claude_awardRREMEMBERED At our 52nd Convention::
 Claude Jacksonn was of the kindest, most dedicated advocates in the boxing community.  He  neve  said a bad thing about anyone. More so,  we never heard anyone say a bad thing about him. Given the playing field, that spells unusual for a man who''d accomplished so much; past NABF President, Head of the Ratings Committee... 

Jill: Why boxing?

Claude: I participated in team sports when I was younger, football and baseball, but the one-on-one competition of boxing (even though I wasn't all that good) just was always more appealing; particularly as a spectator at a GREAT action fight.

Claude: Not really, I still have all of the friends (the real friends, not just people blowing smoke to try and get something from the Prez) I had when holding office and don't have to deal with the political BS that unfortunately goes with the position.

Jill: What makes a Champion?

Claude: The amount of dedication that a top level boxer (or any world class athlete for that matter) has to have is remarkable.  There are many men and women who may have the physical ability to be a world class boxer, but they don't have the dedication and heart to make it to the top.  Also, having a competent team around the boxer and the boxer having faith in their team is certainly a major factor as well.

 Jill: How do we keep boxing viable?
 
 Claude: Gee, this is a tough one...I don't think boxing will ever die, per se, but boxing has to do a MUCH better job of marketing ourselves and our boxers, particularly in the United States...it seems like whenever a boxer has legal trouble this makes headlines, but the good guys and gals in boxing don't get the attention they deserve.  I can honestly say, Jill, that most of the boxers I meet are nice young people.  I'm sure you will agree.
  

And having a major fight, NOT just a fight where a big name champ fights a tune-up against a journeyman opponent that was shown on home TV rather than pay-per-view might help stir up interest as well.  I realize this might not fit in with the current business realities of our sport, and I guess I'm showing my age - but I remember when there was a live fight on a major home TV network nearly every weekend.

  Jill: How do we compete against the "world belts?" What does being an NABF Champ mean?

 Claude: You only have to look at the current roster of NABF champions and the list of boxers who have held our belt in the past to see the value of the NABF championship and the quality of our champions.
 

As to having to compete against minor so-called "world titles" - if a promoter can advertise a "world championship" for some minor organization and put a few more butts in the seats and maybe have his hometown hero claim to be a "world champ" then I guess we will continue to have these "championships" spring up.   Except for marketing ourselves better (and this is a difficult task, I know) I am afraid that we will continue to have to compete with these minor "world championships".

 Jill: Any rising Stars that we should be aware of?
 
 Claude: I really don't want to give specific names, afraid I will leave some one out, but all our NABF champions and most of the top rated challengers are very good prospects.
 
 Jill: Any story you'd like to share?
 
 Claude: To me, there was nothing like the atmosphere that used to surround the outdoor fights they used to have at Caesars Palace.  I remember sitting out in 100 degree temperature watching the prelim fights on Holmes/Ali card.  A sold out arena for the main event but maybe only 100 sweaty people there when the show started.   I was also standing at the back of the arena when the "fan man" came into the arena right over my head during the Bowe/Holyfield fight.
 
 Jill: A great moment?
 
 Claude: Great moments for me also include having the opportunity to sit around and visit with some of the great old vets of our business.  I had breakfast with Angelo Dundee before a recent fight, and will always remember sitting around all one afternoon and chatting with the great Eddie Futch in a hotel coffee shop - just the two of us.
 
  Jill: A bad call?
 
Claude: There have been some decisions that I may have disagreed with, and some stoppages by a ref that I may have also...but officiating a boxing match is tough enough without them being second guessed---all of the officials I know are very serious about their work and usually very competent in their decisions.
 
 
 Jill: Would you share your different titles and awards?
 
Claude:
      • 4 years as NABF President
      • 4 years as NABF Vice-President
      • 14 years (+) as NABF Ratings Chairman
      • 11 years on WBC Ratings Committee, 4 years

as vice-chairman.

      • 10 years as member of WBC Continental
      • Americas Championships Committee
      • Numerous awards received at conventions

from both organizations 

 

Away from boxing, I am an elected vestry member and treasurer of my church (Holy Trinity Episcopal).

 

Jill:  Who inspired you?

 Claude: First of all, on a personal level, you and I have spoken in the past about my mother and how she - as a single working mom - kept our family together.  Really a special lady to all who knew her.
 
 

On a boxing level, of course I have much respect for WBC President Jose Sulaiman who is the great leader of modern day boxing and head of what I think is by far the best boxing organization.  The former WBC Executive Secretary, Eduardo Lamazon, guided me in my early days as a member of WBC ratings committee and will always have a special place in my thoughts, as well.

 
 Even though he and I have butted heads a few times, I can't write this without mentioning Dickie Cole, former NABF President and now head of the Texas Commission.  15 years ago Dickie had the faith and trust to turn the NABF ratings work over to me.  So, thanks to Dickie as well.
  
 Several other people have helped me through the years but, as is the case in naming outstanding prospects, I don't want to leave anyone out so I'll cut this off now.
  
 Jill: Make a wish for our sport -- share it?
 

Claude: Additional competent and dedicated people coming in to positions of leadership in boxing, and of course more NABF and WBC family fights in the future.

  Let me close by thanking you, Jill, for your hard work for the NABF and WBC - particularly for the young women who compete for our belts and the World Boxing Cares program.