- Michael Woods, Boxing
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Two days ago, Luis Resto went to the New York State Athletic Commission headquarters and started the process of trying to get a license so he can works corners during bouts in New York. There are many people who think he lost that privilege on June 16, 1983, when he went into the ring wearing gloves with most of their padding removed.
Opponent Billy Collins felt like he was getting hit with bricks. As Resto explained in 2008 -- when he totally came clean and admitted he was complicit in a scheme he said was hatched by trainer-manager Panama Lewis -- this was because plaster of Paris had been smeared on his hand wraps.
Eric Drath, who in the '90s worked as an agent for boxers and is now a documentary film-maker, produced a doc on the sad saga called "Assault in the Ring." He came to have almost a fondness for Resto, and when the ex-boxer told him he wanted to get a license so he can be a cornerman, Drath helped him with the procedure.
Drath told NYFightBlog that Resto took a true-false test at the commission on Wednesday and scored 90 percent. He brought in some paperwork for them Thursday and a letter of explanation, in which he showed remorse for his actions, and will now await word on whether he gets a thumbs up or down.
Resto did time for the crime, 2½ years for assault. Drath hopes Resto gets licensed.
"I feel like he paid the price and lost his career," Drath said. "I think that was just. But I don't think the scheme was his brainchild. His being a cornerman doesn't hurt anybody. And I think it can help the sport, and he can act as an example of what not to do. If we are a forgiving society, this is an opportunity to forgive."
Drath said the commission will issue a decision next week.
If I had a vote, I'd say let the man get a license.
He did what he did when he was a younger, impressionable person. I strongly suspect that the idea was Lewis' and Lewis is a charismatic and thoroughly convincing character. Resto doesn't possess a high IQ and can't read or write well. People who have spent ample time with him over the years say this is a man who is remorseful, who wishes he could take back his actions. And who among us doesn't wish we could take back our actions on some occasion? Who hasn't made some royal screwups before we knew better?
If Resto does get licensed, the commission could attach strings to the document. It could ask Resto to tape a public service announcement, or speak to young boxers about doing the right thing when shady opportunities present themselves.
Many will say that Billy Collins -- who died in a car crash on March 6, 1984 -- didn't get another chance, that his ambition was stripped from him against his will. They are right. But to them I say we will never forget, but we can forgive the actions of a man who made a horrid choice 28 years ago, and has been paying for it every day since.
Readers, please weigh in with your take.