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Chance Kelly: Acting, Ray Donovan, The Sopranos, James Gandolfini, Generation Kill, Boxing & More…


Exclusive Interview by “Bad” Brad Berkwitt

“But there I am, sitting immediately to the left of Susan Sarandon, and across from Alan Alda, who was just to the left of Jon Voight, for God sake. And that’s not to mention Liev, and Pooch and all the other members of that regular cast. I mean, that is a show (Ray Donovan) chock full of talent, man.”—Chance Kelly

As an only child to a father who acted for a short period of time, and introduced me to not only great movies, TV shows, actors and actresses, but the process itself, to the point I tried my hand at in 2013-2014.  That affection has always grabbed me by any performance whether big or small where you can tell, the actor or actress really brought it in their scenes!

This brings me to my recent interview with actor Chance Kelly.

Debbie and I are fans of Showtime’s series Ray Donovan. For years now, we watch every season. This season, Ray was in New York City and that brought about new actors to the cast with Kelly being one of them. In his role as Vinny (bodyguard/killer for Samantha Winslow (Susan Sarandon) he as dad always pointed out when he saw a great performance and would say, “so and so chewed up the scenery”.

Chance did just that. That led to this exclusive interview with RSR. It was also delightful to find out during our interview though I had a sneaking suspicion even before we talked, Kelly is our “Brother In Boxing” for all the readers who visit RSR for our daily coverage of boxing.

BB: With you growing up in NY how would it mold you for your acting career that would come years later when on losing a bet and having a fear of public speaking, you did a monologue from Cat On A Hot Tin Roof to of all things, a brick wall?

I grew up in central Westchester County, which is the first county north of the Bronx. It was pretty sleepy most of the time so we had to be sort of inventive for our “fun.” Beer drinking, girl chasing and tobacco chewing eventually seemed to be where most of my time ended up wandering to. I was also always very connected to and extremely fond of the city. I had an aunt on West 82nd and an uncle on West 29th Street, and I’d visit them both whenever I could. The west side of Manhattan was sort of a surrogate home for me growing up. So, when I eventually gravitated to NYU, it all kind of made sense.

I lived in the city from about ‘87 until 2001, when we moved back up to the suburbs, to New Rochelle.

BB: In this your 25th year in SAG as a professional actor, what has changed in Hollywood during that time for the better and the worse?

The business has changed in many, many, many ways. One major change that I see is that it’s become a more entrepreneurial landscape – in terms of getting projects produced. That doesn’t mean it’s easy…God knows, I’ve learned all about that. But, when I started, not only were there no streaming outlets (ie: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc), but even the cable channels that did exist (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax) were not producing scripted content yet. Sopranos (HBO) was one of the first scripted, non-network-TV productions.

I did some work on the first season of The Sopranos (I had the privilege of arresting Big Pussy – another proud New Ro resident), and when I tried to explain what the show was to people, no one knew what the hell it was…it’s hard to imagine now, but in 1999, even James Gandolfini was relatively unknown at that point. Of course, The Sopranos changed all that.

That would be my first of three occasions to work with Jimmy. Great dude. What a joker. And humble to a fault. A great loss that was. We need more guys like Gandolfini in the business.

BB: I first became aware of your career on this season of the popular Showtime series Ray Donovan. When you showed up in the scene where you decked Ray (Liev Schreiber) I had a feeling you were an ex-football player or boxer. As we both know, I was correct in both assumptions. How was it working on Ray Donovan?

Great opportunity. Great production team. Liev is a pro. And the talent on that show is staggering. I was in the read-through — for the final episode of that season…and these read-throughs, very often are not well-attended – meaning, not all the players actually show up for it…because it’s not really 100% required…it’s just a read-through.

But there I am, sitting immediately to the left of Susan Sarandon, and across from Alan Alda, who was just to the left of Jon Voight, for God sake. And that’s not to mention Liev, and Pooch and all the other members of that regular cast. I mean, that is a show chock full of talent, man.

BB: Can you share a funny story with the RSR readers that are fans of Ray Donovan during your time on the set?

