Although I hadn’t met Merhav Mohar before I briefly spoke with him in Hollywood on June 10, he and I spent some time among the same people in a place on the opposite side of the country several years earlier.
We were both in the Mary Pickford Theater at Raleigh Studios for the All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival, which featured the documentaries My Champion, which chronicles Merhav’s short career as a professional boxer, and No Neutral Corner, an examination of issues such as the sport’s health and safety risks and the proliferation of sanctioning bodies and titles. .
Merhav stopped fighting as a result of brain hemorrhaging caused by blows to his head. His last fight was in 2005 against Xavier Tolliver for a then-vacant title bestowed by the World Boxing Council’s Central American offshoot – the Federacion Centroamericana de Boxeo Profesional or Fecarbox. Before that bout and a few others in the United States, the Israeli welterweight trained with Hector Roca at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. Portions of No Neutral Corner were filmed there from 2002 to 2004, and Roca was interviewed for it. It’s possible that Mohar was working out at the gym at the same time that No Neutral Corner was in the works. When he saw a postcard for Fighters & Writers, a collection of essays that owe something to the time I spent working on film, Mohar immediately recognized the spot where the cover photo was taken.