View Full Version : Brillant Bobby Czyz Article (MUST READ)
05-06-2009, 11:51 PM
This Article will be a series of parts on each page..........
Unbeknownst to most, the life of three-time world titlist and broadcaster Bobby Czyz has all the elements of an award winning major motion picture. It has elements of pathos and tragedy, incredible personal triumphs by a flawed protagonist, violent physical and mental abuse, riches and rejection, boy meets girl, and self destruction. You might actually see it on the big screen some day. Three times there has been a signed contract to film a Czyz bio-pic, once with Universal, and twice with Independents.
In 2005, writer Greg Smith wrote a comprehensive account of Czyz’ life and career, possibly the best of its kind. His work and the author himself were invaluable resources in our pursuit of the real Bobby Czyz. Smith knows his subject well; to this day the two men trade emails frequently and chat on the phone.
We also held four rather extended interviews with Czyz, the only champion to be a member of Mensa, the largest organization for people with superior intellectual capacity. Czyz seemingly bared his soul in every aspect of his life, yet the writer’s sixth sense always held this nagging feeling that his subject was always holding back just a little, his own bullish refusal to concede defeat, either a residue of old childhood wounds or perhaps the remaining competitive defiance of a world class athlete. In any event, few subjects are as willing to open their lives as Czyz has in this interview. He makes no pretense of nobility and makes no apologies for being Bobby Czyz.
“The people who were sent the original script thought it was too violent,” Bobby said of his movie. “And it wasn’t even 100% of the violence in my house. It wasn’t all the things my father did to me, my brothers, and my mother. It was toned down and even that was too much. It’s not a boxing movie. It just so happens that I chose boxing as my path. It’s the story of survival within a family of extreme dysfunction and vicious abuse.
“The single most important reason for my story being told for me was I wanted one single concept understood. Throughout recent history Psychologists and Psychiatrists all talk about murderers, rapists and serial killers being abused as children. Well, you know what? I was physically and emotionally abused almost every day of my life for 20 years and I made a decision not to do that to my family and make myself better. I think the bottom line is you make a decision and once you make that decision you do what is correct.”
Czyz was born on February 10, 1962 in Orange, New Jersey, to teen parents who had dropped out of high school. Once a member of a street gang who did time at the Jamesburg reformatory, his father, Robert Czyz Sr., got his GED, and his mother, Louise, had three children to raise before the age of 20.
“I was baptized Catholic,” Bobby said. “My father turned atheist when I was four. All I remember was being an atheist. Now when he died my mother was Catholic. She wouldn’t say it before because he would kill her.
“My father was probably the single most vicious human being - he makes Hitler look like a choir boy, and my mother makes Mother Teresa look like Hitler.
“I didn’t understand that I would go in the ground and never see anyone again. So I used to cry myself to sleep at night every once in a while, it was so hurtful. If I cried at night before my father came in he would slap the crap out of me. My father used to open handed break your jaw. The last time he did it was July 1969. He cracked me so hard he separated my jaw. He said, ‘I told you, the only way you can live forever is through your family or be something special. So stop the crying.’”
At the age of 10, the school system of East Orange called in Bobby’s parents to advise them that he was far advanced from his fellow classmates, some who had problems even in reading, and recommended that they relocate to increase his intellectual potential. The family moved to Wanaque, New Jersey, a lower middle class area with a good educational system.
Bobby engaged in football, baseball and basketball at school, but said that, “I played well in all of those, but I let it all go. My dad sort of made me let it go just to box. I boxed from [ages] 10-15, my brothers were nine and seven and he made us fight for five years. After five years he said we could quit. My brothers quit.”
Czyz was an honor student, accepted to Rutgers, Arizona State, and Seton Hall. He was also offered an appointment to West Point in four partial payment scholarships. Bobby had to excel. To bring home a “B” might result in a beating.
You have to wonder why such an intelligent, articulate young man would forgo higher education for boxing.
“I was a straight “A” student,” he begins. “I didn’t know back then that I was Mensa material. I didn’t know what a Mensa was. I didn’t try out for Mensa until 1993 when I was 31 years old.
“When I was 15 I was so acclimated to boxing that I was sparring with grown men, 24, 25, 26 years old. Many times I was 147 pounds fighting men 155-160. At the time they were making good money fighting, or what I thought was good money, $6000-$7000 a fight. To me $10,000 was a fortune. I’m boxing these guys getting them ready for a fight and I’m handing them their head. They’re not sparring with me; they’re fighting to stay alive. When they got off their Sunday punch, I would just say, ‘Nice shot.’ I didn’t mind getting hit. When I did get hit, nothing happened.
“I don’t want to die. My name and accomplishments are in history books for eternity. I’m immortal.”
Bobby was told that if he turned pro he could be a star. For a young man who wanted to live forever by becoming something special, it was an alluring prospect.
