Jimmy Binns knows boxing.
As a well-off kid from the Philly suburbs, he used to get the starch knocked out of him at a gym on Passyunk Avenue until his worried dad convinced the Pennsylvania boxing commissioner to write Jimmy a letter asking him to quit. So Binns grew up, got a law degree, and became the Pennsylvania boxing commissioner. Then he became the lawyer for the World Boxing Association. He’s represented promoters and fighters across the world, taking on big-name cases involving Muhammad Ali and Don King. He’s quick to remind people that he “portrayed himself” as Rocky Balboa’s lawyer in Rocky V. He dedicated the world-famous Rocky statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
So it may come as a surprise when Jimmy Binns declares that boxing is dead.
“It’s moribund,” says Binns. The tall 73-year-old with slicked-back white hair and piercing eyes is sitting in his South Philly rowhouse with a miniature Rocky statuette in the window, his voice accented with the ohs and ows of this punching-bag city. “I cannot tell you who the heavyweight champion in the world is right now. That’s how bad boxing is.”
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