Lem Satterfield

Broner-DeMarco card endures despite Hurricane Sandy

 

ATLANTIC CITY — Boxing reporter Carlos Suarez endured flooding of “maybe over three feet of water” in his home on the North Shore of Staten Island, a house which also was struck by a fallen tree. The Wayne, N.J., home of promoter, Gary Shaw, lost power “for roughly nine days,” forcing him to sleep, for a time, in his office.

New Jersey Athletic Commission chairman, Aaron Davis, housed 11 displaced family members in Willingboro, N.J., and professional junior welterweight boxer, Zachary Ochoa, had a difficult time traveling from his home in Brooklyn to his doctor’s office in Manhattan “because the trains weren’t working due to the floods” that were the result of damage caused after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast.

“We have a very good friend who is a single woman with five children and a dog, and her house was just destroyed. She lost her $300,000 house and her car. Jack Hirsch, the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America, I understand that he had a lot of damage,” said HBO’s ringside scorer Harold Lederman, a resident of Orangeburg, N.Y.

“I mean, you just keep hearing one horror story after another. Our younger daughter, Iris, lost her electricity for a week and a half. My mother-in-law is 96 years old and had to walk down six flights of stairs because she had no electricity in her apartment. She stayed with us for a week and a half until they got her power back in the building.” 

Yet all are in Atlanntic City for Saturday night’s HBO-televised clash between former WBO junior lightweight beltholder Adrien Broner and WBC lightweight beltholder Antonio DeMarco, whose co-feature matches undefeated heavyweight prospect Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell and once-beaten Johnathon Banks.

‘I think that it’s important to be here as a member of the state. I was a former member of the state’s athletic control board, and I’m a member of the boxing community,” said Shaw.

“I believe that New Jersey is strong. We’ve always recovered from whatever travesty there has been. We’ll recover once again and show New Jersey how strong we are. What better way to show how strong we are than to do a boxing match in Atlantic City.”

Ochoa will be after his third knockout in as many victories without a loss against Michael Salcido, of Casa Grande, Az.

“It’s important, though, for me to be here in order to demonstrate to everybody that no matter what natural disaster happens, we can go through anything,” said Ochoa, who turned 20 on Nov. 6. “We can always stay on top of our game and stay focused.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Broner and Mitchell made an uplifting visit to the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club, one of several in the area that were damaged by the storm. At the club, Broner and Mitchell each spoke, individually, before the many children in attendance, assisted in the post-Hurricane Sandy clean-up, and posed for photos.

Event media director Kelly Swanson said the fighters’ visit sparked hope.

“I think that the greatest gift out of the whole week was being able to still have the fight here and to have them take the fighters over to the boys and girls club of Atlantic City, and to see the faces of those kids who, in talking to some of the parents and the staff, here at Caesars, a lot of people were displaced because of the storm with the flooding,” said Swanson, president of Swanson Communications.

“They’re jsut starting to return to their homes now. I think that it’s good that we’re bringing business to the city and giving them the opportunity to continue their jobs. Having a big prize fight here, Saturday morning was all abuzz, and active and alive. I think that it probably gives them more hope that things will go back to normal and that people will return to Atlantic City soon.”

In advance of the show, not only will Golden Boy provide monetary relief by donating $2 for every ticket sold and $1,000 per knockout registered during the nine-fight event, but Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya and Caesars Atlantic City will match and add to the much-needed donation for the several ravaged Boys and Girls Clubs which were forced to close, directly impacting under-served youth and their family members in the area.

“Oscar De La Hoya is being tremendously generous giving $2 for every ticket sold to the relief fund for victims of Hurricane Sandy and he’s matching the donation as well,” said Lederman.

“He’s doing an awful lot for those people who were really, really hurt badly. Golden Boy has had an incredible response and has really stepped up to the plate when they’ve had to.”

Golden Boy Promotions will also donate tickets to the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City, whose main and satellite buildings suffered extensive damage in the storm.

“We need to get back to normal. We need to get our lives back, and this is a part of getting our lives back, having these events, these sporting events, and these boxing events,” said Davis.

“New Jersey is known for big fights, so we’re getting back to the way things were. Bringing money and people back into our casinos, getting our restaurants going again and getting people up and down the turnpike. Like Gary Shaw said, New Jersey’s tough, and we’re just going to show it.”

Below are various personal experiences of some of those involved in aspects of Saturday night’s events as they relate to Hurricane Sandy.

