Boxers' Association Ring 8 Does the Right Thing by Jackie Tonawanda
Things could have gone on like that for hours, for there was much backslapping and catching up to do, but Matt Farrago had to call the meeting to order. And if the Pledge of Allegiance didn't get everyone's attention, then his tapping his water glass ten times, in honor of members of Ring 8, the International Veterans Boxers Association of New York, Inc., who had died since last month's meeting, certainly did.
It was a sobering reminder of why they'd gathered in this darkened backroom of a Maspeth, Queens, restaurant: "Boxers helping Boxers." That's been the idea behind the association since it was founded more than half a century ago.
The first item on the agenda last Tuesday night was the funeral of Jackie "Tonawanda" Garrett (pictured, via Boxing Confidential) the first female to box in Madison Square Garden and be granted a boxing license by New York State.
"She needs to be buried with dignity, not in Potter's Field," Farrago told the crowd of some 40 people.
Over the years, Ring 8's membership has included legends of the sport, such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Graziano, and Jack Dempsey, as well as many other well-known boxers, trainers and managers.
Help from the group has included not only the cost of funeral expenses, but also housing, phone bills, food, and prescription medicine, even for boxers who were once very successful, like current member Emile Griffith.
By the meeting's end, another $500 was raised for Garrett, bringing the total donated by the association to some $2000.
Thanks to them, the former boxer was buried in a marked grave in the Bronx on Saturday.