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Haymakers for Hope: Punching up the Dollars for Cancer Research

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Some people believe that boxing might not be good for a person's health. Nevertheless, former Goldman Sachs employee Andrew Myerson and Golden Gloves Champion Julie Anne Kelly have certainly proven that the sweet science can make healthy contributions to medical research.

In 2009, Mr. Myerson and Ms. Kelly were training for the grueling New York City Golden Gloves tournament. A few years earlier, Ms. Kelly had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and Mr. Myerson had lost a close friend to cancer. The two had an epiphany and the resolve to carry it through. They decided that boxing tournaments could be used to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. After making contacts with the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Myerson and Kelly formed Haymakers for Hope.

Last Thursday night (November 8th), Haymakers sponsored its third boxing show at the Roseland Ballroom in New York. Despite the terrible blows of Sandy, the Ballroom sold out with 1,500 enthralled fans in attendance. Haymakers took in $300,000 to add to the 500k it has raised from past events.

Competing in these sanctioned amateur bouts were traders and investors from Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Citi, Nomura, SAC, Millennium, Houlihan Lockney, iCap, Oppenheimer and FBR, as well as a couple lawyers, a CEO of an international mining company, an exec with British Airways.

Mind you, Haymakers events are nothing like the old Tough Man contests, nor are they akin to some of the "white collar" promotions in which mostly wealthy people jump into the ring to get a little taste of fist action. Haymakers respects the sport of boxing. Each of the 28 combatants trained for three to four months in one of the local boxing gyms in New York. As a long time boxing trainer, I can attest that is is precisely the amount of time a beginner needs to get ready for bout number one. Al Gore's son, Albert Gore III, fought on Thursday and had his hand raised. Afterwards, he commented, "This was my third fight, so I knew a little bit about what to expect in terms of day-after aches and pains. I weighed in at 210, and my opponent was 235."

The pugilist son of the former Vice President continued,

Haymakers is an amazing organization. Andrew, Julie, David and Holly are an unbelievably professional team, and that is reflected both by how much fun everyone had and by the staggering amount of money they were able to raise during this event. My Aunt Nancy died of lung cancer when I was very young, and one of my good friends went through chemo at Memorial Sloan Kettering this year and is now cancer free, so it was really important to me to be a part of something that will provide much-needed support in the fight against cancer.

After his contest, Claudio Ochoa effused, "I am so grateful for all my amazing friends who came out to support me and the foundation last night! We sold out the event and raised a huge amount for the fight against cancer." A lawyer at MAG, Mr. Ochoa joked, "As for the boxing part, that was quite possibly my worst idea ever... My body feels like it got hit by a truck and I'm pretty sure there is something wrong with my nose, but I'm otherwise doing well. In the immortal words of Rocky Balboa: "Yo, Adrian, we did it!"

Mr. Myerson, the ecstatic and exhausted promoter, summed up,

I can't even begin to describe how happy our team is about how well last night went. I was shocked that tickets sold out so quickly given the aftermath of the storm! Next year I guess we'll have to get a bigger venue!