There Are Decent People in Boxing, Doing Decent Things

I know this story won’t draw a huge number of hits.

Tough tamales, I say.

Stories like this one, which spotlight people who are doing good things, aren’t written enough, not by me, and sure as hell not by a media obsessed with feeding the darker sides of all our human nature.

Melvina Lathan was named chair of the New York State Athletic Commission in 2008. It was a heady time. Optimism was in the air, amongst many of us, anyway, if not for the people for whom color blindness infects their reasoning, however much of it they may possess. A black man was elected to oversee the most powerful nation in the world, and that felt like a massive reparation, and a concession to progress, a reminder, of which there hasn’t been enough of in the last 30 or so years, that America can do great things, beyond thinking up ways to package sugar and fat into delectable fast food items, and engineer diabolically lucrative methods to exploit loopholes and make Wall Street richer than the sum total of some small nations’ GDP.

A woman being named to head up an athletic commission…good stuff.

Her tenure, as all of them are, was a mix of positive and negative. I’d argue that the positive far, far outweighed the negative, especially if you talk to some of those young fighters who she touched, with one of those hugs, or a heart to heart talk, or a string of encouraging words which lifted them up after back to back losses, or they admitted to a homelife featuring a paucity of love and attention.

We the media aren’t, of course, so prone to pick up on those stories. They don’t do as well in the hit department and also some feel funny about writing “positive” stories. It’s like we’re fated to skew negative, we fightwriters, because we often subscribe to the conventional wisdom theory, that our red light district of sports is a human cesspool where flesh merchants slither alongside wannabes and dreamers and square peggers who have been drawn to the only pro sport which would allow entry to the likes of them.

Further, sometimes people tell me to get over myself, stop being so self righteous, stop that earnest schtick, stop preaching. Eff them, eff that I say.

If we the media don’t get a bit better at accentuating positives then why don’t we just pull up stakes, call it a day, and concede to the darkside?

Hey, I wonder if maybe Lathan sometimes feels like conceding…throwing in the towel…hanging up the gloves, stepping down. You guys know what happened last November, how a boxer, a brave warrior fought his heart out, and almost gave his life for what he was born to do. You know that in such situations, we play the blame game. We ask, we want answers: who screwed up? We need a head to roll…That’s the way the game is played when fate takes a turn into a deep ditch. Should it be? No.

I was at MSG that night, I saw the warrior who is today back at home, getting better, to the utter joy of his wife and kids, throwing hard punches to the final bell. And after that fight, could things have gone more smoothly, and could maybe Mago have been better served? Sure. By any number of people. They know who they are. No one person deserves an excess of scorn or judgement in such a system, not when we are all operating within the imperfect system that is boxing, and life.

I don’t find it fair when one act defines a person.

Now, maybe she doesn’t really want me to write this, but I think it is important to get this out there. Lathan has been married for 44 years. She experienced the ups and downs that we all do, doing that marriage thing, doing the life thing, but if you know her, you hear her talk about her four kids, her 13 grand-children, and you know that this is a person who seems to understand priorities, what the big picture should be.

She’s been tested; her younger brother had a stroke, which left her asking why, if indeed everything happens for a reason. Two years later, her husband, a physician, also suffered a stroke. This is the kind of stuff that can and will happen to you if you are graced with enough decades on earth. But we’re not inclined to advertise our woes, are we, we’re encouraged to soldier on. So, while those issues linger in our mind while we get through that work day, because that mortgage still got to be paid, most folks we deal with don’t know when our souls are being particularly challenged. And most folks don’t know when a good person is doing things that aren’t earning themselves a boatload of money or acclaim. When a Lathan is helping put together a fund-raising golf outing for the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing, which unfolds Oct. 13 at the Galloway National Golf Club, in Galloway, New Jersey, you’re not as likely to hear about it as when the blame game is being indulged in….

Let’s put aside the blame game, and note that four kids were given scholarship dough last year out of funds raised at the AAIB outing and gala dinner. And while we’re shifting out of the gears of the familiar, the sensational, the blameworthy, the superficial, let’s consider a fuller picture on Lathan, who two weeks ago was visiting  about 30 kids at the Willis Ave. Gym in the South Bronx, giving out goodie bags, with fresh fruit and water and the like, from out of her own pocket. She talked to the kids about healthy nutrition, about staying in school, about being decent souls, about stuff that so many of us take for granted, and can’t conceive of anyone needing pointers on, because we come from a place of plenty. And did you hear about her presence at the WBC’s first Women’s Convention in Mexico last week, and how she was rallying people together, trying to help advance the cause and presence of women in the sport, encouraging the voiceless to use those lungs, announce their worth in the world? You didn’t hear about that stuff? Shame on me, for not shouting it louder….

Yeah, decent people in boxing. Doing good things. Spreading positive messages. it happens. A lot.

