Boxing is an unforgiving sport. It’s brutal, hard, and punishing for those who enter the ring. Championship quests are often never fulfilled, and glory is sometimes fleeting. Yet, the sport can be as rewarding as it is exciting to watch. Those rewards don’t always come in the form of monetary success. Sometimes the reward is life success, and the ability to realize goals and dreams you never thought were possible to achieve.
Dino Wells is a man who is embarking on a difficult journey. At 40, he is getting back into the boxing ring to begin his professional career in the super middle weight division. During the early 90’s, he was a rising star in the amateur ranks, but faced with setbacks, he had to put his dreams of a boxing career on hold.
To chronicle his path towards professional boxing, Dino has teamed up with director Brad Bores for the documentary When the Bell Rings. I was fortunate to be able to sit down with Dino and chat about the film, his life, his goals, and the sport. In this interview and the trailers for the film, you will be able to see Dino’s heartfelt ambitions to become a better man, a better father, and a championship fighter.
Ari: What keeps you motivated on your journey towards getting back into the ring?
Dino: Wanting to be a better father, and my past anger built inside of me.
Ari: What level do you hope to achieve in professional boxing?
Dino: I want to win a world title. I will give it all in the ring to do so. Why? Because as an amateur I failed to win…I think 4 titles.
Ari: How does boxing influence the person that you are, and shape the person you want to become?
Dino: Well I can release my inner anger in training, and ultimately whoever I fight, as I rise as a fighter, I will gain the long lost respect that I deserve.
Ari: How did you and director Brad Bores team up?
Dino: Working on the Independent Spirit Awards. I was fat and out of shape. Sad and bitter. I wanted to do this comeback for years, and no one took me serious. So more I fell in the dumps. So I poured out my heart to him, and told him my life. He was compelled, and said let’s do this.
Ari: How is filming of the documentary taking place? Do cameras follow you around 24/7? Is there any part of your life that is off limits in this film?
Dino: Filming is going great. We shoot on Brad’s schedule, now that he’s taken this on 100% cameras will be rolling 60% of my day. I guess if I had a woman, the bedroom nocturnal activities would be off limits (laughs).
Ari: You want to become a better father. In your opinion, what qualities do you believe are necessary to be a good parent?
Dino: Well this is a very sensitive matter that I will discuss, which is the one of the reasons for the documentary. Two of my children’s mothers makes my life difficult. Meaning, I want to spend time with them, have the means to have funds to do things with them, give them things they need and want. Spend quality time at their sporting events and so forth. Time spent and conversations are the best, but when you are forced to be a dead beat, and the kid gets one view of the father then it’s no good.
(in tears in Starbucks now)
I have really four children. An 18 year old son that my mom took from me. A 14 year old daughter who calls me when she wants something, (when I don’t have it and then back to distance). I have a 10 year old son who’s mother’s sole mission is to make my life miserable.
My 9 year old son’s mom is the only one I am cool with, and she finally understands my drive and wants. Three mothers, four kids
Ari: And how is your relationship with your own parents?
Dino: (laughs) I love my mother, but we had a terrible relationship. I hadn’t seen her in 14 years. On this trip, shooting this documentary, we are about to see each other for the first time since she took my son, and it will be emotional. My father, bah hum bug. I love him because he’s a Vietnam vet, and he contributed in making me. This is the reason why I want to be in my kids’ lives now more because of my disgruntledness with my dysfunctional relationship with my parents
Ari: What inspires you and how do you hope to inspire others with this film?
Dino: What inspires me? I don’t want to sound like a broken record, me being a better father, and I want others to see you can do what ever you want if you just fight, no matter how many dream terrorists are out there to blow up your dreams down playing your goals or mission, keep it moving. I am 40, and finally getting motion and guidance where I am moving. Plus, I am a Buddhist now so that helps even more.
Ari: What is your opinion on the state of professional boxing? I happen to live in Las Vegas which was a boxing mecca, and has seen the sport decline in audience here in the last decade with the rise of MMA. What do you think needs to happen to keep boxing as a top draw sport?
Dino: Boxing is in a great state except for the heavy height division. MMA is what it is, but that’s another reason why I am back in the ring. Build a big following and give it the luster that Sugar Ray Robinson and Marvelous Marvin Hagler brought to the table. What needs to happen? Give me a title shot, and after I become 11-0-10 KO’s. Which I am 0-0-0 right now as a pro (laughs). I am a beast, and I will not be denied. I will beat anyone in front of me. I have nothing to lose. Much to gain. I was borderline suicidal at one point, but hey, I overcame that. I was scorned by false love. I have been destroyed by two of my kids’ moms. I’m rebuilding my legacy so the next 40 years of my life I can live without scratching for change. My film career didn’t take me there. My writing didn’t take me there. So I go back to what I know: kickin’ azz!
Ari: Besides boxing, what other talents, projects, and plans do you have and are working on?
Dino: I am a screenwriter with numerous scripts and an abundance of plots, ideas and concepts. Hollywood is sleeping on me. I am a unsung poet. Check my past facebook notes, and/or myspace blogs. I am focused on my boxing career since everything else is being blindsided by every one else doing their thing in Hollywood.
If you would like to learn more about Dino Wells, Brad Bores, or donate towards the completion of their documentary film, visit www.whenthebellrings.com