MONDAY, January 3rd, 2005, AT 6:00 PM, PT
By Nigel Clarke
"Undisputed Champions for Dignity!"
Boxingtalk's Nigel Clarke recently spoke with Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos of the Retired Boxers Foundation. In this informative and emotional interview, Alex and his assistant Jacquie Richardson, provide details on the Retired Boxers Foundation and the many ways they are helping retired fighters. If you're a boxer or a fan of the sport, you don't want to miss this interview.
CLICK HERE FOR INTERVIEW
Clarke: What is the Retired
Boxers Foundation and what is its mission?
Alex: The Retired Boxers Foundation, "The Undisputed Champions for Dignity!" It is a Non Profit organization that has been in existence for several years--since 1998. We exist to help fighters when their careers are over, helping them live a dignified life. As you know, in boxing, there is no pension plan, there are no medical benefits and as a result, many fighters wind up owing the government back taxes and also having problems neurologically....physical stuff. We exist to help the fighters throughout the world. We also have a medical advisory board. We've been helping fighters, and that is what I'm going to die doing!
Clarke: You had a magnificent
career inside the ring. If, I'm not mistaken, when you retired, you faced some
tough times. Can you provide some insight on the types of issues a fighter faces
once he retires?
Alex: Well you know, I can speak for myself and I can speak for a few fighters that I know. A lot of fighters leave the sport, sometimes they leave badly damaged and whether it be neurologically or whether it be emotionally or physically, there are a lot of things that happen when your career is over.
Boxing is a wonderful game and a beautiful sport. I love it and I will die a fighter. Today, I'm going to die as a fighter today doing the right thing for the sport of boxing, which is helping my brothers in the sport, who need help. We get calls every day. I talk to fighters everyday no matter where they are. We have people who represent the foundation in the states and overseas, we also have a medical advisory board; we have a great honorary board that includes James Carville and director Ron Shelton. We have some good people who have been helping. Director Ron Shelton, when we started this foundation was our biggest contributor. He gave us $50,000 donation for five years for operating expenses. We've been doing some great things to help fighters. No body draws a salary at the RBF. 100% of the donations go back to the fighters who need a hand up.
We also have people that help us with financial services. You hear stories about fighters owing back taxes or filing for bankruptcy. This is nothing new to the sport. You hear it today, with guys like Antonio Tarver not too long ago, Mike Tyson--who is a good friend and my brother in boxing till death--filed for bankruptcy. You hear it with numerous fighters. There are a lot of fighters who file for bankruptcy. We try to educate and do the right thing for the sport. Boxing is a wonderful game, like I say, your fighters don't come from ivy league schools, we come from the ghettos, the barrios and third world countries and were looking to make it out of there. So we have to educate the fighters. Our organization is about fighters helping fighters. Because nobody else does....and educating the public too, because people don't know about these things! People think the fighters make millions and the truth of the matter is that before they get anything, the IRS gets at least a third, their manager gets a third. Then there's 10% for the trainer, 2% for the cut man, and then you gotta pay the bills that have been piling up while you're waiting for the payday. Every fighter needs to have some legal counsel and accounting assistance, from day one. You can't trust nobody in the sport of boxing, so you gotta create your own protectors in this sport. These fighters also need to look at the "hangers on..." These are the people who always have their hand out, but don't really do shit to help you.
Clarke: I've been a
participant and a fan of boxing for several years and I have not heard of your
Alex: We've been in existence for over six years. You don't hear the stories. I've had struggles in my life. You hear about fighters when their stories hit the newspapers. They wind up with problems--some they caused and some they can't help. I did. I had problems with drugs and alcohol and I was homeless, but God has saved me for a reason. He gave me the heart of a fighter and a few brains so that I could work from the inside to change things. I am honored to speak about what God has given me and that includes all of my experiences, good and bad, so that I can be an authority on what the sport needs and what the athletes need when their careers are over. None of them, myself included, want pity. All we need is a chance to start a new life. My Executive Director calls me the "Poster Child" of what can happen to a fighter who leaves the sport of boxing with some damage and no clue what to do when their careers come to an end. I am living proof that we can over come our addictions--I've been sober 5 years on December 29th--and that we can repair some of the physical and neurological damage if we get the right kind of medical care. We can start a new life. I always say, "My past is like my ass. It's behind me!" Alex: I testified at the attorney general boxing tasks force hearing back in 1999,which helped pass the bill for the Muhammad Ali boxing safety act, which has not done anything for the sport of boxing. Even though the intent was good and it drew attention to the need to make the sport safer, it didn't come with any funding to enforce it. It was in place when fighters like Greg Page fought in Kentucky, with no ambulance on site, no Oxygen, an unlicensed doctor--and where did it get him? In a coma for months and now completely disabled. His wife looked on the Internet and found us. We were able to raise funds, several thousand of dollars to help him when he left the hospital. One of our reps, Brad Cooney, jumped in and helped them get Supplemental Social Security in less than 90 days, and because Greg is totally disabled, he also got Medicare. We've been doing the right thing and that is what this is about.
There are a lot of stories that you might not know about. I've been in the game for over thirty years, there are many things people don't know about. Bobby Chacon, two-time world champ. He still walks around with dementia and you have people who still exploit him, which is disgusting and I can't stand to see it! We are here to help the fighters!
Clarke: You founded the
Retired Boxers Foundation in 1998. What difficulties have you had in advancing
the organization? Alex: You would literally think that you would get a lot of
help from the sport of boxing. But what happens is that we don't, we mostly get
help from outside contributions. We do the right thing to help the fighters and
I am going to die doing this!
Jacquie: Alex is very passionate about what he does and it is very satisfying work. We operate on a budget of less that 25K a year. No one takes a salary. It might be as little as 85 dollars for bus fare to go home for a guy who is one the streets. It might be 400 dollars for someone who wants to become a certified trainer, but can't get far enough ahead to do it. Or like Jaun Antonio Lopez, we paid for his chemotherapy for six months ....until the WBC took over. Alex: Eight months! Jacquie: Eight months before the WBC took it over. You can't do much with 25K, but we can be the bridge until we find the right resources.
Clarke: That leads into my
next question, you guys operate on less that 25K for a year, yet promoters and
cable networks make millions from fights, why aren't you getting assistance from
Jacquie: You know what, when you talk about Mike Tyson's $3 million purse, you're talking about one percent of what really comes in through television. I went through old lawsuits, when they were making 27 million from fights that were televised in 1977, who knows what it is now. If they gave us 25 cents from every pay per view subscriber it would endow this and every other foundation out there. You know...the Retired Boxers Foundation could be out of business, which is our goal, if every state adopted the kind of pension plan that California did, which costs $.89 per ticket sold to a boxing event, and a quarter from every PPV in boxing. You tell me one fan in boxing that wouldn't mind paying twenty five cents extra when they buy a PPV, or care if their ticket included eighty nine cents to help boxers retired with a pension and have some insurance while they were risking their lives to entertain the fans!
Clarke: So you have reached
out to promoters and networks?
Jacquie: We don't directly, but James Carville had Don King as his guest on CNN's Crossfire, and he specifically asked Don King why he didn't help people like Alex Ramos and the RBF. Don responded that "there are lots of poor people in the world and I try to help as many as I can." Dan Goosen and Showtime have been wonderful in providing tickets so that Alex and I can go to the fights. That's where we get information on who needs help. In fact, it was a writer at one of the fights that told us about Juan Antonio Lopez. You know...it's funny, but we NEVER get calls from the retired boxer themselves, asking for help. It's always from a fan or a family member or another fighter. HBO used to give us tickets to fights, but they haven't in over two years. We do our networking at the fights. Like I said, neither Alex or I draw a salary, and I already subsidize the RBF, so tickets to the fights would be out of the question without the generosity of people like Dan and Craig Goosen and Showtime. Bob Yalen at ESPN was also very generous to us, but we don't even know who the new people are.
Clarke: What are you goals
for the upcoming year?
Jacquie: Our goal for the upcoming year is to raise another 25K to stay in business. It does not sound very lofty, but that is the reality of what this is. For a normal nonprofit it takes 3 to 5 years to build your credibility. In boxing I believe it takes twice as long. Alex works 24/7, contacting people and getting resources. I work part time for the Ventura County District Attorney, and spend another 20-40 hours a week finding resources and delivering things that fighters need. Amazing what you can do if you care enough. Like I said, a phone call to the right person can change someone's life. Alex has a great relationship with Mauricio and Jose Suiliaman and the WBC. They picked up the cost of Juan Antonio's chemotherapy after we had paid it for 8 months. One phone call to the WBC and Genaro Chicanito Hernandez, and they arranged for his eye surgery and paid for it. Alex isn't afraid to ask anyone for help for one of his brothers in boxing! How much does it cost to make a phone call? Nothing really. We have helped dozens of fighters get Supplemental Social Security, we have helped them appeal rejections, we have helped them get Veterans Benefits and we have gotten them the medical treatment they need. Not only do we make the calls, we drive them to the Social Security Administration and VA offices, we help them fill out the paper work and we make sure that they get the right kind of physical and neuro exams to make sure they have appropriate diagnosis.
Clarke: What are your
thoughts on boxing reform and a national boxing commissioner?
Alex: They talk about a national boxing commission. If it is with the same guys who are in the sport today, what is the sense of having it? They need to have boxers on this commission. There're many fighters out there who are very intelligent. A lot of people think that fighters, because that they come from the ghettos, are not educated. First of all, all these guys on commissions, they are all political appointees. Come on! How in the hell!? These guys aint't never boxed in their life! If the commissions were doing their jobs the way they are supposed to at the state level, we would not have to be talking about this shit!
Clarke: If I am currently a
professional fighter in the sport, why should I concern myself with the Retired
Alex: You never know what could happen--your life could change in a minute. Look at Gerald McClellan, he was one of the best fighters in the world, he needs 24-hour medical attention. Wilfredo Benitez, the youngest champion ever in the world! Needs medical attention 24 hours a day. The government of Puerto Rico is paying him some money, like a social security. I know because I was at his house, and we did a fundraiser for him in New York. We have a lot of support. Bernard Hopkins has supported us in many things; Fernando Vargas is on our board. We try to do the right thing for the fighters, because, you never know! Current professional fighters should enjoy their glorious days in the ring, but wouldn't it be nice if they could do something for the great warriors that paved the way for their success? We have never received a dime from a fighter, past or present. We are brothers in this sport and we do care about each other, but when it comes time to make charitable donations, everybody seems to look the other way. Maybe they are afraid of what they see.
Clarke: What should boxers
know about your organization?
