The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Bengal Bouts: Rivalry with Burroughs fuels Crepeau’s determination

Sam Gans | Friday, March 4, 2011

Senior Kevin Crepeau has built an accomplished boxing career during his time at Notre Dame. The Michigan City, Ind., native was named one of eight captains for Bengal Bouts this year and qualified for the heavyweight division’s title match for the fourth consecutive year.

But one goal has always remained just out of reach: a championship.

Each of the previous three seasons, Crepeau has come within one victory of earning a Bengal Bouts crown. But he could never quite get over the hump against law student Will Burroughs, improving each year, but still finishing 0-3 against the former law student.

“[My] freshman year, I thought, ‘Okay, that was my freshman year. [Sophomore] year, I’m going to get him,'” Crepeau said. “And then sophomore year, I put up a good fight, but lost. So junior year, I thought, ‘Last year I put up a good fight. So this year I’m going to put up a good fight and win,’ and I put up a better fight, but still lost. Sometimes in boxing you just run into a buzz saw. Will was a little bit of a buzz saw.”

With Burroughs having graduated, Crepeau will face a different law student in the finals this time around: Nathan Arnold. Crepeau has mixed emotions about battling a new competitor.

“I’m real happy that I’m not fighting [Burroughs] this year in the finals,” he said. “It will be nice to line up against someone different. Three beatings from him was plenty, so I’ll try my luck against a different guy. Although I guess if I had one more shot at him, I think I could get him.”

Crepeau’s attributed his overall success throughout the years to the passion he has for the Bouts, starting before he was even a student. While most competitors do not decide to participate in Bengal Bouts until they arrive on campus, Crepeau knew from the moment he was admitted to the university.

“I’m from the same hometown as Pat Burns, who was president of Bengal Bouts last year. So when I was a senior in high school, I came up and watched him fight his freshman year and then when I got into Notre Dame, it was around the same time he was fighting, so that’s how I got into it. I figured it’s something I wanted to do.”

While Crepeau has always loved the Bouts, it is not something that is easy, with lots of time and effort put in being necessary.

“The season starts right after Thanksgiving break,” he said. “Basically it’s every day from right after Thanksgiving until now, Monday thru Friday. [There is] lots of conditioning, lots of aerobics and then heavy boxing after Christmas break.”

The workouts can be especially difficult for a heavyweight like Crepeau. But to him, the effort is worth the benefits.

“The workouts are definitely hard, especially for me. I’m not the most in-shape guy. But my freshman year, there was a particularly cool group of senior captains who were [okay with] saying, ‘We’re here to work hard for an hour and a half and then after that, let’s go out, let’s have some fun,'” he said. “It was [both] the social and the athletic aspect of it that I liked.”

The lesson he learned then is something he tries to emulate as a captain today.

“I feel like boxing is definitely secondary, especially in the heavyweights. There’s a tight-knit group of guys because there’s only eight of us. Just the other day, for example, I was teaching [Arnold] tips on how to fight a lefty, because he was fighting Joey Hiben [in the semifinals] and now he’s going to be using the tips I was telling him against me in the finals. So I’m kind of wishing I didn’t tell him a couple of those things, but that’s how it goes. Boxing’s secondary to I’d say the club aspect of it.”

Crepeau, a finance major, intends to a become a financial analyst for IBM after graduation. Though he does not plan on continuing a boxing career after his career at Notre Dame ends, he says he hopes to stay involved.

“I’m done with boxing [after this year]. Getting hit in the head gets old,” he said. “[But] I’m definitely going to still be a part of the Bengal Bouts and stay a part of the program.”