Boxing’s Catch-22: Can We Reform the Sport Without Destroying It?

“I’m on the highway to hell

On the highway to hell…
…And I’m goin’ down
All the way”
   —Highway to Hell by AC/DC

You come in on your own
and you leave on your own–
On Your Own by the Verve

“I was champion of the world and there are three things that go and that’s how a fighter knows that he’s all done. First, your legs go… The second thing is that your reflexes go, and the third thing is that your friends go, and you know you’re all done when there’s nobody hangin’ ‘round no more.”—Willie Pep

When the fighters get to the place sometimes known rhetorically as Palookaville, they quickly find out that there are no gold watches handed out here. Oh no, this is a dreadful place from which there rarely is a way out. The fighters don’t purchase the tickets; that’s done for them. In most cases the punishment absorbed in the ring accomplishes it, although sometimes the propensity might be inherent. Adrian Broner might be speeding down that road in a modern-day example of uncontrollable self-destructiveness, but thankfully this isn’t about Broner.

Picture: Perhaps the greatest of all-time Sugar Ray Robinson is seen hoisted on the shoulders of opponents Carmen Basilio and Gene Fullmer while Randy Turpin and “Bobo” Olson stand by. The picture above is from a December of 1965 ceremony honoring Robinson held at Madison Square Garden. On that night, Robinson was also given a trophy that turned out to be too heavy to put on any of the flimsy tables he had left. It was all gone.

Rocky Lockridge, a former champion, got there and remains homeless in Camden, NJ. Meldrick and Jermaine struggle. Leon Spinks seemed to have had the aforementioned innate propensity to get there. Without interdiction or intervention, others will get there just as sure as boxing is all about guilty pleasure. Larry Holmes and George Foreman are exceptions but for each exception, there are hundreds of ex-boxers who are struggling. For every De La Hoya, Froch and Mayweather, Jr., there are hundreds of Danny Williams’s and Bobby Chacon’s. Iran Barkley got there but thanks to many helping him to help himself, he got out and turned things around. Scores of others survive as best they can, sometimes getting help from the Retired Boxing Foundation or some of the Ring Associations.

The real tragedy is that the one sport that needs the tightest and sharpest regulations is the one with the poorest regulations. Money dictates exactly what goes on in boxing and like any other business endeavor; anything that can increase the gap between costs and revenue will be done including the neglect of the fighters. Medical insurance and pension plans narrow that gap. Thus, many fighters are booked for a one-way ticket without ever having access to counseling about viable options after they leave the fight game. Almost like meat, they are used up and then cast away to fend for themselves.

And for those who are damaged, the fate is far worse. Says neurologist Barry Jordan, M.D., director of the brain injury program at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, N.Y.: “The problem with chronic brain injury is that when boxers develop it, the horse is already out of the barn. If you could find preclinical markers [signs of injury before the onset of permanent symptoms], you could advise them to stop boxing.” Thus, the best that can be done is to help them after the fact but that’s where the oxymoronic behavior has already set in and welfare is nonexistent.

To paraphrase the late Jack Newfield, if this can happen to our best (Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Willie Pep, Ali)—whether it be Parkinson’s, early senility, dementia, or Alzheimer’s—what does it mean for the rest? What does it mean for the lower end of boxing?

The Catch-22

The need to establish and enforce standards and uniformity without destroying boxing has been discussed ad nauseam. Fact is, boxing needs a Roto-Rooter.  The state of boxing has become more complex and more difficult to cleanse than ever and therein may rest the problem.  Unlike football, baseball, and basketball, the uniqueness of boxing and its lack of any structure or union create an inherent confusion that impedes reform.

It’s a Catch 22 that favors the promoters, officials, and spineless political hacks that remain unmoved in their single-minded quest to make money and/or gain power from the sport without giving back to those who generated the money in the first place.  Nothing could be more incongruous or more unfair. However, boxer welfare has become a joke–an oxymoron.

Some have said that if the boxers themselves don’t do anything to take care of themselves, why should reformers care? However, as Cesar Chavez said, “You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.

Football players and their union –and even Rugby and Soccer players–are getting it.  Movies like Concussion spotlight the complex issue of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and the attendant class-action lawsuits from hundreds of former players regarding head trauma. Sooner or later, boxers are going to get it and when they do, the impact of the Catch-22 will begin to diminish. As Las Vegas Assemblyman Harvey Munford says:  “…Savvy lawyers one day will file lawsuits on behalf of boxers….”

 

 

Ted Sares is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several records. He enjoys writing about boxing.

