November 2012

Boyd Melson is Fighting for a Cure

Boyd Melson, Christan, Fareed

I recently trained Junior Middleweight Boyd Melson for his boxing matches on September 22 (Resorts World Casino, New York City), and October 20th (Barclays Center, Brooklyn). Boyds determination, diligence, and perseverance is undeniable. He always attempts to maximize living his life the best he can. He trains every day from 8-10pm AND brings his lunch to work so he can run during his lunch break.wrapping hands

Boyd is multiethnic–Mulatto with French Creole from his father (a combination of European (French, Dutch, Irish, and Spanish), African, and Native American)–and Jewish from his mother (Polish and Israeli). He was raised religiously Jewish and culturally African American with his father reinforcing Boyd’s role as being a young strong black man throughout Boyd’s childhood into young adulthood.

He picked up boxing at a time that is considered to be late, relatively speaking, in the industry. He took boxing as a mandatory PE class as a West Point Cadet his Freshman (Plebe) year.

While serving in the Army–assigned to the Army’s World Class Athlete Program where he earned a position on the US National Team–he enrolled in an MBA Program through Touro University and completed his MBA in 1.5 years while boxing full time. At the same time, he also earned the Scholar Athlete of the Year Award from the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

It was during this time that he devoted himself to finding a cure for his girlfriend at the time–Christan Zaccagnino. Due to a diving accident at age 10, she was quadriplegic paralyzed from her neck down. Boyd tirelessly studied, specifically about stem cells and the spinal cord. He took her to different countries numerous times, to undergo experimental procedures. Most of these procedures were funded by Boyd who receives a meager military salary, with the hope of giving her the ability to walk again.

fareed and christan

In 2009, Boyd was invited to a World NeuroRegenerative Conference in China to be a guest speaker. In an effort to represent the patients in the world paralyzed with spinal cord injuries, he spoke on their behalf to request clinical trials for Spinal Cord Injuries be brought to the United States.

His decision to box professionally was largely based upon his determination to raise money for a clinical trial slated to take place in the US in 2013. Funds are currently being raised through public donations with this trials aim at curing chronic spinal cord injuries (for anyone over a year old). He is using the platform that pro boxing provides him to share his heart and raise awareness. He wants the public to know that conducting clinical trials in the US isn’t enough to help cure chronic spinal cord injuries. He often speaks in the ring after his fights to ask the crowd for to help by donating. He points out that over 300,000 Americans live their lives paralyzed. 40,000 are Veterans, of which over 7,000 were paralyzed as a result of serving their country–in the War in Iraq and Afghanistan–since 2001.

Boyd boxes professionally while working full time for Johnson & Johnson as a Medical Device Sales Rep. He also serves as a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves in the 1st MSG at Fort Totten in Queens, New York. He teaches fitness classes at Equinox Fitness Clubs throughout Manhattan. In November 2010, Boyd–along with the tremendous assistance from his mother, Annette Melson (also an Army Veteran)–raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project. Over two years they were able to raise and donate over $3,000.00 together for the Wounded Warriors Project.

Boyd and Christan created Team Fight To Walk, to which he recruited fellow pro boxers and paralyzed football player, Eric LeGrand, to help raise awareness and funds for the Clinical Trial. With 2 years of fund raising events, Boyd’s donated purses, a 2-to-1 donation match of Boyd’s donated purses by Johnson & Johnson, and speaking in the ring after his matches–over $100,000 dollars has been raised and donated to help fund this Clinical Trial.

If you would like to support Boyd, Christan, and Team Fight to Walk to help find a cure for chronic spinal chord injury, please visit his website at, and click donate just a dollar near the top-right of the page.

Just A Dollar Please is an 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

…and just a final note, Boyd was recently featured in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. Congratulations Boyd!

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