Alex: Boxers should know that they can contact us, whatever time it is. If they want help they got it. There are a lot of fighters that may not know if they are damaged. But these fighters can be helped and the doctors need to know their boxing background before they can make the right diagnosis. I took an MRI and the MRI showed that my brain is beautiful and looks perfect. I had problems with my balance and I was embarrassed and the doctors knew that there was something wrong. They did a complete neuro work-up that verified the damage, but not the cause. The next step was very extensive neuro-psych testing and they found on the frontal lobe part of my brain-- they found damage to my frontal lobe and right Temporal Lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe of the brain is the Executive function of our thought process. It is where our emotions are centered. When it is damaged, the neurotransmitters "misfire" and that is where the rage disorders, authority disorders, and how we determine consequences for our actions takes place. When it is messed up, we do stupid things and we don't even know that what we are doing is wrong. A lot of the fighters have that. We want to educate my brothers.
Jacquie: This I think will be a major service to families. A lot of fighters end up with some damage on the front part of their brains. That part handles executive functions. The earliest symptoms of damage to a fighter are rage disorders and outbursts and extreme jealousy according to medical research on the subject. What fighters don't know is that they can be helped. Depakote is one drug that is normally prescribed for seizures, but has an unusual side affect in that it can improve the balance and gait problems that many fighters have. If you go to a regular doctor, they might misdiagnose you. They don't fully understand the impact on the brain from boxing. We happen to work with doctors and we have a great medical advisory board. The fighters them selves feel badly, if they only knew that there are things that can diminish those problems. Many fighters respond well to Welbutrin, for some reason it works well for some fighters. We've seen fighters improve dramatically.
Clarke: So there is
medication that can help?
Jacquie: Yes. The fighters need to know that there is help. It also helps if they continue to be active and to continue to exercise. This improves the blood flow to the brain and it helps. They need to exercise their brains as well. They should read the newspapers, do crossword puzzles and thinks that make them think. It sounds goofy, but it really works. Depression is also a common side effect of frontal lobe damage. When anybody is depressed, they want to withdraw from the world, and curl up in a ball. This is the worst thing for a fighter to do. These are things that can be helped. Their quality of life can change dramatically. Also, fighters need to know that substance abuse will kill them faster than their boxing injuries. Worse, if they have damage, alcohol and drugs will just speed the process up so they end up with dementia.
If anyone would like more information on the Retired Boxers Foundation, they can visit the website at www.retiredboxers.org
MONDAY, JULY 12th, 2004, AT 10:20 AM, PT
Open Letter To
The Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher
And Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Jerry Abramson
The Retired Boxers Foundation is a small nonprofit organization founded by retired professional boxer, Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos for the purpose of assisting retired professional boxers in the transition from their glorious days in the ring to a dignified retirement. Part of our mission is also to educate the public about the sport of boxing and advocating for safety and integrity in the sport. We have an impressive coalition of boxing experts, including a Medical Advisory Board with internationally recognized neurologist, neurosurgeons, neuro-psychiatrists and neuro-behavorists who assist our organization and the athletes who are now retired professional boxers.
With all due respect, we feel we must educate the two of you about the condition of boxing in the State of Kentucky and the fact that your admonishment of Mike Tyson is looking more like the pot calling the kettle black. Mike Tyson has made mistakes and he has served his time. Kentucky, on the other hand, has yet to admit to what many in boxing would call their own "criminal acts." Kentucky Champion boxer, Greg Page is sitting in a wheelchair, completely disabled, because of some faux pas made by your State Boxing Commission. Some would say that the State of Kentucky was guilty of complete and utter lack of oversight when Greg Page, age 42 at the time, fought Dale Crowe, 24, at Peel's Palace in Erlanger Kentucky on March 9, 2001.
The following details were widely reported and, even if you were elected for your first terms, as long-time residents of the State of Kentucky, it is unfathomable that you might have missed it:
At Peel's Palace in Erlanger, Kentucky, on March 9, 2001, Greg Page, 42, of Louisville, and Dale Crowe, 24, of Alexandria, Kentucky fought 10 hard rounds before the fight was stopped when Greg Page went down due to an apparent shove by Dale Crowe Page's head landed on the bottom rope of the ring, while (according to his wife, Patricia Page) he began foaming around the mouth and was clearly dazed. He remained there for a full nine minutes while ring officials stepped over his legs and proceeded to make the ring announcement declaring Dale Crowe the winner. There was no oxygen available at ringside, even though your regulations require one, and no emergency medical technicians. Even though there was a stretcher and a blanket, there was no one to carry it out and no ambulance on sight. One of Page's friends, a Louisville police detective named Jonathan Bryant, had to go find the ringside physician and bring him to ringside for Page to receive any kind of attention, a process that took several minutes. It also took nine minutes for a call to be placed to the 911 emergency line. The doctor - Dr. Manuel Mediodia - was not near the ring when Page went down, and had to be found elsewhere in the building. Greg Page nearly died because the ringside physician, Dr. Mediodia, was NOT licensed to practice medicine in Kentucky and in fact, his license had been suspended twice in Ohio. He was not trained as a ringside physician and told reporters he learned what he needed "by reading the USA boxing handbook."
Nancy Black, executive director of the Kentucky Athletic Commission, which regulates boxing in the Commonwealth, said ambulances don't have to be at fights. This, in spite of the fact that the Muhammad Ali Boxing Safety Act requires it. Nancy Black admitted that she had never been to a boxing match and was unfamiliar with what happens ringside. Four of seven members of the Kentucky Athletic Commission attended: Jack Kerns, chairman; Emmitt Igo, Tim Gonterman and Fred Burch, and obviously, all four of them observed Greg Page go down and remain, head suspended, on the bottom rope for over twenty minutes before an ambulance took him away - first to the wrong hospital which was not equipped for severe head injuries. Greg Page suffered in a coma for months due to strokes following the fight. Page is currently relegated to a wheelchair and is completely disabled. Since there were no insurance provisions required, the Kentucky commission is taking the position that they have no responsibility whatsoever for the well-being of Greg Page. Obviously, the State of Kentucky is going to wait for an impending lawsuit to be settled and then we hope they can find it in their heart to apologize to Greg Page for allowing such poor oversight and concern for boxer safety to have changed Greg's life forever.
We implore you to read a series of articles that are well researched and fully documented by Charles Jay, an advocate and friend of the Retired Boxers Foundation, in a series of articles called "Operation Clean-up." All of these articles are posted at the International Brotherhood of Prizefighters at these links:
In defense of boxing and certainly in defense of Mike
Tyson, we feel we have a moral obligation to inform you of the
transgressions that remain in litigation at the present time. Contrary to what
the media focuses on in defining Mike Tyson, he is a man who has made
amends and served his time. He is trying to make a living in his trade and take
care of his family. If he meets your licensing requirements, it seems absurd
for anyonehigh level elected officials included - to make moral judgments
on this man's worthiness to fight in Kentucky, especially in light of the
transgressions of your State Boxing Commission just a couple of years ago. We
will forgive you (Kentucky) if you will forgive Mike.
Greg Page and his family may not be so willing to let bygones be bygones, but, on the other hand, they have forgiven Mike and even baked him a birthday cake when he appeared at the Louisville Press Conference.
Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos
Founder and President RETIRED BOXERS FOUNDATION
3359 Bryan Avenue Simi Valley, CA, 93063
MONDAY, JUNE 16th, 2004, AT 8:20 AM, PT
Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos attended the Mayor's Reception for the Olympic Torchbearers tomorrow. Pictured with Alex is Rafer Johnson, who carried the 1984 Olympic Torch into the Coliseum, and Sylvester Stallone. NBC is covering the event all day tomorrow, with a one hour special tomorrow, early evening. Also, Telemundo is doing a one hour special with a feature on Alex. The piece airs at 6:30 tomorrow (June 16th) on the East Coast and again, on the West Coast. Even if you do not understand Spanish, you can see our boxer and friend, Alex on TV. It is really an awesome experience for him.
Tomorrow, its the torch run, followed by some visits to the
gyms in the area, and the day ends with the Dodgers vs the Orioles, with special
seats for the Olympians and the Torchbearers.
Talk to you all soon!
Retired Boxers Foundation
MONDAY, MAY 24th, 2004, AT 11:10 PM, PT
Retired Boxers Foundation Founder
Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos
Selected as U.S. A. Torchbearer for
ATHENS 2004 Olympic Torch Relay
The 1980 Olympics in Moscow were boycotted so Ramos never had the chance to realize his dream of "Olympic Gold." Twenty-four years later, he is honored to carry the Olympic Torch in Los Angeles, California!
Simi Valley, CA, USA:
The Founder and President of the Retired Boxers Foundation, Alex "The
Bronx Bomber" Ramos, has been selected as one of the US
Torchbearers for the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Torch Relay in Los Angeles, California.
The Olympic flame visits the United States, June 16-19, in the first-ever global
Olympic torch relay. The Olympic flame will be carried in Los Angeles,
California; St. Louis, Missouri; Atlanta, Georgia and New York City, New York.
Ramos will carry the torch for 400 meters in Los Angeles, California on
Wednesday, June 16th, 2004. According to a press release from the U.S. Olympic
Committee on May 4th:
"Some of America's greatest Olympians will carry the flame in the USA on its historic journey including Bonnie Blair (Delafield, WI.), Gail Devers (Loganville, GA), Janet Evans (Irvine, CA), Rulon Gardner (Cascade, CO), Rafer Johnson (Sherman Oaks, CA), Jackie Joyner Kersee (St. Louis, MO), Shannon Miller (Grafton, MA), Peter Vidmar (Coto de Caza, CA) and Bonny Warner (Byron, CA), among many other notable athletes. Some of the torchbearers, such as these Olympians, are known all over the world. A common thread ties all the torchbearers together in that they exhibit characteristics that exemplify the Olympic ideals. They represent the best of humanity in their city, country and world.
Being selected as a torchbearer for the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Torch Relay is a tremendous honor. The theme for the torch relay is "Pass the Flame, Unite the World." The Athens Organizing Committee for the 2004 Olympic Games established criteria that all torchbearers 'represent the best of humanity' and that selection programs include some form of public participation. Torchbearers selected reflect the values of the Olympic games and are people who unite their communities through sport, education or culture. They also inspire others through participation, celebration, human scale and heritage. Along with the official nomination form, nominators were asked to submit an essay of 50-100 words explaining how the nominee meets the criteria of being an inspirational person who reflects the 'best in humanity'. Local judging panels selected the individuals who will have the honor of uniting the world by carrying the Olympic flame. ATHENS 2004 approved all torchbearers.
Alex Ramos is deeply honored to have been nominated and selected to be a Torchbearer for the 2004 ATHENS Olympics and intends to carry the torch to honor all of the amateur boxers who aspire to be medalists and for all of the fighters who never made it - especially his USA Boxing Teammates who were killed in a plane crash in 1980 en route to Warsaw, Poland for the USA vs. Poland Box-off as part of "USA vs. the World." Killed in that crash were Lemuel Steeples from St. Louis; Calvin Anderson from Connecticut; Paul Palomino - Carlos Palomino's brother; George Pimentel, New York and others, including trainers and Olympic Coach, Sarge Johnson.
