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Kevin Payne

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 Evansville store.

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 opportunity.

Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne2
Kevin Payne
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, following surgery.

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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