OKAY JACK, TIME'S UP
Mr. Jack Kerns is in a position where he can lend a helping hand to the cause of boxing reform in America.
All he has to do is step down as First Vice-President of the Association of Boxing Commissions, either before or during the organization's national convention this week in Miami.
Then, after he returns home, he can accomplish something perhaps even more significant.
By taking another step down - as chairman of the Kentucky Athletic Commission.
If there is a poster boy for what is wrong with boxing regulation, it's Kerns, and at this critical time, when legislation (in fact, two separate bills) is up for consideration by Congress; when the commissioners of this country prepare to congregate in what might be their most crucial meeting to date; when more eyes than ever before are cast upon these people; and when OPERATION CLEANUP is gathering a mountain of momentum in creating awareness about the truly pertinent issues of boxing reform, his resignation, from both positions, would almost - ALMOST - carry with it the pretense of nobility, which, all things considered, is the most Kerns could possibly hope for out of this putrid situation.
I can imagine what it's going to be like in Miami - you're going to have a lot of people walking around, congratulating themselves on being staunch defenders of ethics in boxing. Some of them are sincere; some aren't.
Those who ARE sincere should legitimately be offended by Kerns, because for one entire year he has masqueraded as one of them.
Sure, there are people who have told me Jack is a nice fellow. And I certainly wouldn't disparage them for feeling that way.
But this is a sport where it can become a matter of life and death.
It was that way for Greg Page, on March 9 of last year, when, thanks to the negligence of Kerns, he lay unconscious in a Kentucky ring, without the benefit of oxygen rescucitation equipment that may have helped his condition (a violation of Federal law); without the benefit of an ambulance at the site (a violation of Federal law); without the subsequent benefits from insurance on the fight card (a violation of Federal law), and without a doctor licensed by the state of Kentucky at ringside (a violation of Federal law).
The fact that the UNLICENSED doctor was running the other way, while Page needed potentially life-saving assistance from somebody - ANYBODY - as he was slipping into a coma, was simply a violation of human decency.
I'm not going to rehash everything in the Greg Page case here. For that, you can link to our special report, "Horse Manure Isn't The Only Thing That Stinks In Kentucky" (
But let it be said that when you combine imbecility, ineptitude, corruption, indifference, and ego, together with absolute authority, you're mixing a very dangerous cocktail.
And as long as he is sitting in any position of control, either on a state or national level, Jack Kerns is the most dangerous person in boxing.
Because he hid himself from any level of accountability to the public, then turned around and created a facade with his pathetic and shameless spin campaign, culminating in a run for office with the ABC, which unbelievably was successful, he is also a sham and a fraud.
I don't know Wally Jernigan of Nebraska, who nominated him for a vice-president's position at the ABC's 2001 convention, but he should be ashamed of himself.
I DO know Steve Bayshore of Oklahoma, who's an ABC officer. He's a nice guy. And he seconded Jack Kerns' nomination. Shame on you, Steve.
And shame on Greg Sirb, a guy who constantly puts himself out front as a do-gooder.
Sirb had full knowledge of what happened in Kentucky, having cheerfully accepted an appearance on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" last Easter Sunday to talk about it. Yet he didn't utter ONE word of objection to Kerns' candidacy at the convention three months later. What a tremendous display of leadership and vision from the bureaucrat who is posturing himself to become the national boxing "czar".
Every ABC member who voted for Kerns should be ashamed of himself as well.
You guys wanted to prevent Mike Tyson from fighting? ONE OF YOUR OWN deserves a lifetime banishment from the sport.
In fact, considering all the violations of the Professional Boxer Safety Act, his reckless disregard for ring safety, and his role in the ill-fated promotion, which, evidence suggests, may have opened him up for violations of the Ali Act, I have to be honest with you - Jack Kerns may very well deserve to be in jail - perhaps one of those jails he patrolled for years as a Kentucky corrections officer.
But he can let himself off easy.
By quitting one job this week.
Then quitting the other job next week.
Copyright 2002 Total Action Inc.