Beloved boxing coach who mentored hundreds of kids loses battle with COVID-19

Paul Hernandez was a man of many titles. Most knew him as a boxing coach and mentor. In East L.A., he is a legend. But his favorite title was "dad."
EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- COVID-19 has claimed the life of a beloved East L.A. boxing coach. Paul Hernandez worked to keep boys and girls off the streets, and he leaves a lasting impact on his community.

Hernandez was a man of many titles. Most knew him as a boxing coach and mentor. In East L.A., he is a legend. But his favorite title was "dad."

He was a champion for his community, getting profiled by many news outlets over the years. Sadly, he lost his fight to COVID-19 late last month.

ABC7 last spoke with Hernandez in 2016 when he led the charge to save a public boxing gym in his community, a place he called a safe haven.

For the past five decades, Hernandez coached countless boys and girls all over East L.A., Boyle Heights and Montebello. He saw boxing as a tool to keep kids off of the streets.

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Longtime friend and colleague Rudy Tellez says Paul worked the night shift, so he could spend his days coaching. His death has been a huge hit to the boxing world and everyone who knew him.

"He dedicated himself and they loved him in the area," said Tellez. "They're going to miss a good mentor; they're going to miss a good man, a good leader."

The World Boxing Council and Rudy's LA are now sponsoring a fundraiser to help the Hernandez family with funeral expenses. It will be held Sunday Feb. 28 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Rudy's LA.

"He was a great guy. He was a champion all around" said Tellez.

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