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Wednesday, July 22, 2009
There are few if any people alive who know more about boxing than Johnny Bos. But instead of prospering from that knowledge and wisdom, last year Johnny Bos, the quintessential New Yorker, had to leave this faded but still sometimes active center of boxing for a town not known for being a pugilistic capital: Clearwater, Florida. The main reason was that he could no longer find work in this alleged sport.
Johnny's fortunes in boxing seemed to head swiftly downhill after an incident whose consequences, ironically, brought him back to the Big Apple this week. His fighter, former world champion Joey Gamache, was slated to fight the late Arturo Gatti in Madison Square Garden Feb. 26, 2000. At the weigh-in the day before, however, Bos and many others said that Gatti hopped on and off the scale without making the contracted weight of 141 pounds. While he objected to this, officials from the New York State Athletic Commission declared that Gatti had indeed made weight, and that the fight was on.
Gatti, who reportedly weighed 160 pounds on an unofficial HBO scale the day of the bout, proceeded to score a brutal second-round knockout. Gamache had to be taken to a hospital after it, nearly died there that night, and suffers from permanent brain damage. His career, of course, was over, although he does still train fighters.
Gamache then sued the New York State Athletic Commission for negligence for allegedly permitting Gatti to fight well over the contracted weight. After years of legal wrangling, that case was finally heard this past week, and this was why Johnny Bos returned to New York, in an unusual role as a witness on behalf of Joey Gamache.
We had a chance while he was still in New York, and after the trial itself was over, to speak with Johnny Bos. (A verdict by the trial judge is expected in several months.)
In our lengthy discussion, Johnny explained what went on at this botched weigh-in, how it affected the Gatti-Gamache fight, and what it all indicated about the quality of the regulation of boxing. He also gave us some ideas on what major changes are needed in boxing, and just who may be starting to make them. And, as always, he did so in a style and tone reflective of the long gone glory days of boxing in America.
So join us on this edition of No Holds Barred for a rare behind-the-scenes look at what really goes on in the world of boxing.
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