DENVER – A retired Denver boxing coach who devoted more than two decades of his life to training and keeping kids off the street died Friday.

Raymond Romero was known as “Monk” in the boxing community. He started his boxing career when he was 10 years old. When he was 18 years old, he boxed in the Golden Gloves tournament, a prestigious match. Romero boxed in the First Class Division for two years.

Jesse Mora, a former boxer and interim chairman of the Colorado Golden Gloves nonprofit, met Romero at a boxing match.

“He was smart. He had a good, solid attack, ”said Mora.

Raymond retired from boxing and started exercising later in life. He started a boxing program and, with the help of other trainers, trained the team of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He won two championships.

“He was one of the greatest. He had a damn good way of coaching, ”said Mora.

Adrian Romero searched dozens of photos of his father. He can still hear his father’s voice directing boxers in the ring.

“Double the thrust and get in there and work on his body,” Romero recited in the photo he was holding, what his father thought he was saying.

Raymond was 83 years old when he died. He fought years of dementia, but the legacy he left for many lives lives on.

Adrian says his father was a father figure to many young children who had no fathers or came from a broken family. He says his father helped countless West Side Latino kids stay off the streets and stay away from gangs.

“He took her back to school and started doing homework,” Adrian said.

Raymond didn’t allow his boxers to train unless they attended all of their classes. He taught children discipline and leadership skills.

“It meant a lot to these children,” said Adrian.

In 1988 Raymond was elected coach of the US national team and won the championship in Moscow, Russia. In 2012, Romero was inducted into the Colorado Golden Gloves Hall of Fame for his dedication to the world of boxing and its community.

“He was a tough coach, but he was a respectable coach and a lovable coach and he took care of his boxers,” said Mora.

Romero’s funeral takes place at Saint Catherine of Siena on Federal Boulevard. The family plans to announce a date and time in the coming days.