Ken Condon, Consultant, Caesars Entertainment

“I live a little bit inland, so I wasn’t as affected by others. I had some wind damage but no flooding. It’s very importnat for this to take place because there was a perception because of all of the news coverage which showed parts of the boardwalk washed away that Atlantic City wasn’t open for business.

“We are open and ready for customers and we’re providing great customer service and great entertainment, and for us being on HBO, that gives us the means on a national network to let people know that we are. It’s been a really tough situation for a lot of people, but we have to put that behind us and move forward and get things re-energized and try to think about the future being more positive.”

 

Aaron Davis, New Jersey State Boxing Commissioner

“I’m from Willingboro, New Jersey. I was blessed. My Direct TV went out for about three hours, and that was it. I had power the whole time. That is when people around me — not even a mile or two away — had no lights, no power, no water, nothing. I had family members stay at my house for close to 10 days. I had 11 family members stay at my house. So I was affected, but I was glad to have my family members stay at my house instead of staying in the streets.

“I had those people in my house, and it was the greatest feeling to have the family all together. It’s a shame that it took a storm to do it, but to be able to have your family together, especially during times like that, it was a blessing. I was important to be able to give them a room and to give them cover and to all eat together, that’s what family is for.  So I’m just glad that we had that opportunity.

“We need to get back to normal. We need to get our lives back, and this is a part of getting our lives back, having these events, these sporting events, and these boxing events. New Jersey is known for big fights, so we’re getting back to the way things were. Bringing money and people back into our casinos, getting our restaurants going again and getting people up and down the turnpike. Like Gary Shaw said, New Jersey’s tough, and we’re just going to show it.”


David Istkowitch, Chief Operating Officer, Golden Boy Promotions

“I grew up in Manhattan. The majority of my relatives are in New York. My mother, my sister are in Manhattan. I have inlaws in New Jersey, and a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law and nephew in Manhattan who stayed with us for a night in Manhattan after they lost power.

“I have aunts and uncles in Long Island and Roosevelt Island. My mother and sister were fine. They’re on the upper East side of Manhattan, which really wasn’t affected other than some wind and rain and broken tree branches. My sister and brother-in-law lost power. They’re in Mahattan, south of 34th street.

“My mother and father-in-law are in Tenafly, New Jersey, and they lost power. My aunt and uncle, who live in Merrick, their house was flooded because they’re right on the water in Merrick. So they had flooding and boats on their streets nearby. So they sustained a little damage and lost power.

“But all in all, everyone came out okay other than a loss of power and a little damage. We respect the fact that people have lost lives and lost property, but at the same time, as part of the healing process, people need to go out and they need to do things.

“If they have the means to, they should go out to a fight, have some fun, be with their family and their friends at a fight. Take their minds off of things a little bit. If people shut in and don’t come to Atlantic City, then it’s not going to recover. It takes people going out and doing things and going to restaurants, and going to movies, and going to casinos, and going away on trips to help things to recover.”

 

Harold Lederman, HBO’s unofficial ringside scorer

“I live in Orangeburg, New York. The wind was blowing so hard. It was pretty bad. A lot of people had damage to their roofs. My lawn was obliterated by shingles. The fence around house came down. It was bad. We have a very good friend who is a single woman with five children and a dog, and her house was just destroyed. She lost her $300,000 house and her car.

“Jack Hirsch, the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America, I understand that he had a lot of damage. I mean, you just keep hearing one horror story after another. Our younger daughter, Iris, lost her electricity for a week and a half. My mother-in-law is 96 years old and had to walk down six flights of stairs because she had no electricity in her apartment. She stayed with us for a week and a half until they got her power back in the building.

“No. 1, I think that the main event is going to be a great fight, and No. 2, [Golden Boy Promotions President] Oscar De La Hoya is being tremendously generous giving $2 for every ticket sold to the relief fund for victims of Hurricane Sandy and he’s matching the donation as well. He’s doing an awful lot for those people who were really, really hurt badly. Golden Boy has had an incredible response and has really stepped up to the plate when they’ve had to.”

Larry Merchant, HBO boxing commentator

“I’m originally an East Coast guy and a New York guy. When I hear about these regions getting devastated, it was something that I knew about and felt in all of my being because I’ve been to all of these places. I had a lot of good times in these places. I have a lot of friends in New York, and I have a sister who lives in New York now, and cousins.

