From: John J. Antonacci
To: Joseph R. Stanaitis, David T. Feliciano, Peter Feliciano
Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2004 9:32 PM
Subject: Another Success Story

I am glad you liked the story about my nephew. He is my oldest brother Joseph's son. His sister is an attorney married to a NYC supreme court judge. It goes to show how the house's kid raise their children.

When Joe first started out announcing Fights, I use to go and tape him at the events. It was fifty dollars and I would sit at ring side with all the sports writers and video my nephew. The fights were held in hotels and catering halls. I met a lot of Russian fans and we had great fun together. Keep in Touch, Keep up the good work.

Bill Doherty is home and I spoke to him by phone. Your visit really picked him up and he raved about your gift. Again, thank you for finding the time to make his day.

John A.  

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Antonacci does it for the G-Man!

January 26, 2004

By Andre Courtemanche

“If I’m at a fight and I’m sitting right at the ring, who cares if I’m doing it for free? It’s like living a dream to be involved with all the wonderful people I’ve worked with in boxing.” Joe Antonacci

Photo: Ed Mulholland

There’s something the boxing world should know about the ring announcer scheduled to work this Wednesday’s “Star Boxing on Broadway” show in New York City. Something his humble nature doesn’t allow him to make a habit of revealing…

Although he had been a lifelong fan of the sport, it hadn’t yet occurred to Joe Antonacci to get involved in professional boxing on the night of February 2, 1995, when former Middleweight king Gerald McClellan was in England challenging Nigel Benn for his WBC Super Middleweight title.

And years later, with only a few fights under his belt as an announcer, the decision to dedicate all the proceeds of his newfound hobby, and in the process become a true fistic humanitarian, didn’t dawn on him until he met McClellan at the Boxing Writer’s Association of America’s annual dinner in 2002.

According to Antonacci, it was a speech delivered that night by award winner Teddy Blackburn that first made him aware of the former champion’s dire circumstances (from the effects of the gruelling Benn fight, a blood clot on the brain and a subsequent coma have rendered McClellan brain damaged and permanently unable to see or communicate effectively).

“Teddy Blackburn got up to give a speech and told everyone Gerald’s story. And then, at the end, Lou DiBella, whom I consider to be a wonderful human being, had flown Gerald in. None of us knew it. They brought him out in a tux.” Unable to fend for himself and having exhausted all his ring earnings on the considerable cost of the 24-hour care his sisters faithfully provide, McClellan is forced to rely on the generosity of the boxing world for funding. “Gerald is in very, very difficult situation. They say his capacity is very limited, but you could still see in his face that he was moved by the crowd. He got a standing ovation,” said Antonacci.

“Afterward, I walked over to him, you can’t shake his hand or talk to him, but I kissed the top of his head. For me, that crystallized why I was a ring announcer. It gave me a chance to do something worthwhile. From that moment, I’ve dedicated my announcing career to him and sent all the proceeds to his trust fund.”

Without any self-promoting or requests for media attention (this interview was his first on the subject), Antonacci has quietly donated every cent he has made in professional boxing to the fund set up to aid the fallen champion. For Antonacci, a corporate trainer and motivational speaker by day, the chance to rub elbows with what he calls the “wonderful people you meet in boxing,” is more reward than any dollar figure he might earn.

Ironically, it was his involvement in another charitable offer that led him to this heroic mission. “It’s funny how life happens. I was working for an eye doctor at the time and we were in New York City at a Ring8 meeting offering to perform free detached retina procedures on any retired fighters who needed them. That night, I met a promoter named Bob Duffy. He needed a ring announcer and I said I could do it. He said do you have any experience? Well because I had played a ring announcer in a wrestle mania skit we did for our kids’ school play, I told him I did. I got the job and he liked how I handled it and hired me on the spot.”

Since then, as word has quietly spread among the Big Apple’s fight community, the well-respected Antonacci has increasingly been given more and more offers for work. “The funny thing that has happened is that the good guys in boxing have all rallied. Teddy Atlas thanked me when he heard the story of what I was doing. Michael Buffer and Ron Scott Stevens have been tremendously supportive. Joe DeGuardia from Star Boxing has used me a couple times now and he’s the one who told fightnews about me. The people I’ve worked with are some of the nicest people you can meet and when they’ve heard what I’ve been doing, they’ve been very helpful to me, and in turn, Gerald. They’ve put their arm around me as their ring announcer, knowing that when they pay me, they’re making a charitable contribution to one of their own who desperately needs it.”

And while it’s true that his good heart has opened doors for him, its Antonacci’s skill and devotion to his craft that have earned him all the return business. “I can’t say it’s a hobby because I take it very seriously,” he said. “I went to my first boxing match at 11-years-old at the Embassy Hall in North Bergen. That night, Randy Newman beat Chuck Wepner. I can still tell you the entire card from memory. That’s the impact live boxing had on me. As an announcer, it’s important for me that I make everyone’s night at the fights as special as my first time. I always ask kids in the crowd if they’re having a good time and talk to them about the fights they’re seeing. I still remember the thrill and excitement of being there. I want to give them that twinkle in their eye that I had that night.”

Joe Antonacci’s inspiring mission of generosity and compassion began when he was a wide-eyed child watching intently as two ring warriors thrilled the crowd with their determination and bravery. He decided that night that these men were his heroes.

That’s why he says it was an easy decision to make when one of them needed his help.


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From: John J. Antonacci
To: Joseph R. Stanaitis
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2004 12:11 PM
Subject: Re: End of The Innocent Years (See Stories Section of Website)


Do you remember Sister Irene? I believe I had her in 4th Grade. She was tough but boy you really could learn from her. When you mentioned singing she came to mind. She had such a beautiful voice.

When we use to go to the Chapel on Sunday, your teacher was assigned to her class and she would sit with her students and sang those hymns. She could have been an opera star, believe me. She was the best at singing those hymns.

Did you ever go ice skating on the lake? I use to work part time in the supply room with Sister Leonard. I later found out she was related to Mother Beatrice. She was in charge (paymaster) and she walked around on payday and handed all the civilian employees their checks or cash.

When ever the lake was frozen and it was safe, I worked with her giving out the ice skates. You had to leave your shoes to get your skates and when you returned the skates you received your shoes.

She was a very intelligent women (nun). She purchased all the clothing, shoes, and supplies to run the convent. She a very caring nun who tried to make our lives comfortable. She brought all the beds, lockers and furniture. She always paid her workers with candy and soda. She really had the best interest of children of St Agnes at heart. She made sure when you left that you received a new suit. When you went home for the holidays we had new clothing etc.

God Bless
John A.

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