“I busted people up pretty bad, pretty quickly,” Czyz explained. “I liked the way it felt and I told my father, ‘I want to turn pro, let me give this a shot.’”
As an amateur Bobby had been chosen to be part of the U.S. team that went to Poland in early 1980, the year of the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Olympics. He received a broken nose in an automobile accident a week before the team departed and was unable to accompany the team. Every member of the team perished when the Polish airline crashed en route to the competition.
In a bizarre twist of fate, Bobby’s injury spared his life. His mother thought that he was spared by God. Hearing that, Bobby’s father beat her.
Czyz turned pro in April 1980 at the age of 18 and began to gain the attention of fans and boxing insiders through his determination and perseverance. After winning 11 straight fights he became a part of “Tomorrow’s Champions” on NBC, and was widely seen on ESPN as well, earning the nickname “Matinee Idol.”
He became a legitimate contender before his 20th birthday when he defeated Robbie Sims, middleweight champion Marvin Hagler’s half brother, in January 1982 by unanimous decision raising his record to 17-0 (12). Three knockouts later he was ranked in the Top 10, moving closer to a title shot when he was matched with the rugged Mustafa Hamsho in November 1982.
Hamsho had lost to Hagler in October 1981 but he was still a top contender, a formidable opponent for anyone with a record of 34-2-2. It was a risky fight for a 20 year old prospect.
Lou Duva was Bobby’s manager. He offered Czyz $125,000 to face Hamsho. Bobby rejected it and Lou came back with a counter offer of $175,000. According to Smith’s article, Bobby felt that the counter offer came too quickly and conveniently and he was suspicious that the money was there all along.
Hamsho beat Czyz by a 10 round unanimous decision. Bobby broke his right hand in the second round and the experienced Hamsho was simply better at that point in their respective careers.
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05-06-2009, 11:54 PM
Czyz underwent a bone graft to repair his right hand and was in a cast for 10 weeks. As Smith wrote, Bobby and his father had worked hard together over the years, and a strong bond existed between the two. Bobby***8217;s father, seated at ringside, was one of the first people to enter the ring after his fights and they almost always embraced. Yet Bobby also saw boxing as the key to asserting his independence and get away from his father***8217;s negative traits. But as Bobby became more prominent and his purses grew larger, his father sought more control over the relationship.
***8220;The bottom line is that my father was a vicious disciplinarian,***8221; Bobby said. ***8220;I was afraid of heights as a kid. He wanted me to climb a tree that was 35-40 feet tall. I was afraid. He said, ***8216;Climb that tree or I***8217;ll break your ass.***8217; I climbed the tree to the top. He asked, ***8216;Who won, you or the tree?***8217; I said, ***8216;I did Dad.***8217; He said, ***8216;You know why? You***8217;re more afraid of me than the tree. Now climb out of that tree.***8217;
***8220;You know what? I built a tree house in that tree. I jump out of planes now. Fear was the only motivator.***8221;
The senior Czyz had self educated himself since his turbulent youth, and had become a District Sales Manager for the National Telephone Directory. He had worked with Bobby through his amateur years to his early professional success. Yet Bobby was conflicted about their relationship - there was love, but also repressed anger. Bobby saw his father as both a genius and an alcoholic sociopath.
***8220;I know my father was an alcoholic,***8221; Bobby said. ***8220;He never drank before five o***8217;clock but he drank everyday after five o***8217;clock. He was a functioning alcoholic.***8221;
In those months of the first half of 1983, it was all coming to a head - Robert Sr. saw Bobby making his own decisions and becoming his own man.
Then one day Bobby***8217;s father told him that he had thrown one of his brothers out of the house. Bobby challenged Senior and it escalated into a full scale heated verbal confrontation. Senior told Bobby that he was nothing without him and without him he would fall flat on his face. Bobby retorted that, although he had benefited from his father***8217;s efforts, he would go forward without him.
Smith quotes Bobby as saying, ***8220;Tell you what. Keep all the money***8230;Keep everything. Tomorrow you***8217;re dead to me***8230;I have no father.***8221;
Bobby left the house. His father ignored him when he returned, staring blankly at the TV. Bobby tried to apologize but his father refused to acknowledge him.
Bobby went to bed and Robert Czyz Sr. shot himself to death. Bobby discovered the body the next morning, and suffered with nightmares of the horrific sight for years.
Bobby, only 21 himself, had to answer his five year old sister, Maria, when she asked, ***8220;Was Daddy a bad man?***8221;
Bobby told her no, and not to discuss it out of the house. He practically raised her after that.
Today Bobby thinks that he has come to understand the event.
