Police officer victim of injustice in the boxing ring
Police officer victim of injustice in the boxing ring
By Jenna Jay, OnTheRopes Boxing Radio, Doghouse Boxing (Jan 13, 2013) Doghouse Boxing
Bryant Pappas
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In boxing the decision rendered after a fight is not always the fair or the correct call, but sometimes in this sport it goes beyond the result of the fight. Bryant “Fighting Spartan” Pappas professional boxing record is 13-1-1, with 13 wins coming by way of knockout, but in boxing much as life, resumes speak louder then records. Pappas is highly decorated police officer out of Yonkers, New York., having been awarded two silver stars for engaging an armed adversary with immanent risk of life,12 commendations for personal bravery, 14 awards for excellent police work, three unit commendations, and two journal news Macy Awards. He is also a cancer survivor having been treated for non hodgkin's lymphoma in 2004.

Bryant Pappas made his pro boxing debut in 2005, at the age of 32. He has fought in the ring fifteen times in total and has donated his boxing purses since his third bout to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Even with all he has accomplished in life, a person such as Bryant Pappas is treated no differently when it comes to injustice that we often see in boxing, having suffered a controversial defeat in his last fight that took place May 12, 2012 with many rules and regulations not being followed that put his career and his life in jeopardy. Here is his account of that fight, and of the corruption he has faced in his own words....

On May 12, 2012, I was scheduled to fight a 6 round boxing bout with Josh Williams. We were fighting at the Mid Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York. I was donating my purse to charity, like I do for every fight. What was different was that the purse was to be split between two police officers that I worked with who had terminal cancer. The money would go to them and their families. This night was going to be much more memorable for another, more sinister reason.

As I entered the ring, I glanced across at my opponent. Josh Williams was wearing a color of gloves I had never seen before. They were light brown, with white writing on the back of the hand. I assumed that they were just a different color of the 10 ounce Everlast Gloves I was given to wear by the New York State Athletic Commission, who got them from the Promoter, Brian Burke. I was to find out much later, they were not. I remember thinking that Everlast must have a new color of gloves, but didn't give it much thought after that.

During the fight I was aware that it seemed every time Williams hit me, I felt a sharp sting. To be more precise, it felt like someone had tied a small brick up and wrapped it in sandpaper. I thought to myself that this guy can punch. I was never dazed, or in real trouble, but I was in pain. You see, the punch that knocks you out doesn't hurt at all, those are the dangerous ones. Even the punch that stuns you doesn't hurt. Those sharp punches, slaps, or being hit with the palm, they hurt. These punches were hurting like that. During the fight I was bleeding- a lot, and I was beginning to swell up. I did what I always do, came forward and tried to wear down my opponent with pressure. It did not work to the satisfaction of the judges who awarded my opponent with a win. I though I had landed the cleaner and heavier blows, and stunned my opponent several times. I knocked him down, but it was ruled a low blow (I have the video, it was not). Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and in the judge's opinion, I lost.

After the decision I went to shower and change clothes. I was not prepared for what I saw. My face was a mess. Distorted and swelling by the second. What struck me as odd was the half moon shaped welts on my head. They also covered my shoulders and chest. It seemed that every single time his glove touched me, I got this type of half moon shaped welt. Being upset at the decision, I took a few photos with some friends, and with ice bag in hand, left the arena to go home.

The next morning I was contacted by my trainer who was contacted by someone who was in the dressing room with Williams, and told us something that made my blood boil. Williams, he said, refused to wear the gloves the NYSAC gave to him from the promoter. Instead he was allowed to bring his own gloves from home, put them on, and use them- all without inspection of those gloves, and all without informing me at all.

I contacted a photographer who was there, he sent me the pics of the fight, and of Williams using "Fuel Fight Gear Diablo" gloves. I never heard of these gloves, so I did some research. Fuel Fight Gear was a small time glove company that was out of business. The marketed "puncher's gloves better than Reyes". What they were were cheap gloves made in Pakistan, with inferior padding and an inferior thumb lock device. I also read that pro fighter Thomas "CornFlake" Lamanna was employed by that company at one time. That made sense, since he worked William's corner that night, and had fought Williams the year or so prior. I was upset. My injuries being what they were, I went to get treated at a local hospital. My left eye was swollen badly, my head and left orbital felt crakced or fractured. I was worried about my vision, and my nose- my nose, I couldnt breathe out of it.
 That Monday, I called the NYSAC and spoke to Ralph Petrillo, and asked him for a no contest and a rematch because the boxer used gloves not from the promoter. I hold a manager's license and I know the rules of the NYSAC and of Boxing in New York State. They are as follows:

 PART 209.45 Equipment supplied by promoter.

In addition to the ring and equipment, the promoter shall supply the following items, which shall be available for use as needed:

(i)Gloves for each boxer in each contest or exhibition. Gloves shall not weigh not less than eight ounces of which no more than one ounce shall be in the wrist padding of the glove …”

I mistakenly believed, after talking to boxing people here in NY, that I would be granted a no contest, and I could rematch this guy if he wanted, and I would beat him convincingly this time, as I would have someone there in order to check for him cheating. I was wrong.

  Instead, Ralph Petrillo, Director of Boxing  for the NYSAC, told me Williams used "Title" brand gloves. When I told him that he did not, and I had the pics to prove it, he asked what kind of gloves he used. I answered he used his own gloves from home, "Fuel Fight Gear". He said that that was done all the time, and fighters bring gloves to use all the time, and since it was not a title fight, they did not have to inform me of anything.

