In This Corner

Ex-middleweight Paul Johnson's fight to unionize pro boxers

"This is gonna happen," Johnson says. "There's a real sense of camaraderie among boxers, whether they're club fighters in the gym or champions. When we get our message out, we're going to explain very carefully what unions are about and why they are significant." To that end, Johnson declares, the committee is planning to make a big public splash with, he says, a televised union-charter signing preceding a title fight sometime in the next few months.

Put 'em up: Paul Johnson is ready to go the distance for his brothers in the ring
David Kern
Put 'em up: Paul Johnson is ready to go the distance for his brothers in the ring

In the Minnesota rings, word of the union drive has been slow to spread. "Fabulous" Fred Moore, a light heavyweight from Rochester whose 21-0 record (19 KOs) has made him one of the state's hottest prospects, says he suspects most fighters would vote to certify a union if they received ballots. "This is a sport where a lot of guys get used up pretty quickly. I've got a great manager, but a lot of guys don't." Moore says. "I've seen how their managers and promoters rob fighters. It's been that way for so long, we've come to accept it. If there's one boxer out there that isn't for this, I'd say maybe he's a little punchy or something."

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