Boxing Champs Tour Cancer Care Center, Meet Patients

Boxing Champs Tour Cancer Care Center, Meet Patients
Patient Al Robertson is pictured trying on WBC Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter’s belt.

BERLIN – Two boxing champions made their way to Atlantic General Hospital’s new cancer care center last week to deliver flowers, sign autographs and offer words of encouragement.

Patients at the new John H. “Jack” Burbage Jr. Regional Cancer Care Center received a surprise visit last Friday from current WBC Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter and former boxing champion Vinny Paz.

Porter – who made his professional boxing debut at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in October of 2008 with a first-round technical knockout of Norman Johnson – visited the cancer center ahead of Friday’s “Baddest Son-O-The-Beach Fight Fest” in Ocean City, which he and Paz were attending. He said the meet-and-greet was his way of giving back to the community.

“We are doing the best we can to help these people in here who are going through their illnesses,” he said. “We just wanted to put a smile on their face and make their day a little brighter.”


Former boxing champion Vinny Paz and Porter are pictured with a patient last Friday.

Paz added that he was excited to join Porter and meet with the center’s patients.

“Not too many people can go somewhere, and people be happy to see them,” he joked. “I feel really privileged that I can put a smile on somebody’s face.”

Porter and Paz credited Hal Chernoff of Main Street Gym in Salisbury and Jake Smith of Baltimore Boxing with arranging last week’s visit to the area.

“Hal has known me for almost 16 years now and he knows my heart and knows what I like to do,” he said. “Days like this are really important to me.”

Patient Al Robertson, who was at the cancer center on Friday to receive treatment, said he was surprised to see Porter and Paz at the facility.

“It was nice to see everyone,” he said. “They came in and acted like they really wanted to be here.”

Robertson – who admitted he knew very little about boxing, but enough to
“know not to get in the ring with them” – was also given an opportunity to hold and take pictures with Porter’s championship belt.

“I was surprised he came over like that …,” he said. “They acted almost like family.”

Porter said he enjoyed meeting with the patients.

“It’s always fun for me because you don’t always know how to break the ice, and people don’t really know who you are,” he said, “but you can always come in and be genuine, smile and have some thoughtful words … I felt like this has made my day.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.