By: Simon Ruvalcaba
Chuck Kaufman passed away on Monday March 25th after a nearly year long battle with a rare autoimmune disease called AL Amyloidosis. The boxing world never got to know Chuck, born Charles Edwin Kaufman III May 18, 1941, but we all know someone like Chuck. I take that back, Chuck was one of a kind and will truly be missed.
He was a successful business owner of the family ran “Public Restroom Company” which builds and installs Public Restroom, swimming pool shower room and snack shack facilities in public parks across the nation. Working in car sales, I met Chuck in 2014 when he purchased the first of what would be upwards of 20 vehicles that he bought for himself, family and top employees of his company over the few years that I was privileged to know him. It was when he found out that I was a former pro boxer and involved in boxing media that he would come visit often or call me to talk boxing.
Having been around the Brooklyn area and a frequent traveler to Broadway shows, Chuck was always curios into the mindset of a fighter, and when learning about the riches that can be achieved in the sport, he seemed to then be more curious about a possible involvement in the sport? On more then one occasion he did appear to want to help me out as he noticed my enthusiasm when I talked about boxing as opposed to when I talk cars?
One particular day, while in our service department he stopped in and chatted with me while I was sending emails. He started the conversation with “You gotta do in life, what you’ve always wanted to do…So let me ask you something Simon, You are so knowledgeable and energetic when you talk boxing, why aren’t you doing that for a living?” When I explained to him that my days as a participant where over and I don’t have the deep pockets to be a Manager or Promoter…he asked how much I would need to get started in the business, and “What if I helped you get started?” Words that made me stop typing those emails. After a conversation about the sport of boxing and the risky investment that it can be but with great possibilities if successful, we agreed that I would put a business plan together and present him with something to see if he wanted to invest in me and my dream career? As this was getting underway, it was shortly after that subtle changes in how Chuck was feeling started to happen which led to the diagnosis. So Boxing never got to meet one of it’s dear fans.
He would often be watching rerun fights on t.v. not knowing if it was live or not and took a liking to certain fighters like Kieth “One Time” Thurman…”Wow, that guy can hit.” In his business minded phone calls, often times he would call and I would answer to him saying what was on his mind then hear the hang up click before I could say anything in response. One time he called to ask if I’ve seen Errol Spence fight before? “I’m watching this kid Errol Spence fight, have you heard of him?” Chuck asked. When I gave him the scoop about Spence being an Olympian and one of boxing’s best pound for pound he responded with “Wow, special talent!”
I had texted Chuck when I was in Dallas for Spence VS Garcia to let him know that I was watching that “special kid” for the first time in person. While in Dallas I missed a call from him and instead of calling him back, I reached out to his wife Kathy, who informed me that he had an upcoming procedure. The procedure that left him in horrendous pain and ultimately ended his battle with the horrible disease. I’m gonna be left to wonder what he wanted to say that last time he called?
My greatest stand out memory, however, is from mid-December. On a Saturday evening he called me to let me know that at his previous appointment that past Wednesday, he was informed that he had about 4 months to live? In a frozen shock, I stayed silent over the phone only to hear Chuck say, “It’s alright Simon, I’ve had a great life, had great experiences and met so many great people like yourself.” 2 days later I received the news that I was going to be a Dad for the second time in my life. When we got the confirmation on that first ultrasound Chuck was on my mind and I texted him, “Well it’s the circle of life Chuck! Just left the Doctors office with my girlfriend Serene, We have a baby due in July!…I’ll also share with you that if it’s a boy his middle name will be Chuck or Charles!”
Several days later I received another one of those quick “business” calls from the always learning and always self-educating Chuck, I answered the phone and the conversation was, “Simon, I’ve done some research, neither Chuck or Charles is a name in Spanish, so if it is a boy and you’re going to do that, I’m very honored, but please, name him Carlos…bye.” To which the phone call ended before I got a word out. As stated in my previous article on friend Oscar Diaz, we are indeed having a boy and the plan is to name him Oscar Carlos Ruvalcaba, named after Oscar Diaz and Chuck Kaufman!
I got to last go visit Chuck in the hospital on Super Bowl Sunday where he got to meet Serene and my Son Gabriel, who entertained him with his dance and shadow boxing skills! To the man that boxing should’ve known but that is inspiring me to soon take that leap of faith and pursue the dream of the sport of boxing being my career, Rest In Peace…Chuck Kaufman! Every career step and every decision moving forward will be inspired by you, a great man! https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/rgj/obituary.aspx?n=charles-edwin-kaufman&pid=192043165
About the Editor
Army Veteran and former Professional Boxer Simon Ruvalcaba started boxing at the age of ten and Had a 71 fight amateur career which featured a 139 lbs. 1998 8th U.S. Army Boxing Championship out of Camp Casey, Korea and a spot on the prestigious Army Boxing Team at Fort Hood, TX. After a journeyman pro career of 18 fights, which included sparring sessions with many champions and contenders including Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker, Simon started writing and has contributed to many publications and websites including fighthype.com, pound4pound.com, Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, CA), Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV) and also writes a monthly boxing column for Tahoeonstage.com. He has also been the Boxing Instructor for Ken Shamrock and The Lions Den and was UFC star Paige VanZant’s first boxing coach!
Born and Raised in South Lake Tahoe, California he now resides in Sun Valley, Nevada and spends as much time as possible with his Son Gabriel! Beyond boxing, Simon is an all around sports fanatic and is passionate about the teams that he roots for!