***8220;I***8217;ll tell you what I came up with many, many years after the fact,***8221; he explained. ***8220;I think at that time my father was losing control of himself and he was afraid of hurting me or someone in the family. Rather than hurt us, he took himself out. Instead of the ultimate cop-out, it was the ultimate gesture of love.***8221;
His right hand healed and his psyche still wounded, Bobby made his comeback in September 1983 against Bert Lee. Prior to the fight, a reporter asked him what he would miss most about his father.
***8220;I said***8230; excuse me,***8221; Bobby paused a moment, still emotional to this day. ***8220;After the fight I got hit with that wicked hug. And my very next fight I fought Bert Lee and knocked him out in the second round. The bell sounded, I turned around, and my mother hit me with the very same thing, the hug. And the thing is, before my father died my mother was never allowed to go to my fights.***8221;
Bobby***8217;s manager, Lou Duva wanted Bobby to resign a long-term contract but Bobby was mistrustful and began working on a fight to fight basis.
***8220;Lou Duva was a master of deception,***8221; Bobby recalled. ***8220;He was a great manager, phenomenal matchmaker, second to none. They called him the trainer of champions. He couldn***8217;t train a dog to bark. His expertise was in managing and promoting, but not training.***8221;
(Tommy Parks, a guard at Jamesburg Reformatory when Bobby***8217;s father was there, was Bobby***8217;s trainer. Parks had trained Rubin Carter and Bobby***8217;s father liked him. Parks and Czyz worked on a handshake agreement and Tommy served as friend and trainer throughout Bobby***8217;s career.)
In 1984, the super middleweight division was created. It was made to order for Czyz, who was having trouble making the 160 pound limit, and was physically limited with a 68***8221; reach. The veteran Murray Sutherland was also a Duva fighter and gained the newly created IBF super middleweight belt over journeyman Ernie Singletary with a 15 round decision. Sutherland was signed to fight Korean Chong Pal Park, and Bobby was under the impression that he would get his shot against the winner.
Park knocked out Sutherland and the Duvas didn***8217;t have options on him, and the prospect of a Czyz title fight vanished.
***8220;He [Duva] told me that Murray Sutherland was fighting Park and I had the winner,***8221; Bobby said. ***8220;I was upset that he lied to me. He said he wanted a contract on me or he wasn***8217;t promoting me. So I went to [New Jersey promoter] Carlo Dee.
Along with his new promoter, Bobby also became self managed, as he would remain for the rest of his career, (although he did hire Arnie Rosenthal to be his managerial agent in 1992). He also made the move to the light heavyweight division where the talent was greater but so were the opportunities.
After eight straight wins since the loss to Hamsho, finally, at the age of 24, Bobby stopped Slobodan Kacar in five to win the IBF light heavyweight title in September 1986 at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. Kacar, an Olympic Gold Medallist in the 1980 Moscow Games for Yugoslavia entered the fight 21-0 but it was Bobby***8217;s time and he was not to be denied.
Czyz defended the title three times in less than 14 months, all by knockout. Seemingly at the top of his game, he appeared on the cover of KO Magazine two months before he met Prince Charles Williams, his mandatory challenger, on October 29, 1987.
Bobby hurt Williams early in the fight, but apparently punched himself out. William, meanwhile got his second wind and landed a variety of accurate punches that caused Bobby***8217;s right eye to swell progressively throughout the rest of the fight to the point that the fight was stopped after round nine. Almost 20 years later Bobby is still bitter that referee Carlos Padilla gave Williams a standing eight count after a Czyz right hand drove Williams sagging into the ropes in the third round, giving him the chance to shake the cobwebs before Bobby could follow up.
The writer Greg Smith says that Bobby***8217;s mother was crying in the corner after the stoppage, wanting reassurance that he wasn***8217;t seriously hurt.
The loss to Williams began an unexplained rough patch in which Czyz lost four of six fights. He lost a majority decision to former titlist Dennis Andries, won a split decision over former belt holder Leslie Stewart, scored a TKO over unheralded Mike Devito, then lost a convincing decision to WBA titlist Virgil Hill.
In June 1989, he got another shot against IBF titlist Williams and was stopped in 10 rounds in the rematch. Czyz , as always, showed heart and resolve but Williams was fast and just had Bobby***8217;s number, the only man to stop him in the 1980***8217;s.
Czyz announced his retirement shortly after the second Williams fight.
By March, 1990, he was back in the ring, winning three straight solid victories. Unable to get another shot at the light heavyweight title, he moved up to cruiserweight to challenge Robert Daniels for the WBA belt on March 8, 1991.
According to Bobby, Bob Arum signed him to fight Daniels for $225,000. Arum told Bobby that he would have to cut his purse to $185,000 but would give him $40,000 in tickets.
