Written by Ronald Scaglia, Rscaglia@antonnews.com Wednesday, 13 March 2013 10:34
Some may question why U.S. Representative Peter King would step in the ring against a younger opponent who is a former New York State kickboxing champion. While the Congressman did help promote local business, something he says is pivotal as the economy continues its struggle to recover, King has a far simpler reason for doing so. He just loves boxing.
“I’ve been a boxing trainer for nine years,” said King. “I do it to try and stay I shape and get some self- defense. It’s a great sport.”
King said his father was the head of physical training for the New York Police Department. A huge boxing fan, King’s father instilled in his son a love and appreciation for the sport, which the congressman says he has followed since he was six-years-old. Because of that, King works out at his friend Chris Cardona’s gym about once a week. He also participated in a charity match back in 1991. However, last Saturday, King took his enthusiasm for the sport to a new level when he stepped into the ring with “Irish” John Foley, a former kickboxing champ.
“I don’t pretend to be a great boxer but I can do what I need to do,” King confidently told the Massapequan Observer prior to the bout. “I can handle it.”
Of course, it helped that Foley is a friend of the congressman and probably held something back during their two round match held at Mulcahy’s in Wantagh. To help train for the event, King was trained by Cardona, who also promoted the fight. The training seemed to help as King appears to have emerged from the match no worse for the wear, even posting that “it was a great fight” on his Facebook page.
While boxing was the main focus, King said that the event also gave him a chance to meet his constituents and speak with them in a setting that is much different from the norm. He commented that he is usually dressed in a blue suit and giving a speech. However, for this event, he was dressed in boxing attire and throwing punches.
“You get a 1,000 people yelling and screaming,” said King. “Hanging out, talking with them, it’s the real people. You get a feel for what’s on people’s minds and you get to see them in what is not the usual setting.”
A usual setting for King is Capitol Hill. He was asked how fighting with Foley compared with fighting his opponents in Congress. He said that boxing is much easier because in a match, the opponent is right in front of him.
“The opponents on Capitol Hill are usually behind you and you end up with a knife in your back,” he remarked.
If those opponents want to soften King up for their next battle with him in Washington D.C., they would be well advised to brush up on their boxing knowledge and engage him in a discussion of the sport. King shared very fond memories of welcoming Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Roberto Duran to the Nassau Coliseum for matches. However, when asked who his all-time favorite boxer is, King replied, “I’m probably dating myself. It’s Rocky Marciano.”