Boxing mentor Michael Dallas Sr. remembered as community hero

Michael Dallas Sr., a Bakersfield boxer who mentored hundreds of kids at the Police Activities League, died Wednesday after a short battle with leukemia. He was 45.
Organizers of the "Fight for Life" event held in Bakersfield last Saturday, announced updated totals from the fundraiser Thursday afternoon.

But, the excitement over the success of that event is overshadowed by the death of Michael Dallas, the first person to receive assistance from the newly-formed Kern County Cancer fund.

It was a glitzy, Vegas-style affair, featuring boxing and mixed martial arts fights, plenty of food and drink, and a live concert.

Several thousand people attended this year's Fight for Life, and it was a knockout night for the Kern County Cancer Fund.

"The event was able to raise $632,000 and funds are still coming in," said organizer Robert Rice.

That money will be matched by the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center and will be used to provide financial assistance to cancer patients in Kern County, struggling to make ends meet while they're fighting for their lives.

"There are people in need right now, and these funds are going to be available right now to help them," added Rice.

Michael Dallas, the former Bakersfield boxer and long-time boxing coach, was battling leukemia when he was selected earlier this month as the first recipient of funds from the new non-profit.

Sadly, that money won't be needed now.

The 45-year-old Dallas died Wednesday night in a local hospital of complications from leukemia.

Long-time friend Chad Jackman was with Dallas when he was admitted to the hospital Monday.

"His heart stopped and they revived him and he couldn't breathe after that. They put him on a ventilator and he just went downhill from there. It was a fight he couldn't win, I guess," said Jackman,

Dallas' death hit Jackman like a sucker punch.

He said Dallas had gotten off the canvas and was making a comeback against his cancer.

"It's hard to believe he's gone," said Jackman.

For 15 years, Michael Dallas was boxing instructor for the Police Activities League, a friend and father figure to hundreds of at-risk kids in southeast Bakersfield, producing a stable of state and national PAL boxing champions in his time there.

But, cancer took him away from the ring.

'Mike made it family. He made this a home for every kid and every kid who walked through the door felt special," said Jackman.

Ironically, we're told Michael Dallas had proposed marriage to his girlfriend at the Fight for Life.

His death has shocked members of the Kern County Cancer Fund.

"We are devastated and our prayers go out to the family. This is just another reminder why it's so important that we help families here in Kern County," said Robin Mangarin Scott, Board Member of Kern County Cancer Fund.

Michael Dallas leaves behind four children and a mountain of medical bills.
The Police Activities League has started a memorial fund for the Dallas family.
donations may be sent to the Police Activities League, 301 E. 4th Street in Bakersfield, 93307. You can also call 283-8880 for more information.


(earlier script)

Michael Dallas Sr., a Bakersfield boxer who mentored hundreds of kids at the Police Activities League, died Wednesday after a short battle with leukemia. He was 45.

Dallas — the father of boxer Michael Dallas II — was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia only in May. He was honored at the Fight for Life event just last Saturday, and appeared strong when interviewed on Channel 17 a week ago.

Dallas had a boxing career of his own before retiring to raise his family. Admirers said he was a tireless volunteer for the Police Athletic League, where he was boxing director.

Today, he was eulogized on the Fight for Life Facebook Page.

"A fighter, a father, and a grandfather," the tribute said. "Beloved by children at the Police Activities League, parents of those children and, most of all, his family.

"We will forever consider him and his family a part of ours.

"The community has lost a great man," the Facebook posting said. "We will never be forgotten and always be remembered. We send our deepest condolences to everyone his life has affected and hope everyone will stay strong during times like these."

No services have been scheduled.

KGET will have a full report tonight on 17News@5.
 
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