Freed boxer wins first -- and last pro fight

Dewey Bozella on "The Early Show."
CBS

Dewey Bozella, 52, won his first-ever professional match Saturday night by pounding Larry Hopkins, an opponent 22 years his junior.

But now, he says he's done fighting.

52-year-old Bozella wins pro-boxing debut

On "The Early Show," the man who spent most of his adult life behind bars and dreamed of fighting in a pro match said he's not planning to take part in any more bouts.

"No more fights," Bozella said. "I'll spar with people. I'll work out with people and I would love to learn the game of boxing a little bit more if I can. I will sit down and do announcing."

Going forward, he says he wants to focus on helping kids aspire to achieve, with the Dewey Bozella Foundation.

But Bozella says he's grateful for the chance to finally get in the ring.

Exoneree boxer, 52, to enter ring as a pro
2 years after being exonerated of murder, Dewey Bozella makes boxing debut Sat.

"I felt my dream was taken from me and to have that opportunity to live that out was a mission, that was very good for me," he said.

In 1983, Bozella was convicted of killing a 92-year-old woman and sent to prison. For 26 years, he maintained his innocence.

Bozella said, "I had to learn to take myself from a bad situation and make it a better situation. And so I found my own peace through boxing."

In 2009, he also found justice when lawyers won him a new trial, proved him innocent and walked him out of court a free man -- who was now free to pursue his dream.

Bozella said on "The Early Show" that, "(People) let fear get in the way. I say ... never let fear determine who you are and never let where you're from determine where you're going. That's my motto. I want people to understand, the key to anything that you do in life is to believe in yourself and boxing helped me to believe in myself, you know, through morals, obligations, responsibility and discipline and that is what I use in my everyday activities to survive, not only in prison but in society, as well."

Bozella's mantra paid off Saturday night with a victory in his one and only professional match, leaving him undefeated.

In addition to cultivating a love of boxing, Bozella says he worked to attain his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in prison, as well as learning several trades.

He said, "Prison wakes you up, you know? You are going to do (one of) two things. You are going to get yourself together -- which I chose to do --...or either you're going to choose a life that is going to be about negativity. I got around a couple of people who helped me...and I ran with it. I really ran with it."