Quintana Boxing will be knocked out of Sloan's Lake Park on May 31.
The boxing club moved into a building on the southwest corner of Sloan’s Lake Park in 1988, after Ray Quintana asked then-Mayor Federico Peña if he knew of a space where he could start a boxing program for children in the area. Peña showed him the vacant building, then arranged to let the club use it for free since it would be providing a public service. When Wellington Webb took over as mayor, he visited the gym and decided that the Quintanas should pay the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation $1 per year for the space.
But on January 12, 2022, Mike Quintana, Ray’s grandson, received a notice from Scott Gilmore, deputy executive director of Parks and Recreation, saying that the city would terminate its longstanding lease agreement with Quintana Boxing on May 31. The city needs the building back, Gilmore says, because the RISE bonds
that Denver voters approved last November include funding for a renovation of the Sloan’s Lake Boat House, currently the office for the department's Northwest Park Maintenance District. While maintenance moves into the space now occupied by the gym, a $7 million project will turn the boat house into a community gathering place.
Quintana had vowed to fight to keep the club in the park
, and the fight sometimes got ugly.
He sent e-mails to Amanda Sandoval, the Denver City Council rep for the area, as well as other city employees; his messages to Sandoval included some disparaging and threatening language. By the time Sandoval learned that the gym had lost its lease, she says it was too late to help; she declined further comment. Quintana also threatened to protest in front of Gilmore’s house; through Parks and Recreation, Gilmore declined to comment.
Quintana Boxing's equipment was packed up this month.
His match lost with the city, Quintana has spent the last few weeks tearing down the boxing ring and packing up the memorabilia that defined the space for so long. “I’ve lost a lot since January,” Quintana says.
He's now looking for a new home for the gym. He says he’s found a potential location in Westminster but is waiting for sponsorships and funding to align. In the meantime, he’s still coaching young boxers who recently graduated from high school. They are helping him take down the gym’s equipment and practicing their uppercuts on the last bag still hanging in the Sloan's Lake space.
“I love this place,” Quintana says. “I don’t want to leave. This place means a lot to me because of what we built here.”