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Ex-NFL linebacker to promote area boxing
By David Dorsey, Fort Myers Newspress

A longtime area boxing trainer and a former NFL player have teamed to reinvigorate the "War on the Peace River" boxing series.

Steven J. Canton, who has the job titles of manager, trainer, cutman and matchmaker on his business card, has been training boxers from all over the world - 58 countries and counting so far - for the past 17 years. Jeffrey T. Brady, a linebacker who played for eight NFL teams from 1991-1999, with his best seasons falling in '95-97 with the Minnesota Vikings, moved to Cape Coral two years ago as a real estate investor wanting to work in the nation's most depressed market. These two men have combined to stage "War on the Peace River," which looks to be a six-bout fight night at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31 at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center in Punta Gorda.

Tickets start at $20 general admission, $35 reserved ringside, $75 elite ringside and $1,000 for a 10-person VIP table.

Freeman "The Natural" Barr, a Naples resident, will headline the action. The former top-ranked world-rated super middleweight has a 28-4 record with 15 knockouts. He hasn't fought since 2006. "Right now, I feel better than I did 10 years ago," said Barr, 36, who weighs 178 pounds. "I feel more confident, mentally and physically. "I'm just glad they're giving me this opportunity," Barr said, pointing to Canton and Brady.

Brady, who played football at the University of Kentucky, grew up in Northport, Ky., as a boxing aficionado. He met Canton because of his 13-year-old son Jaryd's interest in the sport after moving here. Oldest son Austin Brady, 16, plays football at Bishop Verot High School, where his father will be the defensive coordinator this season. Jeffrey Brady also has a daughter Lexi, 9.

"A lot of people gave me an opportunity to play football," Jeffrey Brady said. "I just wanted to give back to the boxing community. I never would have even thought about it had I not met Steve Canton. "Boxing has always been a big influence on me." Although the fight cards are about a week from being released, Canton said he looks to get Barr back to being nationally recognized. "He was the greatest prospect I had ever seen in my life," Canton said. Illnesses to Barr and Canton put a hold on Barr's career in 2006-07. Now both are hoping for a comeback.

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