 

 

Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-Radam G :

Wow! The savvy lawyers ain't going to be able to do ish or syet. The problems with these pugs becoming ding-a-ling dumb and ill in their elder years is a problem of nutrition and replacing what they burn off and up from gettin' jiggy wif it in this highly physical and mental sport of pugilism. One cannot just keep maximum activity up for years and years and not correctly -- or even mildly -- replace the soup, da houp [sic] and da moup [sic]and then think that his health is not going to stoop, and his money, crooks all around him ain't gonna to swoop. Believing that, you are full of poop. Look at the vitamin, mineral and essential amino acids taking of almost a 100-year-old Jake LaMotta. And holla at the just-about 80-year-old George Chavalo. Better than that, I would let you holla at my 116-year-old third-degree uncle Mamoy. But he will punch you out for being slow on da know. Oh, YUP! And in San Diego, Cali, USA, you can holla at 97-year-old Mr. Ackerson. And don't forget that world heavyweight champ German Max lived to be 99 years old and some change. The "Catch 22" in boxing is no different from the ignorance of the masses -- SAS and DKS. And letting trolls of life get the better part of them. Holla!


-Kid Blast :

Wow! The savvy lawyers ain't going to be able to do ish or syet. The problems with these pugs becoming ding-a-ling dumb and ill in their elder years is a problem of nutrition and replacing what they burn off and up from gettin' jiggy wif it in this highly physical and mental sport of pugilism. One cannot just keep maximum activity up for years and years and not correctly -- or even mildly -- replace the soup, da houp [sic] and da moup [sic]and then think that his health is not going to stoop, and his money, crooks all around him ain't gonna to swoop. Believing that, you are full of poop. Look at the vitamin, mineral and essential amino acids taking of almost a 100-year-old Jake LaMotta. And holla at the just-about 80-year-old George Chavalo. Better than that, I would let you holla at my 116-year-old third-degree uncle Mamoy. But he will punch you out for being slow on da know. Oh, YUP! And in San Diego, Cali, USA, you can holla at 97-year-old Mr. Ackerson. And don't forget that world heavyweight champ German Max lived to be 99 years old and some change. The "Catch 22" in boxing is no different from the ignorance of the masses -- SAS and DKS. And letting trolls of life get the better part of them. Holla!
Nutrition is one of many reasons. The main reason is constant concussive poundings to the head. If football players are now finding out that CTE is a likely cause of collisions at high speed, then boxers, through many studies (some of which I have contributed to) have long known that dementia pugilistica is not an uncommon outcome for them as they get older. Too many of my friends are suffering from it. The ones you cite are rare exceptions. Tony DeMarco is 84 and is sharp as a tack, but at least one of Moyer brothers is now dead from PD. Boxing documentary on head injuries delivers an important message that hurts. 'After the Last Round' filmmaker Tom Moyer says he made the movie because he was 'so tormented' by the head injuries that stripped his boxing cousins of their memories. Watch this and tell me what you think.
->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waJTKs_Uv-8


-JohnnyTango :

I've pretty much stopped watching boxing because of the points you mentioned. Some things will never change. A nice read, Ted. FYI: Congratulations on your power lifting trophy. You're quite the inspiration.


-Kid Blast :

Thanks Johnny Tango. I am one very hurting 78-yer-old today and as the fellow said above, in the world of Strongman Competition, nutation is a very big dimension.


-miguel1 :

It was a good read, TY Ted. Hope you like the pic I added, it was tough to find an applicable one that wasnt totally sad.


-FrankieDallas :

Doesn't take a genius, crooked promoter or nut job politician to figure out a couple ways to help out boxers. Like Occam's Razor, simple is usually best. For one: health insurance. No boxer should get in the ring without comprehensive insurance. And it should come out of the promoters pockets. We're talking what? $500/month for a young healthy male (or female) for decent insurance. Should be state mandated part of every contract. This really doesn't take an Act of Congress, just the will of a few people.


-Gabrielito :

If I'm an insurance company do I take an active fighter as a client? You guys are throwing insurance around as if we're talking about accountants. Next to astronaut and race car driver I can't think of a riskier profession. Who ultimately pays for a man's decision to be a fighter?


