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« | Home | »

Larry Hazzard fires back at NJ AG

By Zach Arnold | November 15, 2007

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By Zach Arnold

Update: New stories in The Press of Atlantic City, The Philadelphia Daily News, and The New York Post. More thoughts over at The Fanhouse.

Larry Hazzard, who was Commissioner of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board until Wednesday afternoon after he was escorted out of his office by authorities, has fired back at Attorney General Anne Milgram in The Newark Star-Ledger.

Hazzard, a former three-time Golden Gloves champ never known to shy from a fight, called the move “retaliation” for his writing to Gov. Jon Corzine about a dispute with Milgram’s office over employees Hazzard believed were jeopardizing the health of fighters.

Milgram’s office landed another shot, Hazzard said, by firing him on the eve of his nephew’s funeral, which they knew was yesterday.

“It’s in retaliation for the letter and that some people took exception for what’s in the letter,” Hazzard said during an interview following the funeral. “‘I always challenge that stuff — that’s the way I am. … But in New Jersey state government, at least in the Department of Law and Public Safety, this time it wasn’t appreciated.”

However, that is not the most important quote from the article. Here’s the money quote:

In a letter sent to the governor on Oct. 23, a copy of which was obtained by The Star-Ledger, Hazzard’s attorney, James J. Binns, claimed his client was told “not to document the malfeasance and misfeasance” of a board employee even though it “jeopardized the welfare of contestants.” Among the concerns, Binns wrote, were the employee’s decisions to sanction mismatches in mixed martial arts contests, to okay a fighter who failed to test negative for HIV and to allow promoters to “shop” for medical approvals for their fighters.

So, here’s the obvious question to ask…

Who would be the employee that Hazzard is targeting? Until Hazzard names names, no one is for certain going to know who he is talking about.

Is Hazzard targeting Sylvester Cuyler, who is now replacing Hazzard as commissioner? Cuyler was previously deputy commissioner on the NJACB. Perhaps there are other possible candidates that Hazzard could be targeting based on this list of who is on the NJACB. Or is the employee with the DLPS? Will Hazzard file a lawsuit in the future and start naming names?

We’ll finish off this post with another comment from Hazzard in the USA Today newspaper:

“My lawyer had sent a letter basically outlining some serious blunders being made that could create a situation where someone will be very seriously injured or killed,” Hazzard said. “Instead of addressing the issues, they invited me into their office and thanked me for my years of service.”

This story has major ramifications for both boxing and MMA if the allegations that Hazzard are making are truthful.

Topics: Boxing, MMA, Media, Zach Arnold | 6 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

6 Responses to “Larry Hazzard fires back at NJ AG”

  1. David says:

    I don’t see why Hazzard would be lying. Sounds like some really shady government profiteering. Down with the institution!

    Thanks again for the reporting.

  2. Ben says:

    Larry Hazzard pulls no punches.

    He has always been in the right, and I would be utterly shocked if this story is not true. How many fighters need to die before someone stands up and says that having major campaign contributers ruling over a sport they know nothing about is dangerous to human lives?

    Hazzard my seem to go against the grain from time to time, but that is only because most commissions are full of politicians and hacks. They look for a quick fix to cover their butts and to look efficient. Hazzard, on the other hand, while sometimes coming off as a bit harsh, takes these matters seriously.

    As a referee, he was the closest to the action and saw what fighters go through. As a fighter, he felt it.

    Now that he is out, expect New Jersey boxing to fall back into the gutter after Hazzard was responsible for making it what it is today.

  3. clement says:

    mma should hire him im sure they will prosper very well and it will be a matter of time before the board that fired him regrets their decisions.

  4. D. Capitated says:

    The boxrec.com board had some interesting quotes on it. One guy there who I’ve actually known for several years and works as a matchmaker blasted Hazzard. Someone else made this gem:


    Amen! Take a look at whats happened to the game in Jersey. The cards are minimal. With the tremendous advantage of the A.C. casinos, NJ is far, far behind NY. NJ held 15 shows down 3 from the prior year. NY held 37 up 9. Are 15 events with declining numbers, worth a commission with an entire staff and an over inflated salary?

    Beside an over the top ego, there were monumental administrative decisions which annoyed the hell out of promoters and prospective promoters.

    1) EVERYONE had to go to Trenton, the state capital, to be licensed. They found it impossible to take the portable camera to the event weigh-ins. Classic case of moving the mountain to Muhammad (read Hazzard).

    2) In order for a prospective boxer to get a NJ issued Federal ID (not a license) they had to take the full battery of very costly NJ med tests. The commission didn’t seem to understand that a Fed ID was just a verification of who the boxer was – NOT a license to fight! The result was that many a poor kid with no financial backing found it impossible to register in his home state, forcing him to lie about his resedency in a neighboring state.

    3) NJ’s meds are the most stringent in the country. Instead of fighting for a reduction of the then proposed medicals so that could be more in line with the leading states, I can probably rightly assume that Mr. Hazzard was more inclined to keep his job than fight for the proper position.

    Fortunately I work in NY. I must say that in the past, due to the insanity that is NJ, I have influenced more than one promoter to opt for NY rather than Jersey.

    It should also be Hazzard has stopped fights by entering the ring himself ahead of the physician and ref he both appointed. Before automatically assuming something fun and sexy happened (that New Jersey is hyper corrupt and Larry Hazzard is a victim), realize that we’re talking about combat sports here, and very, very few people are ever innocents.

  5. [...] was Hazzard fired? “It was time for a change” said Anne Milgram. But you dig a bit and you find out something a bit more interesting: In a letter sent to the governor on Oct. 23, a copy of which was obtained by The Star-Ledger, [...]

  6. CHARLES says:

    The poor AG is being used to do the ditry work of some very sleazy and uncaring politicians, promoter, matchmakers, and managers that have only one motive GREED!! The accoutability measures that Larry Hazzard Sr. put in place made it hard for any fly by night promoter to come in NJ and make a quick buck at the expense of a fighters life. Just go back and read the Star Ledger article that feature the interview with a known crook “gabe laconte”! I spelled his name on purpose with small letters because he’s a small time hustler who’s merchandise is mostly washed up and unheard of boxers. gabe and shifty promoters like him is the main reason Larry Hazzard Sr. implemented strict guidelines to safeguard the integrity of the sport. Small time promoters like gabe made it seem like The Commissioner was the bad guy when they in fact were the ones who wanted him to turn his back so they could put on their circus. The Commisssioner has been consistent as a referee and as the leader of boxing in NJ and is a recognized figure in boxing aroung the world. The AG has no clue about boxing and is just being manipulated by some behind the scenes power brokers do what they don’t have the spine to do in the open. This is truly New Jersey’s lost!
    The sad part is the powers that be the slimy promoters don’t care!! As long as there are more fights in this state in which they’ll be to exploit fighters that are willing to do anything to make a buck, they are happy, because they get their cut first!! The AG should study her law books some more…The fallout from loosening regulations could fall right in her lap!! I don’t have to wish Larry Hazzard Sr. well, because I know he will now become an even larger figure in boxing……Some politicians and promoters don’t like because he can’t be bought. He’s a conscienious inmovable object when it come to boxing integriy. There is no doubt in my mind that he will now move on to become an even bigger figure in the world of boxing…..The sports needs strong leaders like Larry Hazzard Sr. Greatness doesn’t come easy it comes with a price…but with regard to the Commissioner….. LARRY HAZZARD SR. IS PRICELESS!

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