Retired boxers who’ve fallen on hard times get no respect – no retirement plan, no 401k, no health insurance fund.
Now a group of mostly east Bronx-based fight fans is holding its second annual fundraiser to benefit famous boxers who have hit the ropes.
Some have lost large purses made during illustrious careers to unloyal friends and unscrupulous promoters, said Matt Farrago, president of the Ring 10 Veterans Boxing Foundation of New York.
Scheduled to attend Ring Ten’s second annual gala at Marina del Rey on Saturday, August 18 are crew of former fighters and world champions.
Among them: James “BoneCrusher” Smith, Livingstone Bramble, Donny Lalonde, Chad Dawson, Aaron “Superman” Davis, Iran “The Blade” Barkley, Doug DeWitt, “The Silk” Michael Olajide, trainer Lou Duva, and others.
Tickets are $135 if bought before Friday, August 3, and $160 after.
“When the money is coming in fast for a boxer, everyone wants to be your friend,” said Farrago, a retired professional boxer who fought from 1983 to 1991. “When the money is gone, these guys are left with nothing – no education or job. Many are found in low-income housing or on the street. Two champions of the world were found literally living on the streets.”
A 100 percent of net proceeds will go boxers that fight fans will remember – including Iran Barkley, whose homeless plight was featured in the New York Post in 2010.
The foundation 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, said Farrago.
“For these guys, the skills ran out, the money ran out, and the manager ran out,” said Farrago.
Ring 10 is based in the Bronx because much of its board of directors live here, he said.
“The sole purpose of Ring 10 is to help boxers help themselves, not consider them charity cases” said board vice president Michael Bernard, longtime physical education teacher at Villa Maria Academy in Country Club. “Just look at Iran Barkley – a five time world champ that went from making millions to food stamps. Because of Ring 10 and events like the one on August 18, he has an apartment, food, and electricity.”
“Iran Barkley grossed $5 million; Riddick Bowe made $60 million,” Farrago said. “You could say I work 40 hours a week and I never made anything close to that and that is your prerogative. But we don’t give handouts. We help people get back on the feet.”
For more information about Ring 10 or to purchase tickets for August 18th fundraiser, call Matt Farrago at (631) 948-6028. Checks can be made payable to Ring 10, and can be mailed to 30 Bowdon Road, Greenlawn, N.Y. 11740.