***8220;So do you know what [Arum] does? He calls the newspapers and tells them he gave me tickets. I didn***8217;t know that until I went to sell them and they say, ***8216;Well you got them for free.***8217; I had to tell them that I made a deal with the casinos to sell them the tickets at half price for the high rollers. So at least I got half.***8221;
Boxing smartly, Czyz took a split decision from Daniels for his second world title. Bobby was back on top again. He defended the title twice and began doing some ringside commentary for Showtime in 1992 and all was well until Bobby was hit by a car.
The injury kept him out of action until 1994 and he was forced to give up his title.
Six months after his return, Bobby challenged David Izequire for the IBO cruiserweight title. After performing well in the first three rounds, Bobby***8217;s back went out and the dangerous Izequire took over, flooring Czyz in the fourth. Bobby was unable to come out for the fifth round, and again retired after the fight. Carry onto next page.....[/QUOTE]
05-06-2009, 11:55 PM
Bobby seemed settled and content doing the color commentary for Showtime Championship Boxing but the competitive juices continued to flow. He returned in March 1995 as a heavyweight and won three straight fights, including a victory for the obscure WBU super cruiserweight title in December 1995.
Czyz was to fight but twice more in his career, losing by TKO to Evander Holyfield in May 1996, and then was stopped in two by future WBO titlist Corrie Sanders for the WBU heavyweight belt in June 1998.
There was considerable controversy surrounding the events in the Holyfield-Czyz fight. Despite Holyfield’s dominance in the ring, the fight was actually stopped because Czyz couldn’t see. Greg Smith reported that Bobby’s eyes appeared to be red and inflamed and that referee Ron Lipton examined Holyfield’s gloves. Bobby told Smith that the day after the fight skin peeled off his face from the forehead to the chin. Smith quotes Czyz as saying that Holyfield head butted, elbowed, forearmed him, thumbed him, and that he was a “dirty fighter.”
Against Sanders, Czyz was floored in the first round and again in the second before the fight was stopped. It was fitting that just as he called for many times from others from behind the microphone, the warrior went out on his shield.
Even today, Czyz has little respect for Holyfield, except to say that he was the “ultimate overachiever.”
“He’s just full of (it),” Bobby continued. “That bothers me. I don’t know what religion it is that says you can have 12 kids with nine different women and not be married to them and it’s okay. He’s a fraud. He was a 188 pound cruiserweight, and then he went to 218 pounds. You cannot gain 30 pounds, lose body fat, and maintain that physique without artificial enhancement. It can’t be done. Not possible. He gets a pass in the media for one simple reason - he believes in God.”
In February 2003, Czyz incurred his fourth drunken driving offense in six years. Published reports stated that he was driving over 30 MPH over the speed limit with a blood alcohol level of .14. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail and lost his driver’s license for the next 20 years. He was already paying $7,000 a year in automobile insurance.
Czyz is defensive about the matter. He feels that the system wanted to make an example of him because a writer “thought he was going to expose me and some of my bad behavior and he made such a big deal out of it that the sentencing was not totally proper and they threw the book at me.”
Is Bobby Czyz an alcoholic?
“No, I just made bad decisions,” he replied. “ I went to rehab and the doctor said, ‘Based on our tests, you’re not alcoholic.’ I said, ‘No you have to diagnose me as an alcoholic or the insurance won’t pay it. It’s $6900 a week and I don’t need the aggravation either.’”
Czyz described his stay in rehab, where he was admittedly a less than exemplary inhabitant.
“I go to the rehab,” he begins. “They start telling me ‘You’re going to have this, you’re going to have that, and you’re going to shake.’ I’m bored. I can’t have a couple of glasses of wine before I go to sleep because I do have chronic insomnia. So I’m in my room doing pushups and grunting, and the nurse came flying into the room wanting to know what was wrong with me.
“They had these classes. It came back to AA and following the steps. They kept saying that when they follow the steps they give credit to God. But when they (mess) up it’s their fault. I asked them how does that work? When you stay clean God says you did good, He’s going to let the other ones (mess) up?
“I told them that I know that most of you counselors are reformed alcoholics or drug addicts. They got mad at me and pulled me down to the office. They told me, ‘These people need guidance and it works for them.’ I told them that Jesus Christ died 2000 years ago. What happened to all the people in the 5000 years before him? Did they all go to heaven by default?
“After that they kept me away from everybody and asked me not to speak about it.”
Unfortunately, the DUI charge and its aftermath apparently cost him his job at Showtime. He had continued his work there throughout the later stages of his career, and in many ways became as well known for his broadcasting as his boxing. He was, along with Jim Lampley, part of the historic Showtime-HBO collaboration that broadcast the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight. He never hesitated to give his honest opinion, entertaining some while exasperating some power brokers in the game. But he was articulate, sharp and enthusiastic, and viewers saw him as the voice of reason and logic.
And he is bitter about his dismissal to this day.
“When they fired Ferdie Pacheco, they allowed him to retire on the air,” Czyz explained. “They’re cowards - put that in print. Showtime will let a convicted murderer promote for them but my DUI was too much publicity.
