Why Do Politicians Make Political Appointments to Boxing Commissions?

By: Ken Hissner

Rarely do you see at least in Pennsylvania a good choice by the Politician’s to appoint a boxing man. For years we were stuck with Jimmy Binns, Sr. an attorney who once said “I trained Michael Moorer” on the Sonny Hill radio show. Hill also one who loves to talk about himself like Binns questioned that he thought Teddy Atlas trained him at the time. Binns reply was “well I told him to throw a 1,000 jabs a day.” That is training someone?

Binns had a good Boxing secretary in Frank Walker who was a no nonsense former police officer who also didn’t know much about boxing but had a good personality and willing to learn. He let this writer make up the Pennsylvania rankings. By the way it’s been two years since they have been updated by Executive Boxing Director Greg Sirb. With former referee Rudy Battle at the helm as Chairman of the commissioners sitting by and watching Sirb run things you have to wonder why was he appointed? One example is at an event that Sirb was at a boxer dropped his opponent and obviously on purpose hit him again after his knee hit the ground. The referee signaled DQ to Battle after the boxer knocked down his opponent.

Battle held things up while trying to reach Sirb by phone for his opinion. Sirb wasn’t even there so how can a decent former referee contact someone who hadn’t seen the match rule?

Newly appointed commissioner in the Pittsburgh area former referee Rick Steigerwald let Sirb know his actions are not appreciated there and to calm them down. Steigerwald is a no nonsense boxing man who is a working commissioner A newly appointee prior to him is Joel Frank an attorney who is more of a MMA fan than a boxing one.

After the departure of Binns Howard McCall was on the commission and was a boxing man but wasn’t there long. He tried to get me to apply for a matchmaker license that Binns had taken away while in office. Seems he didn’t like shows with “too many knockouts” that I did the co-matchmaking for and I let him know it takes more than showing up at fight time to be a commissioner. That didn’t go over very well.

Sirb is not a fan of the press and usually tells the promoter where we are to sit against their better judgment. He’d have us outside looking in if he had his way. We are not to talk to the boxers in their dressing rooms prior to or after their fights. So how do you get direct quotes from them other than from their PR man?

I remember when Thomas “The Hit Man” Hearns and Earnie Shavers came in and sat at ringside. When I approached them I was told by security no one was to make contact with them as they sat inside the steel barrier around ringside while Sirb yacked it up with them. He’s been with the commission some 27 years and “claim’s to be leaving after 2018 but seeing is believing. He had a good assistant in Ed Kunkle who got tired of “waiting for that retirement” and has since moved onto the New York Commission. Our loss, their gain!

People who do not know boxing should not be making boxing appointments!

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