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It was a prominent Tampa attorney who threw jabs as Lightning’s ‘punching man’

The former boxer in him came out Monday when Tampa trial lawyer and Lightning season-ticket holder Steve Yerrid watched the players mix it up on the ice from his front row seat. [Photo provided]
The former boxer in him came out Monday when Tampa trial lawyer and Lightning season-ticket holder Steve Yerrid watched the players mix it up on the ice from his front row seat. [Photo provided]
Published May 2, 2018|Updated May 2, 2018

Steve Yerrid, the noted Tampa trial attorney and Lightning season ticket holder from the franchise's beginning, saw his good friend Jeff Vinik before Monday's game against the Bruins at Amalie Arena.

"Tonight, we got to fight hard," Yerrid told the Lightning owner.

A few hours later, Yerrid did just that.

Sort of.

RELATED: Did you see the punching man at Lightning-Bruins Game 2?

From his front seat at the blue line, Yerrid, 68, fired punches at the glass while Brayden Point of the Lightning and Kevan Miller of the Bruins did the same a few feet away on the ice.

The video has gone viral, making Yerrid a social media sensation.

"People sent it to me from all over the country," Yerrid said. "They're crazy nuts."

Yerrid has a history of throwing punches.

His father, Charles, was the heavyweight champ of the Pacific Rim during World War II. Steve said he was 3 when his dad taught him to box.

"I had a little talent for that," Yerrid said. "I had a pretty good jab."

Fighting at 142 pounds, Yerrid was 17-0 during an amateur career. He was elected to the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame for his work with impaired boxers (brain injuries), the 2000 Olympic boxing trials and promoting Roy Jones Jr's title Friday bouts in Tampa. Yerrid has a heavy bag that he still uses.

Yerrid said he was fortunate to win his last bout. Facing a superior opponent, Yerrid said he landed a "lucky punch." It was around that time Yerrid noticed boxers grew uglier the more they fought.

He decided on a career in law.

It was a smart choice, since Yerrid became one of the country's top trial lawyers.

He successfully defended Captain John Lerro, the Tampa Bay harbor pilot who crashed a bulk freighter into the old Sunshine Skyway during a heavy rainstorm, killing 35 people who were driving over the bridge at the time.

In the 1990s, Yerrid was part of a "dream team" of attorneys that successful took down big tobacco with a $17 billion settlement.

But once a boxer, always a boxer, and the old boxer came out during the third period of the Lightning win after Miller cross-checked Point.

"I kind of reverted back to my old self, cause it was right in front of me," Yerrid said. "I like throwing the shots. It was fun. I kind of got into the moment."

While players from both teams traded punches on the ice, Yerrid fired combinations from his seat, acting on what he told Vinik before the game.

"I guess that carried over because I don't remember doing it," Yerrid said. "It happened right in front of the glass and I just got into it. I didn't know the camera was on me. I was just part of the fight.

"I got to tell you, I threw some pretty good shots, but I don't think I landed any. You know the glass kind of hindered my delivery. The shots had good form, but it hurt my knuckles. I had to slow down the shots. I wasn't as intense if I had been really throwing them."

Yerrid, who wrote "Tampa Bay Lightning Winning Ways: The Making of a Championship Heart," about the Lightning's run to the 2004 Stanley Cup title, and "The Making of a Championship Heart," about the New York Yankees, is certainly excited about the Lightning's chances this postseason.

Comparing the Lightning's quest to being successful in any walk of life, Yerrid said, "You got to take it when it's there. You got to be prepared to take it when it's there."

And fight hard when you have to.

Contact Roger Mooney at rmooney@tampabay.com. Follow @rogermooney50

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