-Radam G :

Nutrition is one of many reasons. The main reason is constant concussive poundings to the head. If football players are now finding out that CTE is a likely cause of collisions at high speed, then boxers, through many studies (some of which I have contributed to) have long known that dementia pugilistica is not an uncommon outcome for them as they get older. Too many of my friends are suffering from it. The ones you cite are rare exceptions. Tony DeMarco is 84 and is sharp as a tack, but at least one of Moyer brothers is now dead from PD. Boxing documentary on head injuries delivers an important message that hurts. 'After the Last Round' filmmaker Tom Moyer says he made the movie because he was 'so tormented' by the head injuries that stripped his boxing cousins of their memories. Watch this and tell me what you think.
->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waJTKs_Uv-8
I watched it. But I'm too old school. The old trainers told me don't ever trust medical doctors who are schooled only in Allopathic medicine and are notorious for making up diagnosis. I am an archmaster of how MDs make up and vote on new diseases to go into their DSM. You can do just a little research, and see that CTE is bunk. That was a wonderful movie about it, and the founder of it played by Will Smith. There is a lot of focus on CTE in football, but just as many basketball players are coming down with it, and are dying from it, so claim the MDs. I'm from the old school that these athletes are getting sick in the brains and pain in the bones from not replacing the nutrition-filled sweat coming out of their bodies. The body is like a gas car, you have to replace oil, gas and other cofactors and essential liquids or the engine is going to go bad. And the car will have a hard life and go death before long. Once these boxers and basketballers are put on a large dose of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and cofactors, they vastly improve. The last two Quarry boys were out of it and could barely walk and mumble. Bruce Curry and Terry Norris were the same way -- maybe worse. Leon Spinks were on his death bed a few years ago, until his wifey had enough of the MDs and check him out of the sick Ward -- hehehe -- and took him home and used the alternate treatment of Mother Nature's supplements. Baketballer Bill Watson (Walton, I mean) could barely walk and was becoming PD. And he never boxed in the ring or on the b-ball court. Other ex-pro basketballers, including from the Harlem Globetrotters, were doing badly. Track and field stars who were in the O-Games of 1964, 68, 72, 76, 84 and 88 were suffering from brains and bone problems. But when they were given high doses of supplements of vitamins and minerals, etc., etc., they snapped to. Mother Nature's ish will do that. The pharmaceutical-trained allopathic MDs will just made up syet and tell you that there are no cures while using your insurance for large A-T-M card payouts to themselves. No disrespect. Holla!


-Kid Blast :

You mean Bill Walton. Ok, we will agree to disrespect. No disrespect.


-Kid Blast :

It was a good read, TY Ted. Hope you like the pic I added, it was tough to find an applicable one that wasnt totally sad.
Great photo. Thanks Miguel. BTW, Leon Spinks was at the Marine Corps Boxing Hall of Fame induction this past week in NC and though he needs a walker, he looked pretty good. He is already in there and was at the ceremony. I had planned to attend but a conflict arose.


-Radam G :

If I'm an insurance company do I take an active fighter as a client? You guys are throwing insurance around as if we're talking about accountants. Next to astronaut and race car driver I can't think of a riskier profession. Who ultimately pays for a man's decision to be a fighter?
Yes! Yes! And Yes! Several boxers were and have been given high-risk insurance policies. I wish I could name them, but it is against the insurance policies. Maybe TSS will write about how some pugs have been covered by insurance companies through the years. And how a few of their careers were cut short by injuries. But because they were coved by insurance, they made off like Mayweather -- I mean bandits. People and pundits constantly forget that we are dealing with the "theatre of the unexpected." I guest that you can also call it the theatre of assumptions. Holla!


-Kid Blast :

Doesn't take a genius, crooked promoter or nut job politician to figure out a couple ways to help out boxers. Like Occam's Razor, simple is usually best. For one: health insurance. No boxer should get in the ring without comprehensive insurance. And it should come out of the promoters pockets. We're talking what? $500/month for a young healthy male (or female) for decent insurance. Should be state mandated part of every contract. This really doesn't take an Act of Congress, just the will of a few people.
Welcome to TSS, FD. As Gabilto says, insurance would be expensive, but I believe doable. The unions get it for the other sports so in the place of unions, the promoters like Haymon, King, GBP, Arum, etc could fork over the funds, not to mention PPV and the stations like Showtime, and HBO that could contribute. Something is better than nothing and a start is needed. As for pensions, California has a model that could serve as a blueprint if it were refined and expanded. It would be easy to do, but the prompters look at it like a Vampire looks at the Crucifix. Nothing is easy when it comes to a boxer's welfare. Nothing. But they have to be saved from themselves in my view.


-Kid Blast :

If I'm an insurance company do I take an active fighter as a client? You guys are throwing insurance around as if we're talking about accountants. Next to astronaut and race car driver I can't think of a riskier profession. Who ultimately pays for a man's decision to be a fighter?
Good point Gabrielito. See my reply to Franklin Dallas


-Gabrielito :

Now I know. Very informative here! I don't think fighters should rely entirely on their promoters for things like this. I think trainers and coaches should teach young folks the value of why and how instead of relying on and blaming promoters. I'm self employed; my taxes and my insurance are my responsibility. Promoters aren't the ones taking head trauma, and statistically speaking I suppose the risk isn't as high as some might think. It's not fair but proactivity is the only positive way. Then we have cases like Meldrick taylor, where this logic goes out the window and Ted's model was desperately needed.


