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Jackie Kallen

Boxing Manager, Inspiration for the film "Against the Ropes"

Jackie Kallen is the world’s most successful female boxing manager and the inspiration for the film. She fought against all odds to prevail in a male-dominated profession. A journalist-turned-publicist for Thomas Hearns and Detroit’s Kronk Boxing Team, Kallen spent ten years learning the ropes of the boxing world. As a manager, she groomed James Toney…

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Jackie Kallen is the world’s most successful female boxing manager and the inspiration for the film. She fought against all odds to prevail in a male-dominated profession.

A journalist-turned-publicist for Thomas Hearns and Detroit’s Kronk Boxing Team, Kallen spent ten years learning the ropes of the boxing world. As a manager, she groomed James Toney to become a world champion shortly after launching her business. At the podium, Kallen reveals her secrets to overcoming adversity in all forms-sexism, discrimination and even life-threatening illness-to triumph over all.

Kallen, a writer since elementary school, had a colorful career before she ever met a boxer. An entertainment journalist who interviewed everyone from the Rolling Stones to Elvis and Sinatra, her work led her from hometown Detroit to NYC and back home to raise her family. A 1977 interview with six-time world champion boxer Thomas Hearns set her on her path, beginning as a publicist for him and the legendary Kronk Boxing Team. For ten years Kallen learned the ins and outs of the business. By 1988, she was ready to strike out on her own, managing fighters including a scrappy young man named James “Lights Out” Toney. Three years after she started managing him, Toney was a champ and Jackie was on top of the game. Still, despite two nominations for Manager of the Year, a stint as commissioner of the Female Boxers Association and a wall full of awards and honors, Kallen continues to fight for acceptance.

Jackie Kallen is the author of Hit Me with Your Best Shot: A Fight Plan for Dealing with All of Life’s Hard Knocks. She is currently managing several boxers and is very involved with local charities, particularly women’s shelters. She lives in Los Angeles.

Jackie is also very driven to raise awareness about women’s health issues, specifically the early detection of heart disease & breast cancer, as she has a stent implant for her heart and had two lumpectomies. A dynamic and inspiring speaker, Kallen motivates audiences to empower themselves and fight against adversity to achieve personal success.

Against the Ropes – One Woman’s Knock-Out Success Story:

Jackie relates her experiences as a woman trying to “fit in.” She describes what it took to break down barriers and gain acceptance in a sometimes-hostile environment. Based on her book, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Jackie shares what she has learned through the world of boxing and how these lessons can be applied to everyday life. Blending career with a family, all women know what it’s like to be a superwoman-career girl, wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter. Jackie explains how it is possible to have it all and not suffer while succeeding. Everyone faces adversity at one time or another, Jackie helps people understand how to deal with it and make the best of bad situations.

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Against the Ropes – One Woman’s Knock-Out Success Story
Jackie relates her experiences as a woman trying to “fit in.” She describes what it took to break down barriers and gain acceptance in a sometimes-hostile environment. Based on her book, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Jackie shares what she has learned through the world of boxing and how these lessons can be applied to everyday life. Blending career with a family, all women know what it’s like to be a superwoman-career girl, wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter. Jackie explains how it is possible to have it all and not suffer while succeeding. Everyone faces adversity at one time or another, Jackie helps people understand how to deal with it and make the best of bad situations.

Jackie Kallen was a much-celebrated celebrity and sports writer before becoming the most famous female boxing manager in history.  After interviewing everyone from Elvis to Sinatra to the Rolling Stones, and having covered the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Grammys—she became the most successful female manager in boxing history. After conquering the all-male field of professional boxing, she became known as “The First Lady of Boxing” and has inspired people all over the world to follow their dreams.

While managing and guiding the careers of more than a half dozen champions, Jackie saw dozens and dozens of people get knocked old cold.  She wrote a book called “Hit Me with Your Best shot” and soon discovered what that actually felt like.  A live-in boyfriend she had at the time lost his temper and flattened her with his best shot. She was left with a broken face, badly-bruised ribs, and contusions from head to toe.

Out of fear and embarrassment, Jackie never reported it or pressed charges. She had reconstructive surgery a week later when the swelling went down enough for the doctors at USC Hospital to insert titanium plates in her cheek.   Foolishly, like many women, she took him back for a while.  Thankfully she finally saw the writing on the wall and was able to gather the strength to move on.  She has dedicated her life since then to working with battered woman who suffered similar experiences.  Until writing this book, a dozen years later, no one (including her family) ever knew the truth.  It was her dirty little secret.

Two years later, she was healed enough to meet the man she is still with and discover what a healthy relationship is like. Six years later, Meg Ryan starred as Jackie Kallen in the Paramount film, “Against the Ropes.”  Later that year, she appeared with Sylvester Stallone on NBC on “The Contenders.” With her face rebuilt, she also found her life and self-esteem rebuilt.

Now, with two kids and five grandkids, she is living a happy and productive life.  She is still dedicated to the cause of domestic abuse and loves nothing more than sharing her story through motivational speaking.

“It’s not that you got down that defines you,” she says.  “It’s how you pick yourself back up off the canvas.  I got knocked down—but I did not get knocked out!”

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JACKIE KALLEN--Motivational Speaker

Against The Ropes - Trailer

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