After 15 exciting bouts of boxing, New York 2018 Fight Night closed out with a bang; here’s the story of the rowdy crowd (in matching t-shirts!) who stayed ‘til the end to cheer on Max Padrid.

At a coffee shop in New York’s Flatiron neighborhood this summer, boxer Max Padrid tried to explain why the Haymakers for Hope program was so important to him.

“The thing that hit home for me,” Max said, “is that a lot of us who have friends or family members going through this terrible thing with cancer. How do you demonstrate to them that you are with them? Other than flowers and calls, what can you do to demonstrate that you are supporting them and with them and have their back no matter what happens. I think Haymakers is remarkable because it puts us, the support system, into the fight to raise money and put ourselves in something strenuous.”

Padrid was featured on this month’s NYC Fight Night card, but he’s already a seasoned pro in the fight against cancer; his mother was diagnosed with a massive meningioma in 2009. His mom’s a survivor, but the brain tumor has taken its toll on his family and Haymakers for Hope sign-ups were the perfect way for Max to keep up the fight. In the months since, he’s had quite the fanbase along for the ride.

When Du-shane Cook, a professional fighter who trains alongside Max at Mendez Boxing, first heard Max would be fighting, he experienced a wide range of emotions. “I was super excited, like tears of joy, and also not even a little nervous. I’m definitely gonna be one of the loudest people in there and I’m going to be throwing punches shadow boxing like I’m the one fighting. Let’s go my Kin is fighting let’s knock cancer the f**k out!”

Max’s sister Annie’s initial feelings on the fight were a bit more focused: “I was so mad at him.  I was incredibly impressed initially at the way he was training and the commitment he had made to himself and to his ‘team,’ but he and I always discussed his NOT participating in an actual fight.” Max’s sister is fully supportive though, and once he explained more about the mission behind Haymakers, Annie says she got on board immediately. “The passion he displays for this cause, for our mom and her struggle with the devastating effects of a brain tumor, is completely inspiring.”

Max’s mom had an unexpected reaction to him getting in the ring, too.  “The only times I ever lied to my mother in my life are when I was in college and kind of messing around… and when I first started boxing,” he said. “I assured her no one would ever hit me and it was just the bag. So telling her that I’m doing this fight for you, but oh by the way, actually fighting and someone’s going to be trying to hurt me... I expected her to lose it, but she is like all in. I think she’s blown away by the fact that I’m doing this for her.”

In fact, most people in Max’s life were blown away by his efforts. The morning tickets went on sale, twenty-five Padrid fans bought tickets immediately, and by the time he entered stepped into the ring, he had nearly thirteen thousand dollars for the fight against cancer. As he stood backstage awaiting his ring walk, the crowd was full of his fans, wearing matching white T-shirts bearing his name.

Max predicted his friend and gym-mate Rebecca Goldberg would be cheering the loudest. She was training by his side for the entirety of his Haymakers journey. “I will be the first person in line at fight night,” said Rebecca. “The night of the event I’ll be losing my voice from cheering so loudly.”

It’s hard to know exactly whose cheers of encouragement or screams for combinations helped Max perform so well, but when he won his bout (a beautiful fight with incredible technical boxing) by unanimous decision, the room erupted with celebration. Max danced out of the ring and the crowd of white shirts in the stands danced back.

Some of the magic of Haymakers for Hope lies in the fact that boxing is such a unique, unexpected way to combat cancer. Many of the alumni who’ve stepped in the ring got love and support from all areas of their lives, but, Max’s crowd at Fight Night was special. In talking to the people in his life, its apparent that his support system is incredible, and on Fight Night they rose to the occasion of supporting him incredibly. Boxing’s a lonely sport, but you wouldn’t know it looking at family and friends around Max Padrid.

To catch Max’s exciting bout from the 2018 New York City Haymakers for Hope Fight Night, stay tuned to our YouTube channel.