's in your blood," he said.

Make no mistake about it: For Bobby Hitz it always will be.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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