Former Boxing Champ Boyd Melson Aims To KO Drug Addiction
After retiring from professional boxing, Boyd “Rainmaker” Melson is using the sport to help with his biggest fight yet: combating drug addiction.
Melson is now offering free boxing clinics in his native Staten Island for anyone struggling with addiction. He donated money to charities throughout his 18-fight career and gave away all of his earnings from his last fight, a few thousands dollars, to a local charity that helps fight drug addiction among young adults.
“I read about how much drugs have affected the Island, and I have family who’ve battled addictions,” said Melson to SILive.com. “The goal with these free monthly clinics on Staten Island is to get the men and women battling or recovering from addiction to get hooked on boxing while having it be an avenue to help them overcome.”
The former pro boxer also said that during the classes, he talks to young people “about getting involved in positive activities once they get out of rehab and they’re back on the street. I have a message and boxing is part of it.”
Staten Island has been dealing with a rapidly growing drug problem. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of arrests involving heroin or prescription pills increased tenfold to over 1,000.
Other parts of the country also grappling with addiction have launched similar boxing initiatives. In Randolph, Mass., a program called Let It Out was established in 2015. Christine Fennelly, who lost her to son to an overdose, said she found immense value in boxing.
“It’s amazing what you do when you hit something. It does release everything from you,” she told FOX25 in 2015. “It’s such pent up bottled up rage, frustration, emotion. What other way are you gonna get it out?”