Ramos would have been on that flight, were it not for the fact that he was in the semi-finals for the New York State Golden Glove Tournament in 1980 and would have had to give up his shot at the Golden Gloves to make the flight. He boxed Mike "The Body Snatcher" McCallum and had he lost that fight, he would have been out of the semi-finals and on that plane. Ramos was able to participate in "USA vs. Moscow" in 1980, when President Carter gave special permission to the USA Team to go to Moscow for this event. Because of the boycott of the Moscow Olympics, Ramos said that the USA Boxing Team had to go to Washington, D.C. to obtain special permission from President Jimmy Carter to travel to Moscow for the box-offs for USA vs. the World. Permission was granted by President Carter and Ramos won the tournament - the only fighter to win by a knockout! He was presented a crystal "Misha the Bear" trophy, which was the Olympic symbol for the 1980 Olympics and presented to the outstanding fighter from the United States.
Alex Ramos began his boxing career at the age of 11, and turned pro in 1980 after the Moscow Olympics were boycotted. By then, he had won 4 New York Golden Gloves and several other amateur titles - pretty much every amateur tournament fought in those days, including the Empire State Games, the PAL Tournament and the National AAU Championship. He became the USBA Middleweight Champion in 1984 and the 1986 California Middleweight Champion. He was one of "NBC's Tomorrow's Champions" which launched the careers of many great fighters. In 1995, after some time in what Ramos calls "the darkness" of alcoholism, drugs and homelessness, Ramos turned his life around and started what was to become the Retired Boxers Foundation The RBF was created by Ramos to help all of the retired professional boxers who had a hard time making the transition from their glorious days in the ring to a dignified retirement. "Boxing is the only professional sport that does not provide a pension or a retirement plan for the athletes when their careers are over. Many of us struggle with the aftermath of boxing, whether its physical or emotional damage, with no idea how to get back on our feet," said Ramos.
Ramos is highly respected by his brothers in boxing and he likes to call the Retired Boxers Foundation "fighters helping fighters" because the athletes have created a network where they look out for each other. The RBF finds the resources, no matter how big or how small, to help restore the dignity these athletes deserved. Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos will carry the 2004 Athens Olympic Torch to honor the brotherhood of boxing and he will run as one of "The Undisputed Champions for Dignity!"
For more information about the
Retired Boxers Foundation, visit their website at
www.retiredboxers.org, or call Alex Ramos at (805) 583-5890.
WEDNESDAY, December 23rd, 2003, AT 5:50 PM, PT
Boxers Foundation Play Santa at Los Angeles Area Gyms
RBF Founder & President, Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos delivers toys and turkeys donated by L. A. County Sheriff's Department
Simi Valley, CA: On Thursday, December 18, 2003, the Retired Boxers Foundation took a truckload of toys and turkey dinners to the boxing veterans and their families at such famous locations in the sport as the Azteca Gym in Bell, the Oscar De La Hoya Youth Center in East LA, Freddie Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club and TRU Boxing in Hollywood.
Retired Boxers Foundation L.A. Representative, Richie Robert, helped arrange the holiday deliveries in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. According to Sergeant Sven Krongeyer, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the only stipulation would be that the toys and turkeys be delivered to retired fighters, their families and children residing in Los Angeles County. "No problem!" said Alex Ramos, a former fighter who knows lots of his fellow retired fighters who could use a hand up during the holidays.
The first stop made by Ramos and the RBF entourage, was the famous Azteca Gym in Bell. Ramos has good friends at that gym, where he once trained, including Dio "El Martillo" (The Hammer) Colome and Lucilo Nolasco. Before they opened the doors to unload the gifts, Ramos was warmly greeted with high fives and hugs. "There is a brotherhood in boxing that no one understands like the fighters do," said Ramos. "We never forget!" Colome was a top welterweight contender, known for entering the ring wearing giant hammerheads over his boxing gloves. He was Stroh's Tournament Welterweight Champion in the early 1980's.
Like most retired fighters, Colome and Nolasco are still drawn to the neighborhood boxing gym where they share their expertise and experience with those who dream of a career in the sweet science. Neither of the fighters made a fortune in boxing, but both cherish the friendships like the one with Ramos. As Ramos was leaving the gym, Colome hugged his friend and said, "Gracias mi hermano! Te quiero mucho!"
The next stop was the Oscar De La Hoya Youth Center in East Los Angeles. Ramos and Richardson unloaded 40 unwrapped toys that the trainers took for distribution to the children that train in the Youth Center boxing gym. The kids at the gym seemed to sense the presence of the former pro boxer and worked hard and fast showing off their moves and their power on the heavy bags. But even the most dedicated kid is distracted by a boatload of toys and their faces lit up with megawatt smiles. "Of all the things I have had in my life, there is nothing like seeing a happy kid!" said Ramos, who reminisced about the days growing up in the South Bronx and the Christmas he was worried he wouldn't get any presents. His dad worked hard and some years, the money was tight. "People forget the reason for the season and of course, the first reason is that Christmas is the birth of Christ. The second reason is to give children hope and warmth and a smile and of course, a Christmas present to celebrate Jesus' birthday," continued Ramos.
From Oscar's Youth Center, the RBF headed down the freeway to Freddie Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club and then to TRU Boxing in Hollywood. With a twinkle in his eye, Ramos was quick to point out that Freddie Roach could get his own Christmas presents because he had a helluva year in the training business. While a lot of the athletes at the Wild Card are doing very well in professional boxing, the young, up and comers and the sparring partners are not always doing so well. Alex is taking names of any boxer who needs a little help making this holiday special. He says, "I ain't no Santa Claus, but everybody knows that fighters have the best hearts in the world. Nobody can tell me that we ever lose them either. Long as I live, I'm gonna be there for my brothers in boxing! I was born a fighter and I'm gonna die a fighter! This (the Retired Boxers Foundation) is about "fighters helping fighters."
Ramos would like to thank Richie Robert, who more than twenty years ago, remembers the Marines and the Army trying to recruit Alex Ramos on his way home from Lehman High School in the Bronx. Richie was only 17 at the time, and while Alex Ramos chose a career in boxing Richie joined the Marines. Feliz Navidad.
The Retired Boxers Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation started by 1984 USBA Middleweight Champion, Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos in 1995 to help fighters in need, is leading a campaign called "Fighters Helping Fighters" to inspire other fighters to help. Ramos started the Retired Boxers Foundation because of what happens to professional boxers once their careers are over. Because boxing is the only sport that does not provide adequate pensions to fighters once they retire, too many of them suffer in the transition from their glorious days in the ring to a dignified retirement. If you want more information about the Retired Boxers Foundation, please visit their website at www.retiredboxers.org You can email Alex Ramos at JaxFacts@ix.netcom.com
WEDNESDAY, July 9th, 2003, AT 10:35 AM, PT
Boxers Foundation Asks for Votes for
World Boxing Hall of Fame Nominee
Col. Bob Sheridan
"Fighters Helping Fighters" extends same energy for the good people in boxing - Col. Bob Sheridan is certainly one of them!
July 8, 2003, Simi Valley, CA: Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos, founder and President of the Retired Boxers Foundation, and RBF Executive Director, Jacquie Richardson, are proud to announce their endorsement of International Boxing Commentator, Col. Bob Sheridan, as a top candidate for the World Boxing Hall of Fame. According to Hall of Fame sources, the ballots are out and the choices are outstanding. The Retired Boxers Foundation is doing what Sheridan is too modest to do: Bragging about the man's accomplishments! "I want to make sure that the people who will be voting for the World Boxing Hall of Fame nominees, know what an asset Col. Bob Sheridan is to the sport of boxing," said RBF President, Alex Ramos. He continued, "Because he is a commentator for the International markets, most people in the U.S. don't hear him and I am afraid they may not know him. I have traveled with the Colonel and I have fought on the cards he has announced. I have known him since the late 1970's and he is awesome!"
Col. Bob Sheridan is an International celebrity having broadcast over 10,000 fights on radio and television, with over 725 world title fights in a career spanning parts of five decades from the late 1960's to the new millennium. Some of his accomplishments include:
Colonel Bob Sheridan is an award winning broadcaster/commentator respected by the biggest names in boxing. He has been the witness to boxing history -from the ordinary to the extraordinary-and has shared what he has seen with millions of people around the world. According to his fans, Sheridan is candid yet respectful of the sport and the athletes who have paved the way for his position as International Commentator Extraordinaire. Boxing fans are sure to know his voice, if not his face, because he is also the man who does the voice-overs for hundreds of the ESPN Classics. No one could ever doubt Sheridan's dedication to the sport and to his position as international commentator. Experiencing a third heart attack and angioplasty, Sheridan checked himself out of the hospital, convincing his cardiologist Dr. Ram Singh to administer fluids and monitor his blood pressure while he commentated the Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson rematch, Sheridan never skipped another beat (no pun intended) and returned to the hospital after the fight for his second angioplasty procedure.
The Retired Boxers Foundation executives and supporters are huge fans of Colonel Bob Sheridan because he "walks the talk" of helping the organization to help the fighters. The Retired Boxers Foundation was successful in recruiting Col. Bob Sheridan to their Board of Directors in 2001, followed by two recruits, political consultant, James Carville and respected real estate developer from New England, Gary Litchfield. Sheridan never misses a chance to say good things about Alex Ramos and what he is doing through the Retired Boxers Foundation. "I can always count on Bob Sheridan. His word is for real and THAT is really something in this sport," said Ramos. The Retired Boxers Foundation considers Col. Bob Sheridan one of the "Undisputed Champions for Dignity". If you want to hear more from Ramos, just call him at (805) 583-5890.
The Retired Boxers Foundation, a 501(c)3
nonprofit corporation started by 1984 USBA Middleweight Champion, Alex "The
Bronx Bomber" Ramos in 1995 to help fighters in need, is leading a
campaign called "Fighters Helping Fighters" to inspire other fighters
to help. Ramos started the Retired Boxers Foundation because of what
happens to professional boxers once their careers are over. Because boxing is
the only sport that does not provide adequate pensions to fighters once they
retire, too many of them suffer in the transition from their glorious days in
the ring to a dignified retirement. For more information on the Retired Boxers
Foundation, "Fighters Helping Fighters" program, call Alex Ramos
at (805) 583-5890 or visit their website at
You can email Alex Ramos at JaxFacts@ix.netcom.com.
The Fighters Helping Fighters campaign has assisted over 100 retired professional boxers and their families, including arranging surgery, tax consultation to clear up problems with the IRS, legal services, rehabilitation services, Dignity Bags for homeless fighters and fighters in convalescent homes as well as financial assistance for the families. Ramos takes between 15 and 20 calls a day from fighters and their families from all over the world. He, along with RBF Executive Director, Jacquie Richardson, make referrals and help fighters apply for medical assistance, social security disability, rehabilitation services and legal assistance. They also assist organizations interested in hiring retired fighters for appearances and for speaking engagements. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation you can send it to Alex Ramos, Retired Boxers Foundation, 3359 Bryan Avenue, Simi Valley, CA 93063.
