January 14, 2000
New York Event--FIGHTERS HELPING FIGHTERS: This One is for Wilfredo Benitez!
California/New York/Puerto Rico: David Torres, DEA Agent and Board Member of the Retired Boxers Foundation,
announces a major fundraiser to aid the family of the youngest world champion boxer, Wilfredo Benitez of Puerto
Rico, who won his championship at age 17. The event is scheduled for Thursday, February 17th, 2000,
at Tito Puente’s Restaurant, 10464 City Island Avenue, in New York. Puente is a world recognized
musician winning several Grammy Awards, and runs a very successful restaurant in New York.
Puente has offered his restaurant, which seats approximately 230 patrons. The event will include dinner,
a tribute to Wilfredo Benitez and a silent auction. Tickets are $100 each, and a limited number of tickets for
$200 are available for a special pre-event party with celebrities, and several boxing champions.
David Torres, a DEA Agent in Puerto Rico and the newest member of the Retired Boxers Foundation Board of
Directors, approached Tito Puente and the Retired Boxers Foundation in November when he became aware of
the bad condition the Benitez family was in following Hurricane George. The house where Wilfredo and his
brothers Frankie and Gregorio Benitez (also boxers) live in with their mother and siblings was damaged badly,
leaving the house crawling with rodents and without doors. Adding insult to injury, the famous backyard gym,
which not only produced the Benitez family of boxing champions, but was also a famous gathering spot for many
fighters in Puerto Rico, was completely ruined. The family’s difficulties are more than a lack of money.
All three of the boys suffer from "dementia pugilistica" which is the medical term for being "punch
drunk". One of their sisters is also deaf. The government of Puerto Rico provides some money to the
family, but the losses from the hurricane have added a burden that the family simply cannot
overcome without help.
Alex Ramos, known in his own boxing career as "The Bronx Bomber" has roots in Puerto Rico and grew up in the
Bronx. After winning four Golden Gloves Championships, along with several local championships in his
amateur career, Ramos was a member of the USA Boxing Team from 1978-80 suffering his first setback when
the United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Ramos turned pro that same year and won the USBA
Middleweight Championship in 1984, followed by the California Middleweight Championship in
1986. Ramos had many problems that lead him into what he calls "the darkness" of drugs, alcohol
and homelessness. His career was essentially over in 1991 and he fought his last championship fight in 1995.
Ramos emerged from the darkness in 1995, fearing that he would die penniless and nearly forgotten as many
champions had before him. He believes that God saved him from the streets so that he could start the Retired
Boxers Foundation to help hundreds of retired fighters who had the same kind of problems he had.
The mission of the Retired Boxers Foundation is to help fighters make the transition from their glorious days
in the ring to a dignified retirement. The motto of the RBF is "The Undisputed Champions for Dignity!"
The RBF has a website at www.globalaffairs.com One of the goals of the RBF is to identify resources
for fighters who need a hand up, such as the Benitez brothers, and to provide financial assistance, medical
and housing assistance, as well as rehabilitation services. The RBF has also recently initiated two
projects, including initiation of a medical advisory board to help establish prevention strategies
for fighters currently in the ring, and the second project, the Dignity Project, which prepares Dignity Packs to
take to fighters living on the streets. The Dignity Packs include sweat suits, sox, underwear, toiletries and
whatever special needs the homeless fighters might need, including shoes, jackets, etc.
In November, Ramos traveled to Puerto Rico and met David Torres. The two of them visited with Wilfredo Benitez
and his family and both of them walked away with a strong commitment to assist the family. The RBF as a
charitable organization will work on the details of the event and Torres is the event chairperson. Torres
met with Tito Puente and his staff in December and the contract is signed for the event. Torres also has
commitments from several baseball players from the past and present, including Sammy Sosa,
Juan Maricel, Carols Baergo and Yogi Bera, all whom have promised to attend. In fact, Torres has a commitment
for two tables of major league baseball players. Ramos and Torres have talked to several retired
and current boxers, including Arturo Gatti, Wilfredo Gomez, John John Molina, Bobby Cycz, Buddy McGirt,
Zab Judah, Chuck Wepner and many others, all of whom want to attend and assist in raising funds for the
Benitez family. The event is 8 days before the De la Hoya vs. Cooley fight at Madison Square Garden.
The list of boxers and baseball players is expected to top 50.
Reservations are limited and checks should be made payable to the Retired Boxers Foundation and can be
mailed to the RBF to the attention:
URB Quinta del Rio, G8 Plaza 14
Bayamon, Puerto Rico 00961
The RBF is also looking for corporate sponsors who will receive special tickets and promotional items,
as well as significant media coverage. The RBF is especially interested in talking to anyone who
has frequent flyer tickets and is willing to donate them to the RBF so that airfare can be provided
to the Benitez family who will fly from Puerto Rico to New York. The event at Tito Peunte’s Restaurant
is the first of a series of events to publicize the fact that fighters are helping fighters to restore
dignity and, together, become the Undisputed Champions for Dignity! For more information on
the event, call Alex Ramos at (805) 583-5890 in California, or page DEA Agent David Torres at (888) 395-3752.