Larry Hazzard’s 10th Anniversary C.O.M.B.A.T.T. Awards Dinner & Celebration

By Lou McLaughlin: This past Tuesday April 24th I was privileged to attend the 10th Anniversary C.O.M.B.A.T.T. Awards Dinner & Celebration Reception at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, New Jersey. C.O.M.B.A.T.T. (Community Organization Making Boxing Alternatives Today for Tomorrow) was founded my Mr. Larry Hazzard Sr. Mr. Hazzard, is a retired professional boxing championship referee.

In 1985, he retired as the third man in the ring, left his professional career as a high school principal, and became commissioner of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board - a position he held for more than two decades. A former three-time New Jersey State Golden Glove Champion, a black belt Ju-Jitsu martial artist and former instructor, former New Jersey Chief Referee with 50 years invested in the business, Hazzard has rightfully claimed his international recognition as an expert in the field of combative sports.

In 1998, Hazzard founded the amateur boxing non-profit organization, (C.O.M.B.A.T.T. Inc.), and incorporated the organization in May 2002. This youth organization provides a safe haven for inner-city youths interested in boxing offers assistance in education, physical fitness development, social services, and health, nutrition, recreation, and job-readiness skills building and makes appropriate referrals for participants. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Hazzard received his Associate of Science degree from Essex County College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Montclair State University Panzer School of Physical Education and Health, and a Master of Arts degree from Montclair State University. Hazzard and his wife, Patricia, have three children and six grandchildren. They reside in Northern New Jersey.

The evening was a formal affair attended by many boxing celebrities who availed themselves to picture and autograph requests from boxing fans. Fighters in attendance were former undisputed Light Heavyweight champion Michael Spinks. As a pro, he was undefeated in his first 31 fights, beating such opponents as Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Marvin Johnson and Eddie Davis en route to becoming undisputed world light-heavyweight champion. Also in attendance was former IBF Cruiserweight champion Al “Ice” Cole, HBO commentator and boxing analyst Mr. Harold Lederman. Kathy Duva C.E.O. of Main Events, and Randy Neumann a former professional boxer who has been a referee for the New York State Athletic Commission since 1982. He has been the "third man" in many championship boxing matches that have taken place in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Also, Tom Kaczmarek a former feather weight fighter who went on to become a highly regarded international boxing judge having judged over 2,000 professional bouts was in attendance. The Master of Ceremonies was television’s boxing ring announcer and New Jersey Nets Announcer David Diamonte.

I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Hazzard and have him share his thoughts on his organization as follows.

“C.O.M.B.A.T.T. is something that has been near and dear to my heart for several years. We’ve been having this event here for the past ten years a full decade. It’s been wonderful the support we’ve been getting from the boxing community and from the general community at large. It is a way that I can give back to the community to give back to young people. We honor people who are noteworthy not just in boxing but in the community and society. These people serve as great role models for young people. This is what young people need. This is what makes the world better. If each one of us who in a position to do something make the effort to spend more time with young people, be a good example for them to try to teach them to foster good relationships. Have them understand the value of education, have them stay in school, stay away from gangs it makes a better world for all of us. That’s what C.O.M.B.A.T.T. is all about that’s what I try to be about.”

I am sure that Mr. Hazzard’s efforts with “C.O.M.B.A.T.T. has changed many young lives and will continue to do so. His civic and social efforts deserve recognition. The world is a better place due to individuals like Larry Hazzard Sr.

Article posted on 27.04.2012

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