MONDAY, June 9th, 2003, AT 4:00 PM, PT
"The best way to predict your
future is to create it.
Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape."
Takes Over Monthly Donation from
Retired Boxers Foundation for
Juan Antonio Lopez's Chemotherapy
Their detractors call them one of those "Alphabet" Organizations but Alex Ramos of the Retired Boxers Foundation and RBF Writer Jaime Estrada call the WBC one of the "Undisputed Champions for DIGNITY!
June 9, 2003 Simi Valley, CA: Jose Sulaiman, President of the World Boxing Council (WBC) and his son, Mauricio Sulaiman, announced today that they would begin taking over the $140 monthly contribution for Juan Antonio Lopez's chemotherapy from the Retired Boxers Foundation. About six months ago, Retired Boxers Foundation columnist, Jaime Estrada, who writes "Boxeo en Espanol" for the RBF website, contacted the Retired Boxers Foundation, desperately seeking financial assistance for Super Bantamweight Champion, Juan Antonio Lopez, who has leukemia. After more than 100 fights, Lopez is fighting something that no referee, trainer or commission can change: A possible death sentence. Like many retired professional boxers, Lopez was able to care for his family but was not prepared for a curve ball like leukemia. Also, like most retired boxers, Lopez was without medical insurance to cover the $140 monthly charge for chemotherapy in his native Sinaloa, Culiacan, Mexico.
Estrada wrote to the Retired Boxers Foundation, "Life is full of turns in the destiny of every human being and the potential for bad luck lurks around the corner. Most of us have memories of close calls and many have had lives tested by adversity." He continued in his passionate email to Alex Ramos, Founder of the Retired Boxers Foundation, "When God blesses us with health and prosperity, sometimes it seems like we forget where we came from and our hearts are blocked to the pain of others. It is nothing less than a selfish attitude when we choose not to help the less fortunate when we can afford to."
Juan Antonio Lopez was a trainer until he got sick, but he is better known as a boxer where he had a remarkable 92 victories (60 KO's) and 20 defeats. For the last 8 months of last year, Lopez was training a group of talented kids from Culiacan to help them increase their chances of success in the world of boxing. Juan Antonio went to see his family in his hometown and was not feeling well. He went to the doctor and was immediately hospitalized. The tests revealed that Juan had Leukemia, which is essentially "cancer in the blood."
Ramos did not hesitate to help Lopez and sent the first of several checks for $140. When the Retired Boxers Foundation realized that they didn't have the resources to continue the monthly contributions past June, he didn't hesitate to contact the WBC. "I would have sent him money out of my own pocket, money that I would collect from my friends, to help Juan. I would never let him down," said Ramos.
Alex Ramos wrote to the Sulaimans and the WBC to see if they could help. According to Ramos, "I was hesitant to ask for the help, but I knew that the WBC had helped many other fighters before and since Juan was being treated in Mexico, I thought the WBC would either help financially or have some resources that we could tap in Mexico."
Mauricio Sulaiman told Ramos he would see what he could do. He met with Jose Sulaiman to discuss the options and without hesitation; the WBC notified Ramos that they would begin the monthly contribution immediately. They also said that they would pursue assistance from Mexico to acquire the equivalent of Social Security so that Juan would get the medical attention he needed and his family would be taken care of. Ramos said he wasn't at all surprised by their generosity.
In December 2002, Ramos was honored by the WBC at their annual convention in Tokyo, Japan, for his humanitarian efforts through the Retired Boxers Foundation. Ramos said, "I knew that the WBC did things to improve the sport of boxing but I had no idea how much they had done until I read the program at the Tokyo Convention. You don't hear the stories about the good things the WBC does for fighters. I knew that the WBC conducts training for ringside physicians, cut men, referees and all of the boxing officials with 100% of their efforts to make the sport safer. As a former professional boxer, I can tell you that the officials at the fight have a huge responsibility and their decisions can be life saving or life threatening. I could tell by talking to Jose Sulaiman and his son, Mauricio Sulaiman, that the WBC is about more than sanctioning fees. I bet most fighters don't even know that some of the money they pay for these fees also goes to things that benefit the sport and the athletes themselves. For example, I didn't know about the generous donations the WBC. made to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for neurological studies that are related to injuries suffered in boxing. That contribution was over $200,000. Believe me, the more we can find out about chronic brain injuries and the impact on the neurological health of the athletes will go a long way towards making the sport safer."
Ramos expressed his respect for Jose Sulaiman and the WBC for "walking the talk" just like the Retired Boxers Foundation, to do everything possible for the athletes, whether they are in the ring or retired.
SUNDAY, June 1st, 2003, AT 1:00 PM, PT
Mandatory MRI's and the
Retired Boxers Foundation
Has a plan to pay for them!
The Retired Boxers Foundation wants the fines imposed on professional boxers to used to pay for boxer safety issues-not deposited in ANY state's General Fund!
Simi Valley, CA: On May 30th, the Nevada State Athletic Commission was scheduled to debate whether or not to mandate Magnetic Resonance Imaging/Magnetic Resonance Angiography testing (MRI) at a cost of over $400 per athlete. The Retired Boxers Foundation fully endorses any efforts to protect the athletes and to improve the safety of the sport, HOWEVER, the Foundation contends that the athletes have already "paid their dues" making the sport of boxing profitable in the State of Nevada. To impose a $425 fee on a boxer who makes less than $800 for a fight does not make good business sense for the athlete or the Commission.
The Retired Boxers Foundation is advocating that fees, as well as all fines imposed on professional athletes, be used to pay for these tests rather than taking another chunk out of the professional boxers paycheck. According to Alex Ramos, Founder and President of the Retired Boxers Foundation, "It makes no sense to fine boxers and then give the money to the state! That money should be used to improve the sport and make it safer. The fans keep the sport profitable in Las Vegas-and they are good for the casino and hotel business as well. In other words, the fight game is good for the Nevada economy .you think they could show some respect to the athletes and at least let them keep the money they already earned once--in the sport of boxing."
Many people would be surprised to know that when the athletes are fined--such as the $100,000 fine imposed on Fernando Vargas for testing positive for steroids and Tyson's enormous seven figure fine--the money is relegated to the State of Nevada's General Fund, not the State Athletic Commission. The Retired Boxers Foundation is already on the record stating that any fine imposed on the athletes should be used to improve the sport, not the State's general fund. Jacquie Richardson, Executive Director of the Retired Boxers Foundation explains the rationale behind their advocacy to return the money to the Commission this way, "Fernando Vargas's fine of $100,000 would cover 235 MRI/MRA tests and God knows how many could have been paid for with Tyson's fine. There is simply no good excuse not to use the money made on the backs of the fighters to improve their sport and make it safer. Boxing has been good for Nevada and now we would like Nevada to be good to the athletes as well as a Commission that ranks as one of the best in the Country. Give them the resources they need to oversee this sport and make it safer for the athletes, who earned the money in the first place. We are not asking the state to invest taxpayer dollars on the State Athletic Commission we are just asking them to reinvest the boxers money-their fines--on the boxers safety."
So who can make the change that would allow the boxers fines to be reinvested in the sport of boxing and in boxing safety? Unfortunately, the decision does not lie with the Commission, but with the legislature of the State of Nevada. There is not one person on the State Athletic Commission who would oppose using the fine money to improve the sport of boxing. The problem is that the Commissioners are all political appointees and the staff is essentially on the State's payroll and a not in a position to lobby for a change in the existing laws that mandate the return of all fines to the State General Fund.
At one time, this legislation was probably crafted to "pay back" the state for the costs incurred in funding the Commission. Obviously, the sport of boxing has prospered in Nevada and the State of Nevada no longer operates a State Athletic Commission in the red. Nevada's Commission, under the outstanding direction of Marc Ratner, is one of the best run Commissions in the Country. In other words, the Nevada State Athletic Commission is NOT a burden on the State of Nevada and it is time to change the law. Today, the fines imposed on the boxers are nothing less than a "windfall" to the State General Fund and the Retired Boxers Foundation thinks it is time to use the money for the labor force that created the windfall. The Retired Boxers Foundation and our representative Stitch Duran--a fine Las Vegas cut man (And former IKF Kickboxing Hall of Fame Amateur trainer and promoter) and devoted advocate of boxer safety--have already made the case for using boxer fines to support safety and improvement of boxing at the Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing when the Fernando Vargas fine was levied.
It is up to everyone who cares about the sport of boxing to speak out on this issue. The Commissioners and staff, including Flip Homansky and Dr. Goodman, are not in a position to ask that the fines imposed on boxers be remanded to the Commission for improving the sport. If they were able to advocate for the allocation of boxer fines to the Commission, they would in a heartbeat. Truth be told, they are devoted to the fighters and they could jeopardize their positions by advocating for these funds from the Nevada legislature and we certainly do not want to lose the good people in boxing. If the good people of Nevada really want to see boxing become self sufficient in Las Vegas, and by that I mean, pay for the safety precautions they are soon to consider mandating, then the people of Nevada have to call their legislative representatives and demand change. They need to respectfully tell the elected officials that they want the money earned in boxing and taken from the athletes in the form of fines, to be used where it is needed most--to improve the sport. If the fine money is made off the backs of the athletes, then it only makes sense that the sport CAN be self sufficient if this money is used to support the improvement of boxing and athlete safety. The Retired Boxers Foundation encourages the newly organized Joint Association of Boxers (JAB) to join us in our mission of improving the sport of boxing.
We think that JAB, with the resources of the Teamsters, are in the best position to lobby for a change in Nevada law which would designate boxing fines to be used by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for boxer safety, rather than by the state for their general fund. This is a labor issue that impacts the boxer's income (when a majority of boxers make less than $800 for a fight, an assessment of $425 is unreasonable), the working condition and their future. These changes are too late for the athletes that we assist through the Retired Boxers Foundation, but a considerable chunk of our mission is advocacy to improve the sport--especially athlete safety--so that some day, the RBF can go out of business. That is highly unlikely in this lifetime and God knows that there are too many athletes who are depending on the good people in boxing to do the right thing.
Jacquie Richardson, Executive Director - JaxFacts@ix.netcom.com
Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos, Founder & President
RETIRED BOXERS FOUNDATION
THURSDAY, May 15th, 2003, AT 8:30 AM, PT
Open Letter To James
From The Retired Boxers Foundation
REC: May 13, 2003 Simi
Valley, CA, USA:
Dear Mr. Hoffa:
The Retired Boxers Foundation, on behalf of thousands of retired professional boxers, want to thank you and the Teamsters for your interest in organizing a union for professional boxers. I see on your website that one of the Teamsters goals is "organizing the unorganized." God knows that you hit the jackpot! The Teamsters are not the first to suggest a union for the fighters, as I am sure you know. We think we can help the Teamsters gain the success that others have found so elusive, by offering some suggestions that will insure that your mission is the same as the athletes-to improve the working conditions of the fighters; to protect their rights and make sure that they are paid what they deserve for their efforts, including insurance benefits and a pension when they retire.
