By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Alex Cottle is an athlete, there’s no denying that.
Cottle was a standout player for both the Mountain State University and Woodrow Wilson High School soccer teams, as well as a track star. He even won the Beckley Half-Marathon with a pace of 6 minutes and 18 seconds.
Even after all of those accomplishments, Cottle still has one question to answer.
“How tough are you?”
The 6-foot-1, 183-pound. Cottle will be stepping into the ring at this weekend’s Toughman Contest for the very first time.
“I’ve always loved working out and staying in shape,” Cottle said. “ I decided boxing was a challenge to see if I could do it.”
Cottle made a name for himself as a competitor, so it came as no real surprise to those closest to him that he would be testing his limits in a pair of gloves and headgear.
“A lot of people have been wishing me good luck, I guess,” he said. “I’ve had a couple of friends tell me I have a good chance. “
He’s been training for the event with famed boxing coach Carl Murdock of the Mt. Hope Boxing Club in advance of his boxing debut.
“Alex is a tough kid,” Murdock said. “He’s going to have to get in there and get it. He’s got a chance like everyone else.”
While Murdock is training Cottle on perfecting his jab and straight right, it will be his superior cardio training that is sure to work to his advantage.
“I’m definitely not going to have any problems with cardio,” Cottle said. “It all comes down to experience. There’s going to be a lot of adrenaline. I ran track in college, and I feel like individual sports are the way to go. If you lose – you lose. It’s your own fault. If you work hard, you get results. You don’t have any excuses.”
It may be results and the accomplishment of victory that are fueling Cottle, but the inspiration surely comes from those less fortunate.
Cottle is a supervisor at Burlington Foster Home in Beckley.
“We help a lot of challenged kids,” he said. “We take kids through school. They all live together. So we make sure they do what they’re supposed to do — help them with homework, just work with them and support them.”
Now it’s their turn to support Alex.
“A few of them know I’m going to be boxing,” he said. “They’re really excited for me. They wish they could be there to see me and wish me luck. I’ll be walking, and they’ll jokingly give me a jab. They’re all really great kids.”
The 34th Annual Southern WV Beckley Auto Mall “Original” Toughman Contest is this weekend, April 5 and 6 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
The first fight of each night will start at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are on sale at the Convention Center and online at wvtoughman.com. To charge tickets by phone, call 1-888-695-0888.
— E-mail: jrollins
@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins