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Sunday, November 7, 2021

Andrew Klein: The Real Estate Heavyweight

Andrew Klein's professional boxing career extended from 2010-2016, but it lasted all of three fights. A college educated real estate mogul, Klein was in his late 30s when he entered the ring for his first prizefight.

Born in Denver, Colorado, Klein attended the University of Colorado and graduated in three years with a BS in Business Administration in 1995. In 1998, a 24-year-old Klein formed Westside Property Investment Company. His aim for the new company was simple: "development with a conscience." Klein says, "Westside strives to develop projects that generate new opportunities and create communities that will stand the test of time."

All along, Klein pursued another passion: boxing. He called himself the "Hebrew Hammer" and in 2010 turned professional. On August 20, at an age when many boxers have hung up the gloves, Klein debuted.

The fight, in Softball Country Arena, didn't go Andy's way. He dropped a four-round unanimous decision to Isaiah Barela, a 6' 205-pound heavyweight. Though the blue-eyed, curly-haired Klein held a nearly 70-pound advantage, the judges scored the bout 40-36, 39-37 (twice) for Barela. Barela would win his first four fights before dropping his next eight, last fighting in 2018.

In 2011, Klein's mansion fell into foreclosure, according to Penny Parker of The Denver Post. “It’s been a hard three years," Klein told Parker.

Three and half years after his debut, Andrew made a comeback. On March 14, 2014, Klein entered the ring against Mike Seymour with a nearly 55-pound advantage. In the boardroom Klein looks like a heavyweight boxer, but in the ring he looks like a real estate mogul. Carrying 270 pounds, Klein's body resembled another Andy -Ruiz- but without any of the former champion's ability. 

Klein was nominally a southpaw, but he barely kept his stance. He fought like a novice. Seymour, an 0-3 fighter with three stoppage losses from Nebraska, pelted Klein with at least ten straight rights to the head and midsection. What Andy lacked in skill, he made up for in toughness. Mouth open, blood rushing from his nose, he remained standing as he heard the bell to end the first round.

When the bell rang to begin the second, blood continued to seep from Klein's nose and a prominent welt formed on the left side of his forehead. But the doctor could be seen shining a light into Seymour's eyes. Whatever the diagnosis, it was bad for Seymour and the fight was stopped. Klein raised his hands in triumph, and officially, he won by way of TKO six seconds into in the second. Sometimes just surviving counts as a win.

Klein's final fight came two and half years later. On September 3, 2016 he faced Juan Jose Romero (1-0) at the Glitter Dome. Like his other two fights, this one also took place in Andy's hometown of Denver. Coming in at 266 pounds to Romero's 259, Klein survived all four rounds to earn a unanimous decision. The scores were  39-36, 38-37 (twice). In the end he wasn't as badly marked up as in his bout against Seymour.

It has been over five years since Klein last entered a ring. He finished with a record of 2-1 with one KO. In a sport that has seen rich men corrupt it for their own vanity- men such as Mexican businessman Jorge Kahwagi- there was a certain nobility in Klein's toughness. The blood and welts were real.

Having bought and sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets, Klein continues to run Westside Property Investment Company. The 47 year old is a single father of three.

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