Art teacher by day, boxing enthusiast by night. Macaroni in the morning, fisticuffs in the evening.
That's how Chris Guzman put his double-life to me, after we visited his third-grade art class at the Brunswick Elementary School in Gary, Indiana. The kids seemed to love Mr. Guzman, who's had a passion for art since he can remember.
But boxing wasn't far behind. He grew up watching the greats with his father - Sugar Ray, Foreman, Ali, the list goes on. Chris tried boxing once. It didn't go well, he'd stick to watching.
Meanwhile, he developed another hobby - autograph seeking. Chris is one of those guys who storms red carpets asking celebrities to sign....well.....anything. When he wasn't sticking out in the crowd, he came up with an idea.
He would merge his love for boxing, his artwork, and his celebrity hunting. After he learned Harrison Ford was coming in town for a film premiere, he painted the actor's image onto a boxing glove. He asked Ford to sign it, he did, and he was immediately hooked.
Watching the celebs' reactions to the gloves can be just as fun, Guzman told us. Vince Vaughn told Chris his glove was "kind of creepy." Guy Fieri almost walked-away with his. Charlie Sheen gave him an expletive-filled pep talk after autographing his glove.
Chris has launched a website, GuzmanGloves.com, where you can hire him to paint anything you want on a boxing glove. They cost $120 even, with free shipping in the continental U.S.
As for how far this business will go? Chris doesn't know yet. He does know that he'll never stop teaching. While painting boxing gloves is an incredible thrill, he made it clear that instilling a similar passion for the arts in a younger generation is priority number one.
My feature on Chris Guzman and GuzmanGloves.com will air on the WGN News at Five. It will be posted here after the show.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun