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Kevin Payne was an American athlete and
professional boxer who died of injuries
sustained in his final fight.
The welterweight fighter was ranked 12th
in the Junior Welterweight Division. He
had a record of 14 wins (6 by knockout),
five losses and one draw.
In addition to his boxing, Kevin also
made the news in 2004 when he chased and
apprehended a purse-snatcher at an
By winning his final bout, Payne won the
right to face undefeated welterweight
boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.,
but his tragic death robbed him of that
Biographical fast facts
Full or original name at birth: Kevin Austin Payne
Date and place of birth: January 12, 1972,
Evansville, Indiana, U.S.A.
Date, time, place and cause of death: March 19, 2006,
at 2 p.m., Deaconess Hospital, Evansville, Indiana, U.S.A.*
(Brain injury sustained in a professional boxing match)
Spouse: Jenny Payne
Son: Austin Payne
Daughter: Allison Payne
Father: Howard Payne
Mother: Ruth (Amos) Payne
Error corrections or clarifications
* Some news organizations erroneously
report he died in the ring during his final
fight. The fight took place Saturday, March
18th at The Centre in Evansville, Indiana.
He actually died the next day, March 19, 2006,
Note: A couple of sources erroneously report he died
in 2003. As noted above, he died March 19th, 2006,
at 2 p.m., at Deaconess Hospital, in Evansville, Indiana.
Kevin Payne was born to Howard and Ruth Payne,
January 12th, 1972, in Evansville, Indiana. He
graduated from Evansville's North High School
in 1990, and began boxing in the amateur ranks
before turning pro in 1995. By that point in
time, he'd married Jennifer Enlow. Kevin and
Jenny's family grew to include son Austin,
followed by daughter Allison.
His boxing career began with an unbroken series
of wins in 1995 and 1996. In 1997, that steady
string of professional wins came to an end in
Copenhagen, Denmark, in a bout against Frank
Olsen. The loss, by knockout, did little to
slow his boxing career. Payne continued fighting
through the late 1990s, racking up several
victories and one additional loss.
The welterweight fighter suffered back-to-back
losses in 2000 and 2001, which stalled his
career. In 2003, the pro fighter went to work
for the Whirlpool Corp. in Evansville, Indiana.
Kevin Payne also resumed his boxing in 2003
with two wins. He was such a respected employee
of the appliance company that they actually
sponsored his later bouts. A November 2004
loss put things on hold yet again.
The opportunity of a lifetime came along in 2006,
after a layoff of over a year. If he could defeat
boxer Ryan Maraldo, as he had previously in 2003,
Payne would be looking at the largest paycheck
of his life. A victory in that bout would win him
the right to face the undefeated welterweight
boxing champion, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., in a
televised HBO fight. "If I don't win this time,
it's over," Kevin said before the bout, fully
cognizant of the tenuous state of his pro boxing
career. "Everything is a must-win from here on
out for the rest of my career."
The fight against Ryan Maraldo took place
March 18th, 2006, before a hometown crowd
at The Centre in Evansville. The bout was
broadcast live to millions on a Spanish-language
cable channel and was the main event that
night. Kevin won the match in an eight-round
split decision over Maraldo. However, the
elation over his win was short-lived. He
struggled to stay on his feet and had to
be helped from the ring. Medical officials
examined him and found he had bleeding on
the brain. He was rushed by ambulance to
Evansville's Deaconess Hospital.
He underwent emergency brain surgery, but
efforts to save him were futile. Kevin Payne
was pronounced dead at 2 p.m., March 19th,
2006. He left behind his wife of 12 years,
Jenny Payne, and two children.
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