-Kid Blast :

My wife made a good point at dinner tonight when she pointed out that a lot of the old timers that we have met in Canastota did not seem "punchy." The Moyer brothers, and Bobo Olson, etc being the exceptions rather than the rule. I acknowledged her point but indicated that "punchy" had several digress attached to it. And getting dementia can sometimes occur 12-16 years after you quit the sport I pointed out that In boxing, the most common life-threatening injury encountered is subdural hematoma (SDH), a rupturing of the veins between the brain and the skull; and the most dreaded (and longer range) consequence of chronic insult to the nervous system is dementia pugilistica. (SDH) often requires surgical intervention. Neurologists are working to make boxing safer by trying to pinpoint subtle changes in examinations and scans that portend serious future damage in order to whisk fighters out of the ring in time.


-larueboenig :

Much needed article. Keep these coming. These have been your signature for years.


-Kid Blast :

Much needed article. Keep these coming. These have been your signature for years.
Maybe. I've been kind of a reformist, but it's like shoveling crap against the tide. Maybe a better way to put it is to say it's like Fort Apache in the Bronx and its infamous crime rate. If I can prevent just one bad thing from happening, then I am ahead. But I will do upbeat articles as well.


-es Honda :

Ted. It's a great read and many valid points. Too many identical stories in boxing like this. It will always help for good folks like you to write about them but boxing will never change. The problem lies (generally) in the lack of education of the fighter. They just don't know they are being fleeced. I don't have the stats but I reckon barely 1/20 retain any wealth. A fund from the tv stations. Promoters. Purse etc etc is a good idea. Just don't know how it can be administered. Kudos to you fella on another fine article on TSS. Keep 'em coming. 👊


-Radam G :

Now I know. Very informative here! I don't think fighters should rely entirely on their promoters for things like this. I think trainers and coaches should teach young folks the value of why and how instead of relying on and blaming promoters. I'm self employed; my taxes and my insurance are my responsibility. Promoters aren't the ones taking head trauma, and statistically speaking I suppose the risk isn't as high as some might think. It's not fair but proactivity is the only positive way. Then we have cases like Meldrick taylor, where this logic goes out the window and Ted's model was desperately needed.
Hehehehe! You are cracking me up. Promoters are indeed taking head trauma. You need to holla at the dark side of boxing. That is some scary ish. So scary that I will not pull it up. Let somebody else do it. I really don't like to always be a whachamacalla [sic] finding syet all the time. I remember how the "White Don King" got ambushed and assassinated, among some other syet. A lot small-time promoters and wannabes have even been murdered. Other ones became Jimmy Hoffa-flied -- forever missing and probably at the bottom of the sea with cement shoes on. LOOK, my friend! Imma tell ya like one of my late, great icon -- Tiny Tim -- would holla at cha: "Boksing is like a banana" -- CROOKED!" Uncle Tim was even popular for that "Banana" song. Boxing is grand for the three-percenters. They get rich and leave the game with all their marbles. And just so that you will know. It's only about one percent or less of pugs who leave the sport like Meldrick Taylor. There is a lot of exaggeration of the filthy and foul things that happen to boxers nowadays and for the last 20 years or so. For every pugs that you see at the top, a thousand and one didn't make it. So there was no harm. Maybe some of TSS scribes can report on it before "Eastside Boxing can go on its Ali Baba and the Thieves raid! Holla!


-Kid Blast :

"It's only about one percent or less of pugs who leave the sport like Meldrick Taylor. "There is a lot of exaggeration of the filthy and foul things that happen to boxers nowadays and for the last 20 years or so. For every pugs that you see at the top, a thousand and one didn't make it. So there was no harm. Maybe some of TSS scribes can report on it before "Eastside Boxing can go on its Ali Baba and the Thieves raid! Holla! " So essentially, you are saying that Hauser, Newfield, and many other scribes are wrong when they write about the "Dark Side of Boxing," is that what I am getting here? That most leave boxing in fine shape? If I listed--and I won't out of respect to the ex-boxers-- the number of guys who are in very bad shape mentally (and, of course, financially) right now, you would be shocked. And these were ones who were hi-profile. A Boxing career rarely has a happy ending in my opinion. Guys like Z Gorres, Burgos, Mago, Colon, Jermaine Taylor, Lockridge, have been well-documented, but the ones who are left with nothing else to do after the cheers end are the ones I am talking about. Czar Amonsot is playing Russian Roulette in Australia with 5 bullets. So is Danny Williams. What Joe Mesi did and what the others are doing may be one of many forms of Russian roulette that boxing entails. Joe was lucky. He got out in time. More later on this point.


