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It’s not often that bruises and beat-downs have anything positive associated with them.
But that’s exactly what will take place Aug. 28 at the seventh annual “Battle of the Badges” charity boxing fundraiser.
Police officers, correctional officers, and firefighters from throughout Northern California will step into the ring at Memorial Auditorium to duke it out all in the name of a good cause.
The event was founded in 2003 by correctional officers Israel Montes Jr. and Yvonne Vasquez of California State Prison-Sacramento before a third officer, Pablo Vasquez, joined the team. Vasquez passed away in 2007.
The annual tradition began as a small-scale event held at the Boys & Girls Club in downtown Sacramento and has outgrown the various halls and auditoriums used since then.
Montes said the event was started to “build camaraderie, unity and competitive sportsmanship among peace officers and firefighters” in addition to raising money and supporting what he call “worthy” local charities.
“The benefiting charities are chosen through careful consideration and at the recommendation of fighters. I want them to feel they are competing for a worthy cause,” Montes said.
Specific charities include beneficiaries from last year (The Firefighters Burn Institute, The Sac Fallen Officers Resource Fund and The Sacramento Sheriff’s Toy Project) along with new additions California Association of Highway Patrolmen Widows & Orphans’ Trust Fund and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Jim Doucette, executive director for the burn institute, said, “The Firefighters Burn Institute is very happy to be one of the charities that will benefit from this year’s Battle of the Badges. All of these charities do wonderful work for our community.”
Last year’s event,“The Raley Field Rumble,” raised approximately $10,000 for the benefiting charities and this year’s event is expected to raise even more.
Around 2,500-3,000 peace officers, firefighters, and family and friends are expected to fill the auditorium Saturday night.
There are approximately 15 fights lined up with three, two-minute rounds during each when Montes says the fighters will “battle fiercely representing their respective agencies.”
“We hope that all of the boxers do well, but of course we will be cheering for our firefighters!” Doucette said.
Before the action begins, there will be a pre-fight ceremony honoring fallen officers, firefighters and soldiers. The ceremony will include performances by the Sacramento Firefighters Pipes & Drums and the California State Prison-Sacramento Honor Guard.
On Friday night before the fights, weigh-ins and a pre-fight party will be held at Blue Cue and is open to the public, which Montes credits the event’s success to.
“This event would not be possible without the support of participants, sponsors, volunteers and fans,” Montes said.
Ticket prices are $40 for assigned floor-level ringside seating, $30 for lower-balcony/general seating, and $25 for upper-balcony general seating. Tickets can be purchased at the Sacramento Convention Center Box Office at 1301 L St. with no surcharge or at Tickets.com.
The Memorial Auditorium is located at 1515 J St.
Blue Cue is located at 1004 28th St.
See the complete fight card here.
Photos from last year's "Raley Field Rumble" by Bob Knapik, email@example.com