|Is the Time Right for the Appointment of a Boxing “Czar?”
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (May 28, 2009)
There is no question that boxing has seen better days. The MMA and UFC seem’s to be flourishing with success for what reason this old school writer hasn’t a clue. I know it’s more than two men who prove within seconds they can’t box so one tackles the other and looks for a choke hold or a headlock with an elbow to the head. How this sport doesn’t have people calling out “ban MMA and UFC” is beyond me. Talk about brutality!
Leon Tabb’s is a well known cut man from Philadelphia who has been in the MMA business since 1990. He said the head injuries alone are much worse than he has ever seen in boxing.
This brings me to the question “Is the time right for a boxing Czar to be appointed?” We all know that no matter what the government puts its hands on gets screwed up. Would they be the one to enter boxing and appoint a Harry Reid out of Nevada who watered down the Muhammad Ali Act back in 1992 to reduce it’s effectiveness against the promoters and other backers who fleece the boxers? You may hear names like Teddy Atlas, Gerry Cooney and Alex Ramos suggested. All are good men, who are known to speak out in defense of the exploitation of the boxers.
I was asked to introduce someone being inducted into the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame this past Sunday. Though being from Delaware, and also in their Hall of Fame, he was warmly welcomed and remembered. This man gave a thorough beating to then unbeaten IBF middleweight champion James Toney some seventeen years ago in an Atlantic City boxing ring. Against the rules of the IBF two out of state judges were brought in. One was from the champion’s home state of Michigan. While three pairs of boxing gloves split during the fight of this man the champion was allowed by then commissioner Larry Hazzard to sit on a stool in his own corner and receive water. This is a blatant breaking of the rules in boxing that say a boxer must go and stand in a neutral corner while the gloves of his foe are being changed. During the 6th round without warning the referee took away a point from this boxer. In the end Toney was given a split decision win.
It was one of the most disputed decisions every rendered inside the ropes. Promoter Bob Arum had paid this boxer $30,000 and offered $250,000 for the rematch and even had it as high as $500,000 when the boxer repeated “I won’t enter the ring without my belt (IBF).” He went before congress until the Muhammad Ali Act was passed. He walked away from the sport for 15 years before returning as a promoter in his home state of Delaware. The man I propose for the next boxing Czar is DAVE TIBERI!
The following will be the speech he gave before a packed house in Philadelphia sponsored by the Veteran’s Boxer’s Association’s Ring One which is the oldest of its kind in the country.
I’d like to first of all give honor and glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My career took off when I said Lord may my career not be about my glory but yours. I’d also like to thank my wife Angela, my three beautiful daughters, family, friends and the many people that were willing to encourage me and inspire me that I had the skills to be the best boxer in the world. Such were Mark Kondrath (manager), Marty Feldman (trainer), along with Prince Charles Williams, Rob Hines (also inducted Sunday), Eddie Aliano (cut man, also inducted Sunday), Bernard Hopkins, Stevie Little, Paul Schweitzer, Russell Peltz and many others. (Williams, Hines, Hopkins and Little served as sparring partners helping to prepare for the Toney fight).
I’d also like to say a big thank you to the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame committee for recognizing me for such a prestigious honor and I’d also like to say congratulations to the other inductees. I had no choice to fight, having grown up with six older brothers that were boxers. I’m truly humbled when I think of some of the many great Pennsylvania boxers that laid the path before me such as Briscoe, Chandler, Frazier, Everett, Bennett and Fletcher to name a few.
Every boxer hopes to leave some legacy for the sport. Some record to which they contributed. While I enjoyed many memorable bouts during my professional career (22-3-3 including the IBC title) it’s not a record of wins, losses and draws that God dictated as the land marks of my career. Following my 1992 fight with James Toney in Atlantic City it became clear to everyone from Donald Trump to many lawmakers that the time has come for genuine reform in our sport.
Reform that protected boxers for what they are, athletes and human beings and not simply commodities to be traded and exploited. I was proud to spend many days in Wilmington and Washington with our great Senator the late William V. Roth and VP Joe Biden, working to push forward the measures known s the Ali Bill and other protections to provide boxers the same simple protections enjoyed by all athletes.
That Saturday night in Atlantic City as I sat in my dressing room after the devastating disappointment of the judge’s decision, I prayed that somehow something good would come of the pain and disappointment. I can stand before you and say with full faith, I believe in the end it was worth it. Today, I can watch young boxers pursue their dreams of championships without many of the traps and snares than once surrounded the ring. As a promoter I have seen how our sport has become a venue that now attracts young and old, from all walks of life including men and women, housewives and CEO’s. More than any victory I would like to think my work with Senator Bill Roth and VP Biden and others has contributed to this wider acceptance of our sport.
Are we where we need to be with the reform? Not yet. We need to continue like other major league sports to develop a National Commission that will focus on rules and regulations that will be uniform throughout the country. We have to address health benefits and pension plans for boxers and their families and with the proper infrastructure I believe boxing will benefit from the corporate support like NASCAR and the NFL.
Outside the ring I am thankful to the many friends, many of whom were fans who have become leaders in government and business. I am thankful for the wonder gift of a loving wife and three beautiful daughters Alexis, Angela Marie and Ariel. With several dozen nephews…I don’t think our sport will lack a “Boxing Tiberi” anytime in the near future.
I want to close by saying a huge part of my heart will always be with the fans and people of the great state of Pennsylvania. It is with love, humility and great honor, I accept this induction. May God bless our sport, and bless all the great boxing fans of Pennsylvania. Thank you.
e-mail Ken at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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