It’s always tough to lose a boxing lifer. And Dan Goossen, big Dan, dapper, quick with a joke, and no, not always a good one, was certainly one.
64 years old, which we know, as we creep up there ourselves, is young, particularly if you are dad to two young boys, as Dan was.
Liver cancer took him, hard and fast.
Sorry to make this even a tiny bit about me, because it’s not, but I enjoyed speaking to Dan, whose charming side I admired. He’d make you feel a bit special, and I dug the way he’d say, “Michael, I’m not taking any calls, but because it’s you, I can chat. Nothing on the record, but I enjoy talking to you.”
Backatcha, big man.
A couple weeks ago, I checked in, seeing if maybe there was some positive movment on his top guy, Andre Ward. They’d been sparring, warring, actually, and taken to the mediator and the courts to sort it out. I wanted to get an update, but Dan didn’t want to go there. He said he wanted to keep things civil, let the courts decide. He took umbrage, he said, at any hint that he’d done anything improper in handling the career of Ward, who’d done well by himself under the Cali-based promoter, but figures he could’ve done better, and thus, wanted to sever ties with the dealmaker. There was zero hint about his health status. He spoke of being hopeful that the Ward situation would clear up, and he could get back to business. In time, Michael, this too shall pass, he said….
Right now, my thoughts are with family and close friends. Dan was one of eight kids, six boys, two girls. He was intertwined with cornerman brother Joe, and they worked with and for a stellar array of prizefighters. Guys like Gabriel and Rafael Rueles, Diego “Chico” Corrales, Michael Nunn, Terry Norris, Shane Mosley and Joel Casamayor had the Goossen family, with all their knowledge and humor and drive doing their things for them. In recent years, Ward had been the Goossen focus, as well as the American heavyweight contender Chris Arreola. After a stint helming America Presents, he partnered up with entrepeneur Ronald Tutor.
I’d always enjoyed when Goossen would come to NYC, heading up a promotion with a James Toney, or, really, anyone. I will miss that. He had four son, from two unions. Boys, your dad was well liked in this corner…
Rest in peace, Big Dan.
Here is a release which went out, informing us of his passing:
“It is with overwhelming regret that we announce the passing of Dan Goossen, 64, from complications relating to liver cancer. The sudden news of his diagnosis was very much a private matter and his final days were spent surrounded by his family and closest friends. Sadness is difficult to escape as we grieve his passing, however we are filled with pride by the fact that Dan Goossen battled this aggressive illness with boundless strength and the last days of his life were fought and lived with unflinching bravery, pure love and grace beyond measure.”
Arrangements are pending and details will be announced in the next few days.”
HBO Sports sent out a release, as well.
“Everyone at HBO Sports is saddened by the sudden loss of Dan Goossen,” said Ken Hershman, President, HBO Sports. “Dan was a dedicated boxing promoter who we worked closely with for many, many years on some of the most important fights in the sport. But what was even more impressive was his total commitment to his family, who were always right by his side during fight week or wherever his business required him to be. Our prayers and thoughts are with his wife, Debbie, and the entire Goossen family.”
And, the people out Showtime weighed in.
“All of us at Showtime are deeply saddened by the passing of Dan Goossen. This news has come as a shock to many of us who knew Dan personally, beyond our collaborative work on boxing events, for decades. We will remember Dan as a passionate advocate for the sport of boxing, a fun-loving colleague and friend,and, above all, a devoutly religious family man. Our deepest sympathies to the entire Goossen family. May he rest in peace.”
Early Monday afternoon, Andre Ward put out a statement:
“I was deeply saddened to learn the news of Dan Goossen’s passing early this morning. My thoughts and prayers have been with Dan and his family since I received the news of his illness last week. While Dan and I recently had our professional struggles, he was a great man, father and husband. He will be greatly missed by the boxing community. I will continue to keep the Goossen family in my prayers.”
Also, I do hate to do this, but this is the world we live in, the one that is, not the one I wish it could be. What happens to fighters under contract to Mr. Goossen’s company? A wise friend informed me that most contracts are between the fighter and the company. Unless, that is, there is a “key man” clause, a clause which identifies a person as being above and beyond in importance, a too-vital part of the company, one who is irreplaceable.
NOTE: Funeral services for Dan Goossen will be held on Tuesday, October 7, beginning at 6 p.m. PT, at St. Francis DeSales (13360 Valleyheart Dr., Sherman Oaks, Calif. 91423.) http://www.sfdsparish.com/contact-us/
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Dan’s memory to the charity he established to honor his late brother — The Greg Goossen ’64 Scholarship Fund at Notre Dame High School.
Checks can be made payable to NDHS Goossen Fund and mailed to NDHS, 13645 Riverside Dr., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. Contributions also can be made online by visiting www.ndhs.org. All gifts are tax deductible.
The Goossen Family will be notified of all contributions.