Charity for former boxers fallen on difficult times can be a beautiful thing.
Ring 10’s Veterans Boxing Foundation of New York’s 2nd annual fund raiser to help boxers who have who thrilled fight fans decades ago but have fallen on hard times – fallen victim to unscrupulous promoters and disloyal friends – was a success with some big names at Marina del Rey on Saturday, August 18.
The group – whose board of directors consists largely of east Bronx fight fans – held the fundraiser that brought pugilists that fans remember, including James “Buddy” McGirt, Carlos Ortiz, Holt McCallany, James “Bonecrusher” Smith, Livingstone Bramble, Donny Lalonde, Aaron “Superman” Davis, Iran “The Blade” Barkley, Doug Dewitt, and Michael Olajide, according to Ring 10 president Matt Farrago.
“The people who came to the fundraiser loved it,” said Farrago. “We could not get people to leave after five hours. The boxers were so thankful for us inviting them.”
There were also a number of donated items for a silent auction that made the program a even more successful, said Farrago.
Among the items donated were a pair of fight shoes worn in the ring by Livingstone Bramble that were autographed by him; gloves donated by Saul Alvarez, Leon Spinks, and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini; and a signed picture of Iran Barkley from when he won a world championship, said Farrago.
Board members of Ring 10 include Community Board 10 chairman John Marano. The vice-president of the organization is long-time Villa Maria Academy physical education department leader and teacher Michael Bernard.
Through Ring 10, Marano has become friends with Iran Barkley, whose homeless plight was featured in the New York Post in 2010.
“I got involved in Ring 10 through my relationship with Iran “The Blade” Barkley and Michael Bernard,” said Marano.
Barkley had been giving motivational talks for children at Villa Maria Academy for years.
“We got positive input and got to network at the fundraiser, and to educate the boxing fans of what these fighters go through.”
The money raised will go to the foundation, which provides money and aid directly to the fighters and their families – dishing it out carefully – to pay for housing, medical aid, and other living essentials, according to Farrago.
The organization may form partnerships with several retired boxers who could agree to donate proceeds from various projects to the organization, said Marano.
He said that Ring 10 plans on working with several younger boxers to make sure they understand that even if they are making big sums of money today, that could change once they leave boxing.
“We need to educate the younger boxers coming into this life,” said Marano.
And boxers who are established or retired, he added, should consider giving back to their comrades who are falling on hard times.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393