The odds against a fight breaking out at the Prudential Securities office in Hartford, Conn., are astronomical, but if one ever did, the winner would likely be declared by Glen Feldman.
That's because Feldman, a rep at the firm, is a professional boxing judge who has scored world-title bouts all over the globe — including in Japan, Great Britain and Italy — involving boxers such as Mike Tyson and George Foreman.
Before Feldman became a broker 14 years ago, he published his own weekly newspaper, Hartford Sports Extra. His primary beat for the newspaper was boxing. After the newspaper folded, Feldman continued to follow boxing closely.
Then, out of the blue, Feldman received a phone call from Connecticut's head 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 29 world-title fights and has been able to travel extensively, an opportunity he would never have enjoyed if not for boxing.
For most of his first eight years as a judge, Feldman scored four- and six-round bouts in small Connecticut 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.”