Sure…My first scene on Ray Donovan was decking Ray. The next time I worked, I had to smash him with a whiskey bottle. Yes, it was “breakaway glass”, but it didn’t matter — this was a Jack Daniels-type of bottle — a big one with very thick walls. Sugar glass or not, this was a girthy item to impact on any part of the body, let alone a bare head. Let alone the star’s bare head. I told Liev he did not want that thing smashed across his naked noggin.

I know something about blows to the head, and I know that they are pretty much ill-advised across the board…Yet, for some inexplicable reason, he assured me that yes he did want it smashed across his bare head. I again told him, “No you don’t.” He, being the star of the show, insisted “Yes,” he did. There was simply no reason to do it. It was a wide shot. The stunt double could easily have taken it, but I still don’t think the actual close-smash on the head was even necessary.

We could have faked the whole damn thing with angles. Regardless, Liev assured me that if I simply hit him at just the correct spot, at just the correct angle, that the bottle will be no problem as it breaks away upon his unprotected skull. For one final time I voiced my disagreement, to his deflection. So, then we blocked, “Action” was called, and I powdered that f—n’ bottle across his head like a supernova…and upon “CUT!” I thought I killed the mutherf—r. He looked up at me, bleary-eyed afterward, and told me I didn’t do it right. “Uh…Yes I did.” I told him. “You just shouldn’t have done it at all.” I clarified. And that was my first episode in the can.

BB: In the finale this season, we see Ray get revenge on you when he knocks you out in the elevator on your way up to see Samantha Winslow (Susan Sarandon). He then kidnaps you/takes you to an abandoned building where he has Lena (Katherine Moennig) show up to kill you very ruthlessly with a rope around your neck as she jumps out the window snapping your neck with her body weight. That was a scene to remember! What was it like to shoot and why do I have a feeling from working on sets myself, you and Katherine cracked each maybe to take the edge off or to segway into the intensity it took?

The funniest part of the whole thing is the idea of me getting my ass kicked by Liev…just kidding…(actually the only thing funnier than that was when Wahlberg (worked on the 2013 movie Broken City together) thought he could kick my ass. Look, a lot have tried, but, I quickly convinced Marky Mark – and the rest of the crew – that it was simply not gonna happen…not in this lifetime.)

So, we shot that last on Ray scene in an old warehouse/factory building in Yonkers on the river. I believe they used to build ships or train cars in that building (maybe both at various times). Anyway, it was cold as hell, I was sitting on a concrete slab. It was the type of place you’d go to either kill yourself, or someone else. Great location. So, sure, for a freakazoid psychopath like Vinny, it was a fitting end-spot.

Katherine was very cool…there was actually a good deal of improv in that scene. Her putting that rope around my neck, her getting necessarily more aggressive, Vinny trying to charm and then desperately trying to get through to her in any way, all fairly improvisational. We did joke around a good deal, as is usually helpful, but we also played a bit of that cat and mouse improv thing, and that’s why I think the scene was special.

It was a little funny at first, then got scary and exciting because you never really know exactly what’s happening until it all sort of happens. And her stuff looked really dynamic and cool too. I give it up to the writers and producers — and, yes, I agree, that was a good, unique scene.

BB:Your IMDB credits are chock full. To date, if you had to pick one TV or movie performance where you can say, that is one scene or scenes/performance where all the stars aligned and you just nailed it which role would you choose?

Well, I have a lot of good memories of a lot of roles and cast mates, many of whom have become good friends. Many roles were fun to play. Some not so fun. As I get older, as a father & husband, as I live longer and sort of evolve, kind of acquiring a better grasp of compassion for the human condition, all that — I have started to really not want to play the real super-pathic scumbags anymore.

Banshee a few years back was one of the first roles that I actually looked forward to being killed off of. That guy was one of the biggest mutherf—n’ scumbags that ever slithered about God’s great Earth, and I couldn’t wait for him to not to be alive anymore. I don’t like having any association with scumbags – even though I know it’s make believe. Chris Coy eventually did the honors, himself sort of trying to get a head.