REPUTATION IS IMPORTANT
If you have done your homework on boxing, and I am sure that you have, you probably know that the sport of boxing has a really bad reputation because of a handful of greedy, unscrupulous and exploitative people that circle the bloodied ring warriors like a shark around chum. I know that the Teamsters have had the same kind of problems so you know first hand about the stigma of corruption and the damage it can do to the innocent people who look to the "leadership" of any organization to deliver on the promises that are made. People who have been around for a while know that the Teamsters have been victimized-just like professional boxing--by the same kind of power hungry thugs and criminals that give all of us a bad name. I know that people change and I am all for giving others a second chance. I always say, "Your past is like your ass-it's behind you."
PROFESSIONAL BOXERS WANT A UNION, BUT IS IT POSSIBLE?
The real reason for this letter is that we do not want the Teamsters/Joint Association of Boxers (JAB) to start off on the wrong foot. We fear that another organizing failure will put the idea of a union to bed for another twenty-five years. More importantly, we do not want you to mislead the professional athletes in the sport of boxing, promising them what others have been unable to deliver for the past hundred years. Professional boxers have been clambering for changes in the sport of boxing and many superficial, but very genuine efforts have been made. In fact, the fella's at the Boxing Organizing Committee (BOC)-Paul Johnson, Jose Chequi Torres, Irv Abramson (before he died), Tim Witherspoon and others--have been very vocal about their mission to organize the fighters and have been the most visible as well as consistent. If it is true that the BOC has declined your offer to join them, you will essentially be working against them. How can the unity among fighters be achieved when there is a division in the organizing entities? If it is true that the Teamsters offered jobs to at least three of the BOC leaders to abandon the BOC and join the JAB organization on the Teamsters payroll, the job was allegedly offered to Eddie Mustafa Muhammad.
CAN THE TEAMSTERS DELIVER? IMPORTANT QUESTIONS NEED ANSWERS
WHAT CAN THE TEAMSTERS DO THAT OTHERS HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO DO?
Finally, even though I wish you the best, I still think that the professional boxers will get what they want and need when they are ready to accept the fact that the changes they desire are really up to them. In 1960, Jack Demsey spoke to some business people in the Midwest and he said it was TIME to organize the fighters-to fight for dignity and respect. He died waiting. I got tired of waiting for a union and I got tired of the talk. I started the Retired Boxers Foundation in 1998 and started a campaign called "Fighters Helping Fighters." While the Teamsters are working with the Joint Association of Boxing and while we all wait to see if you can make it happen, the retired fighters will continue helping each other. There are others who are tired of waiting, including all of the Ring Organizations and groups like the Golden State Boxers Association. Gerry Cooney continues to do what he can to help fighters and God knows that there is enough for all of us to do to restore the dignity our athletes deserve, whether it is a proper burial, new teeth or a job. For the old timers, it's too late for a union.You have Gerry's number. Mine is (805) 583-5890.
In the meantime, while you initiate collective bargaining in boxing, the Retired Boxers Foundation will continue to pay for Juan Antonio Lopez's chemotherapy and Joey Gambino's new dentures. I will continue to help Olympic Gold Medalist, Andrew Maynard, apply for his Veteran's benefits, and I'll keep checking to see if Bobby Chacon has a roof over his head. Boxing is full of fighters who bow their heads in shame for believing in people who promised them the world and for all the other mistakes they made when they were champions. The fact remains that boxing reform must come from the fighters-not Teddy Atlas, John McCain or the Teamsters.
Good luck. We will be waiting to see if this is about the fighters or if this is about the new Teamsters Organizing strategy to increase membership (membership fees). The BOC worked more than a decade and there were others before them. Maybe the Teamsters have the clout (political and financial) to make it happen. I'm gonna die a fighter, and I would like to leave this world knowing that the kids that follow me will not suffer like some of my friends-that they will have the same respect that other athletes have and that they will have medical insurance and pensions when their days in the ring are over. This is America and I believe that all things are possible as long as people are honest and are willing to "walk the talk."
Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos
Founder and President
RETIRED BOXERS FOUNDATION
3359 Bryan Avenue
Simi Valley, CA, 93063
MONDAY, January 27th, 2003, AT 10:50 AM, PT
The Retired Boxers Foundation
To the Rescue of Juan Antonio Lopez.
Life is full of turn in the destiny of every human being, and
the sour moments are always one step waiting to happen. We all had bad memories
and teste somehow adversity, but when God bless us with health and prosperity
sometimes seems like we forget frome where we camefrom and our hearts is lock
to the pain of others in selfish attitude for not helping the less fortunate
when we can afford it.
Juan Antonio Lopez is a trainer that as a boxer got 92 victories (60 KO's) and 20 defeits. He was living in the Valley of Las Vegas for the last 8 months of last year, training a group of talent kids from Culiacan to get better in the world of boxing. Juan Antonio when to see her family to his hometown and because he did not feel good he when to the doctor only to find out that he got Leukemia (cancer in the blood).
Juan Antonio was a brave warrior in the banthaweight category he got wins against Romeo Anaya and "Famosito" Gomez but he did not succed twice against the puertorican Wilfredo Gomez at the time champion Fetherweight WBC.
But Juan Antonio Lopez is more well known because he was the one that introduce Julio Cesar Chavez to boxing. In the other hand I got the oportunity to know Alex "The bomber from Bronx" Ramos and Jacquie Richarson President and Director executive of Retired Boxers Foundation, so I explain them about Juan Antonio Lopez unfortunate situacion and they agreed to put the example of humanity sending him some money for treatments and medicine in this sad moment for him and his family.
The Retired Boxers Foundacion works for contributions to keep helping all the retired or hurt boxers that do not have way to help themselves. The RBF colect from the public $3000 for Greg Page and now they will focus in the donations to help Juan Antonio Lopez to fight his disease.
All the contributions are full refundable in taxes but this only apply in the United States. We should give a standing ovasion to the great compassion from the RBF, for assisting those that are laid down in the canvas with no choice of getting up. All the retired boxers in the whole world must to know that they not alone. The RBF gives them a little hope. God bless you all.
For your contributions or information.
The Foundation of Retired Boxers.
Alex Ramos / Jaquie Richardson
3359 Bryan Avenue
Simi Valley California 93063
Email" Jacquie Richardson JaxFacts@ix.netcom.com
Phone (Alex Ramos) 805- 583 5890
Bantamweight Champion Juan Antonio Lopez
Diagnosed with Leukemia
Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos and his Retired Boxers Foundation
Asking for help to pay Lopez's medical bills
January 26, 2003 Simi
Valley, CA: Less than one week ago, boxing writer Jaime Estrada
contacted the Retired Boxers Foundation, desperately seeking financial
assistance for Super Bantamweight Champion, Juan Antonio Lopez, who has
leukemia. After more than 100 fights, Lopez is fighting something that no
referee, trainer or commission can change: A possible death sentence.
Estrada wrote to the Retired Boxers Foundation, "Life is full of turns in the destiny of every human being, and the potential for bad luck lurks around the corner. Most of us have memories of close calls and many have had lives tested by adversity." He continued in his passionate email to Alex Ramos, Founder of the Retired Boxers Foundation, "When God blesses us with health and prosperity, sometimes it seems like we forget where we came from and our hearts are blocked to the pain of others. It is nothing less than a selfish attitude when we choose not to help the less fortunate when we can afford to."
It is especially sad when a boxer as great as Juan Antonio Lopez-best known for introducing the legendary Julio Cezar Chavez to the sport of boxing-is suffering and too proud to ask for help. Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos and his Retired Boxers Foundation responded to Jaime Estrada within 48 hours, sending money to pay for desperately needed cancer medication to Lopez in his hometown of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. "I am happy that I got the opportunity to know Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos and Jacquie Richardson of Retired Boxers Foundation, so I could explain to them about Juan Antonio Lopez and his unfortunate situation. Then did not hesitate and they set the example of humanity, sending him some money for treatments and medicine in this sad moment for him and his family," said Estrada.
Alex Ramos, humbled by Estrada's compliment, believes that it is his relentless promotion of the mission of the Retired Boxers Foundation that makes sure the fighters know where to turn. He said, "People tell me all the time that they get a lot of email from me. Sometimes I think they are annoyed, but this just proves that if I can't afford to call you, you can count on regular emails. You won't forget me or what I am trying to do, and who knows, maybe you will call me someday about a fighter like Juan who needs our help."
Juan Antonio Lopez was a trainer until he got sick, but he is better known as a boxer where he had a remarkable 92 victories (60 KO's) and 20 defeats. For the last 8 months of last year, Lopez was training a group of talented kids from Culiacan to help them increase their chances of success in the world of boxing. Juan Antonio went to see his family in his hometown and was not feeling well. He went to the doctor and was immediately hospitalized. The tests revealed that Juan had Leukemia, which is essentially "cancer in the blood."
Juan Antonio was a brave warrior in the bantamweight category, winning bouts against Romeo Anaya and "Famosito" Gomez, but he regrets that after two tries, he did not succeed against Puerto Rican, Wilfredo Gomez, at the time the WBC Featherweight Champion. Even after 100 fights-every one of them exciting, Juan Antonio Lopez remains better known for introducing Julio Cesar Chavez to boxing.
The Retired Boxers Foundation exists to provide assistance to fighters who need a hand up. The Founder and President of the Retired Boxers Foundation, Alex Ramos, said, "We never have enough money to help the way we should, but we never turn anyone away. If I had to sell my own championship belt for a fighter who needs chemotherapy like Juan Antonio Lopez, I wouldn't hesitate. The RBF is "Fighters Helping Fighters" because no one else gives a damn."
For those who blame the fighters for not saving their money and planning for retirement or for life's curve balls, Ramos says, "That's a bunch of crap. We need to look at this like the emergency room doctor. He doesn't ask whose fault the injury is, he looks at it, treats it and sends the patient on their way. It is not for us to judge." He continued, "Juan Antonio Lopez needs our help TODAY. For anyone who had the pleasure of watching him fight-for anyone who got a moment of entertainment or made a dime off the backs of prizefighters, now is the time to show your appreciation. The man needs our help and I am asking you to open your hearts and your pocketbook."
The Retired Boxers Foundation has helped over one hundred retired professional boxers during the past couple of years, including Greg Page who received nearly $3000 from the Retired Boxers Foundation and from their Internet Campaign set up specifically to help him after his tragic fight against Daryl Crowe in Erlanger Kentucky. Page was hospitalized for nearly four months and is completely disabled. Ringside Physician and a member of the RBF Medical Advisory Board, Dr. Van Buren Lemons, donated $1000 and Lou DiBella, one of the best people in boxing, sent $500. A man from Florida sends Greg $30 every month and because of an article written by Fiona Manning about the RBF and Greg Page, two little girls sent their life savings to help the family pay for medical expenses.