“They fired Ferdie Pacheco but gave him some dignity by letting him say goodbye on the air. Ferdie not only didn’t want to retire, but was furious when they fired him. They didn’t have the decency to let me come in to resign or bow out gracefully. They just gave me a couple of dollars and said just walk away.
“Jay Larkin [Showtime’s former Vice President of Sports and Events Programming] took me aside one day and said, ‘Firing Ferdie was one of the hardest things that I ever had to do. I hope I never have to fire you. Make sure you tow the line. We have some people in the hierarchy who don’t like you and they’re looking for a reason to get rid of you because they don’t like your personality. Jay told me that Matt Blank [Chairman and CEO of Showtime] hates my guts and didn’t want me on the air.
“After a while I got a reputation. I would say if fighter “A” is [thoroughly beating] fighter “B,” if “B” gets the decision there can only be two reasons. One, because the judges were incompetent, or two, they had an agenda and they’re frauds.
“Showtime took pride in the fact that I said those things, but when [a promoter] has an exclusive deal with Showtime and his fighter wins a fight he shouldn’t have won, I say there’s an agenda. Now Showtime looks like they’re in collusion with [the promoter]. Now it starts embarrassing them a little bit.
“People ask what the agenda is. And I say, follow the money and you’ll find the agenda.”
Czyz feels that he was blackballed.
“I was told that I wasn’t. But my agent called HBO about a job and they said, ‘Bobby is synonymous with Showtime. It just wouldn’t work.’”
Jay Larkin, contacted for a comment in relation to this article had this to say:
“Bobby has tremendous talent as an analyst. He’s a natural. Whatever his personal demons, they remain just that, personal. He has had some very tough personal breaks but he can still turn things around and be a terrific analyst. As you know, it’s a very shallow talent pool. On a personal level, I wish him nothing but the best. He has the same huge heart that he had as a fighter in those two losses to Charlie Williams.”
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05-06-2009, 11:56 PM
During his turbulent life and career, Bobby Czyz was a popular fighter, his fan base including many women as well as men. He was a good looking, intelligent, well spoken athlete who earned his nickname, “Matinee Idol,” honestly.
“I was engaged in 1983 and then in 1988,” Bobby recalled. “The first time I knew I wasn’t going to marry the girl but my dad had just killed himself, I broke up with Lou Duva, and I just had major surgery on my right hand. My life was in…I was just trying to fit in somewhere.
“Then I met a girl who had finished runner-up in a pageant. She was a sweet girl, very pretty. But her family was wonderful, so wonderful I ended up inviting her mother and dad and her brother and sister-in-law to my wedding. My ex-wife and I used to go down to their house to hang out. I still talk to the family to this day.”
Czyz met his eventual wife to be, Kim, in 1989. The couple became engaged in 1990 and married in 1991.
“My mom was special to me. I patterned a lot of my expectations after my mom. She’s a loving, caring, wonderful, nurturing person. My mom was drop dead gorgeous. Kim was a model, drop dead gorgeous too, with the morals of a saint. On our first date she told my mom, ‘You must be a saint the way your son talks about you.’
“Kim was everything I was ever promised. The problem was I spent so much time chasing what I was told I was supposed to look for. I got exactly what I wanted but what I wanted wasn’t exactly what I needed.
“Believe it or not, from 1989 when I met Kim until 1993 when my daughter [Mercedes] was born, I was actually faithful. I had issues with wanting sex two or three times a day and about 18 months [after the birth of his daughter] I was at the point of a little crazy. So we had some issues. She said, ‘Maybe we should spend a little time away from each other.’ I said, ‘My ass already left, I want to catch up to it.’ The look on her face was like I had shot her with a bullet.”
Bobby moved in with a friend, a former bodyguard, for six months, then he moved back in.
“I quit doing my end. Almost always I put her first and she did me. I stopped somewhere and she didn’t. I cheated. But she didn’t know or find out until we were separated three months. The breakup was so amicable that I got separated in 1997, divorced in January 2000, and I didn’t move out until January 2001.”
Kim passed away on December 19, 2006 at the age of 47. She had cancer. Bobby and his girlfriend, Angela, moved in to care for her in the final six weeks of her life.
“My ex-wife was the best human being who’s ever been born in history,” Bobby said. “Angela is a wonderful girl. We’d be sitting on the couch, and I’d do something cute, like giving them pedicures, cute things to make them laugh.
“One night Angela was crying and said, ‘You know what’s sad? I know that no matter how much you love me, you’ll never look at me like you look at that lady. You’ll never love me that way.’ It’s still ugly fresh on my mind that she would be hurt like that.
