Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Saturday Slugfest Heating Up Boxing Pits Cops, Firemen

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Saturday Slugfest Heating Up Boxing Pits Cops, Firemen

Article excerpt

Tensions are running high between Tri-State police officers and firefighters in advance of Saturday night's annual Guns & Hoses charity boxing match. This one, the fifth, is a tiebreaker for bragging rights. The cops and firefighters have each won two of the previous matchups.

This year's Guns & Hoses card, featuring firefighters and police officers slugging it out in 15 bouts, will get under way at 7 p.m. at the Ford Center in Downtown Evansville. Each of the bouts will consist of three one-minute rounds.

"This is the grudge match," Evansville Police Sgt. Jason Cullum said. "This is going to give someone bragging rights."

Adult general admission tickets are $15; reserved seating is $20 to $30. Children's tickets are $5. Tickets are available at the Ford Center box office or any Ticketmaster outlet.

Proceeds go to 911 Gives Hope, a joint organization that supports 42 local charities and a group home for people with Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disease that causes sufferers to endure chronic hunger. Last year's event raised about $132,000.

"We run all of this to give the money out to the community," Cullum said. "We're in a profession where a lot of times we deal with negative things. Firemen go to a house fire and people have lost everything that they own. We go to runs where people have been injured or victimized. This is an outlet for us, as public safety people, to have a positive interaction with the community more than just putting handcuffs on a bad guy or spraying water on a house."

Evansville police officer Patrick Phernetton's daughter, Mickey, 15, was born with Prader-Willi syndrome so he founded the event five years ago.

Evansville firefighter Robert Ralph, who is undefeated in his four previous bouts and will fight again Saturday, called Mickey a classy young lady. She might be the daughter of a police officer, but Ralph believes she roots for him.

"We've got a nice relationship as far as her rooting for me and me definitely being a fan of hers," Ralph said. "And definitely Mickey Phernetton is one of my heros without a doubt." With a 10,600 seat capacity at the Ford Center for the event, organizers are hoping for a sellout.

There's also a behindthe-scenes look at two of the fighters thanks to University of Southern Indiana student John Bonenberger, 22. Bonenberger, who started his own film company, decided to profile two fighters from both the police and firefighters to promote the event, called "Beyond the Badge." It didn't take long for him to realize how important the decisive match is to those involved.

"It's the grudge match. There's a lot on the line," Bonenberger said. "And the fights this year are going to be great."

"Beyond the Badge" is a three-part miniseries to inform the public who the men behind the boxing gloves are. …

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