Andrew Myerson

By The Editors
November 11, 2013 9:00 am

Some guys raise money for cancer research by running marathons. This guy raises money by getting people to punch each other in the face. Meet Andrew Myerson, InsideHook’s Man of the Month for November.

Mike Tyson famously said that every man has a plan until he gets punched in the face.

Andrew Myerson’s plan was walloped out of existence by a young fighter named Kenny Florian.

“He was just mowing down guys at the gym,” says Myerson. “But my trainer was like ‘Yo – you got this guy.’ ”

As it turned out, Myerson very much did not.

“I remember him wearing yellow gloves, then suddenly his gloves were red and I didn’t understand why … I was very much out on my feet.”

Florian, to his credit, would go on to compete in the first The Ultimate Fighter Show on FX.

Myerson, meanwhile, began to formulate a new plan.

That plan would involve fighting cancer. Literally.

Today, Andrew Myerson, 30, is the co-founder of Haymakers for Hope, which takes a rather unorthodox approach to fundraising for cancer research.

“We tell people that we’re literally fighting for a cure.”

Myerson and his Haymakers cohorts recruit workaday guys (and gals) to train for and compete in charity boxing events, fundraising for cancer organizations along the way.

Bankers. Restaurant owners. Cops. An InsideHook editor. All sweating it out with professional trainers for four months before taking to the ring for an official USA Boxing bout in front of thousands of screaming spectators (the next event is this Thursday — you can donate and get tickets right here).

And despite the average person’s aversion to having their lights punched out publicly, Haymakers For Hope has raised almost two million bucks for cancer research.

In fact, the participants often say Haymakers is a defining moment in their lives.

“This is an awesome time,” Myerson says, “that happens to go to charity.”

For a mild-mannered guy, Myerson boasts quite the scuffling background.

His father put himself through college running a kung fu school, then trained his sons in hand-to-hand combat and weapons.

Asked if he knows how to use nunchaku, Myerson shakes his head.

“No to nunchuks. Yes to swords.”

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh and accepting a position at Goldman Sachs, Myerson fell into the world of boxing.

At famous downtown boxing club Trinity, Myerson met fellow Beantowner Julie Anne Kelly, a cancer survivor who asked him to join her in training for the 2010 New York Golden Gloves.

As it happened, their training coincided with the run-up to the New York Marathon and its attendant barrage of fundraising correspondence – “You would get, like, 17 emails about the marathon,” says Myerson, “but boxing had novelty.”

With one email to their friends, Myerson and Kelly easily raised $5,000 for Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“We told them, ‘Set up a page and we’ll just shit you money. We don’t want anything, we’ll give you all of it.’ ”

Realizing they’d struck a chord, Myerson and Kelly founded Haymakers For Hope in late 2010.

Myerson recruited 26 civilians to fight each other. By the first fight night in June 2011, those newly trained fighters had collectively raised almost two hundred thousand dollars.

It was working.

Talking to Myerson, it’s not hard to understand why.

“Boxing is a really sexy sport,” he says. “Everybody likes to think ‘What could I do in the ring one time?’ It’s a really primal question.”

Myerson’s genius: removing the obstacles to answering that question.

For each fight, Myerson – with full-time support from brother Dave – reviews applicants.

They match fighters based on height, weight and skill. And then they assign each a training gym and trainer. The only thing the would-be fighter has to do is raise at least $4,000 for cancer research.

“The barriers to entry to [the boxing world] are enormous,” says Myerson. “The reason marathons are so popular is all you need is a road … [With boxing], you need a reason for doing this.”

Myerson gets excited when he talks about fight night. Announcers. Ring girls. Cameras. And a couple thousand cheering onlookers.

“For most guys, they’ll never get this feeling again,” says Myerson.

“You’ve got one chance to fight. This is it.”

Myerson’s seen a lot of dudes and ladies go toe-to-toe. Check out footage from Myerson’s three favorite Haymakers bouts on our tumblr.

Haymakers’ next event takes place at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom this Thursday night. Donate to the cause here, or if you’re in the area, come out to watch our executive editor in the ring.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!