“We cooked Thanksgiving dinner for Kim and her mom and her sister and my daughter. I knew she was going to pass. Kim knew. Angela knew because I told her but her mom and her sister didn’t know. My daughter didn’t know because Kim told me that was her baby. She said, ‘Don’t talk. I’m coming home. I don’t want to die in the hospital. I’m coming home and I want to spend as much time as possible in this house. This cancer can kill me instantly, or I can get my affairs in order, so I’ll do the best I can.’
“And we’re crying - full blown. I never cried that hard in my life. I just wish I had never divorced her so she could have gone more peacefully. I said to her that if I had it to do over again I wouldn’t take her on that first date so she wouldn’t have to go through that. She said, ‘Bobby, I would do it over again. The best years of my life were with you.’
“And it made me feel even worse. And I still get emotional thinking about it. I just believe I could have kept her alive and it haunts me on a daily basis. Maybe I could have done something to make her life better. It’s my biggest regret and I’ll take it to my grave. With all the punches I was ever hit, the sum of all of them at once isn’t the same as that one.”
There was a residual consequence to the Czyz divorce that remains to this day. Between the time of his father’s death and the breakup of his marriage, Bobby calls the relationship with his mother “as strong as any I have known.” Today there is a rather strained relationship between Bobby, his mother and siblings.
“She knew my wife and there were some crazy things that were said and done that caused some resentment,” Bobby says of his mother, still alive and well in Florida. “Trust me, it was my fault. It was more about the things I did and some of the things I said.”
There is seemingly no end to the misfortune that has invaded Czyz’ life at every turn. It’s difficult if he is simply a victim of incredibly bad luck or if some latent self destructive forces are responsible. But it’s undeniable that this man, so athletically gifted, intelligent, and articulate, has absorbed more than his fair share of adversity and always comes back fighting, just as he did in his ring days.
In his account of Czyz’ life, Greg Smith wrote in 2005 that, “Outside of boxing, Bobby is involved in several business ventures. At around the time he was parting ways with Showtime, Bobby was approached by friends in the insurance and securities industry regarding a new and innovative trademarked product. Bobby passed his examinations, (third in a class of about thirty students), and informed me that the product possesses tremendous intrinsic value and external financial rewards. It’s a nice step in a different direction at this time in his life.”
Flash forward to today and the results of the venture reflects the turmoil that has dogged Bobby throughout his life.
“Right now I’m in a bit of a struggle,” Bobby explained wearily. “I had the Department of Labor Racketeering from the Attorney General’s office over my house, and I thought this can’t be a good thing. I put in 29 months worth of work and money into a project and one of the guys I was in business with defrauded a number of us for $3.7 million. Collectively it was seven guys that put in a lot of money and had money coming back. $480,000 of that was mine. It was involving insurance premiums.
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05-06-2009, 11:57 PM
“That’s a lot of money to lose when you don’t have that kind of liquidity. I wasn’t $480,000 liquid so I lost a lot trying to cover what I had to cover. On top of that, and a host of other problems at the same time and trust me, I don’t know why I didn’t shoot myself. Every day, seeing my daughter, looking at her picture, or talking to her, that’s what’s keeping me here.
“It really hurt, crushed me. Aside from the fact that I gave everything away in the divorce, it forced me to declare bankruptcy. No big deal, start all over. I’m getting back on my feet. I have some very promising leads. I look for some serious windfalls in the next few weeks and I’ll be back to where I need to be.
“I still host events at casinos and boxing events, trying to bring in the big gamblers. I do motivational speaking. I do charity work.”
A dozen or so years ago, Senators William Roth and John McCain developed the Professional Boxing Corporation Act and requested Bobby’s counsel. Bobby was skeptical that it would work. Nevertheless he traveled to Washington D.C. to testify in front of the Senate Subcommittee on Organized Crime Investigating Boxing. The act passed without addressing the issues that Bobby raised. When Bobby was offered the prestigious position of Executive Director of the Professional Boxing Corporation Act, he turned it down.
Czyz is currently living with his old bodyguard friend in Clarksburg, New Jersey.
“I was going to build a house in Pennsylvania, but I don’t have a license and it’s a pain in the ass to get around,” he says.
Bobby’s movie still needs an ending. Will there finally be a happy ending? What is his ultimate legacy?
“I hope I left behind a reasonable legacy,” he began. “ I competed at a championship level in six weight classes and I won titles in three of them. I just want to be thought of as a good fighter and one of the good guys in the game. I was a good fighter because I was tortured as a kid. There’s nothing you can do to me except kill me and what’s good about that is that you can only do it once.
“I was supposed to be dead 27 years ago [the Polish Airlines crash]. My ex-wife just died. I’ve had friends that have died. Death is the inevitable end all for everybody. One day maybe I’ll sit down and write a book. Some people might get divorced, if they’re not already.”