RBF Executive Director, Jacquie Richardson, said "If you want to help, no amount is too small. $20 will pay for the Western Union fees to get the money to Juan Antonio Lopez's doctors."
If you want to help Juan Antonio Lopez fight this disease, you
can send your tax-deductible donation to the Retired Boxers Foundation:
The Juan Antonio Lopez Fund RETIRED BOXERS FOUNDATION
3359 Bryan Avenue
Simi Valley, CA 93063
Jaime Estrada contributed to this story. He says, "We should give a standing ovation for the great compassion from the RBF, for assisting those that are laid down on the canvas with no chance of getting up. All the retired boxers in the whole world must to know that they not alone. The RBF gives them a little hope. God bless you all." According to Richardson and Ramos, the RBF believes the same is true of Mr. Estrada.
If you would like more information on the Retired Boxers
Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos at (805) 583-5890, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Retired Boxers Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation started by 1984 USBA Middleweight Champion, Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos in 1995 to help fighters in need, is leading a campaign called "Fighters Helping Fighters" to inspire other fighters to help. Ramos started the Retired Boxers Foundation because of what happens to professional boxers once their careers are over. Because boxing is the only sport that does not provide adequate pensions to fighters once they retire, too many of them suffer in the transition from their glorious days in the ring to a dignified retirement. For more information on the Retired Boxers Foundation, "Fighters Helping Fighters" program, call Alex Ramos at (805) 583-5890 or visit their website at www.retiredboxers.org. The Fighters Helping Fighters campaign has assisted over 100 retired professional boxers and their families, including arranging surgery, tax consultation to clear up problems with the IRS, legal services, rehabilitation services, Dignity Bags for homeless fighters and fighters in convalescent homes as well as financial assistance for the families.
THURSDAY, December 19th, 2002, AT 1:00 PM, PT
While many of you are fans of the sport of boxing, you are also aware of the shortcomings of a sport that leaves the retired fighters without pensions, insurance and the tools necessary to make a transition from the ring to the world the rest of us live in. After five years of trying to start an organization to meet the needs of the fighters who need a hand up, we have discovered how profoundly connected all of the fighters all over the world are to each other. The fighters know that without each other, there is very little support for them when their careers end and they find themselves broke, damaged and without resources. Such awareness heightens our belief that the work we do is supremely important.
Our mission at the Retired Boxers Foundation remains the same as ever: To improve the lives of retired professional boxers and their families by providing the things they need to make the transition from their glorious days in the ring to a dignified retirement. We remain one of the few organizations that exist to meet the specific needs of a group of athletes that do not have what other professional athletes have come to expect when their careers are over-a pension and a retirement plan. Unlike the other professional athletes, prizefighters often end their careers with physical, neurological and emotional damage. May suffer the after affect of "chronic brain trauma" which causes slurring, rage disorders, and erratic thought processes. Some suffer from various stages of "dementia pugilistica"-the medical term for being "punch drunk." Others suffer from tremors and ataxia, which is sometimes known as "Parkinsonism." Others suffer from alcoholism and substance abuse problems.
Unfortunately, the symptoms exhibited by the boxers are not easy to fit into a clear and concise diagnosis that might afford them access to Social Security Disability Insurance or other benefits. Even with prominent and obviously debilitating symptoms, the usual tests such as the MRI, CT Scan, EEG, and other neurological tests reveal either "normal" results or symptoms with "undetermined" origin. The doctors are on our side and many shake their heads in frustration as they can plainly see the problem, but have difficulty assigning a "name" for the disorder. Only when the fighters are allowed more extensive testing, such as a complete neuro-psychiatric work up are the symptoms defined. Without some expertise in chronic brain trauma and without access to the more sophisticated neuro-psych testing, the fighters end the process no better off than when they started.
In some cases, a sympathetic physician will assign a name to the symptoms, knowing they are not quite right. We have seen a number of fighters diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis, in an attempt to determine that they are "disabled" to qualify them for SSDI benefits. Because of our experience in getting retired fighters the kind of diagnostic services necessary to completely identify their disorder, we have been able to get the appropriate diagnosis and get them qualified for disability benefits, housing assistance and medical treatment. Without an advocate, these fighters just get stuck in the system and end up giving up. The Retired Boxers Foundation has developed the right connections to get our beloved fighters into the system and get them the unique kind of help they need.
The needs, as always, outweigh the resources for the necessary, and ambitious tasks at hand. With more and more fighters in retirement, without any kind of financial assistance or access to medical care, more of them are becoming statistics in crime reports and listed among the homeless and indigent in every city in the world. Those that have made a life after boxing continue to struggle with the aftermath of professional boxing. Where they were once adored, they are now ridiculed for their slurred speech, their tremors and a walk that looks more like the town drunk than a once famous athlete. Too many of them suffer from a sense of shame for losing and for poor decisions made in their lives. The physical and neurological damage, which remains unexplained, often complicates their lives and leads many to alcoholism and drug abuse.
It is more crucial than ever that public perception support rather than impede our collective ability to meet basic human needs for these former athletes. In fact, it is downright inhumane to ignore the needs of these once great warriors. The Retired Boxers Foundation is dedicated to the fighters, just as they are to each other.
Although our organization is small, with an annual budget of around twenty thousand dollars, our reach and impact are broad. We continue to build upon long-standing relationships with hundreds of individuals and organizations, locally, nationally and internationally. The Internet helps expand our activities by offering an efficient and inexpensive means of communication, BUT we need to go beyond understanding the problems and move towards solving the problems our retired professional boxers are facing.
We continue to get tremendous support in terms of WORDS, but now we must humbly ask our supporters to consider offering the only kind of support that will really help the fighters who need a hand up: A CASH donation. Please, consider making a donation to the Retired Boxers Foundation so that we can help the fighters who need our help. Your donation is 100% tax deductible. If you make your donation before December 31st, you will be providing the gift of a better life to many retired fighters AND get a tax benefit for yourself. It's easy to raise money for kids' charities. It is very difficult to get people to support programs for prizefighters. If you-someone who loves the sport of boxing-do not find a soft spot in your heart for the fighters, believe me, NO ONE will.
Thank you for your kind consideration. We are enclosing a self-addressed envelope for your convenience. When we receive your donation, we will send you an official letter of thanks, including our TAX ID number which will qualify you for the tax benefits you deserve!
THURSDAY, November 21st, 2002, AT 3:30 PM, PT
November 20, 2002
From The Retired Boxers Foundation
Nevada State Athletic Commission Hears More Than
"The good people in boxing who care more about the fighters than the money - but think the fines should benefit the sport and NOT the General Fund."
Meet Jacob "Stitch" Duran
CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY
By Don Stavlo©
We fought our way up the mountain And many never made it to the
Some of us reached our peak And we didn't want to stop.
In our attempt to keep going higher, Some of us slipped back down the slopes
Using fleeting means to fill our dreams, Instead of anchors to hold our hopes.
We fought for the world But sometimes it's hard to tell
What was done for the world And what we did for ourselves.
We make no excuses or apologies
We just want to keep our dignity.
We fought for the World Now World, will you fight for us
Like all pursuits filled with danger, Some people ask why do it at all.
For a moment we had a place, Where we could stand up tall
For whatever reason we decided We chose to stay in the fight.
We want to find some sense in the consequence, And right or wrong, try to make it right.
There's honor and glory in climbing a mountain But the final story is how we come down
We all surrender our youth, there's no magical fountain, Champions must face the truth and one day surrender their crown.
Don Stavlo, June 1998.
November 24, 2001
Simi Valley, CA
Simi Valley, CA: The New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame inducted boxing celebrities, Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos, Johnny "Bump City" Bumphus, Michael Spinks, Mustafa Hamsho, Curtis Harris, Ernest "Red" Barron, Tony Thornton, Sylvester Cuyler, Phil Saxton, Jimmy Young and Bobby Cassidy, on Thursday, November 8th, 2001 at the elegant Venetian in Gardner, New Jersey. Inducted posthumously were Sal Belloise and Robert Kimbrough. They named Steven Ham as the "New Jersey Amateur Boxer of the Year," and presented The Paul Cavaliere Memorial Award to IBF World Featherweight Champion Frankie "The Shark" Toledo.
They named Pete Nozza as their 2001 "Man of the Year." The highlight of the evening was the humble and touching act of generosity by internationally recognized trainer, Lou Duva. Just before the induction ceremony and unknown to the audience, Duva had presented Johnny "Bump City" Bumphus with his championship ring, which Johnny had lost during his period of addiction which ended five years ago.
Both Alex Ramos and Johnny Bumphus were deeply touched by Duva's actions. There is a lot of history between the fighters and Lou Duva. Ramos was Shelly Finkel's first professional fighter, signing with Top Rank in 1980, and was subsequently moved from Top Rank to Main Events in 1982. Johnny Bumphus and Alex Ramos were two of NBC's "Tomorrow's Champions," and Bumphus was also moved over to Main Events. Bumphus and Rocky Lockridge would become Lou Duva's first two world champions. Rocky Lockridge inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 2000-- was also present at the 2001 induction.
Shortly after Lou Duva's quiet presentation of the Championship ring to Bumphus, Alex Ramos was introduced and approached the podium for his acceptance speech. Stunned by Duva's action, Ramos, choked with emotion, had a hard time speaking. He explained to the audience his pride in being a part of the boxing family which included Lou Duva, Donna Duva, Tommy Brooks, Johnny Bumphus and Rocky Lockridge, and said to Duva, who was seated directly in front of the podium, "especially Lou Duva and he knows why."
Ramos talked about the mistakes he has made in his life specifically the years he spent "in the darkness" of alcoholism and drug addiction. He told the audience that "My past is like my ass. It's behind me and it's gonna stay there!" He talked about the Retired Boxers Foundation he started to help his brothers who remain "in the darkness." He talked about his mission to help fighters who have trouble making the transition from their glorious days in the ring, to a dignified retirement. He said it was "the fight of my life. I feel more like a champion now, than when I was fighting!" Mustafa Hamsho embraced Ramos as he returned to his seat next to Johnny Bumphus. There is clearly a bond between fighters that the audience was privileged to witness that night.
Johnny "Bump City" Bumphus was introduced by his old friend and trainer, Lou Duva. Duva was very humble and wanted the audience to hear from the champion, Johnny, so he kept his comments very brief. As Johnny approached the podium and began to speak, the audience listened intently as Bumphus began the story of the outpouring of emotion that surrounded Ramos's speech and would color Johnny's. "I know that the ring Lou Duva gave me is not the one that I lost during my addiction. I am sober now and have been for five years. I know that Lou Duva took that ring off his own finger and I know that it is not my ring, but Lou's. I know because my ring was inscribed, "Johnny Bumphus" and this ring has my name and Rocky Lockridge. We were Lou Duva's first two world champions. I am deeply touched by what he did. Not only did he give me his championship ring, he also helped me when I needed it the most. He gave me a job training fighters and helped me stay sober. I cannot thank Lou Duva enough."