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COMMENTS

-deepwater2 :

The Mago incident was boxing at its worst. The ambulance and EMTs are there for a reason. After a war like that, the boxer should not have had to catch a cab to the emergency room. Seconds count in a serious situation like that.Being the captain of the ship means the buck stops with you. Whether a man or a woman or anything in between is the head of the commission, that person is held responsible. She seems like a nice person but hopefully she will be treated like a man and have to resign. She can still do wonderful charity work and people that have worked with her can know that she usually does a good job .I have heard that she has let a few mistakes happen. Don't be too hard on this article, it should get a lot of discussion. I have another Commissioner in mind to take her place.He might be close by.


-brownsugar :

Great writing ... We could use more of these positive stories. There is always enough sleaze in boxing to go round.


-Radam G :

The good and the bad, and the sleaze and spectacular come with the territory. He or she who cannot see it suffer from inattentional blindness. And maybe is full of some other stuff. Holla!


-The Commish :

I was sitting in my office at the NYSAC, going over the licensing for that week's fight card at Madison Square Garden, when my secretary, Michele, buzzed my office. "Commissioner, Dr. Lathan would like to see you. Do you have a moment?" she asked. "Of course," I said. "Send 'Doc' in." (I always called Dr. Lathan "Doc.") Dr. Lathan is Bill Lathan, who had been one of my top panel physicians at the commission during my years in office. I stood up to greet him as Michele showed him into my oversized office. We shook hands. We hugged. "Doc, to what do I owe this pleasure?" I asked him. "Commissioner, I have a request to make of you" said the always soft-spoken Dr. Lathan. "Sure, Doc, what's on your mind?" I asked. "My wife, Melvina, would like to become a boxing judge," he said. "What do you think? Can you try her out? She goes to a lot of the fights and sits there and scores them, then compares her scores with the scores of the judges. I must say, she knows what she's watching." As it turned out, I was looking to take on a few more new judges. Why not Doc's wife? "Have her show up at the Garden this Friday," I told him. "There are eight fights on the card. She can sit behind me and score all of the fights round by round and I will compare her cards to the judges who are working that night. I'll have her do that for perhaps a dozen cards, assess her scores and make a decision." "Sounds good to me," said Doc. "Melvina will be thrilled. Thank you so much for giving her this opportunity." "It's my pleasure, Doc," I said. "I'm looking for new judges. "Maybe she'll turn into that diamond I'm looking for." Little did I know just how much of a gem Mrs. Lathan would be. Doc introduced me to his wife, and my first thought was how strikingly beautiful, professional and athletic she looked, as if she were going on a job interview. I then smiled to myself, thinking, "She IS on a job interview." I sat her behind me and next to my wife, Roni. I introduced the two of them, then handed Melvina a pack of scorecards, with the instructions, "After every round of every fight, fill out the scorecard for that round, then place it on the table on my right. I have a separate master sheet I'll keep your scores on." I went over the "10-point Must System" with her, telling her about knockdowns and my feelings that a fighter who gets dropped, but still has a terrific round doesn't necessarilty lose that round 10-8. Perhaps he only should lose it by a 10-9 score. "You watch the fight and tell me every round by your score what happened," I said. "Close round are 10-9. Anything wider is up to you. Show me by your scores you understand what's going on." Then I said, "Concentrate on the fights. Keep your thoughts inside that ring and give me your best shot. I know you will do just fine." I wished her luck just as my walkie-talkie crackled with the voice of my Chief Inspector, Bob Duffy, "We're sending the first bout out, Commissioner." "Copy," I said. Melvina Lathan's boxing career was about to start. Throughout the course of the first fight. Roni chatted away, saying things like, "I love your shoes, Melvina" and "Where did you get those shoes, Melvina?". There was never a response from Mrs. Lathan. Finally, after hearing Roni ask "Who is the manufacturer of those shoes?", I turned around. "Roni, Shhhhh!" I said in a low voice, putting an index finger to my lips. "Stop talking to Melvina. She's being tested. She cannot answer you!" "Oops!" went my wife, turning red with embarrassment. "Sorry." To this day, one of the first things Roni does when she sees her friend Melvina Lathan, is comment, "I love your shoes, Mel. They're gorgeous." The two have a good laugh. Right from that first test session with me at Madison Square Garden, I knew Melvina Lathan was going to be an outstanding judge. Not long after receiving her license, I made her part of the first female trio to ever judge a boxing match. The other two were Eva Shain and Carol Castellano. They were good judges. Lathan was far better. In fact, she became, not only one of the best in New York State, but one of the best in the world. She began judging title fights, and did dozens of high-profile fights and had more lined up when then-New York Gov. David Paterson called her in 2008 asking if she would accept his nomination to become Chairperson of the New York State Athletic Commission. As with everything else she does, Melvina accepted the Governor's request gracefully. Since that time, that's how she's handled her position. You can also throw in words like "dignity," "professionalism" and "class." Right after her appointment by Gov. Paterson, I spoke privately with Commissioner Lathan. "Enjoy every moment of your time in office, Mel," I told her, "and know that you've got a great staff there to support you. Ralphie will be a great right hand man to you (Ralph Petrillo, her Director of Boxing)." Then I hit her with the hard stuff. "Enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts. Hopefully it will be a long one. But be prepared that this is politics, and the job is really nothing more than a political football. These things never end pretty or the way we would like them to end. Politics may come in and send you reeling. One day you are on top, the next day you're out." She heard me, though I am not sure she paid attention. The cameras were constantly in her face, as well as the microphones. Fighters--prospects, suspects, contenders and champions--all wanted to be photographed with her. Writers quoted her up and down. She ruled the world of boxing in New York so majestically and gracefully. But there were problems. The situation of Antonio Margarito's surgically-repaired eye aged her years in a single week. A stroke soon after suffered by her beloved husband sent her into an understandable tailspin. Then came the apparent mishandling of heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov late in 2013 at Madison Square Garden, after which Abdusalamov needed emergency brain surgery, went into cardiac arrest, was put in a medically-induced and transferred to a rehab center in Westchester, New York. The heavyweight is now home in Russia with his family, who are coping with what will probably be a lifetime of care for the former heavyweight contender. Then, in early 2014, there went out notice that the Department of State in New York, which oversees the office of the New York State Athletic Commission, decided to add a fulltime position of Executive Director to the commission roster. Ralph Petrillo was sent packing with little notice. All he ever did was a great job. The Chairman/Chairperson's role as the individual in complete charge of the commission would end. The Chairperson would now be little more than a figurehead with a one-third vote (along with the two other per diem commissioners) on commission-related matters. It's sad to see this once-majestic businessperson, who is an accomplished artist, representative of the New York State Athletic Commission and overall intellectual get told what to do at ringside. For now, she remains as the Chairperson. Most insiders seem to think her time is numbered. They seem to think those numbers are not very large. Commissioner Lathan loves her job, and it's that love which keeps her from resigning. She uses her position to talk to fighters who come through her office. She does tons of charity work, which is not a job requirement, but something she requires of herself, and she does it out of view of the cameras. I don't know how much longer Melvina Lathan will remain as Chairperson of the New York State Athletic Commission. What I do know is that New York State is lucky to have had her for as long as they have. She is a class act in a sport which can always use a dose of her class and she brings a large measure of honor to the world of politics, which, so often, can make boxing look like the cleanest place on Earth. Hopefully, Commissioner Lathan stays right where she is. The New York State Athletic Commission needs her. Boxing needs her. She is much more than an attractive face who dresses sharp and wears nice shoes! -Randy G.


