(CBS Local Sports)– Kenneth Sims Jr. and Destyne Butler Jr. are two of the most hyped boxers to ever come from Chicago.
A new Showtime Sports documentary called “Ringside” chronicles the lives and careers of the two boxers over a nine year period. The emotional film documents the highs of both Sims Jr. and Butler Jr. becoming professionals and the lows of Butler Jr. going to prison and Sims Jr. failing to make the U.S. Olympic team as an amateur. Both of the boxers wanted to use the documentary to show what it takes to make it in the cutthroat sport.
“It was kind of surreal seeing myself when I was so young,” said Sims Jr. in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “I was 13 or 14 when they started filming and watching the film, I see myself grow up. In the interviews when I was young, I was giving them one word answers. As it went on, I see myself grow up and become the person I am today.”
“Just how far I came and how my life turned out, from the good to the bad,” said Butler Jr. “It’s crazy, but it’s a beautiful story. I want everyone to tune in June 12 and get to know us. It’s really an inspirational story and I feel like it’s going to touch a lot of people.”
Sims Jr. and Butler Jr. each had a different relationship with boxing. Sims Jr. realized at 16 when he was fighting men in their 30’s that he could be a pro and Butler Jr. knew as a 7-year-old that he wanted to be a fighter. The two Chicago boxers have known each other since they were young kids and been through it all.
“After I got locked up, I saw Kenny fighting on TV,” said Butler Jr. “I was like damn, he really did it. I was so happy and I was so mad at myself. Once I got out, I knew I was going to follow in his footsteps. I’m just going to come behind him. I feel like we in Chicago have an aggressive style and a crowd pleaser style.”
“We used to go out of town together and be in hotels together at different tournaments,” said Sims. Jr. “We grew up together. I just feel like Chicago breeds people to do great things. I love Chicago and I feel like Chicago is a great city. To represent Chicago is an honor. When people think about Chicago, the first thing they think about is Michael Jordan. He is the epitome of greatest and I wanted to represent greatness.”
The boxers hope that people of all ages can learn about their stories and relationships with their families.
“My dad is my man and my guy,” said Butler Jr. “He always tried to lead me in the right direction and he always gave me the option to make decisions on my own. He always wanted me to be my own man and that’s one of the things I respect about him. Don’t give up. People will try to break you and there will be more naysayers. There will be more negativity than positivity. Keep going and don’t let no one break you.”
“My dad didn’t have it easy when he was coming up,” said Sims Jr. “He wanted to make things better for me coming up. He just wants me to continue to be better and I feel like that’s how you’re supposed to be as a parents. You want to lead your child to do things better than you. No matter where you’re from, you can persevere and make something of yourself. Don’t ever give up.”
Watch “Ringside” Friday, June 12 at 8:30pm EST/PST on Showtime.