*There are quite a number of people that you come across in boxing, some with credentials, and some that just want to be.
Referee Tony Weeks is the real deal folks. I had a chance to sit down with him the other day in Las Vegas at a place called the Peppermill restaurant on Las Vegs blvd., and he opened up to me about his life and career.
He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and was an athlete throughout his school years playing football, and participating in track and field, and eventually got involved in martial arts where he obtained a second degree black belt.
We talked about the twenty five years he spent working as a recreational supervisor at the Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix, Arizona. He retired from that job last August. It was there that he sort of got his start as a referee when he began to put on exhibition boxing matches with the authorization of the warden there. As he recalled to me on the first event that was held there, he realized that there was no one to referee the opening bout, so he decided to do it himself.
There happened to be a trainer and cutman present that day by the name of Beto Martinez from Tucsan, Arizona who was so impressed by how Tony worked the fight that he spoked to director of the Arizona Athletic Commission and recommended that he give him an opportunity, and that led to him working his first pro event, a four rounder and the rest is boxing history.
He’s gone on to work some of the greatest fights in boxing history including Diego Corrales vs Jose Luis Castillo I, Manny Pacquiao vs Oscar De La Hoya, “Canelo” Alvarez vs Alfredo Angulo, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Juan Manuel Marquez, just to name a few.
He will be working the Mayweather vs Maidana fight tonight in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The most important thing he wanted me to know is the fact that he has evolved into the man that he is because of his religion Islam. A faith that he embraced back in 1994 after years of hanging out with the hustlers and pimps that he used to look up to.
His life now has become a much more complete one as a result.
There’s one individual that he gives much homage to and his name is Mark Ratner the former executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission who has been very influential in his career.
He says he plans to continue to work as a referee “as long as it is fun.” When I asked him to share with me what bits of wisdom he could offer to those up and coming fighters he replied, “Number one, believe in yourself, know what you’re getting into, whatever you do be committed to it, and remember that there’s a bright and dark side to everything.”
And finally, he wants everyone to know that all that he’s doing is a blessing, and he’s just enjoying the journey.
With that said, we look forward to seeing more of him.
Southern California based Mohammed Mubarak’s Ringside Update column can also be seen in the Pace News, the Inland Valley News, and the High Desert Inland Valley News. Mohammed is a portrait artist as well. He can be contacted at [email protected] for your comments.