A Boxer's Nightmare

By G. Leon


A Boxer's Nightmare

Do you know what A Boxer's Nightmare is? Take your pick. Suffering a life altering injury, getting taken advantage of by a manager or promoter, winding up punch drunk barely able to speak, dying in the ring...these are just a few. A Boxer's Nightmare is also a must see documentary that Boxingtalk.com will feature exclusively in the coming days. "Iron" Mike Tyson and Fernando Vargas head an all star cast of boxing's movers and shakers discussing the changes that must take place for our sport to flourish, while thoroughly detailing what's been happening to the majority of professional fighters for over 100 years. Now, for $9.99, you can purchase and download this ground-breaking documentary in it's entirety and do your part to help the sport at the same time. $4.00 from every sale will be donated to the Retired Boxers Foundation and the Gerald McClellan Fund. Boxingtalk recently conducted an interview with veteran cutman Stitch Duran, who produced the documentary, and you don't want to miss what he had to say about the long and difficult road to make this documentary a reality.

GL: What can you tell us about A Boxer's Nightmare?

Stitch Duran: "Putting it together was a long and difficult road. John Barnthouse and I took the challenge to put the documentary together. It was designed as an educational documentary to bring our many of the major issues in boxing that effect this sport. As Marc Ratner said, 'this is the nuts and bolts of boxing.' We all know for any structure to be solid it has to have nuts and bolts, and at this point we don't. If this can challenge people in the industry to make a change and make a difference than me and John will feel like we've done our jobs."

GL: Can you provide us with some background info on the project?

Stitch Duran: "I met a young man named John Barnthouse. He was fresh out of film school and he wanted me to train him. Like your buddy Ben (Thompson) he's a computer wiz. He read on an interview I did that I wanted to do a video and he told me he'd be more than willing to help me out.  He had the connections with the cameras and the equipment becuase I don't know anything about stuff like that. But we used his equipment and my connections in boxing. We hustled and we did it on a minimal budget. Everybody in the film cooperated 250%. Most of these interviews were done at boxing events in Las Vegas. At that point we didn't have any credentials so we had to bob and weave our way in there to get this done. It took us about three years to get the footage, break it down and get the storyline. John and I worked together hand in hand on what made the cut.

GL: You've been in boxing for over twenty years, and many of the issues you touch on in the film have been happening in boxing from day one, what made you wake up one day wanting to make this documentary?

Stitch Duran: "Big balls I guess. That may have had something to do with it.  The best way for me to have done this was on video. And you don't hear it from me you hear it from some of the greatest people in the game.  There's an interview with Mills Lane which was done shortly before his stroke and it was great to get his insight on a lot of different issues."

GL: Mike Tyson, Fernando Vargas, Emanuel Steward, Mills Lane and many others are featured in the documentary. Which interview did you most enjoy?

Stitch Duran: "Obviously I enjoyed Mike Tyson and Fernando Vargas the most. When I told Mike that this was a film that I wanted to help the younger guys coming up with, he jumped on it right away. He gave me some great insight and provides great knowledge. With Fernando Vargas we did the interview in the gym when he was training, and when we listened to the audio there was a lot of background noise. He said, 'you know what, I'm on my way to the MGM get it the limo and we'll do it on the way.'

GL: What goals do you have for this film?

Stitch Duran: "My goal is for everybody to come forward. When I say everybody I mean, the associations, the promoters and it doesn't matter if they're major or not. I'm also talking about the networks. Everybody is making money out of this game but nobody is putting back into the farm system. I've been in corporate America for 30 years and I understand it's about a profit. But when you're making money off guys risking their lives you have to have a heart and put some money back into the system. My ultimate goal is to help the change. If a few young fighters see the films and learn what they need to do to advance their career properly, as a little guy I'll feel I've done it.

"Right now we need to educate our fighters. Education is something this sport is missing. And that's a big E. A lot of people making money in boxing should be ashamed because we should have been putting money back into the sport a long time ago."

GL: Have you sent Senator McCain a copy of the film?

Stitch Duran: "It's funny you say that, I didn't send the film to him but my daughter just wrote Senator McCain a letter as a concerned boxing fan. But I don't know what his intentions are as far as making this sport any better. I'm not sure if he knows what needs to be done to make this sport better. I don't have the connection that Boxingtalk has, so I'm thankful for you guys helping me putting it out there and I"m confident that we'll be able to get a copy to Senator McCain.  And if he truly cares about the sport we should hear back from him right after he sees it."

"The bottom line is the majority of these fighters have less than a high school diploma. The majority of fighters that fight on an annual salary the profits they make keep them in poverty. The majority of fighters have fought injured and trained injured. Most of them don't have insurance and don't have proper nutritionists. Basically we just felt that there's some major problems here that have to be addressed."

GL: In the coming days you're going to be selling the film for $9.99 and Boxingtalk.com is the only place you'll be able to buy it, but let's talk about why you've decided to donated $4.00 from every sale to the Retired Boxers Foundation and the Gerald McCllelan Fund. What made you decide to give 40% of the money this film generates to those two charities?

Stitch Duran: "I did that because I want to challenge everyone out there to volunteer and help out. Even these fighters who are making millions and millions of dollars. They need to think about the program and put something back in. I've struggled and I've made major sacrifices to be involved in boxing and finishing the film was a long hard road, but as someone who wants change, I couldn't release this and not give back significantly to two seperate causes that need much more help than they're getting."


Send questions and comments to: gleon@Boxingtalk.net