Boxer wins again in ring, fights Board outside ropes

by David La

CARLTON, Minn. — Eight months and one day after winning his first professional bout, 44-year-old Gene Schultz of St. Paul — amputated right leg and all — won again on Friday at the Black Bear Casino.
For Schultz, who works for University Facilities Management, the third-round knockout scored over opponent Moses Harris of Ohio served as another warm-up for his ultimate dream.
“I’m just passing time until I can break George Foreman’s record to be the oldest winner of the heavyweight championship,” Schultz said.
But many a procedural battle still stands between Schultz and such boxing immortality. The Minnesota State Boxing Board ruled at a meeting last December that Schultz must see a board-appointed doctor, Dr. Sheldon Segal, and pass the appropriate physicals.
“Sheldon Segal has been a doctor for over 30 years … and has a boxing background,” Board commissioner Joe Azzone said. “He knows what it takes to box.”
Schultz staunchly refuses to see Dr. Segal, saying he does not believe a Board-appointed doctor to be impartial.
“If that’s (Schultz’s) belief,” Azzone said, “I don’t know what to say. But I disagree with him.”
A stalemate has ensued, with the Board unable to license Schultz to fight anywhere in the state of Minnesota. Schultz continues to fight on casino cards because the casinos have sovereign-nation status and do not need collaboration from the Board.
So while dreams of the heavyweight title dance in his head, Schultz continues to dole out punishment to lesser opponents on the casino-circuit.
After winning the Hinckley fight last October by knockout in only 36 seconds over a corpulent Tory Martin, Schultz faced a much slimmer and mobile challenger Friday in the 35-year-old Harris.
The three rounds of boxing took its toll on each man. Schultz, fighting the same chin-first style that took him to Golden Gloves amateur titles in the late 1970’s, sustained a bloody left nostril and a gash over his left eye that would take “three or four” stitches to close later.
Though he played the aggressor role through much of the fight, Schultz was ineffective with his initial jab. This lack of offense gave the quicker Harris opportunities to counter with flurries of punches, a couple of which bent Schultz’s head back on more than one occasion.
“It was a tough fight,” Schultz said. “That (Harris) hit me with a couple good shots.”
Ultimately, it was Harris who would fall. At the midway point of the third round, Schultz — behind on two out of three cards at that time — threw a pair of booming hooks to Harris’ body. And Harris’ body apparently had enough.
“When I dipped and tried to come back with my overhand off the ropes my back said no,” Harris said. “My brain said ‘Yes’ but my back said ‘No’.”
Harris’ face took on the look of a boxer dying the slow, painful death that comes from too many punches to the body. He melted into the ropes and stayed there. He was counted out at the 1:04 mark.
With his second professional win in the books, Schultz now awaits correspondence from the U.S. Department of Justice. Schultz completed and mailed a Discrimination Complaint form aimed at the Minnesota State Board and its policies dated April 11, 2000.
Schultz’s hope is that the Justice Department will appoint an impartial doctor to give him the physical.
“The way I look at it, I’m 1-0 on doctors right now,” Schultz said. (Schultz was cleared to fight by a doctor last October.)
“I’m hoping for the Justice Department to appoint me a doctor, and then I expect to be 2-0.”
With all the stubbornness he’s shown in the ring, its hard to count Schultz out of this fight either.
As he climbed out of the ring, the public address system blared music playing on a local radio station.
The song’s chorus asked, “Can you take me higher?”
The real question is how much higher Schultz will be able to take himself and his rejuvenated career.

David La Vaque welcomes comments at [email protected].