-Radam G :

@ Commish! Nice scribing! That copy was a killa, a thrilla, a chilla and a passion and emotional spilla. But it was about da haps of New York, not Manila. You hooked up da game with a good judge. And, oh, YUP! She was straight-up water-eyeing FINE! People -- young cats -- used to wonder if she was a former ring girl. "NAAA-NAAA-DA-NA-NA; she is just fine -- one FINE momma-jamma," I would holla! Holla!


-The Commish :

@ Commish! Nice scribing! That copy was a killa, a thrilla, a chilla and a passion and emotional spilla. But it was about da haps of New York, not Manila. You hooked up da game with a good judge. And, oh, YUP! She was straight-up water-eyeing FINE! People -- young cats -- used to wonder if she was a former ring girl. "NAAA-NAAA-DA-NA-NA; she is just fine -- one FINE momma-jamma," I would holla! Holla!
Are you getting like Teddy Atlas and breaking into song, Radam? -Randy G.


-Radam G :

Are you getting like Teddy Atlas and breaking into song, Radam? -Randy G.
Hehehe! Teddy and I are boys, so I guess it is contagious. Holla!


-Editor Mike :

Randy, great, great stuff. Heart, wisdom, empathy, etc. Thx


-OneTonMan :

The writer is saying he's one of those decent people.:confused:


-brownsugar :