But one role that really stuck with me in a positive way was playing Col. Ferrando on Generation Kill. Auditioning for it, once I digested what it was all about, it became a role that I wanted more than any other…ever. I just loved that dude from the moment I saw the sample video and then read the book. Just loved his whole thing. His whole style. His whole message. And I was like their two hundred and thirty-second choice for the damn role, and I couldn’t give a shit then or now. No one could have done it better than me. Except maybe “Godfather” himself. And he’s not an actor. And never wanted to be. But we’ll get to that…

So, one day, like – on day one (or two) – of shooting, I quickly realized that there was so much intricacy and innuendo and inflection and everything else in this language – in these long, complex, layered monologues, that I was getting lost between the military jargon, the subtext and the intentions. So, I sort of threw my hands up and asked Eric Kocher and Rudy (Reyes) if they could possibly put me in touch with him.

These two, along with Jeff Carisalez were on the production with us and had actually been under Ferrando’s command in that very battalion. They’re all in the story. They did it all. I had never met Col. Ferrando, talked to him, or anything, but knew I needed some direct insight from him, or I could be in danger of butchering the damn role into a disgraceful oblivion. And this was one job I did not want to f— up.

Well, like the Marines they are, sure enough, they made it happen. That next day, I was on a satellite phone from Namibia talking directly with the actual
“Godfather”. And I will admit, that was initially one of the single most nervous moments of my life. I was not a Marine, I had never been to war, and I had no clue about the real meaning of 90% of what I would be saying on camera over the next five months.

I was an actor. And not even a well-known one. So, I did what I could think to do to break the ice – I told him right out of the gate that the only other real living person that I ever played was a bad guy from America’s Most Wanted who beat up and kidnapped his girlfriend on Long Island. And after a terrifying pause, “Godfather” went into a gravelly chuckle and from that moment, that dude became an incredible friend for life.

We connected. Really connected. And for the next five months, we talked by phone weekly, and there was no question he wouldn’t answer, and no call he wouldn’t take. In a short time, we learned that we were on the same page in a lot of ways. We are both nomads, of sorts. Loners and independent thinkers. Neither of us toed any particular party line, sentiment or ideology. We each preferred to evaluate each issue on its own merit, case-by-case. People as well. Steve is one of the most intelligent and well-read individuals I have ever met. And he was not crazy about the project in general. There was more than one reason for this, but the foremost was because he was well aware of the objective to cast many of his men, his officers particularly, in negative light. And we talked long and often about this. None of them were perfect. And interestingly enough, to that point in our lives, neither of us had yet met anyone who was.

But all of them, without exception, were accomplished officers in an elite branch of the United States Marine Corps. Not one of them would have or could have been there in the first place if they were one fraction of the idiot that many of them were illustrated to be in that show. We talked a lot about this. But, in addition to being a proud and intelligent Marine commander, Steve is also an incredibly respectful and realistic guy too. He understood, fully, that I had a job to do, and that it involved much of what HBO expected of me…and that was for me to portray his character so they could attain the image they wanted to present.

Regardless, I let Steve know that I was bent on illustrating his character in a positive light…period. Not because we were becoming friends, but because that’s the way I saw it. That’s the way I read it, and that’s the way it all seemed to have gone. And when I talked to Rudy and Kocher and Carisalez, who were all under his command, that’s what they told me. You didn’t have to agree with everything he said or did, but the bottom line was, he was a fiercely effective leader – when and where it mattered. And the results of that battalion’s performance in that exercise speak for themselves.

And that became the objective for me, for the entire project. To have portrayed Ferrando to look like any bit of a lunatic, or jerk, or idiot, would have been beyond foolish, artificial, and would have simply been f—n’ criminal. That dude was a pivotal reason that First Recon suffered zero fatalities and incredibly minimal casualties, in successfully carrying out their mission.

That was the start of that entire military campaign in Iraq. This was huge responsibility and a potentially very, very dangerous one. Col. Ferrando was a thinker, a planner, a strategist and a father. He was never going to put his men in harm’s way, unnecessarily, and without covering every angle. Yes, in a way that was their job to be in harm’s way….but their job was also to stay alive in order to accomplish their mission, paving the way for the rest of the military forces behind them.

He made that all happen, under direct command from General Mattis. Ferrando was as much a hero as anyone in that battalion, or in the USMC in that era, General Mattis included. So, yes, I was compelled to portray him that way. Now, I go out to his house in Carlsbad all the time and we watch boxing or football, eat, drink and laugh our asses off about the whole thing. His wife is a much bigger fan of the show than he ever was.

