IF A FIGHT EVER BREAKS OUT at Merrill Lynch, the winner would likely be declared by Glenn Feldman.
That’s because Feldman, a financial advisor at the firm, is also a professional boxing judge who has scored world-title bouts all over the globe — including in Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Scotland, Thailand, Panama, Kazakhstan, Canada and throughout the United States. His bouts have involved boxers such as Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather, Pernell Whitaker, Shane Mosely, Dana Rosenblatt and Mickey Ward (who was portrayed by Mark Wahlberg in the film, The Fighter).
Before Feldman became a financial advisor, he published his own sports weekly newspaper. His primary beat was boxing. After the paper folded, Feldman continued to follow boxing closely.
Then, out of the blue one day, Feldman received a phone call from a head commissioner of boxing, asking if he’d be interested in becoming a boxing judge. Feldman jumped at the opportunity — and his life hasn’t been the same since.
He has judged 100+ world-title fights and has been able to travel extensively all over the world, an opportunity he would never have enjoyed if not for boxing. Today, he is one of the most recognized and respected boxing judges in the world.
For most of his first 10 years as a judge, Feldman scored four- and six-round bouts in small arenas.
“The fights weren’t very glamorous, but they prepared me for the bigger ones,” he says. “Four-rounders are the toughest to do because you get two young, hungry lions in there giving it their all.”
After several years, Feldman was elevated to the world-class level.
“I’ll never forget when I got the call from the president of the World Boxing Union, Jon Robinson, asking me if I could do the George Foreman-Crawford Grimsley fight in Tokyo and leave the following morning,” Feldman says. “I nearly fell down. I almost couldn’t speak.”
For more than a century, boxing has had a soiled image due to accusations of fixed bouts and questionable characters such as Tyson and promoter Don King.
Even judges have been questioned.
But Feldman defends judges this way: “We watch fights from a totally different perspective than fans,” he says. “We’re not drinking, and we’re not watching from our couch. For those three minutes [of a round], we’re watching every punch, every deke, with great focus and intensity. I’m not saying we’re perfect. We’re not. But we’re well trained and have a goal to produce a fair, honest result.”
Being part of a sport that generates negative publicity bothers Feldman. But he doesn’t dwell on it.
“Boxing has always been a colorful sport and it always will be. Boxers, for the most part, are a great bunch of hard-working guys who really don’t make a lot of money.
They deserve to make a lot more money. I mean, let’s face it, who wants to go to work and get punched around? … It’s a hard way to make a living.”
Feldman is a member of the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organization, International Boxing Federation and the International Boxing Organization.
“It has been a privilege to be part of this sport,” he says. “I’ve met so many great people all over the world and seen places you couldn’t even imagine. I pinch myself before every title fight. I’ve never taken an assignment lightly or for granted. We can determine a fighter’s destiny so we have to be sharp every night and for every fight whether it’s a four-rounder or a championship.”
Rick Weinberg is Editor-in-Chief at California Business Journal. He is a well-known journalist, writer, reporter and on-air talent who has worked for the New York Times, FOX and ESPN. He launched CalBizJournal.com to focus on California businesses and business professionals as well as California business news and information. Contact: [email protected] / 949-648-3815