NYC's Bravest Prepare For Annual Bout

NY 1 - October 07, 2009

by Jeanine Ramirez

New York's bravest will be taking on the city's finest in the boxing ring later this week for a chance to settle up a score while raising money for a good cause. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

Some of the city's bravest are getting ready to show just how tough they are in the boxing ring. About a dozen members of the New York City Fire Department are preparing for their bout against members of the New York City Police Department in the 27th annual "Battle of the Badges." Bragging rights are on the line since both departments have 13 wins a piece.

"We have a good relationship with the cops, but when you talk about fighting, they can't hide behind their badges this time. They're in the ring and they're going to have to duke it out," said Engine 281 Firefighter Jerry Ryan.

This year's fight will be held at Madison Square Garden for the first time in 24 years. Retired firefighter Bobby McGuire is coaching the guys. He fought against the police department at the Garden back in 1985 and 1986.

"There's no better stage in the world and no better feeling when they raise your hand at Madison Square Garden," McGuire said.

McGuire says his boxers have all earned their spots to fight and have been training six days a week since February. There will be 13 fights ranging from super heavy weights to welter weights. It will be the first boxing match for firefighter John Dreher who says he's ready.

"It's three days of sparring a week. And on the off days when we're not here training and sparring with each other, we're out running, doing sprints, running stairs. Just to get our wind up. Guys have been working really hard. It's been tough," said Ladder 147 Firefighter John Dreher.

The "Battle of the Badges" is a charity event which raises funds for various causes. Part of the money will go towards opening up a boxing program for children in Flatbush, Brooklyn. "This is going to be a brand new gym we're funding," McGuire said. "Us and the New York City Police Department and it's going to open in Flatbush Gardens and we're going to be open everyday for the children from 5 to 8 p.m."

The FDNY and NYPD say they need to raise about $20,000 to equip the gym and hope to have the kids program open by the end of the month.

"We don't have a lot of money, but we do what we can," Ryan said. "If I can raise money by fighting, then I'll raise money by fighting."

Boxers taking part in the big fight will be weighed in Friday afternoon, with the main event scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.