That was something — June 30, 2007 at The Swakopmund Hotel & Convention Center in Swakopmund, Namibia. I was Danny Boy’s (Albinius Felesianu on BoxRec) manager and chief second. He was a welterweight ten days before the fight. But I worked with him every day and we made it under the featherweight limit to the gram, 57 kilos (126 lbs) the night before the fight. Then I took him to eat and he was back up to 141 the night of the fight. Look, I don’t recommend it, but, he won by unanimous decision before a crowd of enthusiastic actors, Marines and production crew all working on HBO’s Generation Kill. Boxing makes for some really memorable nights.

BB: I want to throw out some names of actors you worked with and get the first thought that comes to you.

Liev Schreiber: Star of his show. Good actor. Tough guy. Boxing fan.

Susan Sarandon: Pro. Welcoming. Lovely. A legend.

Katherine Moennig: Dynamic, earthy, committed, focused, humble, and professional. A pleasure to work with.

David Duchovny: Dry. Intermittently hilarious. Very intelligent. Unique. Cool. Into music. A fan of boxing.

John Leguizamo: Talented. At times off the wall (in a good way). Proud. Also a boxing fan.

Bradley Cooper: Good dude. Probably the most down-to-Earth current movie star I’ve ever met. Very intelligent business-wise.

Robin Wright: Focused. Deep. Severe. Very nice & professional.

Lee Tergesen: A hilarious & delightful lunatic. A fellow father and friend. Also appreciates boxing.

BB: In researching you for our interview I see we share a love for the sport of boxing. You won the NYC Metros Tournament in the Superheavyweight division in 1995. The following year, you entered into the NYC Golden Gloves winning your first fight by KO, but had to drop out because you got hired to act in the movie “The Devil’s Own”. How did you get into boxing?

Boxing, as an organized, competitive pursuit, was secondary to disorganized and varyingly competitive fighting and brawling, pretty much since I could walk. There were eight Kelly Boys in Byram Hills High School between the graduating classes of 1980 and 1987 (two sets of four brothers totaling eight first cousins). There were no girls. We were a testosterone-fueled clan. We fought with each other constantly…and as soon as we got out of the house we fought with a lot of others…to varying results. There was no real rhyme or reason or rationale to it, just too much testosterone and not enough piano lessons.

I never actually trained with a real boxing trainer or competed officially in any competitive boxing until my early twenties, when I was already into acting. So, it probably wasn’t the wisest choice of activities, all things considered. When I started training over at Julio Rivera’s Boxing Club on East 12th Street, I immediately became a bit of a commodity because I was big enough and in good enough shape to spar with anyone, and stupid enough to think that I should.

Suddenly I was being put to use helping varying levels of amateurs and pros get better — boxers, some MMA guys, some kickboxers, you name it. And I learned what getting knocked out felt like…those tweety birds and all that (just a few times). But I also learned that I was incapable of staying down. In fact, Julio would yell at me when I’d pop back up and I’d insist, “I’m alright.”

“No you’re not,” he’d protest in his heavy Puerto Rican accent, “go take a shower.”

The one full tournament that I didn’t have to drop out of was the Metros in 1995 which I won the Superheavyweight Division, going 3-0, 1 KO. I entered the Gloves that following spring. And when I booked a commercial (for Target) my manager at the time told me that under no circumstances was I going to be able to compete in a boxing match that night. I would have needed to check in to the event way out in Queens by 6pm. The commercial shoot was supposed to go well past 9pm. And as they and my wife often reminded me, I was getting paid for acting…and not for boxing. So…

Well that morning, I was so bummed to have to miss my first Golden Gloves tourney that I took my bag (my boxing equipment bag) with me to the shoot. Not exactly sure why…wishful thinking basically. And in a strange turn of cosmic events, we ended up wrapping the shoot that day like three hours early — which is generally unheard of.

I looked at the time — I’d be late, but…They usually ran those events in order of weight, so, the Superheavies almost always fight last. I signed out of the shoot and went running outside and immediately slid halfway across the street on the fresh layer of slippery powder that was falling…I was in Long Island City, and the event was literally on the other side of Queens – and it was late into rush hour. And we were in a snow storm…

I flagged a cab and gave him the address (this was four hundred years before Uber or Navigation devices…me and the driver were doing it the old fashioned way…”Yeah, um…I think it’s this way…”)

They were closing the doors out front when I finally arrived. As I exited the cab, the old-timer manning the boxers-admission duties howled out to the upstairs — “Hold on — we got one more!”

