As a little boy I always felt small, scared and weak. So I wanted to grow up being a tough guy. The kind of guy that the old Jack Lalanne comics produced, showing the weakling getting sand kicked in his face in front of his girlfriend. Eventually growing muscular and knocking the bully out.
I loved superheroes and watched and played with them all the time. Always beating up the bad guy. That's what I wanted to be.
I remember vividly the comic where superman and Muhammad Ali were in the ring together and I thought of Ali as just the kind of guy who could whoop superman, so I wanted to be like him. Although it would be many years before I found a boxing gym that I would call home. The Brick PAL, in a converted chicken coop, behind R&R BBQ, that's where it started.
I started boxing at the age of thirteen although I had already spent countless hours, without instruction, pounding a bag I had in my basement. In my head I had a whole top 15 ranked fighters, all of them with names and different fighting physical attributes. I’d fight them all with the grace and poise of Ali and the brute toughness of Rocky Balboa. I always engaged in brutal fights in my mind and always managed to win by some dramatic finish, just like I had seen countless fighters do on TV.
I went on to win four NJ golden gloves titles, 3 Diamond gloves titles, three national PAL titles, two northeast regional titles, and the 1991 national golden gloves title. As a nationally ranked fighter I thought about sticking around for a shot at the 92 Olympics but decided I wanted to just turn pro, win a title and earn a ton of money.
I turned pro with Lou Duva as my manager and backed by top rank promotions. I won my first 15 fights before losing a shot at a minor title. After that, strangely enough, I just didn't want to do it any longer. I was ranked #12 in the world but my desire to continue fighting had left. I had one more fight, a draw, and I simply woke up the next day, looked at my beat up face in the mirror and just didn't want to do it any longer.
After 13 years of being a husband to the love of my life, Lara, and raising five children I received a call asking to help UFC fighter Nick Catone with his hands and it was like a light went on in my head. I couldn't wait to do it and I'm proud to say that not only did Nick become excellent with his hands and boxing, more importantly, we became great friends. I also got to work with fellow inductee Tom DeBlass, helping him with his hands for his last fight, a first round KO, and another great friendship was forged.
I've also worked with MMA veteran Jay Coleman and up and coming fighters, Ricky Bandejas, Corey Menafra, Cody Mooney, as well as many others. I can't wait to see what the future holds.
And I cannot forget to mention my lord and savior, Jesus, who has had his hand on my life all along, shaping me, even through a couple of dark years when I was transitioning from prize fighter to blue collar civilian. Thank you Lord!