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Archive for the 'Boyd Melson' Category

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Dennis Taylor (host), Travis Hartman, Rizwaan Zahid and John J. Raspanti (expert analysts), and Christopher James Shelton (boxing historian).

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Boyd Melson's friendship with Christan Zaccagnino began with a dance at a local restaurant-bar. He was a junior at West Point. She was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from a diving accident since age 9.

A lifelong basketball rat, Melson discovered boxing at the military academy, became a U.S. amateur champ, a world military champion, and fought in the U.S. Olympic Trials (where he lost to Austin Trout.)

Never, he says, did he give a thought to turning pro, until (1) Joey Gamache told him he was good enough, and (2) it occurred to him that he might be able to use the spotlight to bring attention to spinal-cord injury research to help his friend.

That epiphany ultimately led to "Team Fight To Walk," a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that raises awareness and money for stem-cell research in the search for a cure for spinal-cord injuries.

Meanwhile, the 33-year-old New Yorker is 14-1-1 as a light middleweight, and hoping for an April fight for a regional title -- possibly at West Point.

This entertaining and educational interview with "The Rainmaker" is preceded by an insightful analysis by John J. Raspanti (maxboxing.com & doghouseboxing.com) of the Canelo/Cotto/Mayweather Mexican standoff, and a breakdown of Wilder-Stiverne, Santa Cruz-Ruiz, and Rios-Alvarado.

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  Expert analysts Travis Hartman & Rizwaan Zahid enthusiastically disagree about whether Arturo Gatti belongs in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, lend perspective to boxing's most recent scandal (Lukas Konecny caught trying to sneak illegal gloves into his world title fight), Julio Cesar Chavez Jr's claim that he tested positive for marijuana from sipping a special tea, and whether Orlando Cruz has helped or hurt his marketability by revealing himself as the first-ever openly gay active boxer.

 Max Garcia then joins us to discuss his newest prospect, Preston Freeman, whom he regards as the most naturally talented fighter he's ever coached.

 This is the first half of our Oct. 7, 2012 show, which features a sensational interview with Boyd Melson in Part II.

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 In June of 2002, 20-year-old West Point cadet Boyd Melson walked into a bar in White Plains, NY, where he spotted a young woman in a wheelchair and, purely to brighten a moment of her life, decided to ask her to "dance." Her friend blocked Melson's path, denying him access, but he persisted. When he knealt and looked into Christan Zaccagnino's eyes, the connection was instant: They were a romantic couple for the next six years and remain inseparable friends today.

But the story becomes much richer. Melson, a pro boxer with a 10-1 record, has donated every penny of his prize money to a quest to help Christan, and others like her, walk again through the scientific miracle of stem-cell research. Nowadays he commutes every work day to his full-time job -- 90 minutes in each direction -- at Johnson & Johnson, still somehow finding time for his boxing training.

 He and publicist Matt Yanofsky also have formed "Team Fight To Walk" (www.teamfighttowalk.com), a coalition of professional fighters that includes Steve Cunningham, Shawn Estrada, Demetrius Andrade and Deandre Latimore), all of whom have dedicated themselves to finding a cure for spinal-cord damage causing paralysis.

Melson joined us Sept. 7, 2012, to tell this riveting story of selfless philanthropy.

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