They weighed me fully clothed, boots and all, since I was fighting Superheavyweight, there was no limit – and the scale said 222. Though stripped down I was only about 212. My opponent weighed in at 253. And he was relatively lean for this bracket. My previous opponents were 260, 340 and 275.

Julio and my corner team hadn’t come, since I had told them what my (acting) manager had told me — that I wouldn’t be making the fight, disappointing Julio for what I figured would be the final nail in our relationship.

I went to the balcony space above the event space, put on my Walkman and listened to the only two cassettes I had with me (Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam) for the next four hours, lying on my back, with a towel over my eyes. Meditating. Preparing. Stewing. Brewing…

When the light heavyweights were fighting, they came up told me to get ready. I was the only fighter there with no corner. No handlers. Nobody. A couple of Puerto Rican dudes were coming off their welterweight’s fight and noticed me getting my stuff together on the other side of the room.

“You’re with Julio, right?” They asked me. I’m not sure how they knew.

I nodded.

They looked at each other, then nodded back to me. “We got you, Papa.”

“We’re Salinas”, they explained.

To this day I didn’t know what that meant. (Neither one of them was named “Salinas”, nor was their gym, but whatever.) And that was when I really understood what this boxing fraternity is all about. Trust me, I was very happy to have an ally (or two) at that moment.

“Lemme see your hands,” he said. I showed him. He examined my wraps, then told me to start moving around. I started warming up.

“Okay, bring on the main event!” the old timer from the front yelled up to us on the balcony.

As I did the ring walk, my mind started revving up and taking me somewhere else. I didn’t just think I was gonna beat this dude…I knew I was. But I also thought I might kill him. Which sounds brutal, but, but boxing is a brutal sport. it’s kill or be killed…at least, that’s the way you sort of enter the ring…

By the time I actually got into the ring, I was vibrating, and when the opening bell rang, I went black…I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I know it was entertaining, because the screaming group of union guys to the left of my corner told me so quite enthusiastically, before, during and after. And it was all over in less than two minutes of the first round, and the poor bastard across from me looked like he wished he’d never got out of bed that week. I must have been pretty amped up, because when I came back to my corner, all my Salinas guys had to say was “calm down.” And then they took off my gloves.

I didn’t know it at the time but that would be my last official boxing match. I missed the next fight for work on an Alan Pakula film ‘The Devils Own’ getting beat up by Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford. The next year I entered the gloves again, but had to drop out again for more work. By that time, I’d decided to hang it up, at least on official matches. But little did I know that twenty five years later I’d still be working with Julio and sparring with his fighters — as I just did yesterday (four rounds with Eugene Russell – 6″3″ 270).

BB: Do you think if you didn’t make acting your career, you may have turned professional because there is always the chance to make big money in the heavyweight division?

Yes. If I hadn’t been making money acting, I would have focused on boxing and eventually turned pro and tried to make some money. But I did start late. I should have been in the amateurs in my late teens, instead of hanging around bars and getting in fights there. That’s never lucrative. But, had I gotten my sh– together, fights like Tommy Morrison or Andrew Golota and me…that could have fetched some money, back in the early nineties. But, c’est la vie.

BB: Who are your three favorite fighters of all time and what makes you pick them?

The most underrated heavyweight of all time is Larry Holmes. The dude was the undisputed heavyweight champ for seven years and had possibly the greatest jab ever. He also never went broke, never disrespected a woman and never acted like an asshole. My friend Bradley Kaplan made the 30 for 30 called “Muhammad and Larry”. If you haven’t watched it- see it when you can. It shows Larry in a very nice and poignant way.

Lennox Lewis is also an underrated heavyweight. He also had a great jab, but for me, the thing about Lennox was his intelligence. He would go in with a plan, and if it didn’t work, he would figure anyone out, eventually. And the two losses that he did suffer, he eventually avenged, both by knockout…well “technically”. The one against Oliver McCall was an ugly “TKO”, but Lennox also showed his human side in that debacle. I met him on a show called ‘The Jury’ in 2004 and he was an absolute delight. And he admitted, when I pressed him, that he simply came into that last fight, against Vitali Klitschko, out of shape. He made no bones about it. Gotta be in shape first. Always.

