Along with the benefit of staying in shape, McDougal trades punches with boxers at Metro Fitness in East Point.
“I spar with all of the young pro and amateur fighters,” said McDougal, who is 33 years old. “It’s a real fun workout and it keeps me in shape. It still kind of gives me a challenge.”
Before being a sparring partner, McDougal had a brief boxing career as an amateur.
“My amateur career started real good in the novice division,” McDougal said. “I only lost once in the novice division. Then I went to open division with people with more experience. At first, it was a little bit of an adjustment but I won more than I loss.”
During this period, McDougal fought against talented fighters like Michael Finney, who is currently 12-0 in the welterweight division.
“I did good against Finney but he was known for his patented hook to the body and at the end of the third round that hook caught up to me and that is the only fight I’ve been in that the ref had to stop,” McDougal said. “I still think of that fight as one of my favorite fights because I put it on him pretty good and left it all out there.”
But during graduate school at Florida State University, McDougal had to be honest with himself about continuing a fighting career, which requires full-time dedication.
“I had this fight where in the final round I could tell I was losing a little heart and that was the first time I ever lost a little bit of heart,” he said. “So after that fight I decided if I lose heart in the middle of a fight I might as well not fight again.”
However, McDougal still earned his master’s degree in school psychology and currently works as a psychologist at Westlake and Feldwood.
“I do a lot of testing to see if kids are eligible for special education services or not and figure out the best education plan for them,” McDougal said. “I work with the teachers to come up with a strategy and my favorite thing to do is mentor kids.”
McDougal said he tells kids who are interested in the sport about the gym at Metro Fitness.