I was sitting in my office at the NYSAC, going over the licensing for that week's fight card at Madison Square Garden, when my secretary, Michele, buzzed my office. "Commissioner, Dr. Lathan would like to wee you. Do you have a moment?" she asked. "Of course," I said. "Send 'Doc' in." (I always called Dr. Lathan "Doc.") Dr. Lathan is Bill Lathan, who had been one of my top panel physicians at the commission during my years in office. I stood up to greet him as Michele showed him into my oversized office. We shook hands. We hugged. "Doc, to what do I owe this pleasure?" I asked him. "Commissioner, I have a request to make of you" said the always soft-spoken Dr. Lathan. "Sure, Doc, what's on your mind?" I asked. "My wife, Melvina, would like to become a boxing judge," he said. "What do you think? Can you try her out? She goes to a lot of the fights and sits there and scores them, then compares her scores with the scores of the judges. I must say, she knows what she's watching." As it turned out, I was looking to take on a few more new judges. Why not Doc's wife? "Have her show up at the Garden this Friday," I told him. "There are eight fights on the card. She can sit behind me and score all of the fights round by round and I will compare her cards to the judges who are working that night. I'll have her do that for perhaps a dozen cards, assess her scores and make a decision." "Sounds good to me," said Doc. "Melvina will be thrilled. Thank you so much for giving her this opportunity." "It's my pleasure, Doc," I said. "I'm looking for new judges. "Maybe she'll turn into that diamond I'm looking for." Little did I know just how much of a gem Mrs. Lathan would be. Doc introduced me to his wife, and my first thought was how strikingly beautiful, professional and athletic she looked, as if she were going on a job interview. I then smiled to myself, thinking, "She IS on a job interview." I sat her behind me and next to my wife, Roni. I introduced the two of them, then handed Melvina a pack of scorecards, with the instructions, "After every round of every fight, fill out the scorecard for that round, then place it on the table on my right. I have a separate master sheet I'll keep your scores on." I went over the "10-point Must System" with her, telling her about knockdowns and my feelings that a fighter who gets dropped, but still has a terrific round doesn't necessarilty lose that round 10-8. Perhaps he only should lose it by a 10-9 score. "You watch the fight and tell me every round by your score what happened," I said. "Close round are 10-9. Anything wider is up to you. Show me by your scores you understand what's going on." Then I said, "Concentrate on the fights. Keep your thoughts inside that ring and give me your best shot. I know you will do just fine." I wished her luck just as my walkie-talkie crackled with the voice of my Chief Inspector, Bob Duffy, "We're sending the first bout out, Commissioner." "Copy," I said. Melvina Lathan's boxing career was about to start. Throughout the course of the first fight. Roni chatted away, saying things like, "I love your shoes, Melvina" and "Where did you get those shoes, Melvina?". There was never a response from Mrs. Lathan. Finally, after hearing Roni ask "Who is the manufacturer of those shoes?", I turned around. "Roni, Shhhhh!" I said in a low voice, putting an index finger to my lips. "Stop talking to Melvina. She's being tested. She cannot answer you!" "Oops!" went my wife, turning red with embarrassment. "Sorry." To this day, one of the first things Roni does when she sees her friend Melvina Lathan, is comment, "I love your shoes, Mel. They're gorgeous." The two have a good laugh. Right from that first test session with me at Madison Square Garden, I knew Melvina Lathan was going to be an outstanding judge. Not long after receiving her license, I made her part of the first female trio to ever judge a boxing match. The other two were Eva Shain and Carol Castellano. They were good judges. Lathan was far better. In fact, she became, not only one of the best in New York State, but one of the best in the world. She began judging title fights, and did dozens of high-profile fights and had more lined up when then-New York Gov. David Paterson called her in 2008 asking if she would accept his nomination to become Chairperson of the New York State Athletic Commission. As with everything else she does, Melvina accepted the Governor's request gracefully. Since that time, that's how she's handled her position. You can also throw in words like "dignity," "professionalism" and "class." Right after her appointment by Gov. Paterson, I spoke privately with Commissioner Lathan. "Enjoy every moment of your time in office, Mel," I told her, "and know that you've got a great staff there to support you. Ralphie will be a great right hand man to you (Ralph Petrillo, her Director of Boxing)." Then I hit her with the hard stuff. "Enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts. Hopefully it will be a long one. But be prepared that this is politics, and the job is really nothing more than a political football. These things never end pretty or the way we would like them to end. Politics may come in and send you reeling. One day you are on top, the next day you're out." She heard me, though I am not sure she paid attention. The cameras were constantly in her face, as well as the microphones. Fighters--prospects, suspects, contenders and champions--all wanted to be photographed with her. Writers quoted her up and down. She ruled the world of boxing in New York so majestically and gracefully. But there were problems. The situation of Antonio Margarito's surgically-repaired eye aged her years in a single week. A stroke soon after suffered by her beloved husband sent her into an understandable tailspin. Then came the apparent mishandling of heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov late in 2013 at Madison Square Garden, after which Abdusalamov needed emergency brain surgery, went into cardiac arrest, was put in a medically-induced and transferred to a rehab center in Westchester, New York. The heavyweight is now home in Russia with his family, who are coping with what will probably be a lifetime of care for the former heavyweight contender. Then, in early 2014, there went out notice that the Department of State in New York, which oversees the office of the New York State Athletic Commission, decided to add a fulltime position of Executive Director to the commission roster. Ralph Petrillo was sent packing with little notice. All he ever did was a great job. The Chairman/Chairperson's role as the individual in complete charge of the commission would end. The Chairperson would now be little more than a figurehead with a one-third vote (along with the two other per diem commissioners) on commission-related matters. It's sad to see this once-majestic businessperson, who is an accomplished artist, representative of the New York State Athletic Commission and overall intellectual get told what to do at ringside. For now, she remains as the Chairperson. Most insiders seem to think her time is numbered. They seem to think those numbers are not very large. Commissioner Lathan loves her job, and it's that love which keeps her from resigning. She uses her position to talk to fighters who come through her office. She does tons of charity work, which is not a job requirement, but something she requires of herself, and she does it out of view of the cameras. I don't know how much longer Melvina Lathan will remain as Chairperson of the New York State Athletic Commission. What I do know is that New York State is lucky to have had her for as long as they have. She is a class act in a sport which can always use a dose of her class and she brings a large measure of honor to the world of politics, which, so often, can make boxing look like the cleanest place on Earth. Hopefully, Commissioner Lathan stays right where she is. The New York State Athletic Commission needs her. Boxing needs her. She is much more than an attractive face who dresses sharp and wears nice shoes! -Randy G.
I've always wondered silently whenever I hear the names of the judges being announced ..." Where do these people come from?" Although I'm sure there are many avenues into the judges position, I've never seen a solicitation for the spot in the "Want Ads". .....thanks for the transparent look into the hiring process. It looks like you've chosen well, its regrettable that her position was modified in the way it was. My employer was bought by a larger company and I've had to watch hundreds of employees get let go during the transition. I was fortunate enough to move to a department with extreme high demand. So I can relate to her plight in some small degree. At least Mrs Latham can take solace in the fact that she was a pioneer of sorts. I remember many many years ago I thought judges, referees and cutmen all went to the same College of Professional boxing to learn their trade ....great story.