And in his prime – mainly as a super-middleweight, Roy Jones, JR. was unlike anything I’d ever seen in the ring. That guy was supernatural for a while. Until he tried to do stupid things…like become “a heavyweight” for no real reason. Then when he lost thirty pounds of lean body mass in less than two months to go back down to fight Antonio Tarver at 175…and that was the end of that. He’s a very good boxing announcer today though.

I’ve also become very good friends with Al “Ice” Cole, of whom I was a big fan before we ever met. Al was never a household name, and not the most technically perfect fighter, but he is an absolute gem of a man. He introduced me to Ray Mercer, whom I also always admired. Those guys — well, most ex-fighters, are so incredibly sweet and humble, it almost brings tears to your eyes. Great dudes!

I also think a lot about the wasted talent and missed opportunities of guys like Ike Ike Ibeabuchi, Tony Ayala, JR, and Maurice Harris — Maurice could have been better than Ali. He just sort of lost his way.

I also had the honor of meeting Joe Frazier, his son Marvis and his daughter Jackie at Cloverleigh gym in 1999. I was doing a play at the Annenberg Center in Philly. It was a period piece about an actual fight that happened between a bare-knuckle and early Queensbury rules fighter named Joe Choynsky who was arrested in Galveston, TX for an illegal/unsanctioned bout against a young Jack Johnson.

We did a promotional visit to their gym, and then we hosted “Joe Frazier Night”, where we did a performance for him and his extended posse, along with the rest of the house. with Joe, Marvis and Jackie Frazier in the front row — now that was thrill. Damn. Those are some sweet people, those Frazier’s. God it was a pleasure meeting them.

But I admire almost any fighter who has ever stepped into the ring. Boxing is a sport that separates the men from the boys.

BB: What is the greatest fight you have ever seen?

Impossible to say, but, among the great ones are Hagler Vs Hearns; any one of the three Ali Vs Frazier and all three with Mickey Ward Vs Arturo Gatti; many, many of Roy Jones, JR.’s fights in the 90s…And when Marco Antonio Barrera humiliated Naseem Hamed, that was a special treat. I enjoyed seeing Hopkins beat Trinidad — though I always liked Trinidad. Or almost any fight that my friend “Ice” Cole was in back in the 90s. That dude was a crowd pleaser, every time.

Today, I like Jaime Mungia. He reminds me of a cross between Fernando Vargas and Tommy Hearns. At 6′, that middleweight is badass.

BB: If you could be a matchmaker for a couple of fights with one from back in the day and say two from current times, who would pick?

I always wished Graziano and LaMotta had fought. Also, Tyson-Bowe. Bowe would have killed him, as long as he stayed outside, which he would have. Tyson hated big, long dudes who weren’t scared of him. Mitch “Blood” Green. “Bonecrusher” Smith. Buster Douglas. Evander Holyfield. Lennox Lewis. And the heavyweight that Roy Jones, JR. should have fought was Chris Byrd. That would have been a fight worth watching.

BB: Any funny stories about a professional boxer you met over the years?

Gerry Cooney saw me drinking coffee before one of the Golden Gloves finals and immediately assumed I was in the program. (For the record, I did quit drinking for good in 2009, but this was many years before that.) Anyway, if you’ve met Cooney, then you know that he’s the type of guy you could feel like you’ve known your entire life after one conversation, and in a matter of minutes he and I were knee-deep in Irish bullshit going back to “Irish need not apply”. He’s a great guy.

Another time, Tommy Gallagher, the fight trainer, who is a friend of mine, had a fighter in an event at Michael’s of Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, Maryland. He told us to come check it out. So, me and my friend Tommy Vaught and Frank Powers took Amtrak down and the main event was Hasim Rahman, on his comeback trail after getting knocked out by Lennox.

And he fought Rob Calloway from Kansas and he damn near killed the poor bastard. Anyway, after a night of drinking, we ended up in the only place serving food at 4am, which was the Denny’s near our hotel. And in the middle of our meal, in walks “Rock” and his entire entourage. And we were hugging and high fiving him and them all, and I said to him, “But Rock — next time, you can’t fight another palooka…it’s gotta be a somebody.”

