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Boxing News of Friday, 25 April 2014

Source: Papa Appiah

DK Poison and his $45,000

He was Ghana's first ever world champion. He had just won a fight in the USA. He had been paid a lot of money. But he was virtually illiterate. So the delegation who travelled with him devised a ploy to swindle him of some of his cash. And it was a clever one. Pretending the then head of state had requested him to part with 45000 dollars for the purchase of mackerel to help ease the economic hardships in the country at the time, poor Dk gladly signed away the cash. The mackerel was apparently bought, but he never saw his money again. Some of the perpetrators of this crime are still alive, but apart from his word, DK has no evidence to prove anything. So his money is lost forever.

The guy is a fighter, excuse the punt, for he has continued to pursue this money, even as high as to successive presidents of Ghana. He spoke to Rawlings, who referred him to someone else and nothing happened. Then he spoke to Atta Mills who died unexpectedly. He has been to see a Mr Mahama who referred him to his chief of staff. Nothing has happened. It is the same perseverance that enabled him traverse adversity to become a world champion. What I do not understand is the inability of these leaders to tell him the facts of the matter. While we believe his story, governments are not in a position to sign cheques for 45,000 dollars without supporting documentation. But then again, this is Ghana. Everything is possible. Millions of dollars are being paid companies as judgement debt without appropriate documentation.

While one may excuse DK's naievety, when a highly educated cardio thoracic surgeon and presidential aspirant, claims after his dismissal that he has pumped his own money into a facility that is not his personal property, then we must begin to reexamine ourselves. The fact of the matter, DK, is that you were duped by members of your delegation some 39 years ago and that money is gone. You are one in along line of sporting heros robbed by people who should know better. Only recently, a fund-raising football match was organized for Jones Attuquayefio to help defray his medical costs. In the end, the larger portion of the funds went into private pockets and peanuts were presented to the ill man. He complained, but sadly, no one listened.

DK Poison may not be the only former world boxing champion who has hit hard times. America is littered with such individuals. But DK is not just another world champion. He was the first ever champion in a country than counts it's champions on one hand. He was the inspiration for all our subsequent champions. He was a national hero. There was a British boxer called Henry Cooper whose only claim to fame was the fact that he floored Mohammed Ali, in a fight in the UK which he actually, eventually lost. He was adored by the British. He never wanted for money. He was used in adverts. He was invited to share his experiences with the Oxford Union, though he had very minimal education himself. Because schools like Oxford and Harvard understand, that knowledge is not only acquired from university professors, but from anybody who has triumphed in adversity and has a story to tell.

So rather than pretending we can sign a cheque for 45,000 for DK, we should tell him the truth and help him in other ways. For a start, we need to put up a statue of the guy somewhere to serve as inspiration to children and those yet unborn. Then, we could appoint him a Ghana Government Ambassador for the promotion of boxing. He could tour the country sharing his experiences with enthusiastic young boxers and be paid a decent salary. For goodness sake, this should be the last time we see DK Poison on television being humiliated about his financial status. Our national heros deserve better.

Papa Appiah Www.ghanansemsem.blogspot.com

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