"I don't think the audience totally grasped the significance of what happened when Lou Duva gave Johnny his championship ring," said Jacquie Richardson, Executive Director of the Retired Boxers Foundation. "Alex (Ramos) and I are used to getting letters and calls from fighters who have lost everything and are fighting for their way back to a normal life. Many of them were forced to sell their belts for money so they could buy food, and for some, to buy drugs or alcohol. When the fighters recover from their addictions, they don't even mention their losses because of a sense of shame that they feel. What Lou Duva did tonight was incredibly generous and respectful of where Johnny has been and where he is today and I have a new respect for Lou," continued Richardson.
Ramos and Richardson tell stories about fans who have bought prizefighters personal trophies, belts, Golden Gloves, Olympic Medals, etc., and write to the Retired Boxers Foundation asking the RBF to contact the fighters so that they can "write a little something about how they won the belt/trophy, etc." They say they want the fighter's personal story and signature so that it becomes a part of the trophy/belt and increases the value to memorabilia collectors. "I would love to see the fans and collectors return the belts and trophies they have collected or bought. Most of these were stolen or sold when the fighters were down and out and no one knows what these items mean to the fighters."
Ramos knows what he's talking about. His 1984 USBA Championship Belt was returned to him in 1999, and one pair of his four New York Golden Gloves was returned to him this summer during a visit to New York. "You don't know the value of these things until you are older, looking back at what was and what could have been," said Ramos. If anyone wants to, they can send any found items to the Retired Boxers Foundation and we will make a point of presenting them to the fighters they were awarded to in the first place. This is a part of "restoring the dignity" of our fighters in need," said Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos, founder and president of the Retired Boxers Foundation.
They can be mailed or shipped directly to the Retired Boxers Foundation at: "Fighters Help ing Fighters" RETIRED BOXERS FOUNDATION 3359 Bryan Avenue Simi Valley, CA 93063 If you know the whereabouts of any fighter's belt or trophy, including their Golden Gloves, please call Alex Ramos at the Retired Boxers Foundation, (805) 583-5890. If you would like to make a donation so that the RBF can help the fighters, your donation is tax deductible and should be mailed to the above address. For more information about the Retired Boxers Foundation, please visit their website at www.retiredboxers.org.
The Retired Boxers Foundation, is an IRS 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation started by 1984 USBA Middleweight Champion, Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos in 1995 to help fighters in need. Ramos is leading a campaign called "Fighters Helping Fighters" to inspire other fighters to help. Ramos started the Retired Boxers Foundation because of what happens to professional boxers once their careers are over. Because boxing is the only sport that does not provide adequate pensions to fighters once they retire, too many of them suffer in the transition from their glorious days in the ring to a dignified retirement. For more information on the Retired Boxers Foundation, "Fighters Helping Fighters" program, call Alex Ramos at (805) 583-5890 or visit their website at www.retiredboxers.org.
The Fighters Helping Fighters campaign has assisted over 100 retired professional boxers and their families, including arranging surgery, tax consultation to clear up problems with the IRS, legal services, rehabilitation services, Dignity Bags for homeless fighters and fighters in convalescent homes as well as financial assistance for the families.
November 4, 2001
Simi Valley, CA
Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos, former USBA Middleweight, California Middleweight Champion and founder of the Retired Boxers Foundation (RBF), has developed an acquaintance over the past two years with David McConachie, Executive Producer of KOTV, which is proving to be beneficial for both. David is from England and the relationship with Alex Ramos, began after David visited the RBF website two years ago.
At the time, McConachie was developing KOTV and preparing to launch the world's only international news television show featuring the sport of boxing, past and present. KOTV is now distributed worldwide every Thursday, 52 weeks a year. KOTV reports the latest news in boxing, features highlights of fights from around the globe and profiles boxing greats from the past and the present. "The producers at KOTV are always receptive to new ideas for the show and are on constant lookout for interesting boxing stories and features," says David McConachie, KOTV Executive Producer. "A collaboration with Alex Ramos and Jacquie Richardson who through the Retired Boxers Foundation, are well connected in the sport of boxing, is a natural alliance for KOTV," he continued.
Ramos is only too pleased to develop this relationship with KOTV because his organization, the Retired Boxers Foundation is an international nonprofit organization and exposure throughout the world is important to Ramos. "Boxing is an international sport and unfortunately, there are fighters all over the world who could use a hand up. That is the mission of the Retired Boxers Foundationto provide assistance to all fighters as they make the transition from their glorious days in the ring to a dignified retirement," continued Ramos. David McConachie, Executive Producer of the show, is working with boxing promoters and organizations worldwide to promote the sport and it's stars within the thirty-minute show, now in it's eighth week of production. Included in KOTV's format is a weekly KOTV Gold feature, which highlights some of the great fights of yesteryear courtesy of ESPN Big Fights. The first joint activity of the Retired Boxers Foundation and KOTV will be an appearance at the Counterpunch Fundraiser at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn. KOTV 's cameras will be there to meet the boxing greats and also to join the Retired Boxers Foundation in making a joint donation to the cause, which will benefit the Twin Towers Fund created in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attack.
The Retired Boxers Foundation will provide creative counsel and resources to KOTV and intends to put as many retired former champions in front of the KOTV cameras as possible. McConachie is delighted to have developed an alliance with Ramos and Richardson and the Retired Boxers Foundation. The RBF is equally thrilled to have developed such a great international alliance with KOTV. For more information about KOTV, please contact David McConachie at email@example.com
The Retired Boxers Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation started by 1984 USBA Middleweight Champion, Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos in 1995 to help fighters in need, is leading a campaign called "Fighters Helping Fighters" to inspire other fighters to help. Ramos started the Retired Boxers Foundation because of what happens to professional boxers once their careers are over. Because boxing is the only sport that does not provide adequate pensions to fighters once they retire, too many of them suffer in the transition from their glorious days in the ring to a dignified retirement.
For more information on the Retired Boxers Foundation, "Fighters Helping Fighters" program, call Alex Ramos at (805) 583-5890 or visit their website at www.retiredboxers.org. The Fighters Helping Fighters campaign has assisted over 100 retired professional boxers and their families, including arranging surgery, tax consultation to clear up problems with the IRS, legal services, rehabilitation services, Dignity Bags for homeless fighters and fighters in convalescent homes as well as financial assistance for the families.
September 10, 2001
Retired Boxers Foundation news release
Music Dedicated to the Retired Boxers Foundation Debuts at STAR Boxing Show on September 19, 2001
New Artist "Jun" to perform two new R & B songs at Yonkers Racewaymusic written for the Retired Boxers Foundation and produced by PitBoss Entertainment.
Simi Valley, California, September 10, 2001: On Wednesday, September 19th at the Yonkers Raceway in New York, the Retired Boxers Foundation (RBF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by former USBA Middleweight Champion, Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos will be the recipient of an unusual contribution to the organization: Two songs produced by PitBoss Entertainment, Inc., and performed by new artist "Jun" debuting live at STAR Boxing Promotion's boxing show. Light Heavyweight David Telesco headlines the fight card, which promises an exciting show for fight fans. The fights and the music debut will be televised on tape-delay on the Metro Channel in the New York metropolitan area and the Sunshine Network. Star Boxing broadcasts fights every week on the Metro Channel. Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing Promotions is also making it possible for PitBoss Entertainment to televise a public service announcement for the Retired Boxers Foundation.
"Jun" a sensational new artist performs "Stick and Move", a song that he wrote for Alex Ramos and the Retired Boxers, along with "We Fought for the World" which was previously written for the Retired Boxers Foundation. "Stick and Move" is a lively R & B song infused with hip-hop and rap. "We Fought for the World" is a soulful R & B piece about prizefighters on their way up. Both songs were produced and are distributed by PitBoss Entertainment, Inc. According to Gregory Sulger, CEO of PitBoss Entertainment, Inc. "50% of the profit from the sale of both songs will be donated to the Retired Boxers Foundation. According to Jacquie Richardson, Executive Director of the Retired Boxers Foundation, "It takes about three years for a nonprofit to develop a reputation of integrity. For a nonprofit in boxing, the job is twice as hard because of the perception of corruption real or imagined. For that reason, the Retired Boxers has to be more tenacious and more innovative." Alex Ramos was introduced to PitBoss Entertainment, Inc., through a friend while on vacation in New York. Because of the obvious connection to the music business, Alex mentioned a song that had been written for him and the Retired Boxers Foundation an his dream that someday it would be recorded and performed as a source of raising the consciousness of the public about what it is like for a prizefighter on his way up, and also what happens when their careers end. Two weeks after that conversation with PitBoss Entertainment, Ramos was presented with a demo CD with not only his song, "We Fought for the World" but also an original song called "Stick and Move." Ramos was astounded at the response from the recording industry when PitBoss offered 50% of the profit on the two songs for the nonprofit Retired Boxers Foundation. The artist, "Jun" performed the songs from his heart and out of respect for the fighters. He will perform the songs live at Yonkers as a guest of Joe DeGuardia, STAR Boxing, another supporter of the Retired Boxers Foundation. DeGuardia has promoted a number of high-profile boxing cards at the Yonkers Raceway and other venues in New York, recently added the Retired Boxers Foundation banner to the show and has distributed flyers on behalf of the RBF. "I like to do what I can for the fighters and I like what Alex Ramos is doing," said DeGuardia. Like Alex Ramos, a 4-time New York Golden Glove Champion, DeGuardia is also a former New York Golden Gloves Champion (147 pound open) and comes from a family of boxers. His father and uncle were professional boxers in the 1950's. Promoter Joe DeGuardia is presenting a sensational fight card at Yonkers Raceway on Wednesday, September 19th, featuring David Telesco against a yet to be named opponent. David's last fight was at Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan on May 17th when he knocked out Tom Cameron in the first round. Singing superstar, Diana Ross was in the audience cheering him on. Telesco is well known for going the distance against Roy Jones, Jr. DeGuardia is a highly regarded boxing promoter in the New York area and is part of a movement to attract new fans to the sport. He looks forward to a live music performance by "Jun" and sees the connection between boxing fans and contemporary music.
"Jun" will also perform the National Anthem to start the show. "Jun" is a native of New York, growing up in Flatbush. His singing style is compared to Usher and others in a new crop of soulful R &B, hip-hop and rap entertainers. New York-based rap star, Parrish Smith of EPMD, is also on board and working with PitBoss Entertainment, Inc., to handle the music distribution. Parrish Smith (aka "Pee MD") make up the "PMD" of "EPMD" and is responsible for over 12 million records sold. Parrish Smith, also an executive with BoonDoc Records, was touched by the music--especially the meaning of the words--and the attempt to reach out to the world to help the prizefighters. Parrish Smith/EPMD will also be at the fight to back up "Jun" in his first live performance of the songs dedicated to the retired fighters. Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos is also expected to be on hand. PitBoss Entertainment is working with the Retired Boxers Foundation to schedule an appearance on the Jay Leno Show in Los Angeles as soon as the distribution contract has been completed. "This is going to be a hit!" exclaims Ramos and he and his relentless enthusiasm along with his extensive Hollywood contacts will help get the songs to the public.