-Kid Blast :

"It's only about one percent or less of pugs who leave the sport like Meldrick Taylor. "There is a lot of exaggeration of the filthy and foul things that happen to boxers nowadays and for the last 20 years or so. For every pugs that you see at the top, a thousand and one didn't make it. So there was no harm. Maybe some of TSS scribes can report on it before "Eastside Boxing can go on its Ali Baba and the Thieves raid! Holla! " So essentially, you are saying that Hauser, Newfield, and many other scribes are wrong when they write about the "Dark Side of Boxing," is that what I am getting here? That most leave boxing in fine shape? If I listed--and I won't out of respect to the ex-boxers-- the number of guys who are in very bad shape mentally (and, of course, financially) right now, you would be shocked. And these were ones who were hi-profile. A Boxing career rarely has a happy ending in my opinion. Guys like Z Gorres, Burgos, Mago, Colon, Jermaine Taylor, Lockridge, have been well-documented, but the ones who are left with nothing else to do after the cheers end are the ones I am talking about. Czar Amonsot is playing Russian Roulette in Australia with 5 bullets. So is Danny Williams. What Joe Mesi did and what the others are doing may be one of many forms of Russian roulette that boxing entails. Joe was lucky. He got out in time. But here is the point you need to get. Once you get PD, there is no return trip. It will eventually kill you. Bobby Chacon has been kept alive longer than most thank God, but a number of others are not so lucky. You get it many years after you leave boxing--12-14 I believe. The symptoms come first of course. Jerry Quarry got it very quickly and had it when he fought Ron Cranmer. That's the scary part of it. Ray Mancini told me at a Ring 10 Banquet in NYC that he gets a scan every year just to be safe. More later on this point. BTW, Radam, you mentioned talking to old trainers. Can you tell me who they are?


-Kid Blast :

Ted. It's a great read and many valid points. Too many identical stories in boxing like this. It will always help for good folks like you to write about them but boxing will never change. The problem lies (generally) in the lack of education of the fighter. They just don't know they are being fleeced. I don't have the stats but I reckon barely 1/20 retain any wealth. A fund from the tv stations. Promoters. Purse etc is a good idea. Just don't know how it can be administered. Kudos to you fella on another fine article on TSS. Keep 'em coming. ��
Thanks matey. I'd love to sit in a room with a lawyer, and actuarial, and accountant, and someone with boxing knowledge and work on the fund approach. Maybe I am way off, but I truly believe it would be doable.


-deepwater2 :

Boxing would be better off going back to the original weight classes and having same day weigh ins. As far as health insurance , why doesn't the fighter purchase health insurance? The manager should be able to set it up with him. If you are full time fighter with no side job to bring in some cash or benefits than you should have enough money to buy a policy or at least have some backers that will pay for the policy for a stake in future purses. If you can't afford the private insurance, there are government insurance programs to enroll in. Medicare and such. When I was self employed I had to purchase a policy. Part of doing business.either I wanted the safety of insurance or I could gamble and not buy the policy and hope I don't go bankrupt if I get hurt. Promoters and boxing sanctioning bodies should be able to create a fund. The $15 dollar minimum wage movement is having unintended consequences. To the people that say I can't raise kids working at McDonalds . I say you should not have kids if you are working at McDonalds. Seriously the fast food companies are buying robots to make the burgers. 300 burgers every hour. No wages paid. Case closed. $15 minimum wage is a sure way to fire a big segment of the workforce. The seen and the unseen.


-Radam G :

"It's only about one percent or less of pugs who leave the sport like Meldrick Taylor. "There is a lot of exaggeration of the filthy and foul things that happen to boxers nowadays and for the last 20 years or so. For every pugs that you see at the top, a thousand and one didn't make it. So there was no harm. Maybe some of TSS scribes can report on it before "Eastside Boxing can go on its Ali Baba and the Thieves raid! Holla! " So essentially, you are saying that Hauser, Newfield, and many other scribes are wrong when they write about the "Dark Side of Boxing," is that what I am getting here? That most leave boxing in fine shape? If I listed--and I won't out of respect to the ex-boxers-- the number of guys who are in very bad shape mentally (and, of course, financially) right now, you would be shocked. And these were ones who were hi-profile. A Boxing career rarely has a happy ending in my opinion. Guys like Z Gorres, Burgos, Mago, Colon, Jermaine Taylor, Lockridge, have been well-documented, but the ones who are left with nothing else to do after the cheers end are the ones I am talking about. Czar Amonsot is playing Russian Roulette in Australia with 5 bullets. So is Danny Williams. What Joe Mesi did and what the others are doing may be one of many forms of Russian roulette that boxing entails. Joe was lucky. He got out in time. More later on this point.
No way that I'm saying that they are wrong. I'm just saying that they mostly count the elite and the journeymen. Most pugs that go pro don't have more than a hand full of scraps. On the top of my head, and my clear life memory of 35 years, I can recall about 350 pugs who I personally knew that went pro. Only 17 of them made it big and had from 10 to 90 pro fights. Two died from ring injuries. One was crippled. Five were murdered by a$$holes and three committed suicide. One can go on Boxrec or Fightfax and see how many pugs are killed by pugilism versus the amount who turn pro world wide yearly. Twenty times more AmerKano footballers are killed in their sport -- Pop Warner to the pros. Holla!


