Lem Satterfield

Bozella shares his thoughts ahead of first pro fight


In 2009, Dewey Bozella was released from prison after serving 26 years of a wrongful conviction. Last week, he passed a physical administered by the California State Athletic Commission, and now stands ready to realize his dream of fighting as a professional boxer on the undercard of the light heavyweight bout between RING and WBC titleholder Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson on Oct. 15 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

In 1983, at the age of 23, Bozella was convicted for the murder of an elderly woman in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and given a sentence of 20 years to life, of which he served 26 years before being exonerated in 2009 by new evidence. While incarcerated, Bozella became the prison's light heavyweight champion.

Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, the 52-year-old Bozella has spent his time training in Philadelphia alongside the 46-year-old Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs), who is preparing for the title defense opposite Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs).

On July 13, 2011, Bozella's life was chronicled in ESPN's annual ESPY Award show in the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, where he was honored as the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Below, Bozella shared his thoughts during a media workout on Tuesday.

On his youth lost to incarceration:

"When I was young, I was bitter because I never thought I’d get out of there [prison].I thought I’d die in there."

On being released from prison:

"It’s just like getting out of prison. It is a new experience. I always thought I had a chance to get out. I knew I was getting out of prison.

"People said, ‘Ah, it’ll never happen, it’ll never happen.' But it did happen. Either I was going to die in there and go out in a box, or I was going to walk out of there."

On earning bachelor's and master’s degrees in prison:

"I always said, 'How can I give something back to society if I have nothing to offer?"

On his being approved to fight and training with Hopkins:

"I came to Bernard Hopkins’ camp and I was approved to fight. Thank God for that. I worked hard and it paid off."

On being in the ring on Oct. 15:

"I’m not going out to lie down; I’m going out to fight. I’m not going to let this guy come and whip my butt."

On his plans beyond the fight:

"I want to get this fight over with and then I want to open my own gym. My goal is to help young kids as well as adults. I want to help them turn their lives around and keep out of trouble.

"My gym is going to be for whoever comes in. But it’s going to be for the kids. I am a professional fighter. I’m here."


Read more:

Hopkins training, mentoring wrongfully-accused boxer

Wrongfully accused boxer might be on Hopkins-Dawson undercard

Breaking News: Wrongfully-accused Bozella approved for Hopkins-Dawson undercard

Exclusive Q&A: Dewey Bozella's freedom fight



Lem Satterfield can be reached at lem.satterfield@gmail.com

Photo / Dave Londres – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

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