What are a few punches worth?
For Elmonter Bert “The Collector” Lurch and Lynbrook resident Adam “The Hard Drive” Schwam, it turns out, quite a bit if it means giving to families in need, because on Nov. 25 they are scheduled to face off in the ring for a charity boxing match at the Hilton Long Island in Melville, with proceeds going to the Long Island Community Chest among other local charities.
Dubbed the Long Island Fight for Charity, the annual contest pits two business professionals from the Island against each other for a good cause. Combined, the two have so far raised more than $55,000. Schwam is president and owner of the Sandwire Corp., an information technology firm, and Lurch is chief executive officer of E. Central Medical Management, which offers billing services for medical providers.
It is not the first time Schwam, 48, has boxed for charity. In 2004 he took on Marvin “The Diamond Boy” Soskil, for the event’s inaugural fight, raising more than $25,000, but, citing the physical toll both the bout and training took on him, vowed to never return.
“I was never going to do it again,” he said. But after years working behind the scenes at the Fight for Charity, and with some prodding from its co-founder Jeff Cohen, Schwam decided to enter the ring one last time.
Enamored with the 1976 film “Rocky,” a classic tale of “a nobody becoming a somebody,” Schwam said, he needed to find his Apollo Creed: the heavyweight champion Rocky sought to overcome, who served not only as a rival, but also a friend and inspiration to the underdog.
“Adam always loved the whole ‘Rocky’ thing,” Lurch, 46, said, and looking to represent the Elmont community as well as give back to those in need, he agreed to the match.
Preparation for the fight, both agreed, has been a grueling ordeal, involving six months of high-intensity training to build stamina, strength and coordination. While the two are not boxers by trade, the fight will be genuine, and requires competitors be medically cleared, and meet the standards for USA Boxing certification.
“Though it’s an amateur [match],” Lurch said, “these guys are really going out there, and putting themselves on the line.”
Despite the sacrifices, the two agreed that beyond helping people in need, there has been an upside. “There’s no question you get in shape,” Lurch said.
And for Schwam, “I went from mud to stud,” he joked, adding that he dropped 50 pounds.
But as much as the Fight for Charity is about boxing for a cause, it’s also about self-promotion and using business connections to secure donations.
As part of the fundraising effort, Schwam recruited the talents of upstart director Tyler Miranda to film a 15-minute “Rocky” parody, complete with training montages and recreations of some of the most famous sequences from the film.
While Schwam said his upcoming fight will truly be his last, he said he has his sights set on expanding the Fight for Charity beyond Long Island with the hope of recruiting a wider circle of fighters from the business world.
The charity, he said “has always been a Long Island thing, and it’s a big commitment … But this is something that can be a national event, it’s got the momentum.”
To learn more or donate, visit lifightforcharity.org