-Radam G :

Sadly -- very sadly! Eight are dead from motorcycle accidents and four are sitting in wheelchairs. Another is dead from dirty cops beating him in jail after an arrest. Holla!


-Radam G :

"It's only about one percent or less of pugs who leave the sport like Meldrick Taylor. "There is a lot of exaggeration of the filthy and foul things that happen to boxers nowadays and for the last 20 years or so. For every pugs that you see at the top, a thousand and one didn't make it. So there was no harm. Maybe some of TSS scribes can report on it before "Eastside Boxing can go on its Ali Baba and the Thieves raid! Holla! " So essentially, you are saying that Hauser, Newfield, and many other scribes are wrong when they write about the "Dark Side of Boxing," is that what I am getting here? That most leave boxing in fine shape? If I listed--and I won't out of respect to the ex-boxers-- the number of guys who are in very bad shape mentally (and, of course, financially) right now, you would be shocked. And these were ones who were hi-profile. A Boxing career rarely has a happy ending in my opinion. Guys like Z Gorres, Burgos, Mago, Colon, Jermaine Taylor, Lockridge, have been well-documented, but the ones who are left with nothing else to do after the cheers end are the ones I am talking about. Czar Amonsot is playing Russian Roulette in Australia with 5 bullets. So is Danny Williams. What Joe Mesi did and what the others are doing may be one of many forms of Russian roulette that boxing entails. Joe was lucky. He got out in time. But here is the point you need to get. Once you get PD, there is no return trip. It will eventually kill you. Bobby Chacon has been kept alive longer than most thank God, but a number of others are not so lucky. You get it many years after you leave boxing--12-14 I believe. The symptoms come first of course. Jerry Quarry got it very quickly and had it when he fought Ron Cranmer. That's the scary part of it. Ray Mancini told me at a Ring 10 Banquet in NYC that he gets a scan every year just to be safe. More later on this point. BTW, Radam, you mentioned talking to old trainers. Can you tell me who they are?
GBGOAT Angie Dundee, GCOAT Chuck Bodak, GBG Manny Steward, Champ Chaney, Jackie McCoy, Cus D'amato, Eddie Futch, Old Mongoose Archie Moore, his son Billy Moore, Ray Arcel, Lou Duva, George Benton, Dick Sadler, Sandy Sadler, Frankie Karr, Joe Lopez, Old Man Murp Griffith, Tony Ayala Sr, Joe Clough, and Junior Robles, just to name a few from the top of my head. Holla!


-Kid Blast :

You must be older than me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


-Kid Blast :

Boxing would be better off going back to the original weight classes and having same day weigh ins. As far as health insurance , why doesn't the fighter purchase health insurance? The manager should be able to set it up with him. If you are full time fighter with no side job to bring in some cash or benefits than you should have enough money to buy a policy or at least have some backers that will pay for the policy for a stake in future purses. If you can't afford the private insurance, there are government insurance programs to enroll in. Medicare and such. When I was self employed I had to purchase a policy. Part of doing business.either I wanted the safety of insurance or I could gamble and not buy the policy and hope I don't go bankrupt if I get hurt. Promoters and boxing sanctioning bodies should be able to create a fund. The $15 dollar minimum wage movement is having unintended consequences. To the people that say I can't raise kids working at McDonalds . I say you should not have kids if you are working at McDonalds. Seriously the fast food companies are buying robots to make the burgers. 300 burgers every hour. No wages paid. Case closed. $15 minimum wage is a sure way to fire a big segment of the workforce. The seen and the unseen.
Frankly, I doubt if a fighter would know the first thing about buying health insurance. And you have to be 65 to get Medicare.
Yes, I agree, Promoters and boxing sanctioning bodies should be able to create a fund.


-Radam G :

You must be older than me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hehehe! I'm getting up there. The kid years seemed long. But 30-something is a darn flash. Nobody told me how quickly the 30s go by. Holla!


