Bence’s diary. Bradley Roe, dead of a broken heart

Bradley Roney only wanted $800. That’s all, and he needed it for a special reason.

Ron was banned from boxing at his home in Las Vegas. Mark Ratner put up the barrier in an attempt to protect Ron from his bravado and neediness. It never worked; Rone went the heavyweight route.

Ron had fought 53 times and won just 7 when the bell rang that day in July 2003. Ron was at home with his girlfriend Helen Ruffin. He had no choice, he had to take the fight. It was the next night. Rafi knew that Ronnie was banned, he also knew that boxing made him quick money. He needed it. He was known as TC, short for Top Cat, and that’s a tough name to pull off when you’ve lost 26 straight fights. Ron was a figure in the Las Vegas boxing world who has nothing in common with the charade of bright lights that prevails when the real champions come to town.

The bid was $800, the opponent was Billy Zumbrun, and the venue was Cedar City, Utah, less than 200 miles away. The local promoter called the night Ring Devastation. The car ride with Cornelius Boza-Edwards, a truly great former world champion who lives and trains fighters in Las Vegas, was relaxing. Rone listened to religious music, sermons and gospel choirs. Boza drove away.

For a long time, Ron lived in that dreaded twilight that many boxers find their home when the boxing lights go out. Ron refused to stop, took the fights, made money and provided the promoters with a brave opponent. He fought in Denmark, he fought in Germany and all over America, including Hawaii. “Boxing gave him a chance to see the world and make some money,” said Sean Gibbons, who was playing all-around at the time.

Rone started his career with four losses and then was imprisoned for five years. He was convicted of assault while defending his sister’s honor and beating the man who beat her. He returned to the ring when he was released, several pounds heavier and much tougher. He was an invisible fighter on the sidelines, occasionally getting a call to face an opponent either at Madison Square Garden or the MGM in Las Vegas. He shared the ring with nearly 20 quality heavyweights and faced Kirk Johnson (15-0), Michael Grant (14-0) and Hasim Rahman (10-0) once in seven weeks. Only Rahman stopped him. Rone could fight, he could also eat and feast. No offense, just a heavy measure as a loser’s way of making money the hard way. He raised money with Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson in Las Vegas and I know he was used as a first week bag.

In Cedar City, before the fight, Boza and Rone had to go and buy socks for the fighter. He was distracted, but it wasn’t unusual.

In the ring against Zumbrun, who had defeated him in six rounds the previous month, Ron didn’t throw anything in the opening round. He also did not accept any punishment. Rone was always a contender, which is why promoters liked booking him. “He wasn’t as strong as he was in the other fight,” Zumbrun said.

The bell rang to end the first round, Bosa started up the stairs, Rone turned around and just collapsed. He went down in a heap. No contact, he just fell into a motionless ball on the canvas. He fell. Bradley Rohn, 34, 259 pounds, seven wins in 54 fights. He definitely needed that $800.

The doctor jumped in, the ambulance was ready, and Ron was rushed to the local hospital. He was pronounced dead that night. Heart attack. He didn’t even know he was fighting the day before, but that’s not the whole story.

Boza had no way of contacting Rone’s girlfriend, Helen Ruffin. When they looked in his bag, they found only five dollars and his cell phone. Gibbons was left with a ride to their apartment in Las Vegas. He bore bad news, a terrible job, an unholy task for anyone. Gibbons may be one of boxing’s truest punches and dives, but he’s not a heartless man. He knew the burden of his concert that night.

Ruffin let him, he said, and he cried, and then Gibbons noticed that a new suit and shirt were spread out on the bed. It seemed like a welcome home gift for Rone, and it was. And then Gibbons got the story, the true story of Bradley Rone’s last fight.

The day before Rone accepted the fight, the boxer was told that his mother had passed away. He was close to her. He needed to fly back to Cincinnati and be with her. And to do this, he needed 800 dollars. The fight was offered four hours later, he accepted. He had his money; he will be with his mother at her funeral. Then he left for Cedar City.

The following week, there were two open caskets at Inspirational Baptist Church in Cincinnati. In one his mother and in the other dedicated big boy Bradley. He arrived at his mother’s funeral in his new suit.

At the Landmark cemetery, the gravediggers had made two holes next to each other. “He died of a broken heart,” said his sister, Celeste Moss. The heavyweight also died with only five dollars in his pocket.

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