AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. -

For sports lovers, springtime is when Spokane brings its A game with the NCAA tourney, the Pacific Northwest Qualifier and, this week, USA Boxing's National Championships.

Kalvin Henderson fell in love with boxing as a young man.

"I started when I was 15 years old. I was in trouble a lot when I was younger, fighting on the streets and stuff, my momma made me go to the gym and I loved it. Been loving it, been boxing ever since," he said.

On Tuesday, that love for the boxing ring put Henderson glove to glove with the son of a man who defeated Oscar de la Hoya.

"The biggest win of my career so far, but we're going to look past it we are going to go on and make bigger steps baby," he said.

Henderson took out Shane Mosley, the son of Sugar Shane Mosley, who defeated de la Hoya in 2000.

"All three rounds he came out real strong, he came out throwing lots of shots, and I knew me and my coach talked about the game plan, put our hands up, catch the shots and when he tire out, it's our turn to work now," he said.

Mosley and Henderson, both middleweights in the men's elite division, are fighting without headgear, a new change in rules this year.

"What causes the damage is the jarring to the head and with or without the headgear that is going to occur," USA Boxing chief official Angel Villareal said.

Villareal said in part the move was made to standardize rules among amateur boxing leagues. However the argument has been made it will actually keep the athletes safer.

"It gave the boxer a false sense of security with the headgear, they actually took more blows because they figure 'Oh I got the headgear,' without the headgear they are much more defensive tactics then there is with the head gear."

"It doesn't hit hard if you don't get hit so if you don't get hit you won't feel the difference," Henderson said.

Somewhat sound reasoning, but for Henderson and others in the elite men's division that logic might not work on the moms

"She's praying for me, I pray for myself and we go from there," he said.