Best Gym for Watching Politicians Spar

GLeonard Boxing Club

Critics' Picks

1140 W. Jackson, 312-543-6246

In the basement of the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, at the GLeonard Boxing Club, you're liable to run into such pols as state rep Christian Mitchell, Alderman Will Burns, Chicago Teachers Union field rep Joseph McDermott, and Alderman Walter Burnett. But the main attraction is Glenn Leonard, who runs the gym. The 56-year-old son of Vic, who operated the boxing program at Scottsdale Park (4687 W. 83rd) on the southwest side, Leonard puts his students through the paces with firmness and a sense of humor. "I teach them the art of misdirection—hit and not get hit. I like to think I teach the fundamentals." Each year he trains various brokers and traders from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Board of Trade who face off in fund-raising matches to raise money for the Mercy Home. "We've had some pretty good boxers who were politicians in this town. Rod Blagojevich fought Golden Gloves. Former alderman Brian Doherty was a decent fighter. And the late Johnny Lira, he was Chicago's ambassador to boxing, and he was always involved in politics. I tell everyone—there is no color in boxing. No gender. And no political affiliations. I welcome everyone to the gym."