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Tell Us What You Do, Ringside Physician Dr. Rick Weinstein

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TSS checked in with ringside doc Rick Weinstein, a fixture at NYC-area fight cards. We were curious what he does, how he got into it..Check out this Q n A…

Q) Hi Doctor. Can you tell us about you, and how and why you got into boxing, and why you work as a ringside physician.

A) My name is Rick Weinstein. I went to med school at NYU in the city and then did internship in General Surgery at North Shore Hospital on Long Island. I did my orthopedic surgery residency at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital/Albert Einstein in the South Bronx – a great place to learn ortho. I did a fellowship in sports medicine at University of Connecticut and Yale University with specialty training in knee and shoulder as well as arthroscopic and minimally invasive surgery.
After my training, I was hired by my old program to be the Residency Director at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital and 2 years later, I was made the Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery. Shortly after, I left the Bronx to work in Westchester and I am currently the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Westchester Health Associates. In 1996, I was asked to work as a ringside doctor in Connecticut and worked my first fights at Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun. When I moved to New York in 1997, I was appointed to the New York State Athletic Commission. I have worked fights at Madison Square Garden, Barclay’s Center, Resorts Casino and many other sites around New York State. I have had the great experience of working with and meeting interesting boxing characters including Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Manny Pacquia, Roy Jones just to name a few.

Q) Tell us what you actually do, please, as a ringside physician.

A) I have been a member of the Association of Ringside Physicians since 1998 and was elected to the Board. This international organization has over a hundred members and serves to help protect boxers. We have an annual conference and I have been involved in teaching and training ringside doctors for over 16 years. I was also appointed as Medical Director of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) in 2013 and have given lectures and instructed judges, referees and cornermen around the world including in Germany, Montreal and Atlantic City.

Working ringside gives me the best seat to watch some great athletes. I examine the boxers before the fight and make sure they are qualified and safe medically to box. I sit in the corner at ringside during the fight and watch for any signs of significant injury that may require the fight to be stopped. I am very fortunate in NY that we have great referees that are also on top of the fighters and look for injuries that require the fight to be stopped. After the fight, I check the boxers and often times ending up sewing them up from the cuts they received during the fight. Occasionally there are serious injuries and I have to send the boxer to the hospital in the ambulance we have at the fight.

I view my role as there to protect the boxers. I will stop a fight if a boxer cannot adequately defend himself or if one eye is so swollen he cannot see out of it.

Q) I’m curious…you have kids…would you let them box?

A) I have 2 sons. Ben is 16 and Tyler 13. I would let my kids do boxing training but I would prefer they not actually box. Boxing is a phenomenal cardio work out and I encourage my patients and kids and even my wife to do boxing work outs.Q) What are some of the things you must pay attention to during a fight?

In the Klitschko/Jennings fight I worked, I was dealing with 2 tremendous boxers. These heavyweights have tremendous power and can really hurt each other. Both are tremendous punchers as well experienced boxers. Heavyweights can knock each other out with a single punch. Lighter weight boxers typically throw many more punches and are less likely to knock out an opponent. With these heavyweights it is very important for a doctor at ringside to pay careful attention as the fight can change with a single punch.

Q) I do wonder..is there any conflict inherent in the job for you, as a person entrusted to aid in healing?

A) Being a ringside doc is very exciting. It is an honor to take care of these athletes and help protect them. Some doctors question why I would work ringside at a sport that they consider dangerous. We all must understand that boxing can be a dangerous sport and that having a doctor with experience really does help protect these athletes. There are more injuries percentage-wise in many other sports including football and cheerleading. Boxing is one of the only sports where every athlete is examined individually before, during and after competing. Almost all doctors and patients think it is great that I work at the boxing matches and the question I get more than “why do you this?” is “can you get me tickets?”

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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