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Jordan's on the prowl

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By Dan Johnson

Like his current favorite superhero Batman, Jordan Howard is shrouded in mystery.

The 12-year-old Evergreen resident often gets tight-lipped when he’s asked to talk about himself. A surprising occurrence given Jordan’s success in the sport of boxing.

Jordan would much rather talk about the latest movie he’s seen. On Friday, Aug. 1, that movie was “The Dark Knight.” It was the second screening of the film for Jordan, who just a few days earlier was in Mesquite, Nev., laying waste to the competition in the Golden Gloves Junior National Championships.

His young eyes light up when asked to describe his favorite scene in the movie, of which there are too many to list. Choosing between Batman and his arch-nemesis, the Joker, proves to be difficult.

“The Joker is cool,” Jordan said. “But so is Batman.”

Jordan certainly was a hard study for his opponents at nationals. Competing in the Junior Division (ages 11 and 12) at 95 pounds, Jordan listened intently to the instructions of his Clear Creek boxing coach, Beau Campbell, and let his hands go.

The result was Jordan coming back to Colorado with a heavy and shiny piece of new hardware and the title of national champion.

Jordan, who is currently in Kansas City, Mo., competing in the Golden Gloves World Championships, wasn’t initially convinced that he had won a national title.

In the final, Jordan took on Johnny Rodriguez of Idaho, and the bout, according to Campbell, was extremely close. So close, in fact, that Jordan didn’t think he had done enough to earn the victory.

The judges’ scorecards were tallied and Jordan had in fact done just enough to slip past Rodriguez by a 3-2 margin.

“I had tears in my eyes when the decision was announced,” said Campbell, who began the boxing program at Clear Creek High School in 2002. “I told Jordan later that this was something that no one could take away from him. His name is now in the history books.”

Clear Creek’s boxing program is unique in that it’s the first sanctioned high school program in the nation. Over the years, Campbell has tutored young kids and teens not just about boxing, but offered up valuable life lessons.

“Jordan’s success definitely helps validate the program,” Campbell said. “It shows people that we’re going out there and achieving great things. This isn’t about me; it’s all about the kids.

“I get satisfaction out of helping kids out. I stress to the kids that as much work we do in the gym, they have to put just as hard an effort into their studies. I’ve heard stories from kids that have now graduated that credit the boxing program for helping turn their life around.”

For Jordan, the national title appears to be merely a blip on his radar. He doesn’t get overly excited talking about what it felt like to win the belt or to now be competing against the best boxers in the world in his age group.

As Campbell said, most times Jordan acts much older than 12. Other times, he’s your typical pre-teen.

So, if you want introspection and analysis from Jordan, don’t ask him about boxing.

Ask him if he’s seen any good movies lately.