-punchy1 :

Mr Woods, Mr Woods, Mr Woods; I respect your writing and your position. However, Domino Sugar called and they want their entire inventory back after you used it all to coat this article. You talk about a Mrs Lathan that those of use in the game know all too well, and what we know and have experienced, first hand is the direct opposite of what you espouse here. Let's start with any logical rebuttal or retort, at the beginning. Your article title states that there are "Decent People in Boxing, Doing Decent Things". You go on to detail that Melvina Lathan is a woman, and also the first woman to head the NYSAC. I suppose that is factual, but fail to see how she either did anything "decent" by happening to be a woman, or to come by that position. More on this later. You also mention that incident with Magomed Abdusalamov , where he was beaten, pillar to post from the opening bell to the last, in a heavyweight fight, under the auspices of the NYSAC at MSG. 'Magoo" as he was also known, suffered in the ring that night, the referee, the ringside physician(s), his corner, all unwilling to stop the systematic dismantling and abuse he was taking, particularly to his head, which showed troubling injury as early as the respite between rounds 1 and 2. To spread the blame out like a New Yorker would 'schmeer' cream cheese on a bagel is a not totally unacceptable response. However, the fact that after the fight Magoo failed his post fight mental acuity test (the ringside physicians usually ask questions such as 'Where are you?", "Recite the numbers 5321, backwards", etc) and from all reports began weeping as he was being tended to for a gash on his head, and he was not immediately administered oxygen and transported via ambulance to a trauma center is troubling. Further, that he was then vomiting outside of the venue after this, (a tell tale sign of a concussion or other brain injury) and then told to 'take a cab' to a hospital is criminally negligent. The New York State Athletic Commission has a rule, whereas there must be one Ambulance and medical team at all events. I have been at events where the opening bell was delayed because the ambulance and EMTs did not show up on time. The very reason they are present is for just such incidents that befell Magomed Abdusalamov that night. Mr. Magomed Abdusalamov was in a medically induced coma, not breathing on his own for months. When he awoke, he was able at first to just move his eyes and one finger. His improvements were slow and not always steady. Currently, it is reported that he can recognize relatives and even speak short sentences in a low voice at times. For you to whitewash this and his condition by such a glib statement that he is "back at home getting better to the utter joy of his wife and kids" is horrible. The man has a traumatic and permanent brain injury. To insinuate that he will soon be walking and talking is very misleading. Just the cost alone of his medical bills are insurmountable, with several organizations, notably the boxing organization known as "Ring 10" having donated money to his family. As they say "The buck stops here" and if not Melvina's commission, then who is responsible for the systematic failure of various safety nets and safeguards put into place to prevent or less the damage done in the harshest game? From the failure, yes, failure of the referee to stop that fight, to the subsequent failure of the ringside doctors to stop the fight during the rounds, to the later failure of the attending post fight physical and exam given by another physician, and the ultimate failure of not using an ambulance and medical team to give attention to this man. That night there were at least four failures on part of NYSAC to get this man some help, and each time, nothing was done. Each failure had a cascade effect and built upon the pervious failure, the damage mounting with each shrugging of responsibility. The aforementioned Ring 10 had a fundraiser for Magoo, and at that fundraiser, one of the Ring 10 Execs sold a pair of autographed handwrappings he had been given by a famous boxer whose corner he has worked as an inspector for NYSAC. The handwrappings fetched a price, and all of that money was given to Magoo's family. Before you point to this and applaud Lathan, know now that upon hearing of this, the inspector and Ring 10 member in question was disciplined and relieved of his duty as a NYSAC Inspector by Melvina for this. Not exactly "decent", huh ? Scholorships for young men and women. There is a cause I can get behind. As far as the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing (AAIB) goes, Mr. Steve Acunto, the head and founder of that organization, deserves the laurels, (or at least an honorable mention) for the charitable works and scholarship fund. Attributing what Steve Acunto has spent his life's work on to her is erroneous and unfair to say the least. Giving out healthy snacks and whatnot and glad handling and shaking hands is akin to giving free turkeys away at Thanksgiving in the economically disadvantaged areas- a total political move practiced since Tammney Hall days. So, I ask, what great strides has she made. What great things has she done? It is an open secret that her right hand, her then Director of Boxing was let go, as well as another member of her circle. It is also known that she retains her title in name only, and Mr. David Berlin is now the director of day to day operations in the NYSAC. David Berlin was boxing attorney who represented such boxers as Iran Barkley and Joey Gamache in the past. In his first few months, he began to 'right the ship'. Advertising and having the fighters come in and be guided through signing up for free health insurance. An unprecedented and noble feat. Having the inspectors trained better, and actually adhering to checking on such things as proper handwrapping length and rules. Instituting new blood tests which test for the boxer's platelet count, which can signal a fighter's propensity to excessive bleeding, or proclivity to brain bleeds from punches. Coming out with a codified set of rules on such issues of gloves, and when a fighter can attempt to bring his own gloves to a fight, and the policies thereof. Melvina was best known by her cohorts to be a terror in the office for all the wrong reasons. Her famous catch phrases to boxers, promoters, and managers raising concerns was "don't go there", which stopped many "need to have" conversations from even starting. Constantly seeking the photo-op, she has appeared in more weigh-in pictures on social media than a scale. Mr. Berlin, by comparison, seems camera shy, letting his work do the talking. As far as you, Mr. Ex-Commissioner Randy Gordon, I don't understand how such a competent and learned person such as yourself would speak up for a person who, by all accounts, treated the fighters and those under her like dirt. Ask the man she stabbed in the back, the wonderful commissioner Ron Scott Stevens about Mrs. Lathan. I bet he has either nothing nice to say or 'clams up.". Ask some of the people who suffered though her reign of terror. Ask the boxer Bryant Pappas, whose petition to fire her over her alleged lies and misdeeds concerning tainted gloves and a cover up got over 500 signatures . Ask the referees , the inspectors, some of the Doctors, some of which were targets for her and her small cadre of henchmen. Under her we saw some of the worst boxing decisions, as well as really bad referee performances in recent years. Need I go into detail of the antics suffered from Yuri Foreman vs. Miguel Cotto ? Mr. Woods, I respect your writing and respect your passion for the sport, but I can not figure out why such an erroneous fluff piece, and the timing of it seems suspect to me. As is known in certain circles, she is "barely hanging on". I would say to interview some of these who served under her, those who can not be retaliated against on the condition of anonymity !