He nodded and smiled, “I know.” He said. “Baby steps.”

We were all laughing and having a great time there in that Baltimore Denny’s at 4 in the morning.

Rock would go on to beat Terrence Lewis and Monte Barrett right after that, so, he did alright from there. I always liked “Rock”.

BB: If you had the power to change a few things in boxing, what would you choose?

I would make all judging by merit and the judges would be chosen by a neutral and “blindly” by committee. The primary problem with boxing is that the promoter hires the judges. You don’t have to be a sports scientist to understand why that is a problem.

I would also get rid of all of the existing sanctioning bodies and go back to one belt – sanction it by federal decree, if necessary. The government wants to do something useful, let ’em do that.

I would also eliminate the minor weight classes, and take it back old school like this:
• straw weight 105;
• flyweight 112;
• bantamweight 118;
• featherweight 126;
• lightweight 135;
• welterweight 147;
• middleweight 160;
• light heavy 175;
• cruiser 190 (yes, I would return to the original 190 limit, but allow cruisers to fight up to 209, paying a premium per pound over 190);
• heavy 210+

BB: Do you favor a mandatory retirement fund for all boxers and if so, how do you think it can be accomplished?

Absolutely. And health insurance as well. It’s all very do-able. Look at Screen Actors Guild, we have all that, and most of us make very little money. Boxing’s not really all that different. Less than 5% of the guys make more like 90% of the money. But if they all paid a percentage in, all necessary health and pension benefits would more than be covered. But make it come off the top from all promoters out of gross funds, before anyone gets paid. That’s the key. The mutherf—n’ promoters are the bane of boxing’s existence…but also its lifeblood. It’s an insidious cycle.

BB: Name a couple of your favorite actors?

CK: Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall, Charles Bronson, JT Walsh, Gary Oldman. Denzel Washington and Christian Bale.

BB: Favorite actresses? Grace Kelly, Meryl Streep, Halle Berry and Susan Sarandon.

BB: Favorite drama movies? The Godfather, To Kill A Mockingbird, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Darkest Hour and Tender Mercies.

BB: Favorite comedies?

Midnight Run and Grand Budapest Hotel.

BB: Favorite male singers? Amos Lee, Otis Redding and Kris Kristofferson.

BB: Favorite female singers? Adele, Lucy Kaplansky, Nora Jones, Mavis Staples, Lucinda Williams and Aretha Franklin.

BB: Coolest car you ever owned?

’77 Caddy Fleetwood Brougham — it was like a living room on wheels. We named it “The Bitch” and drove it to California and back.

BB: Favorite food?

Pizza from Patsy’s, John’s, Joe’s, Totonno’s, DiFara’s, Johnny’s or Arturo’s. (And Cannolis from Rocco’s)

BB: Favorite vacation spots?

Block Island, RI.
Taos, NM.
California’s Rt. 1.
Driving across the U.S.

BB: Favorite colors?

Red, white, blue and purple.

BB: Favorite sounds?

Anchor chains, plane motors and train whistles.

BB: Least favorite sounds?

CK: Whining, bitching and wasted breath.

BB: If you could meet one person from any time in history, who would it be and what would your first question be for them?

Churchill. “How do we fix it now?”

BB: What is one thing you have done in your life that you are still shocked you actually tried?

Eating Tripe.

BB: I want to turn the mic over to you. What is the one question to date, you have never been asked, but wish that you were? Answer is?

CK: Do you really have two uvulas?


BB: Finally, what is the saying you live your life by?

“Life is short. Good character and lasting impressions count the most – do something purposeful, kind and lasting.”

Chance has a 501c3 the RSR readers can check out:

Legends Sports Club, Inc. is my non-profit — we are a youth sports organization — 501c3 filed and pending — and we do youth sports differently. It’s all about character building and positivity. It’s none of the bulls–t that ruins a lot of youth sports today. We’re about becoming the best people we can. We raise all of our budgets as a team. We do charity work as a team. We train the 12 & under as a team. Championships are secondary. Though we do put together some very competitive teams. One of our teams won the Zero Gravity National Championship in Boston a few years back. If anyone wants to contribute to a great cause that gets kids off the street and helps them become mentors to the younger and upcoming kids.

Check out their FB page by clicking here.

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