-Radam G :

Boxing would be better off going back to the original weight classes and having same day weigh ins. As far as health insurance , why doesn't the fighter purchase health insurance? The manager should be able to set it up with him. If you are full time fighter with no side job to bring in some cash or benefits than you should have enough money to buy a policy or at least have some backers that will pay for the policy for a stake in future purses. If you can't afford the private insurance, there are government insurance programs to enroll in. Medicare and such. When I was self employed I had to purchase a policy. Part of doing business.either I wanted the safety of insurance or I could gamble and not buy the policy and hope I don't go bankrupt if I get hurt. Promoters and boxing sanctioning bodies should be able to create a fund. The $15 dollar minimum wage movement is having unintended consequences. To the people that say I can't raise kids working at McDonalds . I say you should not have kids if you are working at McDonalds. Seriously the fast food companies are buying robots to make the burgers. 300 burgers every hour. No wages paid. Case closed. $15 minimum wage is a sure way to fire a big segment of the workforce. The seen and the unseen.
Now that I think of it, "The Minister of Shock" aka "The Flame" Eddie Mustafa Muhammad started a union eight years ago for boxers. They are insured and have retirement benefits. Rumors are that membership is in the thousands. Holla!


-Radam G :

I just checked out the info about E.M. Muhammad on boxrec. The union has more than 2,000 boxers signed up. And it's Acronym is "JAB," which is for "Joint Association of Boxing." Holla!


-Kid Blast :

That was years ago and JAB is as dead as most other unions. The late Johnny Lira out of Chicago tried to organize fighters and made little progress. Then Eddie tried a gambit with the Teamsters and that didn't work. The individual contractual relationships that characterize boxing make it virtually impossible for a union to get certification. Won't happen. Much easier in team sports where you have a league. See:
->http://bostonreview.net/blog/joel-calahan-premier-boxing-champions-mayweather-pacquiao


-Radam G :

That was years ago and JAB is as dead as most other unions. The late Johnny Lira out of Chicago tried to organize fighters and made little progress. Then Eddie tried a gambit with the Teamsters and that didn't work. The individual contractual relationships that characterize boxing make it virtually impossible for a union to get certification. Won't happen. Much easier in team sports where you have a league. See:
->http://bostonreview.net/blog/joel-calahan-premier-boxing-champions-mayweather-pacquiao
Hehe! "JAB is as dead as most..." Wow! You said it all. Holla!


-Kid Blast :

Thanks, Radam For me, this article says it all insofar as mine is concerned.
->http://www.thenation.com/article/shame-boxing/


-deepwater2 :

Question. Do boxers own cars? Do they buy an insurance policy for the car? There you go. If you don't have a side job with benefits than the professional prize fighter should be earning enough money that his manager can sit down with an insurance agent and purchase a policy they are comfortable with. I know plenty of boxers that worked at ups overnight and train in the day. Not ideal but they did it for the benefits. In ny Medicaid is for anyone without the means to buy insurance.


-Kid Blast :

Question. Do boxers own cars? Do they buy an insurance policy for the car? There you go. If you don't have a side job with benefits than the professional prize fighter should be earning enough money that his manager can sit down with an insurance agent and purchase a policy they are comfortable with. I know plenty of boxers that worked at ups overnight and train in the day. Not ideal but they did it for the benefits. In ny Medicaid is for anyone without the means to buy insurance.
Good points. And having the manager help in the process is key IMO. UPS has fine benefits. Here is something that they have started in New York and it is very positive: "In addition to our efforts to create a professional environment that protects boxers and advances the integrity of the sport, I am particularly proud of our program to promote boxer health through the NYSAC Health Insurance Initiative. Through a series of open houses at the Commission, at boxing gyms and at weigh-ins, the Commission has arranged for boxers to receive one-on-one assistance in enrolling in health insurance plans through the New York State of Health Marketplace. Our success is measured in the number of enrollees. Sixty-nine boxers and other boxing people who did not previously have health coverage (and 90 individuals in total when family members are included) are now enrolled in health insurance plans. Boxers who are injured in the gym can now go to a doctor and know that they will be covered, and they can maintain their good health by going for an annual check-up." Quote from David Berlin


-Radam G :

Question. Do boxers own cars? Do they buy an insurance policy for the car? There you go. If you don't have a side job with benefits than the professional prize fighter should be earning enough money that his manager can sit down with an insurance agent and purchase a policy they are comfortable with. I know plenty of boxers that worked at ups overnight and train in the day. Not ideal but they did it for the benefits. In ny Medicaid is for anyone without the means to buy insurance.
That Empire State Medicaid hook up is pretty grand. Now I see why so many people that were on hard times moved to -- or back to -- New York. "Why are you rolling back to New York," I'd ask them. Because they were always driving back or catching "da greyhound bus." "Medicaid," they would say. But my know-nothing a$$ about struggling and on-bad-luck people thought that they meant Medicare. I just learnt that there are a "Medicaid" and "Medicare." BTW, Alex Ramos, a superbad, whup-@$$ amateur pug and a decent pro back in his boxing days, has an organization in Cali that help out stranded-and-on-hard-and-bad luck fighters and ex-fighters. AR , originally from New York, was a Golden Gloves champion and a National AAU champion back in the late 1970s. Holla!


