You can’t talk about boxing in NY without mentioning Bob Duffy. A man who’s done it al, done it well, and managed to give back to the community. Recently, he took over as President of Ring 8; an organization that really looks out for our retired boxers. He’s brought spirit and vitality to the group, and has also opened it up to many young fighter0, officials and a promoters. We are proud to make him NABF Star of the Month.
Jill: What brought you to boxing?
Bob: My father and uncle were big fans back in the day. Growing up, I began to follow in their footsteps, becoming a major enthusiast of the sport myself. With Friday Night Fights and MSG being 12 blocks from where I lived, I had the best of both worlds; live boxing at my doorstep and boxing memories in front of the black and white television with my father.
Jill: What was your life outside the arena?
Bob: In my opinion my childhood was glamorous in its own right. I was one of the few, growing up in the projects on Amsterdam Avenue with a waterfront view overlooking the Hudson River. My days were spent playing basketball and punchbowl in the streets, and sometimes even going to the indoor neighborhood pool. My family never really had much, but growing up in the heart of the city, I found myself to be lucky, really always finding something to do or somewhere to go.
These experiences as a child growing up, helped me in my future endeavors; being drafted into the United States Army, becoming not only a NYC cop but a Deputy United States Marshall as well. Nowadays, I accredit these experiences for inspiring me to become involved in volunteer work through Ring 8 in addition to the Northport VA hospital.
Jill: Who are your roles models?
Bob: No doubt, my mother. My father died at a young age, and I always viewed my mother as a woman wearing many hats. She took me to memorable places, showed me beautiful things, and taught me lessons I carry with me everyday. There is just so much that I am forever thankful for her love and su. Even when times might have been hard growing up, she always seemed to keep everything together.
But in my opinion, what made her so special was a code she lived by her entire life. My mother always had many friends and she lived a code of never saying anything negative about anyone. So as I grew up, I would hear “your just like your mother.” To this day, this has been my greatest compliment.
Jill: How did you get involved in Ring 8?
Bob: I met Tony Mazzarella, at the time a Deputy Commissioner for the NYS Athletic Commission, at a boxing show I was working. It was there that he informed me of all the great things the foundation was doing for retired boxers. He invited me to a meeting, and I have been involved and passionate for the cause since. Now, being a twenty-year member, it is with honor that I represent Ring 8 as the first non-professional boxer president.
Jill: Do you think it is the athlete’s obligation to give back?
Bob: I don’t think it is the responsibilities of the athletes that should give back. I believe that responsibility should be placed more on the people around the athletes. I would like to see referees, judges, inspectors, managers, etc., give back because they also all reap an award from the sport. When a boxer gets paid, he sacrifices weeks of training, away from their family and home, and at the end only walks away with about 60% of his purse.
Jill: What steps do you think the sport could take to regain its popularity?
Bob: As in all avenues of business, the world is becoming a much smaller place. People are becoming more educated and qualified in the area of business. Currently, the boxing world is inundated with allegations of corruptness and inexperience. What boxing needs is better and more qualified officials. In the past, there have just been too many mistakes. Commissions have to be more selective when choosing officials.
Jill: How do you respond to people who ask you if the sport is corrupt?
Bob: As a former NYPD officer, with 23 years experience, the word corrupt is extremely powerful. There are instances in boxing, just as in police work, where things happen. But in my heart, I feel the sport is 99.9% clean. If I felt otherwise, I wouldn’t associate myself with the sport.
Jill: Who are your favorites of all time?
Bob: I can name several. Joey Archer, Dick Tiger, Johnny Persol, Jerry Quarry, Bobby Cassidy, George Chuvalo.
Jill :Tell me your dream match?
Bob: Both boxers at their prime:
Joe Louis verses Muhammed Ali
Ray Robinson verses Carlos Monzon
Jill: How do you think you will be remembered?
Bob: I pride myself on always taking time to say hello and treating others with respect. Now while that should be natural of an action, it seems to be something that is being forgotten not only in the boxing world, but in everyday life. I haven’t forgotten the values of respect and honestly and I think that is what I want to be remembered for. So far, I think I have done my best in accomplishing this
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