Linde just happy to ring in new career

June 16, 1994|By Phil Jackman

HILLCREST HEIGHTS -- The man's resume suggests he should be holding the position of ambassador to the Court of St. James, or maybe vice chairman of a board of directors somewhere.


Barry Linde, a native of Baltimore and nearly a lifelong resident of Washington, matriculated to Harvard (B.A.), added an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at Penn (scholarship) and even knocked off a year of law school at Georgetown (a wedding present from his father-in-law). His father was a surgeon and Barry started out as a medical student.

Still in a quandary as to what to do with his life, Linde says, "I noticed they made a lot of money in the building trade, so me and a partner bought a couple of lots on Capitol Hill, dug a hole and we were on our way."

To huge success, first building homes, then condominiums and apartments all over Washington.


It was 1988 when real estate, land development and building headed south and Barry was sort of thinking of getting out of the business anyway. "I purchased a yacht and have had a heckuva time with it," he says, "but in the back of my mind . . . "

Yes, boxing.

"I had always loved it," he continues. "My father fought when he was a young man under the name of Young Arthur. That was back in the teens. I took it up at the Police Boys Club, mainly as a means of self-defense. I was the only Jewish kid in my neighborhood and I was getting beat up all the time."

Linde was very successful in the ring, winning 37 of 39 bouts as an amateur in his mid-teens before education took over. Still, he harbored the ring interest always.

A fitness fanatic, Linde plays tennis whenever possible and, while waiting for court time, he got back into working out in the gym. This led to his working with various boxers and, late last year, he found himself in the professional boxing manager trade.

"It's been nirvana," he says, "but hard work. It started with Derrell Coley who, the first time I saw him, looked more advanced than Sugar Ray Leonard did starting out."

Linde obviously has an eye for talent. The unbeaten Coley, 23-0 after a fifth-round knockout in Upper Marlboro last Friday night, goes for the NABF welterweight title against Anthony Jones in D.C. July 5 on USA Network.

And Coley isn't the only one in the manager's "Hard Corps" stable who is tearing it up. "They just seemed to fall through the door after Derrell," says Linde. "We've got four guys now and they're all unbeaten."

The rest of the gang includes super middleweight Garry Payne (10-0), Reuben Bell (7-0) and Reggie Green (15-0), all victors by decision on last week's card. Bell and Green already have attracted Main Events and Lou Duva to handle the promotional end of their careers. Regarding Coley, the veteran trainer Duva says, "It probably won't be too long before he's ready to go against Pernell Whitaker for the title."

It's a little strange watching Barry Linde motor up to the Hillcrest Heights gym in his classic 1961 Corvette convertible after leaving his extensive art collection and jumping into the action inside. "I knew if I was going to be in boxing I'd have to do more than just show up and cheer at the fights," he says.

As the fighters worked, two recently hired strength coaches studied the boxers preparatory to their instituting programs to aid the boxers. "One of the things I found I had to do is take the guys out shopping, showing them how to eat healthy," says Linde.

"There's varying degrees of commitment among the guys right now, but it's good that Derrell [Coley] is right there and about to enter championship caliber. He's all gung-ho and it's rubbing off. Boxing's an individual sport, yes, but teamwork and camaraderie can do a lot, too."

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