As we roll the credits, here are a few bits of Czyz-isms:
“I was supposed to fight a mandatory for the WBA title. Nobody would bid on the fight. I asked for an exemption and asked what I needed to do. (He) said, ‘Send $10,000 certified funds by tomorrow. So I did. Bing, I got my exception. That’s how corrupt it is.”
“The networks should not be promoters. If they sign a fighter to as 10 fight deal, they’re promoters.”
“Don King never took advantage of me. But he’s so smart that when he made a promotional deal with the MGM Grand, three or four executives got fired because the deal was so one-sided that the Grand lost money.”
“I wasn’t the person I thought I was. I thought I wanted five kids and a big house and a 9-5 job. Can’t do it!”
On fighters he respects - “Anyone who came to fight and gave it 100%”
On his friendship with Mike Tyson - “I just like the guy.”
On the Mike Tyson - Bruce Seldon fight - “Tyson missed him and he went down anyway.”
05-06-2009, 11:58 PM
Regular readers may recall our three part series on the life and career of Bobby Czyz that ran in this column a couple of months ago. As we concluded our sessions of interviews, Bobby told me that he was going to be traveling to South Carolina that week for a ring announcing gig that week.
Interviewing Czyz was a pleasure. He was full of anecdotes and war stories, but most importantly, I was impressed with the degree of candor that he expressed during our talks, often baring open his soul when discussing painful issues in his often tragic life. I was convinced that his story would someday find its way to the big screen and I told him that I would keep in touch.
On April 10, part three of our series ran on this site. I received a number of emails from his fans and past acquaintances, so I wrote him the following week to let him know. Bobby never wrote back to me, nor could he be reached by phone.
What I didn’t know was that on April 13 Bobby returned home from South Carolina, and was involved in a horrific, fiery automobile accident. According to the AP, Bobby was pulled unconscious from the back of a burning Mercedes by the fire chief of Millstone Township, James Carbin, and a nearby resident, and then airlifted to the Jersey Shore University Medical Center where he was admitted in critical condition. Strangely the story was not reported until May 17, by which time he had been moved to an undisclosed facility.
I stumbled across the AP piece while I was researching material for another article and sent out feelers to some sources for more details. The scars were still fresh from the Diego Corrales tragedy and I was shocked and concerned.
A friend, the boxing writer Greg Smith, made contact with Bobby and a couple of days later Czyz sent me an email detailing his ordeal. The story is remarkable - a modern day miracle. He was in an induced coma for 28 days. He flat lined twice during his hospital stay. No one thought that he would make it.
Here, with Bobby’s approval, is how he described it in his own words:
“I was getting a ride home from a friend of a friend and I fell asleep in the back seat. My friend of 30 years also fell asleep in the back seat with me. We were going to his house. The next thing we know is that we’ve been in an accident. As it turns out, his friend drove off the road WITHOUT TOUCHING THE BRAKES and hit a tree head on. My friend and I went face first into the back of the front seats and sustained significant damage to our faces and ribs. Broken noses, ribs and severe lacerations to our faces in certain areas.
“The driver got out and started to run away and my friend asked me are you okay? He then chased the driver who had just destroyed his car. Not realizing how badly I was hurt, I passed out from the concussion. Well the car caught fire and yours truly was still inside. Some people in the neighborhood had seen the trouble and called the police and fire department.
“I was inside with the fire for 8-9 minutes and then pulled out. The fire had burned a good portion of my back and shoulders but I’m healing remarkably well. My lungs however were in serious trouble and I was taken to the hospital via helicopter. Once at the hospital they induced me into a coma so they could do the work necessary and save and repair my body.
“Well, during their working on me, they had to pump my lungs clean from all the soot while addressing the burns on my back. Eventually my lungs collapsed and I was put on a ventilator but my lungs tried to out breathe the ventilator and they collapsed again.
“A feeding tube was inserted into my abdomen while in the coma and I ripped it out causing emergency surgery to save my life. Finally they strapped my hands and feet down until they brought me out of the coma.
“When I came around and they told me all that happened I was a bit shocked but normally I’m a good patient and wanted to do the right things.
“Every single ligament, tendon and muscle had been dormant for 28 days and I had lost 30 pounds and all the tone and definition in my body. My lung capacity was down to 20%, but I WAS STILL HERE!
“So, I am slowly getting stronger and better but, having been so physical all of my life, I feel like an invalid. EVERYTHING HURTS ALL DAY AND NIGHT.
“My body had out healed the recovery process by 2 ½ -3 weeks and the doctors were shocked at the speed and completeness of my recovery. They suggested that I might be using some enhancement drugs because my body rebounded better than any of them thought it could. SO GOOD LIVING, HEALTHY EATING AND GOOD GENES are a plus when in physical distress.
“It is also incredibly important that you have good people around you to make decisions because my girlfriend Angela made all the right decisions which actually saved my life.