-Radam G :

Punchy, you are not just being quite truculent, you are being very ratchet. On the good and best, there will always be somebody hating with a dinosaur bone to grind. How petty is it to say that she is at more weight-ins than the scales? I believe it is the prerogative of a commission. Holla!


-deepwater2 :

Hey if you know about the Pappas incident then you know more then most. When I mentioned other mistakes in my post I was thinking of that one. Pappas may never fight again and I think this incident got Ralph P out the door.


-The Commish :

Hey if you know about the Pappas incident then you know more then most. When I mentioned other mistakes in my post I was thinking of that one. Pappas may never fight again and I think this incident got Ralph P out the door.
While I do not have all the facts on the Bryant Pappas incident, I believe there was a total coverup here. That's I BELIEVE there was a coverup, nothing more. As for the Magomed Abdusalamov case, the Inspector General's Office in New York has done a thorough investigation and is close to making a decision. There were apparently far too many mistakes made that night. I know, as someone who once held Mrs. Lathan's position, what I did at ringside. After EVERY fight, I visited the fighters in their dressing rooms. Oh, I may have missed a dressing room here and there, but when there was a particulasrly brutal two-sided fight, I would head right to each fighters's dressing room. On several occasions, it was ME who made the decision to send the fighter to the hospital for observation, not the doctor. I was hands on all the way. But that's me. I can't say what I would have done had I been on the scene the afternoon of the Perez-Abdusalamov fight. I do know there was one night, during a fight at MSG, where there was no ambulance on hand at the start of the fight. I refused to let the card start. MSG's President of Boxing, Bobby Goodman, begged me to allow the opening bout to get underway. "Neither guy is a puncher," he said. "Nothing will happen. They'll move and move." I shook my head. It was not ME or the NYSAC who forgot to call the ambulance. It was the MSG Boxing Department. It was their show and THEY forgot. New York State law requires an ambulance at ringside. That's state LAW. Not a rule, but a LAW. Rules can be bent, even broken (the disallowing of a thrown towel from the corner to stop a fight is a rule which can be and has been bent and broken). The starting of a card with an ambulance present is a LAW. It CANNOT be bent. It cannot be broken. I told MSG "The card doesn't start until an ambulance is here. Bobby Goodman became heated. Thousands of fans were in the Garden's Felt Forum and it was minutes from fight time. He tried pressuring me by saying he was sending the fighters out. I told him "Go ahead. Send them out. There will be no referee in the ring, no judges at ringside, no timekeeper and no commission personnel." He got my message. He then got the President of the MSG Network involved, who told me they had to begin the live MSG telecast at 8:00pm. I told him to put on a re-run of an old MSG fight, that this card wasn't starting without an ambulance. They got the picture. What I'm saying is that each commissioner handles business differently. I know what I would have done the day of the tragic Perez-Abdusalamov fight. I DON'T know every step Commissioner Lathan took that day. Perhaps the New York State Inspector General's office does know. I understand their findings are forthcoming. When that will be is anybody's guess. Their findings have been a closely-guarded secret. My guess--and this is ONLY a guess--is that Commissioner/Chairperson Lathan will be removed from her post. You know the saying: "The buck stops here." In this case, "Here" is the top. The Commissioner/Chairperson. She hangs onto her position precariously, like a gymnast on the uneven bars. One moment she is performing beautifully...magnificently...the other she has lost her grasp and tumbling to the mat. Her event is over. Punchy1, you obviously have a handle on the inner workings of the NYSAC and are a member of Ring 10. I'd love to know who yopu are behind the Punchy1 screen name, but it really doesn't matter. I responded to Michael Woods' post because I like Melvina Lathan and her husband Doc as individuals. My wife and I have been to dinner over their house in Westchester. I didn't write my post in response to Mr. Woods' article to bash her and pick on things she perhaps erred on. I know of the many good things she does which go unmentioned and unknown. As I mentioned in my article, I told Commissioner Lathan to "enjoy the job for as long as it lasts." But I also told her, "One day you're on top, the next day you're gone." Right now, she's that gymnast who has lost her grip. Will she be able to hang on? Or will she come spinning, tumbling, crashing to the floor. Only the Office of the New York State Inspector General knows, as well as the higher-up in New York's Department of State. -Randy G.


