Promoter Dan Goossen was a real mensch. Read on if you don’t know what that means.Mr. Goossen died early Monday morning at the age of sixty four- his family informed.Rest in peace Mr. Goossen. You will be missed.
I last attended Goossen promoted boxing card in August of this year at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Southern California. I was very surprised and a little bit concerned that I did not see larger than life Dan and his lovely wife Debbie sitting front row directing traffic. Frankly it felt like something was amiss.
Now I know why. Dan Goossen’s passing after a brief bout with liver cancer struck a chord in my heart, because I just buried my father last year after a long battle with stomach cancer.
My dad met Dan about seven years ago when I brought him to attend one of Goossen’s legendary press conferences. As always, Dan went all out hosting Margarito, Paul Williams’ presser at Burbank’s Arnie Morton’s Steakhouse. Noticing that my father was not part of the media Dan made sure Lev (they got on a first name basis right away) was comfortable and had enough to eat. That’s just the way Dan was. He was a family man and he took care of other people’s family. He always made sure my colleague, Francisco Salazar could bring his father to the fights and gave tickets to photographer Joe Miranda to bring his dad, Joe Sr.
I first met Dan Goossen about ten years ago. I was an intern for a local paper, Burbank Times and this was to be my very first interview. Publicist, Rachel Charles made the introductions. Even though I had all my questions prepared, I was as anxious as a novice – boxer entering the ring may be more; I was terrified. I took the elevator up to the bright Sherman Oaks office and Dan Goossen treated me as if I was a veteran reporter from Los Angeles Times; he took his time and answered all my questions and not once did he make me feel stupid or inadequate . That was just the way he was. The man did not demand respect, he commanded it.
On my way out I ran into former champion, Gabriel Ruelas who looked like he came by to visit his father for lunch. That’s just how Dan was. He was like a father figure to all of his fighters. Whether it was an exceptionally talented Michael Nunn or less than motivated Chris Arreola or on again off again, James Toney, they were all his children and he treated them all as such.
Speaking of Gabe Ruelas, I must say that you have not experienced a full extent of LA’s boxing flavor unless you saw Gabe or his brother fight at Goossen’s promoted club cards at Reseda Country Club or Olympic Auditorium. Dan was an old school promoter. He didn’t need a television network to put on a boxing show or to develop a real fighter. Those were the days.
Yes, Dan Goossen was a real old school promoter, but what I admired about him the most was his ability to live and have fun every single day. It’s as if he knew in advance that his life would be cut short and decided to enjoy it while he could. Dan Goossen knew how to have fun. He was a prankster. My last memory of him was when he wagered Don King that looser promoter of Arreola vs. Stiverne fight would cut his hair bold. Just thinking about Don King or even Dan Goossen for that matter, without hair brought tears to my eyes.
Yes, Mr. Dan Goossen was a real mensch, a Yiddish word for a man of distinction. Ina turbulent world of boxing he distinguished himself as a man of character, who will forever remain in the hearts of people he touched.