In the days since and the weeks to come there will be a lot of rumours and speculation over the untimely passing of Ben Perlini Jr.
I just hope that the community as a whole will remember some of the truly amazing things that this individual has done to put Port Hardy on the map.
Ben and I became friends during a very exciting time in his life, a time when he needed someone to punch in the face and body on a regular basis — for those who aren’t following, he was training for boxing matches — and I and a number of others were more than happy to oblige.
Ben had already accomplished a number of physical feats before this time: he had tryouts with a couple of CFL teams as a place kicker, won the Western Canadian arm wrestling heavyweight title, and competed and won a number of “Tough Man” competitions.
It was during this time in his life when he was approached to turn pro and try to make it as a boxer.
While training in Vancouver Ben had an unfortunate incident where he was stabbed on the downtown streets and was left to die on the curb with his insides on the outside.
This is when Ben chose to have a relationship with his Lord and saviour.
Ben’s relationship with his Lord is like everyone else’s — a very personal and individual process. Some of the things we do may not make sense to others but ultimately we will have to atone for it.
Ben was home recuperating from his wounds when we met and he chose to stay in Port Hardy and continue his boxing.
We trained together on a daily basis, many days making do with what and where we were.
Ben was supported at this time by a number of businesses and people here on the North Island and I know how very important that support was to Ben.
Ben went on to win by KO — he beat George McFall in Winnipeg — his first fight he and I had trained together for.
He then went on to win by TKO over Don Laliberte in Nanaimo, and then he was presented with the opportunity to fight for the Canadian Heavyweight Championship in Edmonton.
This would turn out to be a rematch with George McFall and Benny did it again. He overcame tremendous adversity and knocked him out again!
Port Hardy’s first ever heavyweight champion of Canada!
Through all of the media interviews and time spent in the public, Ben was always telling anyone who would listen he was from Port Hardy on the north end of Vancouver Island, he was extremely proud to be from here.
Ben was not the most technical fighter, but boy did he have a punch! Ben went on to have a few more fights against some pretty interesting competition; Trevor Berbick, Shane Sutcliffe and a number of other really tough customers.
I am not writing this to tell you what you should or shouldn’t think about Ben, I only want you to know that he was proud to be from here and tried his best to represent our community well.
In boxing when a fighter passes on the bell is tolled 10 times in his honour.
Benny, I will ring the bell.