He also said that "God don't make no mistakes. He made it possible for me to meet the executives from PitBoss Entertainment and "Jun" and his incredible talent were made for the songs and my mission at the Retired Boxers Foundation." The mission of the Retired Boxers Foundation is best known for a campaign launched by Alex Ramos to invite professional boxers to help their brothers in boxing who are having problems after they retire. According to Ramos, "Too many professional boxers are unprepared for the transition from the ring to retirement. Many suffer from neurological and physical problems, not to mention emotional problems and dementia pugilistica (the medical term for being "punch drunk"). A lot of fighters turn to alcohol or drugs to ease the pain and some end up homeless and hopeless. I know because I've been there." In addition to retired fighters, Ferocious Fernando Vargas is one of the Retired Boxers Foundation Board members, along with Judge Mills Lane, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, actor Charles Dutton, International Communications Director at Playboy, Inc, Bill Farley, movie director Ron Shelton and actress Lolita Davidovich.
The Retired Boxers Foundation was the inspiration of Alex Ramos, four time New York Golden Gloves Champion, Representative on the USA Boxing Team from 1978 to 1980, one of "Tomorrow's Champions", 1984 USBA Middleweight Champion, and 1986 California Middleweight Champion Ramos was a boxer for twenty two years before drugs and alcohol ruined his career. In 1995, after a series of come-backs, and failed rehabilitation, Alex found himself on the streets. He made a decision to fight for his life. He had spent years "in the darkness" as he calls itand was terrified that he would die alone and forgotten like some of his idols in the sport of boxing. He thought of Joe Louis who had died penniless and was buried in a pauper's grave. He started a rehabilitation program that changed his life and has be drug free for over three years.
Alex Ramos founded the RBF because of his first hand knowledge of the humiliation he suffered in his retirement at the young age of 33. A devout Christian, Alex believes that God saved him so that he could find a way to help others fighters like himself, he says, " of which I know plenty of!" Ramos worked for three years convincing people of the need for the RBF and seeking their endorsement of his organization. Honorary Board Member, actress Bo Derek, was one of the first to sign an endorsement for the RBF and is a long time boxing fan who saw her first Championship fight at the Playboy Mansion. She said, "I think I speak for all boxing fans when I say that your (RBF) foundation gives us a way to give back to all the champions who gave us so much. Ramos now has over 350 signed endorsements of celebrities, champion fighters and other dignitaries from the sport of boxing.
The goals of the Retired Boxers Foundation include:
To provide access to specialized medical services and facilities for the rehabilitation of retired professional boxers suffering from pugilistic dementia. Other health related services include making referrals and developing wider access to neuropsychological assessment and treatment, physical therapy, personal and peer counseling, substance abuse treatment and support groups.
To encourage youth mentorships by retired professional boxers and to establish boxing programs for at risk youth. Boxing is a demanding sport that emphasizes not only physical conditioning, but also self-control, self-discipline and self-respect. The RBF will initiate programs in which retired fighters return to neighborhood gyms to counsel and advise young athletes. The RBF has already assisted in the development of three new amateur boxing clubs and is working with six additional club proposals across the country.
To identify resources and improve access for older retired professional boxers including assistance with simple daily tasks, insurance paperwork, household chores, etc., through service organizations and volunteer programs that serve senior citizens throughout the world.
To provide access to affordable housing and residential care services, with the objective of breaking the cycle of homelessness that is common in the lives of too many retired professional fighters. Housing will be made available to those who are homeless and without the means to secure even basic human needs, including food, shelter and safety.
To provide access to financial management services to insure long-term financial security and solvency, including referrals to tax attorneys to help fighters deal with tax problems, which is a common problem for not only fighters who are retired, but also many current prizefighters.
For more information on the Retired Boxers Foundation, visit the website at www.retiredboxers.org or call Alex Ramos at (805) 583-5890.
SPECIAL PRESS RELEASE...
On May 23, 2001, an ad (Below Right) appeared in the
New York Daily News about an event entitled "Boxing Night"
presented by the Retired Boxers Foundation. We are an IRS 501(c)3
nonprofit corporation and we have
Absolutely nothing to do with this event.
We are advocates for retired professional boxers and if you go to our website at www.retiredboxers.org, you can see what our mission is. In the meantime, the ad in the newspaper is, in my opinion, placed to further exploit the fighters. We saw the ad. We called Tito Puente's Restaurant and spoke to John Arminio, who confirmed that the event was being billed as a "Retired Boxers Foundation" event, and that arrangements were being made by David Torres.
Please read the following press release below. If you have any questions,
please call us at (805) 583- 5890 from 6:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. (Pacific
Sincerely, Jacquie Richardson, Alex Ramos
Retired Boxers Foundation
Contact: Alex Ramos or Jacquie
Retired Boxers Foundation
3359 Bryan Avenue, Simi Valley, CA, 93063
Phone (805) 583-5890
Fax (805) 306-1663
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ALEX RAMOS: Another Impostor? No Mas!
Federal DEA Agent, David Torres, Steals Ramos's Retired Boxers Foundation
Name to Host 2001 Fundraiser for Puerto Rican Boxers
Illegally endorsed Retired Boxers Foundation Checks for 2000 Event!
[Simi Valley, CA] The Retired Boxers Foundation has received more than a dozen phone calls about an upcoming fundraiser for Puerto Rican boxers on June 7th which is advertised on today's Daily News paper at Tito Puente's Restaurant in New York. The problem is that the Retired Boxers Foundation has no involvement in this event and is considering legal action against Federal DEA Agent, David Torres, for not only illegally promoting this event, but also for forging Retired Boxers Foundation checks for an event last year at the same location.
Retired Boxers Foundation has released this statement:
"The Retired Boxers Foundation has no association whatsoever with DEA Agent, David Torres and has no plans for a fundraiser on June 7th 2001, at Tito Puente's Restaurant. Furthermore, the RBF will initiate legal action against Torres if he continues the unauthorized use of organization's name to promote any event. We encourage the boxing fans and supporters to continue to fight against exploitation of boxers, especially those who exploit sick, injured and destitute fighters under the auspices of a fundraiser for their benefit. The Retired Boxers Foundation is a legitimate 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, fully accountable to the donors. Unauthorized use of our name is illegal."
According to the Executive Director of the Retired Boxers Foundation, Jacquie Richardson, (Right), David Torres contacted the Retired Boxers Foundation in November of 1999, requesting support for a fundraiser he wanted to do for Wilfredo Benitez, a world champion boxer from Puerto Rico. The Retired Boxers Foundation agreed and worked with David Torres from November of 1999 until the event for Wilfredo Benitez in February 2000. The Retired Boxers Foundation sent out 350 personal invitations to supporters of the Foundation and as a gesture of support and cooperation, addressed the response envelopes RSVP's to David Torres. Torres was instructed to record the responses and forward the checks to the Retired Boxers Foundation for deposit. All expenses were to be paid out of the RBF accounts.
"We allowed the checks to be sent to Mr. Torres as an act of faith because it really was David Torres' idea to host the event. If you can't trust a federal DEA agent, who can you trust," said Richardson.
Torres and RBF Founder, Alex Ramos, (Left) were in constant contact and right up to the night of the event, Torres insisted that the 350 invitations sent out by the RBF resulted in absolutely not one RSVP or checks payable to the RBF. Ramos and Richardson were surprised at the lack of response considering the number of calls received from the supporters, especially in the New York area, who had told Ramos they would see him at the event.
Within a a few days of the event, Ramos received a phone call from HBO concerning the names of the people who would be attending the event and told Ramos that they had mailed a check for $500 a couple of weeks earlier. Torres insisted that he had not received the check. The night of the event, Ramos met many people from his list of invitees, including former New York Assistant Attorney General, Pamela Jones-Harbour, who had presented a check to Torres in the amount of $400.
Several others also told Alex how pleased he was to have written a check to the RBF because they supported Alex Ramos and what he was doing to help fighters. Best estimates are that Torres received several thousand dollars in donations, for which contributors would expect receipts for tax purposes. Torres was unable to provide an accounting of the actual income for the event, and after pressure from the Retired Boxers Foundation and a threat of legal action, Torres sent copies of some of the checks he illegally endorsed.
The Retired Boxers Foundation also demanded reimbursement for their costs for travel to New York, and those funds were deposited into the RBF account. A friend of Torres sold memorabilia at the event, and one of the workers said that 17 people from the memorabilia company were "comp'd" for the event. Jacquie Richardson, Executive Director of the Retired Boxers Foundation was furious that anyone was comp'd for this event because she personally paid the full $100 cost for herself, Alex Ramos and two guests to the event, not to mention all travel expenses with the exception of Ramos' airfare.
"The experience we had with David Torres is horrific, but we had no choice other than to make the best of good part of the event -- Helping the Benitez family." Said Richardson. "If we had had the funds to legally pursue the fraud perpetrated by David Torres when he illegally endorsed checks made payable to the Retired Boxers Foundation, we would not have hesitated. We simply did not have the money to pursue it. I am appalled that after our experience with Mr. Torres, and our threat of litigation, he would have the audacity to perpetrate a fraud on the good people who believe in the Retired Boxers Foundation and Alex Ramos."
The Retired Boxers Foundation has consulted with an attorney and are considering a lawsuit against David Torres. In addition, they are publicly requesting an audit of last year's event.
"David Torres has subjected the sport of boxing to yet another 'black eye' the exploitation of professional boxers in this case retired fighters who need help, without any responsibility to the public who support the sport and no accountability or proof that the funds were actually given to the fighters. The public has a right to know the outcome of last year's fundraiser and why this DEA agent would perpetrate another fraud on the fighters and their fans!" said Richardson.
Torres not only held the fundraiser for Wilfredo Benitez at the same location in February 2000, Tito Puente's Restaurant in New York, but also held one the night before in the Bronx. Alex Ramos, the founder of the Retired Boxers Foundation had this to say about Torres:
"I have worked for three years to organize the Retired Boxers Foundation and to establish credibility for the benefit of the fighters who need help. I have yet to draw one penny of compensation from the organization, and I'll be damned if I let another scumbag like David Torres DEA Agent or otherwise -- exploit me or the fighters!"
Ramos just completed testifying in a long court battle involving Alberto Lugo, who was sentenced to 148 years in prison for impersonating Alex Ramos. (See: "Bronx Bomber cleared in New York imposter case" Headline Link on the front page of the Retired Boxers Foundation at www.retiredboxers.org.
If anyone receives an invitation or information on this June 7th event, they are asked to contact Alex Ramos at (805) 583-5890. You can also contact the Retired Boxers Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org. The fax number is (805) 306-1663.