-Kid Blast :

Good stuff, but David Berlin has righted absolutely nothing. If anything, things have been worse. The GGG-Geale fight was a comedy of errors where Geale tipped over the camera of some clueless photographer. Also, the timekeeper came in with a 4-minute round in the first round., This was on the same card in which referee Harvey Dock took away a point in the last round enabling Bryant Jennings to beat Mike Perez. As HBO?s Harold Lederman said, this was an ?atrocious? call. A referee inserting himself into the outcome of a close and important fight in the last round is something that simply should not be done, especially if the so-called foul is a questionable one. That one came up smelling less than roses.Dock also failed to warn Ruslan Provodnikov after he blatantly hit Chris Algieri while Chris was down after the second knockdown there IS PLENTY MORE.


-Kid Blast :

Punchy, you are not just being quite truculent, you are being very ratchet. On the good and best, there will always be somebody hating with a dinosaur bone to grind. How petty is it to say that she is at more weight-ins than the scales? I believe it is the prerogative of a commission. Holla!

Whoa brother. If we disagree, are we being truculent? As long as the disagreement is not abusive or personal, it should be welcomed. Otherwise, this site will be come a sugar cane field. Debates are fun and can be learning experiences.


-Radam G :


Whoa brother. If we disagree, are we being truculent? As long as the disagreement is not abusive or personal, it should be welcomed. Otherwise, this site will be come a sugar cane field. Debates are fun and can be learning experiences.
I'm being facetious. "You are being quite truculent," is classic teasing of the late, great Howard Cosell to GOAT Ali. "Well! If trucuent is good -- that is what I'm being," the GOAT Ali told HC. C'mon, MAN! Don't get hypersensitive if you don't know the hook or if you don't dig it. Censorship when you are puzzled would be "abusive" and "personal." Holla!


-the Roast :

Truculent and ratchet in the same post? Now you are rubbing me the right way RG!


-The Commish :

Punchy, you are not just being quite truculent, you are being very ratchet. On the good and best, there will always be somebody hating with a dinosaur bone to grind. How petty is it to say that she is at more weight-ins than the scales? I believe it is the prerogative of a commission. Holla!
Radam, you have a tremendous and enormous capacity for interpreting insight, but tend to perniciously oversimplify with your caustic, biting, verbal invectives. Thanks to Howard Cosell. -Randy G.


-Radam G :

Truculent and ratchet in the same post? Now you are rubbing me the right way RG!
Hehehe! Holla at the XX chromosome types. No rubbing the right or wrong way for the XY chromosome types from RG. But the dudettes tell me that I have some magic hands. I must have magic moolah too. Because between them, the bill collectors and the governments of three countries, that money is funny, but I gotta to have the honey. Hahaha! Holla!


-Radam G :

Radam, you have a tremendous and enormous capacity for interpreting insight, but tend to perniciously oversimplify with your caustic, biting, verbal invectives. Thanks to Howard Cosell. -Randy G.
Dang! Hehehe! Very, very Cosell-ish. My old Goduncle Howee would be mad proud of your retort. Holla!


-Kid Blast :


Despite all the back and forth on "truculent" which has become stale, the fact remains that David Berlin has yet to do anything remarkable. My read on him, based on how the referees are being appointed, is that he is ultra political and will not rock the boat. How sad if that's true, because there is so much good he could do.


