Pittsfield boxer Todd Poulton finds opportunity in wake of Trump rally fallout
PITTSFIELD — A good fighter knows how to take a few lumps then get back up.
City native and two-time Celebrity Boxing champ Todd "The Punisher" Poulton certainly does. In 2009, he went the distance in a bout against former Major League Baseball-slugger-turned-fighter Jose Canseco despite a first-round knockdown.
Poulton's attempting to bounce back after taking heat for knocking over a protester who along with a friend was shouting "Fascist!" at a Donald Trump rally in Nashua, N.H., in December, just one of a series of similar incidents at Trump events.
Poulton's move made international news — not least because of Poulton's outsized public persona as a fighter who sports a Mike Tyson-style face tattoo.
"I thought I was helping that night; if I knew what followed was going to happen, I would have stayed sitting down," Poulton told The Eagle.
Meanwhile, a Westport man who was sitting next to the protesters, wrote The Eagle in the wake of the incident to defend Poulton's actions.
"I was hit with their spit as was my wife," William P. Camara wrote in a notarized letter. "[Poulton] held one [protester] down so no one else would be hurt as security came up and led the protesters out of the school. My wife and I were thankful for [Poulton's] help, as we were both scared."
The protester later contacted The Eagle and said he and his friend did nothing to merit anyone physically touching them.
A lifelong Republican with "George W. Bush" tattooed on one arm, Poulton has been strongly supporting Trump's campaign.
The fighter said critical media accounts, online comments and face-to-face interactions have taken a toll, aggravating his obsessive-compulsive disorder and bringing on something of a dark time.
But the event did no harm to Poulton's notoriety, even helped it, and lately things have begun to look up for the former paraprofessional, who began fighting to raise awareness about mental illness and help raise money for charitable causes.
The press on the Trump event caught the attention of former heavyweight boxer Peter McNeeley, who contacted Poulton seeking to organize a bout. It could prove one of The Punisher's biggest challenges — and high-profile matches — to date.
McNeeley, 47, known as "Hurricane," had a career record of 47 - 7.
"He wants to fight because we both know how to bring people to the table for good causes," said Poulton, 51. "We need to pick a charity and start working out the details."
Poulton said he also has been contacted by Berkshire native Craig Powell, an assistant producer at Jimmy Kimmel Live!, who has expressed interest in a potential Poulton appearance.
"They're looking for some type of skit for me to do," Poulton said. "It's not a definite, but I'm excited. I always wanted to get my story on that show."
Poulton recently had new head shots taken to send to the show and remains in correspondence with Powell.
As far as the incident at the rally, the Nashua Police Department say they've washed their hands of the matter. And while the protester's father told the Eagle in January that a lawsuit was under consideration, Poulton's attorney said he is confident legal action is not forthcoming.
Poulton had an encounter of a different sort at a Trump rally in Lowell several weeks after the New Hampshire incident.
He was in the front row when he says he was acknowledged by the candidate himself.
"He got down off the podium and was making his way to me, and finally he gets there and immediately goes, 'Holy [expletive], you're the guy,' " Poulton said.
He said Trump went on to say, "You'll get no trouble [for the Nashua incident], trust me. You did the right thing. Thanks for your support."
Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.