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From pitcher to pugilist
After injury, former Eagle's Landing pitcher Glass finds new use for arm

By Zack Huffman

zhuffman@news-daily.com

DECATUR - As the end of his senior year at Eagle's Landing High School approached, Matt Glass was pretty sure he knew what the future held for him.

He knew he could be a competitor; he just got the sport wrong.

As a member of the Golden Eagles' baseball team, Glass had proven to be a formidable opponent on the mound. He was projected to go in the top five rounds of the Major League Baseball draft.

Then injury struck.

Just after the end of high school, Glass had to endure surgery then rehab on his throwing arm, effectively keeping him from his major league dreams.

Forgoing any attempts at the minor leagues, Glass went to college.

In his first semester, he walked onto the baseball team at Chattanooga State University playing third base. By his second semester he had a full academic and athletic scholarship.

After a year of playing, he left school to begin working back home in McDonough, which was where he rekindled an old love for a different sport.

"In high school I carried two pairs of boxing gloves in my old Mustang," said Glass. "I always liked to fight."

According to Glass, he and his friends would regularly have boxing tournaments amongst themselves. Results were recorded on a simple piece of notebook paper.

"After about two or three tournaments they wouldn't let in anymore because I knocked out a couple of my friends," he said. "Nobody wanted to get knocked out, so I had to sit on the sidelines."

Glass was working as a service advisor at a Honda Dealership. He knew his two bosses Shane and Shae Bailey were fight promoters, so he mentioned to them that he was interested in fighting.

That's when they hooked him up with trainer Xavier Biggs, who runs the Decatur Boxing Club.

When Biggs first met Glass, he noticed potential in the young service advisor.

"He looked like he was in good shape and he looked like he was hungry for this," said Biggs. "He's coming along really well. When I first started boxing, my trainer told me, 'some people take two weeks, some people take 10 years.' He's closer to the two-week category."

In his home gym, Biggs has trained some of the best amateur and boxers in Atlanta. In what looks like it used to be a small auto mechanic's shop, Biggs stands in the center of the ring as men in training circle him, throwing punches at the pads he grips in his hands.

Jazz music blares throughout the room, which is adorned with a plethora of banners that display as many colors as the interesting nicknames for the boxers honored on each one. Names like those of female boxers Terri "The Boss" Moss and Shannon "The Cannon" Hudson fill the roster of successful boxers who have been associated with Biggs.

"I love training with him," said Glass of Biggs. "He's real old school, he's awesome."

The walls of the gym are covered with old fight posters as well as new ones to create an atmosphere that immerses all occupants in boxing history.

According to Glass, his favorite boxer is Evander Holyfield. Aside from his obvious athletic accomplishments, Glass admires the importance Holyfield has consistently placed on his own faith.

"I'm a big strong Christian guy, and he's a big man of faith, so I've always respected that about him," he said.

Biggs has organized Glass's first sparring match, which is set to take place Aug. 22.

"I'm going to give him an upgraded sparring match to get him battle ready," said Biggs.

Following that, he hopes to prepare Glass for his first official boxing match in November.