By Jackie Kallen
Last year I attended an exciting boxing event at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City that honored dozens of boxing legends. I had a terrific time. Billed as “The All Star Boxing Legends Gala Awards Dinner,” it was an amazing evening of rubbing elbows with old friends and peers.
This year, I am honored to be among those receiving awards. I can’t wait to spend time with other boxing fans and participants while enjoying the beautiful AC Boardwalk. This is the 2nd annual event.
Among the personalities I look forward to hanging out with, Iran Barkley is on the top of the list. He fought Thomas Hearns twice while I worked for Hearns and beat him both times. I felt like I got revenge when my then champ James “Light Out” Toney stopped Barkley in 1993. But in spite of it all, I love and respect Iran and always enjoy running into him.
Cory Spinks, Marlon Starling, Chop Chop Corley, William Joppy and Tony Tubbs will also be on hand and I have great stories and memories relating to each of them. Boxing is a great sport when it come to burying hatchets and mutual respect. Two men can pound each other senseless in the ring and go out and share a meal right afterward.
Immediate past Atlantic City Chief Prosecutor Jonathan Diego, Chairman of the event’s committee, said that there will dozens of new Honorees being recognized as 2013 Atlantic City Boxing Legends. Many 2012 Honorees will return as guests of the Boxing Gala Committee during this year’s awards dinner.
“Great champions like Mike Tyson, Bobby Czyz, David Tiberi and Buster Drayton, will be joined by other champions whom call Southern New Jersey home, including Bruce Seldon, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Virgil Hill, Mike Rossman, Patrick Majewski and Shamone Alvarez,” stated Diego. “Over 60 champions and boxing personalities, whom assisted in Atlantic City’s ascension to becoming the boxing Mecca of the United States, will attend this year’s black tie optional event.”
After 35 years in the sport that I love, it will be a real treat to join the ranks of these men whom I have worked side by side with for over three decades.
I especially love seeing Dave Tiberi, who fought an amazing fight against James Toney in 1992 at the Trump Taj Mahal. It was as controversial a decision as I’ve ever seen. When the win was awarded to Toney, the entire place erupted. I have always admired the gracious way that Dave handled the situation. In my eyes, he will always be a champion.
I will also enjoy seeing Hector Camacho, jr. His late dad was one of my favorite boxing characters and I still have a soft spot in my heart for “Macho” Camacho. The boxing world still mourns him.
John Scully, who was one of James Toney’s best sparring partners and a terrific boxer in his own right, is slated to be there as well. John and I go way back and we have a lot of great stories to share and relive.
Bobby Czyz is another fun person to be around. He lights up the room and seems to know everyone (or they know him.) Mix in Bruce Seldon, Virgil Hill and Keith Holmes and there are sure to be plenty of laughs.
One of the perks of being a female in a male-dominated field is the way the guys treat me. I love the respect and consideration they all show me and it is much appreciated. I am proud to be a part of this illustrious cast of legends and I will be busy snapping pictures all night long.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen