An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.













NEWS | Oct. 19, 2017

Knocking out addiction: Maj. Boyd Melson pulls no punches

By Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris 99th Readiness Division

Maj. Boyd Melson has always been a fighter, from his days as a West Point boxer to winning the World Boxing Council U.S. Junior Middleweight championship in 2015 to his current role as a U.S. Army Reserve officer.

But despite a career that includes being a four-time U.S. Army boxing champion and a three-time National Collegiate Boxing Association All-American Boxer, Melson’s latest opponent is one of his most deadly – opiate addiction among Americans, especially here on the island.

“There was an article that came out a couple of months ago in the 'Staten Island Advance' that stated in the past 24 days, there had been 29 deaths due to suspected overdoses,” said Melson, who currently serves as a section chief with the U.S. Army Reserve’s 361st Press Camp Headquarters stationed at Fort Totten in Queens.

That article, which can be found at, also noted that there were 116 fatal overdoses on Staten Island in 2016, according to a report from the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene.

To help bring awareness to this problem, Melson attended the Beacon of Hope Festival Oct. 15 at the National Lighthouse Museum here, meeting with recovering addicts and their families.

“Either they’re battling addiction themselves, or they’re touched by it,” Melson said of the festival attendees. “Everyone seems to know somebody who’s been hurt by it.”

Melson himself has experienced this type of addiction first-hand.

“I had my challenges with prescription pain medication because of surgeries while I was on active duty boxing for the Army,” he explained. “I had multiple surgeries and still had to perform.

“After a while, my body became addicted and I couldn’t sleep. I would go through nights of not sleeping and it would affect my daily life,” he continued. “When you can’t sleep, after long enough you’ll do anything – it’s desperation.

“I know what that struggle is like – it made it very personal to me,” he added.

That personal experience has driven Melson in his efforts to not only raise awareness about drug addiction and its effects, but to take an active role in trying to help those affected.

“Since March, I’ve been hosting free boxing clinics at DeMarco’s Boxing Gym on Arthur Kill Road every Saturday from 1-3 p.m.,” explained Melson, who was known as “The Rainmaker” during his pro boxing days.

“I’ve sat in on Narcotics Anonymous meetings, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and Heroin Anonymous meetings because I need to understand and learn what is important and real to them from their perspective,” he said.

“I also volunteer with a drug-rehabilitation program on the island called Camelot, which is a residential drug-rehab program for young adults who are arrested for possession and/or using and instead of going to prison are ‘sentenced’ to rehab to give them another chance,” Melson continued. “I’ve arranged a couple different constructive events with these kids on the island.

“These are not criminals – these are people begging for help,” he added.

Part of Melson’s campaign to battle and raise awareness about drug addiction includes the creation of his own non-profit organization called KOA (Knock Out Addiction), which seems a natural outgrowth of efforts that date back many years.

“My professional boxing career was one giant fundraiser,” Melson said, stating that he donated every thing he earned in 16 of his 18 pro fights to spinal cord injury research, with the proceeds from his 17th bout going to a childhood friend whose son had died from cancer.

“I came out of retirement for one final fight because of this opiate epidemic on the island,” he said. “I donated that whole purse to help battle addiction on the island.”

Melson also works with Christopher’s Reason Recovery Center and other local organizations as he continues to raise awareness about opiate addiction.

“We have to focus on what’s killing people,” he said. “No matter what dreams or aspirations you have, once you’re dead, they’re gone. That’s why I’m spending so much time on this. I believe each of us is only as strong as all of us are together.”

Melson’s next scheduled event is with the Hope Recovery Center Nov. 17 at The Looney Bin Comedy Club here.

To learn more about Melson and his career, visit