Back in July ESPN gave the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to man named Dewey Bozella. Wanted to share this, after his story came to a deserved conclusion last night in Los Angeles.
In 1983 at the age of 24 Dewey Bozella was sentenced to 20 years to life for the murder of a 92 year old woman he did not commit.
Bozella was offered multiple plea bargains that would have given him the chance to walk out of jail a free man barring that he confessed to committing the murder. Unwilling to confess to a crime he did not commit, he turned down each deal and returned to prison.
All the while he trained, becoming the light-heavyweight boxing champion of Sing Sing. He studied, getting two college degrees. And he married his long time girlfriend, all behind bars.
After 26 years Bozella was finally able to get his conviction overturned and was exonerated of his crimes, leaving jail at 51 with the dream of getting one professional fight.
ESPN ran this piece at the ESPY’s as part of the Arthur Ashe Award presentation:
After seeing his story on the ESPY’s Golden Boy Promotions decided to give Bozella the opportunity to fight on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins bout that took place last night at the Staples Center, pending that he could pass the California State Athletic Commission test to get licensed to box in the state. He failed.
Bozella continued to train hard, dropping 10 pounds in a week. He took the test again and passed. At 52, officials said Bozella was believed to be the oldest fighter ever licensed to box in California.
Last night (after a call from Obama wishing him luck) Bozella won his pro boxing debut, beating Larry Hopkins by unanimous decision in what he has said will be his one and only fight.
Bozella finished his professional boxing career 1-0.
"I used to lay in my cell and dream about this happening," Bozella said. "It was all worth it. It was my dream come true."
A Plus1Press Publication