KANSAS CITY, Missouri - John Mellencamp is taking a break from “Rockin’ in the USA.”
The singer watched his son, Hud, fight on Thursday afternoon in the 10th annual Ringside World Championships. The amateur boxing event features 1,500 fighters from eight countries and runs until Saturday at the KCI Expo Center in Kansas City. The fighters range in age from 8 to 74 years old.
“I’m more nervous for him fighting than I ever am walking on stage,” Mellencamp said. “He’s kind of an odd duck to have a kid from his background being able to compete at this level.”
Mellencamp rooted on his son with his wife Elaine, a former super model. Hud Mellencamp, who also fought in the event last year, won his fight and will compete again on Friday. John stood close to the ring to get a close-up view during his son’s fight.
“It’s really cool,” Hud said. “He comes to most of my fights.”
John Mellencamp was supposed to play with Bob Dylan at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City on Saturday. But he canceled playing with Dylan, so he could watch his son. Mellencamp will perform with Dylan on Sunday at a concert in Lincoln, Nebraska.
A friend of John Mellencamp introduced boxing to Hud several years ago. Hud has been hooked ever since. The 16-year-old plays football, but he says boxing is his favorite sport.
“I just like it a lot,” Hud Mellencamp said. “It’s what I do all day. It’s what I dream about.”
Hud fought in the 138 pound weight class. Kansas City boxing trainer John Brown also works with him. The Mellencamps on Monday stopped by the Turner Golden Gloves Boxing Club in Kansas City, Kansas to have Brown give Hud some tips.
“It’s like a solo sport,” Hud said. “No one can mess you up if they’re on your team. You’re the only win or loss factor.”
Hud says he has no singing ability and can’t play any instruments. But he enjoys music. For now, he plans to see where boxing takes him.
“It was his choice,” John Mellencamp said. "He had the focus, endurance and the strength to do it, so that’s what he wants to do. He gets in the ring and it’s just him."