-deepwater2 :

Good points. And having the manager help in the process is key IMO. UPS has fine benefits. Here is something that they have started in New York and it is very positive: "In addition to our efforts to create a professional environment that protects boxers and advances the integrity of the sport, I am particularly proud of our program to promote boxer health through the NYSAC Health Insurance Initiative. Through a series of open houses at the Commission, at boxing gyms and at weigh-ins, the Commission has arranged for boxers to receive one-on-one assistance in enrolling in health insurance plans through the New York State of Health Marketplace. Our success is measured in the number of enrollees. Sixty-nine boxers and other boxing people who did not previously have health coverage (and 90 individuals in total when family members are included) are now enrolled in health insurance plans. Boxers who are injured in the gym can now go to a doctor and know that they will be covered, and they can maintain their good health by going for an annual check-up." Quote from David Berlin
Good for Mr Berlin. Other commissions should take note. Boxers should also get a professional financial advisor that is not related to them. Putting away some money for a rainy day is key. Set up an annuity and retirement account. When Pbc was started they mentioned mandatory drug testing( don't think it ever happened) , did they also mention anything about health insurance for their fighters?


-Kid Blast :

Good for Mr Berlin. Other commissions should take note. Boxers should also get a professional financial advisor that is not related to them. Putting away some money for a rainy day is key. Set up an annuity and retirement account. When Pbc was started they mentioned mandatory drug testing( don't think it ever happened) , did they also mention anything about health insurance for their fighters?
I don't think so. BTW, you are reading my mind. I have always said that you simply take a boxer to a Fidelity Brokerage office and set up either an IRA or some kind of annuity structured so that you could make periodic contributions. No big deal. Problem today is that under the current Federal Fiscal policies, you can't get any return on hour savings. And that's one that makes me boil. But yes, setting up something for a rainy day is critical. Mark Breeland bought an annuity back in the day when interest rates were sky high and he gets a marvelous monthly check from it I am led to believe. I have heard the same about Bruce Seldon but have not confirmed that one. Of course, Breeland is also getting some nice coin by training Deontay Wilder. Mark is a super nice person and deserves whatever he gets. Good stuff deepwater


-dollar bond :

Bull, I'm finally on. Look forward to your insightful and erudite comments


-Kid Blast :

Bull, I'm finally on. Look forward to your insightful and erudite comments
Thanks mate. Hope I don't disappoint you. Ted


-dollar bond :

Ted I'm on. Great to see your posts.


-stormcentre :

I suppose now is a good time to say . . Nice article Ted. Cheers,
Storm. :) :)


-Kid Blast :

I suppose now is a good time to say . . Nice article Ted. Cheers,
Storm. :) :)
Why thank you sir. I appreciate that. Sometimes I wonder if it's appropriate to engage posters on my own threads, but I have been doing it for over 10 years so I will not stop now. But I shall always try to be polite.


-stormcentre :

With a photograph like that (which suckered me in straight away) the piece better be good. And it was. :) :)


-Kid Blast :

With a photograph like that (which suckered me in straight away) the piece better be good. And it was. :) :)
Props to Miguel


-stormcentre :

Ah . . . now it makes sense. M1 is in on the act. :) :)


-Bernie Campbell :

Start by getting women out of pugilism. Develop more programs in the suburbs. And get the unnecessary ethnic factors and hometown notoriety out of the sport.


-Kid Blast :

I'll try but that's a tall order Bernie.


-JohnnyTango :

Anyone see the mismatch Saturday night? Geeez!


-Kid Blast :

Anyone see the mismatch Saturday night? Geeez!
That's one of many reasons boxing is a strange thing. This is not mine but it's pretty darn relevant: "Imagine a restaurant that keeps serving you shitty food despite advertising “The Best Food in North America.” How many times would you come back, expecting The Best Food in North America but getting dysentery-causing garbage scraps before you decided to stop going there? "But boxing fans are not your typical consumer and if you’ve been around the block enough (and possess a degree of self-awareness) you know why it’s been so easy to con otherwise intelligent people into accept, liking, and, often, downright loving garbage fights." PS: "Geeez" is right up there with "swell."