Wilfred Benitez & Gerald McClellan

By Robert Ecksel on July 17, 2012
Wilfred Benitez & Gerald McClellan
“I vowed to help Wilfred Benitez. Ring 10 sends him money that just keeps him afloat."

On Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, at Marina Del Rey in Throgs Neck, NY, Ring 10 is hosting its Second Annual Fundraiser. The primary recipients of the fundraiser will be Wilfred Benitez and Gerald McClellan.

Among the celebrities in attendance will be Chad Dawson, Livingstone Bramble, Buddy McGirt, Donny Lalonde, Bonecrusher Smith, Lou Duva, Aaron Davis, Iran Barkley, Doug DeWitt, Michael Olajide, and many more.

It will be an all day affair, starting with brunch at 11:30, and will include an all-you-can-eat dinner and open bar. There will also be a silent auction of boxing memorabilia.

I spoke with Matt Farrago, President of Ring 10, to get a little more information about the fundraiser and what those who attend can expect.

“You get to mingle with all the celebrities,” he said. “It’s not like they sit on the dais and you can’t touch them. I called all my friends and said, ‘Listen guys, I need a little payback and a little help’—and they’re all coming, they’re all volunteering, nobody’s betting paid…nobody.

“I vowed to help Wilfred Benitez, even before Gerald. This is the greatest welterweight champion ever, at 17 years of age. The organization sends him money that just keeps him afloat. It buys him diapers. It buys him food and medicine. And every six months he’s got to buy a new bed, just because he relieves himself in the middle of the night. This is Wilfred Benitez. He’s only two years older than me—and he cannot even speak. That’s why I need this fundraiser to do well.”

I was getting squeamish listening to Farrago. We all know this happens with alarming frequency, yet it’s so much easier to sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist than to face the truth head on—let alone to do something about it.

“People don’t realize,” continued Farrago, “that these are the great champions that we all watched as kids. Yes, I know a lot of them screwed up. I know a lot of them blew their money. They have no income. They have no money. They have nothing. And these are the guys that we all watched and admired.

“Unfortunately, we found the middleweight champion of the world Iran Barkley on the subway with his belt and his clothes because he got evicted. We got him into an apartment in the Bronx. We got him into social services. We bought him a small flat screen TV. We pay his cable bill. We do a whole bunch of stuff. And we got him employed, we got him some work. It’s not steady but we got him some work. He does private training at Gleason’s. Whatever we can do to help we do.”

If you want to give back to the fighters who have given so much of themselves for us, specifically fighters like Wilfred Benitez and Gerald McClellan, contact Matt Farrago at 631-948-6028.

And highlight Aug. 18th on your calendar.

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  1. Steve Cearfoss 08:39am, 07/27/2012

    I assume that Benitez’s disorder is boxing related, which to me is confusing since Wilfred was so clever defensively that he seldom took any hard shots. I admit that I didn’t follow his career after he left the main stage, so his troubles may have been due to beatings late in his career. Any info from readers re Benitez’s problems will be appreciated.

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