On a regular basis I search for answers as to how a boxer can protect himself from the physical, emotional, and often financial ravages of the sport. Too often I come up empty handed. Now a fascinating brave documentary, featuring Terry Norris, explores the former junior middleweight titleholder’s quest to help boxers obtain health, life, and disability insurance coverage.
Writer-director Walter Richardson, along with experienced film and television personnel, including eight-time Emmy-award winning cinematographer Donald A. Morgan, heads the project. It will not only explore Norris’ life and his health issues, but also solutions to help other boxers in similar predicaments.
“This project came about a year ago,” said Richardson. “I loved boxing and saw Terry Norris on Facebook and friended him. I let him know I was a filmmaker. I believe there is a market to see a genuine human being and witness how the sport of boxing walked away from him.”
The documentary, currently in production, will include interviews from current and former Nevada State Athletic Commission personnel who had direct contact with Norris, including Richard Steele, Joe Cortez, Dr. Flip Homansky and me.
“Boxers earn corporate hotel-casinos and promoters hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Richardson. “Yet those profiting pay no money toward the retirement, health and welfare, or life insurance of the boxers who risk their very lives. This documentary asks the question: Should a professional sport operate this way in the United States of America?”
Boxing abandoned Terry Norris. Whether we like it or not, all who work in the sport are directly or indirectly responsible.
I first had the honor of meeting Norris in 1994, while training as a Nevada ring physician. I was awe struck. He was one of the most articulate, handsome and fit fighters I had ever seen, perhaps the next Ray Leonard. However, by 1997, Norris demonstrated a downturn in his career with losses to Keith Mullings, Dana Rosenblatt and finally Laurent Boudouani in 1998.
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