NOTE: This is the ninth and final part of a series published exclusively in the Jackson Parish Journal that celebrates the achievements of the six athletes and three Special Award winners that represent the Class of 2021 that will be inducted into the Jackson Parish Sports Hall of Fame (JPSHOF) on August 7th. This week: Floyd Miles.
Wikipedia describes a “one-hit wonder” as any entity that achieves mainstream popularity for only one piece of work and becomes known among the general public solely for that momentary success. The term is most commonly used in regard to music performers.
This Saturday those attending the Class of 2021 Jackson Parish Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be introduced to Floyd Miles. In the late 1950’s, “Bubba”, as he is known by friends and family, was recognized as a “one-hit wonder” but in a different sense. Miles was known all over north Louisiana as a “one-hit” wonder because when he hit you just once, you wondered where you were or what day it was, if you could remember anything at all.
Anyone who was affiliated with Jonesboro-Hodge from the years of 1956-57 has no problem remembering Miles’s exploits though. That is also true for anyone who ever stepped in the ring with him as well, although chances are most would rather forget about it. In the ring, you ask? That is correct. Floyd Miles was a boxer for Jonesboro-Hodge. Not only was he a boxer for the school, he was the Golden Gloves Welterweight High School Champion in 1957.
For those who may not know, for a two year period (1957 & 1958) Jonesboro-Hodge High School fielded a boxing team. The school had never done so before and hasn’t since. You could say that the “one hit” wonder was the shining star of the sport that was a “two-hit” wonder.
If you have been reading the series of articles on each member of this year’s class then you know that fellow 2021 inductee, Coach Clyde Berry, who was a decorated pugilist himself, started the program. Legend has it that he began the program after seeing Miles and his friend Ben Daniels, both who were known to “throw down” at the drop of a hat, slugging it out in the hall one day.
As it is told, Miles gathered the boys up and “gently” led them to the gym, where they expected to receive some stern punishment. What they didn’t know was that Berry wasn’t mad at them at all. Actually, it had put a smile on his face when he saw the two trading punches. You see, Berry loved boxing and ironically had been thinking about starting a boxing program at JHHS. He had a good friend that was over the Golden Gloves Tournament’s in Shreveport and in 1957 there was going to be a prep division with the winner being declared North Louisiana High School Champion.
Only Miles and Berry, who now have the distinction as being the only coach and athlete from the same years go into the Hall of Fame at the same time, know if this next part is fact but it is told that Miles was given a choice. Either start training for the new boxing team or go home for the rest of the school year.
Regardless of the motivation, the training sessions started and then several more joined in giving JHHS a full delegation of boxers ready to contend for honors. None of them had the reputation that Miles did though. In today’s jargon, Miles was already well-known all over Jackson Parish and surrounding areas as a “bad dude” meaning he someone you didn’t want to mess with.
As an example of the reputation Miles had, in the first round of the Golden Gloves tourney he was matched with a lad by the name of Dale Scaiffe. As fate would have it, Scaiffe had witnessed Miles do his thing many times over in local “hangouts” and he quickly backed out, refusing to fight. It was only after Miles agreed to fight the young man – USING ONLY HIS LEFT HAND, that the fight took place. It lasted all of 70 seconds before the ref stopped it.
Miles could not only give a lick but could take one as well. This was proven in his second fight when he got jolted by a vicious right hand in the first round. The blow staggered Miles but he endured the round and after clearing his head proceeded to annihilate his opponent in the second. That set up a final’s match that carries as much of a humorous tone to it as jaw dropping.
One thing that Berry didn’t want was for his boys on the team to fight each other. After their training sessions he felt they all had a shot at winning, just so long as they didn’t have to fight amongst themselves, so when he entered his boys, he put them in separate weight divisions. This worked well except in one case. Miles was entered as a Middleweight but after the weigh-in it was discovered that Miles and Daniels were both Welterweight’s. Citing that since they were the same weight, they would have to compete in the same division per Golden Gloves regulations. As a favor to his friend though the tourney director put the two boys on opposite sides of the bracket.
They had both easily blasted their way through the bracket and now they were set to go “toe to toe” for the championship. Even though he had his two fighters in the finals, Coach Berry was not pleased. He knew that both of them had the ability to knock the socks off each other and he didn’t want either of the guys to get hurt. He also had a problem in that in all other fights he was the corner man for both. So he devised a plan.
Just before the fight began in front of a sold out Hirsch Memorial Coliseum, Berry told both fighters that for the first two rounds they were to just lightly spar and jab at each other. No heavy punches allowed. Then they had the final three minutes to do what they could. Both quickly agreed or at least Berry thought they did.
As it turned as soon as the bell rung, Daniels strode across the ring and hit Miles with a tremendous looping left hand that sent Miles crashing to the canvas, forcing a mandatory “eight count”. While the crowd was going wild thinking the fight was over, Berry just winced as he knew that Miles would be getting up. He also knew that it was now “on” and for the next two and a half rounds the spectators on hand would be witnessing one of the most exciting fights they had ever seen.
He was not wrong either. Crushing blow after blow was landed by both. The crowd was in pandemonium, standing on their feet and cheering wildly in in awe that both combatants could not only connect with such powerful blows but take them as well. It was the only time in Miles career that a fight went the distance but in the end he had won and the Golden Gloves Championship belt and first individual boxing championship in Jonesboro-Hodge High School history.
Now retired, after a long career working in the paper industry, Miles enjoys spending time with his daughters Marilyn and Cristy, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Always quick with a laugh, mild mannered and willing to help a neighbor, you might not ever guess his pugilist past of never losing a single “sanctioned” fight or basically any others for that matter.
Yet for those who were fortunate enough to “watch him work” back in the day, those “one hits” that he administered leaves no “wonder” as to why he justly deserves to be a member of the Jackson Parish Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
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