“Call me and I’ll give you the extra tidbits of my incredible journey.
“Talk to you soon,
Recently Bobby went to see the neurosurgeon and stopped by the Jersey Shore Medical Center trauma center where they cared for him to thank everyone. Bobby said, “Their jaws dropped,” in seeing the speed of his recovery. The burns are barely visible and his body is returning to normal.
05-06-2009, 11:59 PM
One doctor told him, “I’ve never seen anyone recover this quickly. We couldn’t use your case for medical study because it would destroy the bell curve.”
Reviewing some of my mail in the past week I saw an article entitled, “Bostick Comes Out Swinging,” an interview with promoter Bobby Bostick about the promotional rights to Kermit Cintron. More accurately, it was a press release with a Q&A between Bostick and his publicist, Rob Russen. In the three page release/article, Bostick states that he intends to do everything under the law to protect the rights of Bobby Bostick Promotions (BBP) and its investors on the Cintron contract.
To cut to the chase and avoid as much legal jargon as possible, here is a Reader’s Digest version of the Kermit court case:
January 2005 - Main Events signs Cintron with a provision that if he lost a bout that they promoted the agreement would be terminated.
April 2005 - Cintron loses to Antonio Margarito. Main Events exercised its right to terminate the agreement. Cintron remained bound by a clause that gave Main Events, “Right of first negotiation/last refusal,” but was free to negotiate with other promoters, subject to presenting the offer to Main Events within 14 days.
August 2005 - In an email expressly recognizing the right to match, Cintron’s counsel provided terms for a contract offered by Bostick. Main Events declined to match, but reserved future rights in the event that the offer was not fulfilled.
August 17, 2005 - Cintron signs with Bostick.
April 2006 - Cintron fights David Estrada under Bostick banner.
October 2006 - Cintron wins IBF welterweight title in a Bostick promotion.
December 2006 - Main Events sent a letter to Bostick and Cintron asserting its rights, alleging that the terms of the contract had been materially altered after they declined to match and the amended terms were not disclosed to them. Main Events claimed that there was a substantial diminution of the minimum purses for a title challenge as well as for a non-title bout, elimination of substantial bonuses, and a reduction in the required number of bouts.
December 2006 - Main Events files suit, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief and damages.
February 2007 - Bostick files its answer and counterclaim.
In short, Main Events sued Bostick for tortious interference and he counter sued.
Some of this matter came to light on December 27, 2006, when Golden Boy prematurely announced a Shane Mosley-Cintron match for February 10. In the press release Cintron was quoted as saying things that he later claimed he never said about fighting Mosley.
Sources say that Cintron did not want to fight Mosley for the title in the first place because he didn’t have the time he needed to make the weight, and Mosley only wanted to fight if it was for the title.
In addition, Cintron is suing Bostick claiming that the promoter breached his obligation to him and did not pay him substantial monies claimed due. Insider sources said that Kermit was offered “an enormous signing bonus” by (Bostick) after the Margarito fight, “an offer that (Bostick) did not follow through on.” The source said that the inflated matching rate was “a fantasy.”
Main Events re-signed Cintron recently.
One day after the Bostick interview was released his counter suit against Main Events was dismissed “in its entirety.” According to court papers, the judge’s opinion was filed on May 25, so it appears to be a bit curious as to why that article would be released just prior to the pending receipt of the opinion.
A source from Main Events said, “We knew the judge was ruling. The judge had already ruled and we were waiting for it in the mail.”
We wrote Rob Russen, the publicist who asked the questions in the Bostick interview, to ask why the “interview” was published just before the announcement of the judge’s ruling.
Russen wrote: “The timing of the release was set by BBP. The ruling was ‘with prejudice’ meaning BBP can and absolutely will continue on with their legal actions against all involved.”
Actually, “with prejudice” means that the dismissal is a judgment against the plaintiff and his rights have been determined and lost.
We replied back to Russen and told him that we had a copy of the judge’s opinion and it read that the matter was dismissed “without prejudice.” In other words, there is nothing to prevent Bostick from going to court and presenting a new independent cause of action.
His reply was that BBP would be issuing another press release pertaining to the Cintron matter.
On an unrelated matter, there was another press release on April 3, 2007, that erroneously reported that Bostick Promotions had signed rising contender Julio “Baby Face” Garcia. DRL Promotions issued their own press release from one of their partners, Roberto Duran, stating that, “First of all, I have never heard of Bobby Bostick, and neither has Julio.”
DRL had re-signed Garcia earlier this year.
I’m like Switzerland on this issue but you don’t have to be one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to know that you have to sign a recruit before you send him to war.
End of Article.....Hope you have enjoyed this brillant article as much as I did. A real insight into the life of Czyz
05-07-2009, 12:25 PM
I read that a while back was a great read, what a life bobby has had.
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