By John J. Raspanti
A successful professional boxer can make and spend an unimaginable amount of money-while, at the same time, his career may be brief, and sometimes deadly.
One punch and it’s over.
Many start with nothing.
Legendary heavyweight champion Joe Louis was born in a ramshackle building in Alabama. When he was 12, Louis, his mother, and seven siblings, moved to Detroit, MI.
The Depression hit the Louis family hard. Louis quit school and went to work. When he was 17, he discovered boxing.
Six years later, Louis captured the heavyweight championship of the world.
Suddenly Louis had money. Lots and lots of money, but he wasn’t interested.
Louis was a high school dropout. He didn’t consider himself smart enough to handle finances. He hired someone else to do it.
By the time he retired, Louis, revered as one of the greatest fighters in boxing history had earned 4.6 million. Today that equates to roughly 44 million. He figured he was set for life.
In fact, most of his earnings, over three million, had gone to his managers. Louis was left with $800,000 and debt to the United States government.
He was forced to return to the ring.
“Smokin” Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali engaged in three of the most celebrated fights in boxing history. They both made millions in the 1970s, but by the time he was in his 60’s, Frazier was reduced to living above the gym where he trained fighters.
Frazier had spent a lot of his money, but his modest living arrangements were incomprehensible.
There are many other boxers, like Willie Pep and Sandy Saddler, who ended up destitute. The reasons were always the same. The money flows like water for a while, but ultimately dries up, and the fighter, who thought his job was only to box, is left broke and friendless.
Adrian Clark’s new book, Protect Yourself at All Times, takes on this issue just like a good fight--head on.
Using quotes from active and retired fighters, the book takes a hard look at the financial side of the sport. Each chapter explains what a fighter needs to know to survive in the fight game.
Clark, a professional boxing manager and former NBA agent, breaks down the business side, covering contracts, manager-fighter agreement, promoters, taxes, and how a fighter needs to be responsible for his or her decisions.
“There is a dark side to boxing and if you (the fighters) are not educated and prepared for it, there will be plenty of dark days that await you. Adrian’s book is very fitting for what the fighter NEEDS to know.”
James “Buddy” McGirt
former two-division champion
Clark discusses some raw truths about a sport where there are no rules when it comes to careers and finances. Boxers are used and abused, and, when they can’t make box anymore, discarded, and often broke.
A little over 100 pages, this is an easy read. Clark doesn’t lecture. He explains.
“This book and the things that it points out result in the professional boxers being accountable for their actions and decisions. Fighters need to look out for themselves and their future.
Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker
Former four-division world champion
A professional fighter should never end up busted. They risk it all in the ring for a dream that only they can see. The risks are many, the rewards can be immense, but being as focused and aware of what’s going on behind the scenes is just as important.
Protect Yourself at All Times does a terrific job of explaining the ins and outs of the pugilistic monetary world. Clark wants to help, and for that he deserves credit for penning this book.