-The Commish :


Whoa brother. If we disagree, are we being truculent? As long as the disagreement is not abusive or personal, it should be welcomed. Otherwise, this site will be come a sugar cane field. Debates are fun and can be learning experiences.
Around here, everyone speaks their mind freely and openly with fear of being viciously ridiculed and verbally lambasted. As David Berlin has been the Ex. Dir. of the NYSAC since mid-May, I'd cut him some slack. He is a brilliant attorney and a guy who has done plenty of work in boxing. I know. Brilliant attorneys don't always make outstanding Boxing Commissioners, and some real oustanding Executive Directors and Commissioners have not been brilliant attorneys. Marc Ratner was not an attorney, yet he was a super Executive Director in Nevada. Larry Hazzard was not an attorney, yet he was and again is a phenomenal Commissioner in New Jersey. Mel Southard was a brilliant attorney who was a horrible Boxing Commissioner in New York around 12 years ago. I say give Berlin a chance. He is not off to a good start with his officials, however. His use of out-of-state officials in really beginning to irk the masses. I have heard, via texts, e-mails and private Facebook messages, from no less than 10 of his licensed officials, how unhappy they are that he continually reaches to outside jurisdictions to give assignments to officials. Canadian referee Michael Griffin has already gotten at least two plum assignments, while other New Yorkers were forced to stahnd on the sidelines and watch. "I guess David (Berlin) thinks we are not good enough," said one official. "Berlin has a lot of world-class officials in New York, and he constantly gives work to guys like Canada's Griffin," said another. "It's really not fair." It's a shame, because New York DOES have a slew of top-notch officials who should be given assignments. Aside from that, let Berlin settle in for a short while longer before making your assessment of him as Executive Director. As for Commissioner Lathan, I told her "Enjoy the job for as long as it lasts." I also told her, "These things never end pretty or the way you would like them to." Well, I was right. Call it experience. Been there, done that. She apparently is living on borrowed time, waiting for the axe to fall. When it will is known only to a few. Commissioner Lathan is not one of the few. I pride myself on being loyal. I was loyal to then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo even AFTER his ship went down in 1994. He saw that. When I'm your friend, I'm your friend until you give me a sign or tell me to get lost. Commissioner Lathan is my friend whether she is Commissioner or, like me and Ron Scott Stevens, an ex-Commissioner. But for Kid Blast and punchy1, keep up the posting. Your insight and expertise (you're both obviously very imbedded and knowledgeable in the boxing biz) is more than welcome here. -Randy G.


-Kid Blast :

I'm not going after Lathan and have said nothing about her. God knows she has suffered enough But what Makes a "brilliant attorney?" That means zilch to me. I want to see somebody get in there who really cares about the boxers. I want to see someone get in there and come up with a rule that says, for example, a fighter who has been head butted will get up to 5 minutes to recover. That's the kind of thing I want. That is my last comment about Berlin. Thank you for letting me expound. Back tomorrow. Time to write some articles.


-The Commish :

I'm not going after Lathan and have said nothing about her. God knows she has suffered enough But what Makes a "brilliant attorney?" That means zilch to me. I want to see somebody get in there who really cares about the boxers. I want to see someone get in there and come up with a rule that says, for example, a fighter who has been head butted will get up to 5 minutes to recover. That's the kind of thing I want. That is my last comment about Berlin. Thank you for letting me expound. Back tomorrow. Time to write some articles.
I totally agree with you about somebody getting in there who cares about the boxers. That's what the commission needs more than anything. Is Berlin that person? I don't know. Let's see if Berlin suggests to his panel of three commissioners (they vote on rules and regulations changes, not Berlin) a list of changes which will strengthen the sport in New York State. Those commissioners are John Signorile, Edwin Torres and Melvina Lathan, the Chairperson. A brilliant attorney? Hmm. I suppose they're all brilliant to a point. Hey, they passed their LSAT's and the bar and all that stuff. They learned to read and write in run-on sentences. I wouldn't have made it through a day in law school. Berlin has a reputation as a hard-nosed attorney who has had far more success for his clients than not. For the sake of boxing in New York, I hope he is the best Executive Director ever. Time will tell. -Randy G.


-Radam G :

Radam, you have a tremendous and enormous capacity for interpreting insight, but tend to perniciously oversimplify with your caustic, biting, verbal invectives. Thanks to Howard Cosell. -Randy G.
My classic love.
->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGWP-_VhrzE G-Uncle Howee was the greatest boksing talking head of all times. Holla!


-The Commish :

My classic love.
->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGWP-_VhrzE G-Uncle Howee was the greatest boksing talking head of all times. Holla!
How/Ahd didn't really know all that much about boxing, but he certainly made it exciting. Check out the knockdown slugfest between George Foreman and Ron Lyle on youtube with How/Ahd on the call. "THIS IS SLUGGING, THE WAY THE PUBLIC LIKES IT!" -Randy G.