FARRAITS BROTHER'S LOOK TO FULFILL FATHER'S LEGACY
By Socrates Palmer Jr
On December 3, 2010 Pastor Ralph Farrait died at the age of 59. Pastor Ralph was a beloved and respected figure within the New York boxing scene. For nearly 40 years he was a mentor to thousands of young men and he was considered a gentle giant to the countless of people he befriended throughout his life. His death left a void within his family that will never be replaced. Amongst his boxing relatives his absence is felt the strongest within his most prized pupil Giovanni Lorenzo. For the past 8 years under the tutelage of Pastor Ralph he converted Lorenzo into a two time world title challenger and into one of the elite middleweights in the world. Farrait’s absence nearly crippled Lorenzo’s career and briefly the young man contemplated retirement. With a record of 29-3, Lorenzo says that he was not going to work with another trainer and that it would be hard to accept instructions from another man. This Saturday Lorenzo returns to the ring for the first time without Pastor Ralph, but he will walk through the ropes being led by a member of the Farrait clan, his eldest son Ray Farrait.
Lorenzo will challenge Cameroon native and French resident, Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam for the interim WBA middleweight title. Ray Farrait who has taken on the duties as Lorenzo’s head trainer has never formally trained a professional fighter. It is probably even more unprecedented to have his debut as a chief second to be a world championship fight.
“Pastor Ralph believed in Giovanni, so much that he thought he could be the "Grand Campion" (the greatest fighter that has ever lived, the problem is Giovanni never allowed Pastor Ralph to help him be all he could be, after his death, it seemed that that belief died with Pastor Ralph too, but I thought that if Giovanni trained with Pastor Ralph's 2 sons (Marc and Ray) maybe there was a chance that pastor Ralph's belief could live on and still become a reality, so I asked them both if they would continue the work of their father and help me fulfill his legacy and mine.
They agreed to finish their fathers work, not because they wanted to be boxing trainer's, they never wanted that. Although they were both recognized and accomplished amateurs fighters they had hung up their gloves years ago and had never wanted to be involved in boxing again, but what I liked most about the idea they are the only one who really knew Pastor Ralph and what he stood for, his training , and tactical beliefs and his dreams, they are the only ones who could continue his work. This decision was not well received by Giovanni's promoters or other members of our team and rightly so, Ray and Marc had never trained a fighter before, they only had trained themselves under their fathers guidance, and now I was asking them to train a fighter for a world championship fight, in their first fight that is a big leap and unheard of in a sport where experience is never overrated. It was a big leap to go from the amateurs to the world championship boxing stage, I felt I need Pastor Ralph's presence, his dreams and life goals to carry on, so I decided over many objections to give Marc and Ray the reins,” Richard Ryan manager of Lorenzo.
This training camp has been a labor of love for all those involved according to Ryan it was by far the most difficult one as well. Ray Farrait suffered a fractured knee cap after suffering an accident at his full time job. Ray missed one training session despite hobbling around in crutches for the past 5 weeks. Sturdy New York middleweight Troy Artis, who was another one of the late Pastor Ralph’s disciples sparred 75 rounds without pay in helping his friend Lorenzo prepare for this career defining fight.
Ray’s inexperience wearing a trainers jacket should not be dismissed however his ring experience is nothing to at. A debilitating accident forced Ray to retire after just one pro fight in 1988. Famed trainer and television personality Teddy Atlas feels that Farrait will do just fine and that if anyone knows how to forge a fighter through hard work is someone that has the last name Farrait.
“I know Ray since he was about 11 year old and I used to love and respect his father. Ray was a special fighter and would have been an excellent professional, if he had not his medical issue. He was fined tuned at an early age he was strong fast hands, he could do it all in the ring. (Farrait suffered bleeding on the brain after falling from the top part of a bunk bed). His father and I would run smoker shows at a gym he ran in the Bronx, back in the late 70’s and early 80’s for a few years. I would bring kids from the Catskills and we would send invites to other trainers we knew and we would match the kids evenly. Those were some great times a few times a month on a Friday we would pack this gym and we would get the kids trophies and it was all good clean competition, no one was out for the own agenda, it was organized he would help my fighters and I would do the same. Just a small sample of what a good man Pastor Ralph was,” Teddy Atlas.
“Ray suffered a seizure and I was working at Gleason’s Gym at the time and I remember it like yesterday staying up all night in the hospital with Pastor Ralph and we prayed while Ray laid in a coma. It’s by the grace of God he made it through and I think the Lord put Ray in this position for a reason as well. Pastor Ralph was a tough individual l who grew up in a tough environment and I know he raised his sons and molded them in his image.
You can’t help but look at Ray and not think of his father, what I remember most was that Pastor Ralph was an honest man’s man. When he shook your hand and told you he was happy to see you, you knew he meant it. He was a genuinely good man,” Atlas.
The 18th century Irish poet Thomas Moore said, “From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.”
I am sure Pastor Ralph will be smiling down on his children proudly as they reap the harvest of boxing knowledge that he cultivated in them so long ago.
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