Bravo, I say. Props to the athletes who will be rallying on Friday, coming together and making their voices and feelings heard at a gathering called “Black Out Boxing: A Rally For Justice,” in Las Vegas. Andre Berto, the ex champ and current contender from Florida, will head up the crew. Other elites signing on to speak up include Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter, Zab Judah, Jermall Charlo, Jarmell Charlo, Errol Spence and all-star trainer Virgil Hunter.
In this day and age, where hyper capitalism is the law of the land the world over, where we are encouraged to prize earning money over anything and everything, where success is too often defined by the zeros in your bank account and the square footage of your home, and where speaking up can get you shot down, kicked to the curb for a more amenable, less socially conscious person, I applaud these fighters standing up.
It’s always easier to go along, get along, keep mouth closed when there is a call to speak up with righteous indignation…and these guys aren’t going to play along like that.
We have all seen too many videos of people hired to “protect and to serve” regular citizens roughing them up, brutalizing them, and killing them…and so many of us say, “Enough.”
I don’t state or even imply that some situations don’t call for extreme counter-active measures…but fatal force should be used as a last resort, as opposed to an early option. We need to employ more words, and love, and fewer bullets and choke-holds. Casual violence is the choice for brutes and despots…let us be better at proving we are not a nation filled with those, or one that tolerates those types.
I chatted with Berto (29-3 with 22 Kos) on Wednesday afternoon, to get a better sense of why he’s heading up this mission. The 31-year-old Berto, who has been healing up from a torn tendon in his right shoulder, and expects to fight again in the end of January or in February, said he decided to do this after attending a Hollywood rally on Sunday.
“I wanted to do this during a big fight weekend to show that some things are bigger than our sport,” he said. “It’s not a black, white, or Hispanic thing…it’s about coming together as people. We’ve been seeing teens getting killed, innocent and unarmed sometimes. We have to stand up as people.”
Berto hopes to send a message, in peaceful fashion, that boxers, who engage in a combat sport, a violent sport, can be voices of reason in society.
“I want to prove that we can step away from what is a business, and work for a bigger cause.” And that means the platform providers, too, the HBO’s, the Showtimes, and all the beefing promoters, etc. I echo that, as I believe in trickle up economics, and the rising tide theory.
As for what he’d like to see come out of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner and Tamir Rice tragedies, Berto would like mandatory training, and re-training, in non-violent de-escalation techniques, to be introduced by any and all law enforcement agencies serving our communities.
But of course, he is plotting out his own next steps, and told me he’s open to talking about re-engagements with past foes, like Robert Guerrero (dec. loss in 2012), or Victor Ortiz (dec. loss in 2011)…but right now, and on Friday, his mind will be on larger issues, not his own personal arc.
Here is the release which went out trumpeting the session:
Andre Berto and Fellow Boxers to Come Together for Black Out Boxing: A Rally for Justice
Boxing Community to Gather at 4 p.m. on Friday in Las Vegas
(LAS VEGAS, NEV.) – Key figures in the sports and entertainment worlds have been speaking out on the incidents in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y., over the past two weeks and former two-time world champion Andre Berto (Winter Haven, Fla.) is ensuring that the boxing community makes their voices heard as well.
With two major boxing cards taking place this weekend on the Las Vegas strip, Berto saw the opportunity to bring everyone in the sport together for Black Out Boxing – A Rally for Justice on Friday following the two event weigh-ins.
“We want to show the world that the boxing community supports this cause and this is a great opportunity for all of us to come together and make our voices heard,” Berto said.
Several top athletes in the sport are scheduled to join Berto at the rally, including Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter, Zab Judah, Jermall Charlo, Jarmell Charlo, and Errol Spence as well as elite trainer Virgil Hunter.
The rally is open to the public and anyone who will be in the Las Vegas area is welcome to join this group of boxing champions at 4 p.m., on Friday at the Las Vegas sign south of Mandalay Bay. Everyone who is attending is encouraged to wear black.
What: Black Out Boxing – A Rally for Justice
When: Friday, December 12 at 4 p.m.
Where: Las Vegas sign, S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89119 (Just south of Mandalay Bay)
Who: Top boxers and figures in the boxing world, including: Andre Berto, Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter, Zab Judah, the Charlo Brothers, Errol Spence and trainer Virgil Hunter. Additional athletes and executives are expected to attend as well.