 I typed up a protest letter and sent it in. No response. I sent several via registered mail, and fax. I waited. I then contacted Thomas Hauser, the acclaimed boxing writer/ reporter about this. He had one of his writers, Mark Ortega get in contact with me and do a telephone interview. As a matter of fact, Ortega interviewed Petrillo, Williams, the manager of Williams (Brandon Foster) as well as one other witness who was there in the locker room that night. Finally I got a letter from Petrillo saying that my appeal was denied, as fighters bring their own gloves to use frequently , and Petrillo himself inspected the gloves before and after the fight, and found nothing wrong with them. Something told me this was not the case. Something told me Petrillo was lying.

I contacted the NY State Inspector General's Office, and put together a package of rules, photographs, videos, etc.. for them. I am a police Lieutenant, a trained investigator. I gave them a case almost complete, and wrapped up in a bow. I still did not know really what Petrillo, Williams and Foster said to the reporter Ortega, so I asked him. I was told that they all said, all three, as well as a witness, that no one at any time inspected those gloves. Williams and Foster sid they put the gloves on, wrapped them up, and when an inspector asked them about the gloves, they told him they were from his sponsor. They then said Petrillo came down, asked what kind of gloves those were, and when they said "Fuel" he said, "ok those are approved". and left. Those gloves were never inspected or examined. They were never removed from Williams hands until they were in the ring after the fight, and then just given back to him.

After several months, the Inspector General's investigators finished interviews with Petrillo, and the rest of the NYSAC- Melvina Lathan, and various employees and inspectors. Those investigators told me that Ralph swore that he inspected those gloves. I then was able to get a copy of the audio interviews conducted by Ortega, and on them Ralph said he did not inspect the gloves. Williams and Foster also said no one inspected the gloves. I though that Ralph was caught in a lie. He did lie, but to be called on it is another matter.

More waiting, and this time I had an attorney, a past Prosecutor for the District Attorney's office in Westchester County named Russel B. Smith. I was asked to come down to down town Manhattan for a meeting, and I brought my lawyer with me. We were told that the rules, the one I posted about a few paragraphs up, was "ambiguous and open to interpretation". I had a bad feeling. I was also told that despite lying on an official document, despite the audio tape evidence, despite the real and unusual injuries, despite to this day, no one, and I mean no one, not Williams, not Foster, not Lamanna, not Petrillo, not the promoters having any idea where the gloves came from, and where they went, that I had no proof that the gloves were either tampered with or should not have been used. I felt like a guy who easily outboxed an opponent for 12 rounds, and had every single round awarded to the other guy. I argued with the IG's attorney for over two hours, and while gracious, he just didnt get it. His example was that "A-Rod can use any type of glove he wants when he fields for the Yankees." I explained that if Alex Rodriguez wasn't using that glove to punch people in the face. I pled my case some more, and was told that they were going to do "something" but not what I wanted.

What did I want? I wanted a no contest. After I found out about the attempt of a coverup, I wanted Ralph Petrillo and Melvina Lathan fired. I also wanted Petrillo charged with Perjury 3 for lying on offical NYS letterhead about inspecting the gloves. I also wanted him charged with Official Misconduct. Official Misconduct is a crime that only applies to civil servants doing something they were not supposed to, or failing to do something they were supposed to. Another idea I had was to establish a mechanism to hear and act on grievances against the NYSAC. It would be 7 members of the Boxer Writer's association, and they would have authority to make changes, and discipline members of the NYSAC as well as to settle disputes. There is currently no way to lodge a complaint against a NYSAC member.

Instead, I was told that the IG's office was going to recommend the NYSAC rewrite some of thier policies which need clarification. This is and was a brush off, and I wonder what kind of political power Petrillo and Lathan have? they also admitted they do not know where the gloves came from. I suspect that Lamanna brought them, of course, he works for the glove company....

I know by coming forward that I am no longer going to be allowed to fight in NY state. Promoters won't return my calls already. The word, apparently is out. I am to be blacklisted. Where once my phone was ringing because I sell anywhere from 7- 10 thousand dollars from my own hand in tickets each and every single time I have fought in NY, the phone rings no more.

I played by the rules, and the system as it does too frequently, has failed me. That is why this online petition at change.org is so important. That is why boxing must be repaired, for it is broken. The time for talk is over. How many outrages do we have to put up with before we do something? A lot of boxing people came forward to me with similar tales of harassment and worse at the hands of Lathan and Petrillo. Most of them are too scared to sign a petition. Some of them, under the guise of being my friends, are informing Petrillo of my every move, in order to curry favor.

The bottom line is that those gloves should never have been used. That SHOULD be enough right there. There is no disputing that at all!!! Petrillo did not inspect them at all, and that is on audio from Petrillo himself, as well as the boxer and his manger, and a witness. Antoehr fact is I still have in addition to the audio files, the letter Petrillo send me saying he personally inspected the gloves. Petrillo says in the letter that he perosnally inspected the gloves, then changes his story under oath and says he did not. Either way, byu written instrument or testimony, he is guilty of either perjury 1 (testimony) or perjury 3 (swore falsely on the written letter).

Please contact NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo, as well as the NY State Inspector General's Office, and the NYSAC itself, and let them know that we want Petrillo and Lathan out of there. They must be made to resign at once. We will not stand for corruption in boxing, and compromised safety of the fighers. We will not stand for coverups, misconduct, and perjury. We will not be placated and brushed off with a simple change of the wording of one or two rules. The NYSAC is the problem, it must be excised like a cancer, and thrown out. We want a 7 person board with real authority to hear complaints against the NYSAC. We want my recorded loss changed to a no contest. We want things set right.Thank You.

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