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Zócalo Public Square
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What Does Boxing Owe Its Champions?


Boxing is a sport of contradictions. Known as the “sweet science” because of the technical skills its fighters need to succeed, it is also incredibly brutal. Boxing has provided a creative outlet and a path out of poverty for generations of California strivers, forging cultural and individual identity, promoting dignity, pride, and agency, and delivering million-dollar paydays for some. But the sport has also destroyed some of its most talented practitioners, seemingly abandoning them to post-career bankruptcies and grievous injury.

What accounts for boxing’s disconnects? Boxers themselves, who take epic risks with few safety nets? Promoters, agents, and managers who forget clients once they’re past their prime? The industry’s structure and sanctioning bodies, that allow abuse and neglect? California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster, former middleweight champ Sergio “the Latin Snake” Mora, and Kali “KO” Mequinonoag Reis, professional boxer and actress, visit Zócalo for a panel discussion, moderated by sport and ethnic studies scholar Rudy Mondragón, to reflect on boxing’s future—as an athletic endeavor, as a business, and as a cultural force—in California and beyond.

Zócalo invites the in-person audience to continue the conversation with our speakers and each other at a post-event reception with complimentary drinks and small bites.

Image By Rudy Mondragón.