When Joe DeGuardia '89, founder of Star Boxing, graduated from Hofstra Law, he never thought he would embark on a career that would combine his legal education with his lifelong passion for boxing. Now a successful businessman, DeGuardia applies what he learned at Hofstra Law to his boxing business.
DeGuardia grew up with boxing as a way of life. The son of a professional prizefighter, he first donned boxing gloves as a 2-year-old. It was something he not only enjoyed but also he excelled at.
DeGuardia also always knew he wanted to go to law school. When it came time for him to enter Hofstra Law, he did so with the same sense of determination, hard work and self-discipline that he used while boxing. "Preparation is key," DeGuardia explains, and he used this idea as the foundation both for training for a fight and entering law school.
During his time at Hofstra Law, DeGuardia’s interest in law expanded to areas other than boxing. "I was interested in litigation work, criminal work and trial work," says the 1988 New York Golden Gloves champion.
After graduating from Hofstra Law, DeGuardia took this appreciation with him to the district attorney's office, where he became a prosecutor and pursued his interests in criminal law and litigation. His education at Hofstra Law, along with his boxing background, helped him to know when and how to put up a fight in the courtroom.
But over the years fighters continued to come to the esteemed former boxer for advice and counsel, and soon DeGuardia could no longer ignore the sport’s calling for him. Eventually, he founded Star Boxing and now has a lucrative boxing club and promotions business on his hands. "The business just kept getting bigger and bigger," he says.
While a law degree might not have physically helped him in the ring, it did give DeGuardia that extra "punch" to launch a successful business. "If I didn’t have the legal background I have, I don't think I could have survived as long as I have in the boxing world as a businessman. I don't think I would be as successful as I am," he concedes. Law school acted as what DeGuardia describes as a "great equalizer" and gave him a leg up on managing his business, especially when battling big companies in the boxing world.
When it comes to applying his law degree to the business world, "the easy way isn’t always the right way," DeGuardia says. "You can’t take shortcuts; otherwise, they come back to haunt you." While boxing is now his main focus, DeGuardia still takes an occasional case to keep his law skills sharp and keep him ready for any "right hook" thrown his way. Though he never intended to become part of the business side of the sport, DeGuardia notes, "Boxing and law school prepared me for life."