Against All Odds: An Immigrant Story
Pamerson Ifill ’92
Mr. Ifill is a retired boxing champ with three college degrees and a decades-long career helping kids and adults through probation services in Massachusetts. But Pamerson Ifill ’92 will tell you that his life could have gone down a very different road. Growing up in Barbados, “I liked to fight. My mom died when I was 9. I ran away at 13,” he recalls. “A police officer in the area said to me one day, ‘Rather than get in trouble, why don’t you box?’ Soon Ifill was one of Barbados’ most successful light heavyweights. He met Muhammed Ali three times. After winning the Kansas City Golden Gloves crown, he was recruited by a gym in Brockton to box professionally in 1986.
He enrolled at Massasoit Community College with the vague idea of pursuing a law career and returning to Barbados. But after graduating from Massasoit, and while still boxing professionally, Ifill enrolled at Stonehill. “At Stonehill, I found a quality education and a lot of great professors,” he says. Two months after earning his political science degree, in 1992, he boxed his last pro fight—though he still boxes. “Boxing is really the thing that gave me the opportunity to get out of Barbados,” he says. “Boxing provides confidence.”
Ifill earned his master’s in management of human services from Brandeis University in 1997. He’s now Deputy Commissioner of Pre-Trial Services, a new statewide division of the Massachusetts Probation Service.
He says working with younger people is a special passion for him: “I came from that background. I knew what it was to struggle. I’m no angel, but at the same time, you can overcome if you have the right structure and support.”
Zoom Meeting Link: https://stonehill.zoom.us/j/93090795276?pwd=ZnFaTkFlMExkSkRSbzVqM0hnOGlqZz09
Meeting ID: 930 9079 5276