An important figure in boxing in Mauricie and throughout the province, the good Jim Girard, who was notably a boxer, trainer and promoter, died at the age of 83.
“A whole man, genuine, sincere and honest, described his friend Yvon Michel, Friday morning, when sharing the sad news. He had a great influence on the lives of all those who knew him as well as on mine! ”
The death of Jim Girard, which occurred following a long fight against the disease, therefore leaves the world of boxing in Quebec in mourning. Its heritage is enormous. By virtue of his involvement, but also because of his influence on others.
“If Jim hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have made a career in boxing,” Michel summed up simply, during a generous telephone interview. I am losing someone who had a great influence on me, but I am also losing a friend and a confidant. ”
The late promoter Régis Lévesque is also one of those who followed in Jim Girard’s footsteps, as was Bernard Barré, vice-president of operations and recruitment for Groupe GYM.
“No one could say no to him”
Strangely, Michel had known Jim Girard through football when he wore the colors of the Patriotes of the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières (UQTR). If Michel was playing linebacker, Girard was responsible for the equipment. Slowly, but surely, the two men instead created a relationship around boxing, a discipline for which Girard had a great passion and in which Michel launched himself late as a boxer.
It was also Jim Girard who convinced Yvon Michel when he, who was intended for a job as a teacher in physical education, instead became technical director of the Quebec Olympic Boxing Federation in 1980.
“Jim, he was a good trainer, but also an incredible organizer, to add Michel, about the one who had his own gymnasium in Mauricie. No one could say no to him. “
Former boxer Jean-François Bergeron in turn testifies to Jim Girard’s influence on boxing in Quebec, including Yvon Michel.
“I remember when Yvon was coach of Eric Lucas, Stéphane Ouellet and I among the amateurs, you could feel the influence that Jim had had on him, we felt that he was very important”, he noted. .
A thought for Patrice L’Heureux
Among the many boxers who worked under the orders of Jim Girard, there was Jean-Guy Mongrain, among the amateurs, but also Patrice L’Heureux.
“I last saw Jim last week in a hospice,” said Michel. His body had let go, but his head was still there. Jean-Guy Mongrain had also come for a walk that day. We remembered beautiful memories. ”
As for L’Heureux, who died suddenly at the age of 46 in October 2018, it is comforting to believe that he will now find, up there, the coach who had guided him to the Canadian heavyweight championship.
“It is thanks to Patrice that Jim was able to travel to Madagascar for the Games of La Francophonie, in 1997, and he was able to walk a little in the United States too, by switching to professional boxing”, slipped Michel, remembering who was his mentor.
“Honestly, Jim was always there for me,” concluded the promoter.