World-famous Kronk Gym knocked out by neglect in Detroit

The famed Kronk Gym in Detroit that produced world champions such as Oscar De La Hoya and Thomas Hearns appears to be down for the count.

Discarded sofas, tires and trash are strewn across the property on McGraw. The brick building is covered in graffiti and stripped of everything of value. The grounds are overgrown with long grass and weeds.

Kronk’s biggest supporter was legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, who turned the dingy basement of the city’s first recreation center on McGraw into a world-renowned gym by the 1980s. He died in October 2012.

The recreation closed after thieves stole copper plumbing in 2006. The city couldn’t afford the repairs.

A year before his death, Steward told me he wanted nothing more than to revive the gym and give troubled Detroit kids a place to find hope and purpose. Hearns, 53, echoed those sentiments a few days after his long-time trainer and friend died.

Instead, the center is just another abandoned building in Detroit, surrounded by trash and decay.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.