POSTED: 10:51 a.m. HST, May 2, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 6:12 p.m. HST, May 2, 2012
Boxer Andy Ganigan, a former world champion and member of the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame, died today in Las Vegas, according to his niece, Michell Shue. Ganigan's death comes two years after an assault in his hometown of Waipahu left him severely debilitated. He was 59.
"Since the assault his body can't fight off diseases. He never recovered," Shue said in a telephone interview with the Star-Advertiser. "His body basically just shut down after two years of fighting." She said Ganigan died with family members by his side.
Ganigan was a boxing sensation in the 1970s and 80s, with a 34-5 record, including 30 knockouts and a lightweight division championship. He was named to Ring Magazines' list of "100 Greatest Punchers of All-Time" in 2003, 20 years after he retired.
But the last two years of his life were spent as a near-invalid after an apparently drunken and unprovoked attack on March 26, 2010.
Five weeks ago, Matthew M. Kupa, who pled no contest to first-degree assault, was sentenced to five years probation and 18 months in jail with early release for substance abuse treatment by Circuit Judge Glenn Kim. Deputy prosecutor Scott Bell had sought the maximum penalty, a 10-year sentence.
A witness told police she saw the 6-foot, 290-pound Kupa, barefoot, shirtless, throwing repeated punches at the 5-foot-6, 160-pound Ganigan before two other men pressed Kupa against a glass panel and instructed him to "stop already." A security guard said he saw Kupa standing over Ganigan. Kupa told police he was drunk and did not remember anything.
Star-Advertiser reporters Dave Reardon and Ferd Lewis contributed to this report.