I met former WBC heavyweight champion Pinklon Thomas for the first time at Madison Square Garden’s Felt Forum during a boxing event in the late 1980’s. I was far from impressed. Being that Thomas was rarely in New York, his presence had created a small stir in the press section. He was seated directly behind me. I turned around and introduced myself. Thomas was happily high, shaking my hand and mumbling something I could not understand. He was clearly not in a good place. I pitied him. The future did not look bright.
Fast forward to 2018 and Thomas is a picture of stability, a voice of reason. He has become a friend, a man I speak on the phone with frequently and who along with our wives are scheduled to have a lunch date this summer when the Orlando residents will be in New York on vacation.
The autobiography of Pinklon Thomas’ is appropriately named BACK FROM THE EDGE OF HELL. As a youth he had committed so many crimes, robbed so many establishments that it got to the point where he had to hide out in his own neighborhood for fear of being recognized. There were people in high places who wanted him dead. And when that was not happening the strong grip of the law was always on his trail. The ironic part of all this is that Thomas came from a stable middle class family, one that had tried to instill values in him.