The Greg Brady Project

Welcome to the official Barry Williams' blog

My friends call me Barry. From time to time I also hear the name Greg. Yeah, as in Greg Brady. The Brady Bunch represents a fun time in my life. But it’s only part of the story. There’s more to say and that’s what The Greg Brady Project is all about – a place to say it. So, I’ve invited some friends to join me and share their perspectives on the Brady’s, the 70′s and just about everything else. Now, I’m inviting you…

12 Mar
Barry Williams

Throwing in the Towel

written by Barry Williams in Blog, barry | 7 comments


‘My Inner-Boxer’

People still ask me if my Celebrity Boxing match was rigged.

In the late fall of 2002 I was approached by Fox Television to participate in a new reality TV show called Celebrity Boxing. Sounded like a good idea at the time. You know, put on the shorts, pull on the gloves, get a trainer, jump into the ring and have my ROCKY moment in the lights. I was to fight Danny Bonaduce, the chubby little guy from The Partridge Family. Three rounds, two minutes in length. We were to use thick boxing gloves and protective head gear. I had all of four weeks to get ready.

Now I have never boxed in my life, but I have seen fights on TV. In fact I might never have fought if Chris Knight’s shoulder wasn’t bothering him at the time. You see, he was originally invited by FOX to fight Danny but he passed it off. Or maybe he had seen Bonaduce more recently than I had back in the 70′s. Anyway, Chris bailed and that’s when I got the call.

I started my month long training. I ran 1 1/2 miles a day. I showed up at the gym 5 days a week and worked out for an hour and a half with the trainer I was provided. The trainer was great. He would start me off with some stretching, jump rope, just like in the movies. I practiced on the punching bag and the speed bag. They are terrific, mostly because they don’t hit back. In fact, just about everything about boxing is great except getting hit.

Somewhere in the middle of the second week of my workouts I started getting wind that Danny Bonaduce was not the pudgy, weak little brother he played on The Partridge Family. What I was now hearing is that he worked out compulsively, was a member of three different gyms and each one of them thought he spent too much time there. In addition, Danny had a morning drive radio show and he was trash talking me big time. Saying things like, “I’m gonna make Greg Brady my bitch.” The usual morning drive hype but he sounded pretty confident. During my third week of training and after I had made a few inquiries, I began to assemble the full picture of what I was getting myself into. Danny, it turns out is a third degree black belt karate expert. He had been working out continuously for the past 12 years and he was a trained boxer. But what the heck I told myself, I am taller by three inches, weigh more and I have a longer reach. All it would take is one good punch.

As a part of my training I got into the ring with my trainer and he would have me hit his punch mitts. I put my all into it. Occasionally he would throw a punch out at me to give me the feeling I was really in a bout. One time, when I wasn’t paying attention and I think he wanted to teach me a lesson about always paying attention, he hit me on the side of the head gear hard enough that I had a headache for three days.

As a final warm up, two days before the cameras were to roll, I invited a good friend of mine, David Henry, to the gym for a practice bout. He had done a little boxing in college 15 years before. He was still pretty good too. During that practice his glove managed to find it’s way to very nearly the same spot the trainer had found three days before. This time the headache did not go away. I thought I need a chiropractic adjustment. What I had was a double concussion. The Dr.’s advice, and this included input from the head of neurology at UCLA Medical Center, was DO NOT FIGHT.

Well, I thought, these Dr.s simply don’t understand show business. You can’t just call up the head of programming at Fox Television a day before the heavily nationally promoted fight, and back out. I have a career to think about. I called Danny and instead of answering with hello, he started off with, “please tell me you haven’t changed your mind about doing this fight.” That was it. I committed. I still had visions of landing that lucky punch.

The big day arrived, my parents were in the audience and I was pumped, except my head hurt. During the first round, Danny and I were feeling each other out, throwing a few jabs, doing some dancing around, trying to fake each other out. Occasionally we mixed it up a little and then I saw my opening and delivered a solid right on Danny’s cheek. He was stunned and a little surprised (he told me later it really hurt) but mostly he was now mad. He tagged me with a roundhouse right that I never once saw coming. Naturally it was on the same side of my head as the concussions and I went down. Not for the count, but I definitely hit the mat. Somehow I managed to get up an finish the round. During the second round I didn’t get a chance to land my lucky punch, but he did and down again I went. I didn’t stay there long but when I got up to resume the fight I saw my trainer (wisely) and to my horror throwing in the towel. The fight was over. This was not the outcome I had envisioned. And in front of more than 20 million viewers.

My headache lasted another week. It gave me a chance to reflect on my decisions. I thought about my mother and father watching me get beaten up and I know that wasn’t pleasant for them. I thought about the chance I had taken with my health. You won’t be seeing me in the ring again. I’d throw in the towel before the bell. Mostly I want you to know that the Celebrity Boxing fight was not rigged.

 

7 Comments

    Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins
    on Mar. 12th, 2008

    Good grief, man. I’d never get into a boxing ring, even if it were all the rage for the Web 2.0 dorks like me to get all into that stuff.

    You’re a much braver man than I in that respect.

    Freddy101
    on Mar. 12th, 2008

    I’ve lurked here long enough. I enjoyed reading this even though I’d never seen the fight [I will now] or hearing the questions of it being rigged or not. I personally still loved when you did real greg brady at that music award show and like how you do commit yourself to things and then follow through. It’s why I still see and hear from you a lot in th emedia world. Your better off outside the ring or at least not with danny hehe. Later.

    Lisa Marie Mary
    on Mar. 12th, 2008

    OMG, that whole thing sounds just AWFUL! And then for you to go through all that and have people think it was rigged. Yeah..uh – we rigged a triple concussion! Right!

    No more boxing! Boxing – ick. I could’ve told you that from the get-go! ;)

    And yeah, I’ve seen Bonaduce on a couple shows – dang, he’s seriously buff.

    It’s weird, though, when you think about it – that pain, those blows to the head – some people do that again and again and again… football and boxing, etc. I swear I’ll never ‘get’ those sports.

    My son was in marching band for the first time this year, and just going to the football games was hard on me – especially those first few. The times the crowd is the loudest, the happiest, the most excited – is when there is a giant ‘dog pile’ and probably somebody hurt under there!

    I swear, though – that very first game – I was next to tears the whole game – hated it!!!

    Yeah, I’m a dork. LOL!

    Bradypalooza
    on Mar. 13th, 2008

    FOX needs to bring that show back. Rome had its lions, and we have Celebrity Boxing.

    Elke
    on Mar. 16th, 2008

    Wow, what a story. It’s awful in what kind of pressure you can put yourself in. Especially if television, publicity is involved.

    But don’t worry. You looked pretty healthy to me when I saw you last october.

    Your eyes are amazing. I am right now watching the old Brady Bunch shows (from 1969) and I can still see the little boy in your eyes… (I know, you didn’t consider yourself to be a little boy back then).

    Elke

    Doreen
    on Mar. 20th, 2008

    My ex-husband took karate with Danny in 1980 or ’81, so he’s been kicking butt for quite a long while. Wish I could have warned ya! But I do admire your dedication! :D

    Alain
    on Jun. 14th, 2008

    I just watched your match on YouTube. I can’t believe they (whoever they are), in good conscience, pitted you two against each other. I could only wince the whole way through; though I felt better for having read your account first. Also–in spite of his pre-match bravado–Danny seemed like he was being a good sport with you at the end. I wish we could have heard what he was saying when he went to the mat with you. I’m glad you gave it your best–in spite of the bad odds. :)
    Cheers!

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