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Boxer Is Arrested on Drug Charge : Crime: Police say former amateur heavyweight champion John Bray was found with seven pounds of marijuana.

October 08, 1994|JULIE TAMAKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WOODLAND HILLS — John Bray, a former national amateur heavyweight boxing champion, was arrested here Friday on suspicion of possessing a seven-pound bag of marijuana, Los Angeles police said.

Bray, 24, was taken into custody around 4:30 p.m. outside a gas station at Winnetka Avenue and Ventura Boulevard, where he allegedly had confessed to firing a gun in the parking lot of a nearby hotel just moments earlier, Officer Carole Hughes said.

Bray was sweating profusely when police questioned him at the scene, and when officers later returned to the parking lot they discovered a blue bag containing the marijuana, Hughes said. Bray was booked on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale.

Bray told police that he had recently signed on with boxing promoter Don King and that he had a fight scheduled for November.

After winning the national amateur title in 1991, Bray turned professional in 1992 and moved to Florida, where he trained at the Miami gym of well-known ring trainer Angelo Dundee, who has trained such fighting greats as Muhammad Ali.

Bray told the Times in a 1991 interview that he had spent the previous two years as an apprentice private investigator in Los Angeles. The same year, Bray, a graduate of Van Nuys High School, accidentally shot himself in the mouth with a gun.

The shooting occurred in a Van Nuys automotive shop owned by a friend. Bray had purchased the 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun on his 21st birthday.

As he was cleaning the gun, he held the slide action open and looked down the barrel, according to police. The slide action slipped from his hand and as it snapped shut, Bray flinched and pulled the trigger. The gun, which Bray said he was certain was unloaded, went off.

In 1992, Bray, who is of Anglo and Latino heritage, was the favorite to represent the United States in the Barcelona Olympics and in an interview that year, he described racism on the U.S. boxing team.

"It isn't even a subtle thing," Bray said in the interview. "It's right there for anyone to see. The team is filled with resentment and racism, and I'm just sick of it. I get racist stuff all day when I train with my own team. From the other fighters, even from the coaches of the team. I'm the only white guy on the team and all I hear all day long is 'Hey, honky. Hey, white boy.'

"It's sad, but that's the way it is. . . . You can only ignore it for so long. I've kept this to myself for a few years. That's long enough," he said.

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