Rodney King says boxing is keeping him sober
November 7, 2009
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) – Rodney King says boxing is helping him stay sober.
King, whose 1991 beating by Los Angeles police was captured on videotape and helped spark riots a year later, is among a group of D-list celebrities appearing around the country as part of the Celebrity Boxing Federation.
King and former major league baseball player and steroid user Jose Canseco headlined a card Friday night in a local hotel ballroom in front of about 500 people.
Others who box in for the federation include Danny Bonaduce (Partridge Family), Willie Aames (Eight is Enough) and Michael Lohan (Lindsay’s dad).
“We’re building this like the WWE of boxing,” said Damon Feldman, a former professional boxer, who founded the group. “We’re giving guys like Canseco a chance to stay busy, in the public eye and make a few bucks.”
The show makes only a slight pretense of being an athletic competition.
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King entered the ring holding up a championship belt, and easily won his bout with a former basketball player turned actor named Derek MacIntosh. It was a three-round decision in which King threw most of the punches and his opponent spent most of his time covering up.
Canseco, who had Lohan acting as his manager, was pitted against Todd Poulton, a 45-year-old pudgy amateur boxer who had made local headlines battling obsessive-compulsive disorder. The former Boston Red Sox slugger knocked Poulton down with a jab in the first round, then seemed to spend the rest of the fight trying not to hurt him. Canseco was booed again when he was announced as the winner.
King, who recently appeared on the reality TV show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” said he understands a lot of people see this as some type of circus act, but he said it’s been good therapy for him in his struggles with alcohol.
“Being sober for 17 months, I wanted to see what this old body had left in it,” he said. “I’m now a bit of a regular at the gym, and it kind of feels good in there with them young cats. It’s definitely helped me stay sober. It takes up a lot of my quality time.”
King said he hopes to get into the ring soon with Laurence Powell, one of the police officers involved in his beating. He said Powell pulled out of an exhibition that was planned five years ago, but said he hopes something can be worked out this time.
“I could see the bigger picture in this,” King said. “I could see me and him going around, educating people on that night, and then just sit around and chop it up. Me and him could turn it into a very educational moment.”
In the meantime, he acknowledges there is not much educational value in celebrity boxing.
“It’s all fun,” he said. “This is all entertainment, and what makes it more fun is that we’re not professionals. So, it’s really funny.”