“Fortunately, they were above the fray — up town and in the city. They didn’t directly suffer any damage. But I knew of friends from down town who had to move out of their apartments and go to hotels up town. They had to go to the homes of  friends and relatives because the power was out. So, I was communicating about it for days and seeing how they were doing. I was wondering how it would play out.

“I don’t know how important is to be here, but it does show some signs of recovery. Atlantic City was not reportedly hit as hard as some of the other areas on the coast. But it’s something symbolic perhaps for some people to see that life is going on.

“There was a question in my mind, and, I suppose, in the minds of many others as to whether the fights would actually take place, or whether they would take place here. Fortunately, Atlantic City wasn’t as devastated as some other regions, so I think that it’s a good thing, but I don’t want to overstate it.”

 

Zachary Ochoa, junior welterweight boxer

“I live in Brooklyn, New York, but I’m here in Atlantic City to do my thing. I was affected by the storm because a lot of people that I know who lived in New Jersey, their houses got messed up. So I was affected in that way. But also, by the medical purposes surrounding the fight.

“Always, you need to bring your medicals to the fight, so that messed up everything for me. It was tough getting from Brooklyn to Manhattan because the trains weren’t working due to the floods, but I did what I had to do. I just stayed focused. I ran on the treadmill because I couldn’t run outside in the storm.

“I just did my thing. My house was fine, thank God. It’s important, though, for me to be here in order to demonstrate to everybody that no matter what natural disaster happens, we can go through anything. We can always stay on top of our game and stay focused.”

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Gary Shaw, Promoter

“I live in Wayne, New Jersey. I didn’t have power for roughly nine days. I slept in my office on the couch. And then went home and had hot water for the shower, and then, back to the office. But compared to a lot of people in New Jersey, I have nothing to complain about. I’m very, very forunate that all that it was was the power.

“There was obviously an inconvenience with long gas lines. I wanted four or five hours. But it’s important to be here as a member of the state. I was a former member of the state’s athletic control board, and I’m a member of the boxing community.

“I believe that New Jersey is strong. We’ve always recovered from whatever travesty there has been. We’ll recover once again and show New Jersey how strong we are. What better way to show how strong we are than to do a boxing match in Atlantic City.”
 

Carlos Suarez, BoricuaBoxing

“I live in the North Shore of Staten Island, about three blocks away from the beach and the ocean. I had maybe over three feet of water. A tree hit the back of my house. But that wasn’t even the bulk of the damage. As far as my neighbors, I had a neighbor of mine who had his whole house completely wiped out because of the storm and stuff.

“I mean, you had that, and the water damage, and we had not lights for over 10 days. We were directly affected that way. No food. Foot was very limited because we had no lights. We couldn’t go to any diners or restaurants because everything was closed. My neighbors have children, and they had no way to heat up the milk and stuff like that. Like food.

“But there were people who were worse off than I was, and if there was something that we could do to help them, to help this community, I’m all for that. We were here a couple of days ago and saw the devastation around seaside heights, and it’s bad. It’s getting ugly.

“Honestly, I don’t know how the situation is everywhere, but in Staten Island, New York, we still haven’t heard from FEMA, and it has been more than two weeks. Supposedly, they’re supposed to be out helping us, and we haven’t heard from the government. They’ve helped everyone else, but Staten Island seems to be the forgotten part of New York.”

Kelly Swanson, President, Swanson Communications

“My brother lives in New Jersey, and his summer house is in Point Pleasant Beach, which is about an hour North of here. It was really one beach south of Seaside, which is where the storm really came in. So he was about six blocks off the beach, and his house was flooded. The water receded, but all of the debris was left from the water.

“His mother-in-law has a house on the beach and that will have to be rebuilt because the structure had so much damage that they’re going to have to rebuild it. She’s already been dealing with FEMA, and they’ve started the process.”

“I think that the greatest gift out of the whole week was being able to still have the fight here and to have them take the fighters over to the boys and girls club of Atlantic City, and to see the faces of those kids who, in talking to some of the parents and the staff, here at Caesars, a lot of people were displaced because of the storm with the flooding.

“They’re jsut starting to return to their homes now. I think that it’s good that we’re bringing business to the city and giving them the opportunity to continue their jobs. Having a big prize fight here, Saturday morning was all abuzz, and active and alive. I think that it probably gives them more hope that things will go back to normal and that people will return to Atlantic City soon.”

 

Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

 

 

 

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