We spent some time with Cashmere Jackson back in 2010, when the rising female boxing champ had made her way through local bouts and a stint as Golden Glove champ to the U.S women's tourney and Olympic qualifying.
The tough beginnings for the 2006 Collinwood graduate were overcome in the sport, led on by her father, who was an amateur boxer, and a trainer who saw something special in the young woman.
She grew up in public housing on the east side of Cleveland and attended Collinwood High School. Boxing was a fixture early on: Her father Gregory was a lifelong amateur who trained constantly. When Cashmere turned 14, she and her brother — one of six siblings — was taken to a gym run by Safo. The challenge: Submit to three months of training. After that, they were free to walk away. But Jackson didn't.
"I put her to spar right in with the boys, with her brother, and she beat her brother up," Safo recalls with a laugh. "We told him to stay home after that."
Those boxing dreams, those dreams of being an Olympian from her hometown of Cleveland, never panned out, and Jackson drifted away from the ring and into some criminal incidents that would see her sentenced to two years in prison for her role in two robberies.
After she was released in May, she had tried to get back into the ring.
Jackson died in a three-car accident on Wednesday near the intersection of E. 55th and Woodland.
Police have released few details about the crash. The details of the accident are not pretty. A fender bender turned into Jackson clinging to the hood of a car. Details here.