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Politicians Getting the Best of Celebrity Boxing

After serving as mayor of Hammond, Indiana for 17 years, Thomas McDermott Jr. is ready to try his luck in the boxing ring.

Speaking on his “Left of Center” podcast last month, the Democrat formally challenged Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young to a celebrity boxing match at the Hammond Civic Center, claiming that his political rival has gone “soft” since being elected to the Senate five years ago.

McDermott’s comments came shortly after the mayor was asked about the rumor that he was planning to challenge Young for his seat in the Senate. Instead of confirming his potential political fight, he instead turned the attention to an entirely different sort of fight.

“I’m not saying he’d be easy. ... Todd could be sneaky tough,” McDermott said on the podcast. “But I would love to fight Todd Young in a celebrity boxing match.”

While McDermott, 52, is four years older than Young, the mayor was open to making the fight more of a mixed martial arts affair if that interest Young. “Let’s throw a cage up. I was a wrestler. I’ll bust out my old wrestling moves and mess him up,” McDermott said.

McDermott, who holds the record as the longest-serving mayor in Hammond’s history, did not shy away from using the proposed boxing match as an opportunity to attack his political rival. He called Young a “sh*t senator,” attacked him for his reported plans to spend $150 million on his reelection bid and claimed that he planned to “knock his ass out.”

While the mayor appears to have embraced the trash talking aspect of combat sports, he is not without his own fair share of controversies. In 2014, McDermott agreed to a $200,000 settlement for a discrimination complaint filed by Hammond Housing Authority Director Maria Becerra. Five years later, McDermott was fined $50,000 for improper campaign loans from his wife. However, the mayor is also aware that a successful celebrity boxing match done in the name of charity would do wonder for his brand ahead of a potential Senate bid.

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