Chapman was profiled by ESPN The Magazine as part of their Feb. 17 Cuba Issue. Chapman is portrayed in the profile as someone who had a difficult life in Cuba, but defected to the US where he is now a millionaire and seemingly has everything. But despite having enough money for all the material possessions, Chapman misses a lot about the drama and chaos of his past life. One way he is able to connect to his old life is by supporting struggling Cuban boxers who are in the US.
Chapman’s father was a boxing trainer and Aroldis boxed when he was younger. Though he gave up the sport at age 11 because his mother thought his temperament was better suited for baseball, Chapman still relates well with boxers and has an affinity toward the sport. He and fellow Cuban pitcher Livan Hernandez even began sponsoring boxers who escaped Cuba.
According to writer Eli Saslow, Chapman was so serious about boxing he almost went into business with 50 Cent.
For a while, Chapman says, he considered partnering with the rapper 50 Cent and starting a formal boxing promotion company, but those plans dissolved within a few months. “I don’t want it to be so complicated — promoters, a business plan, none of that,” Chapman says. So instead, he offers informal help to half a dozen Cuban boxers who are now training in New York and Miami. He helps cover their travel costs, rent and training supplies. “An investor” is how the boxers describe Chapman’s role, but Chapman doesn’t care whether they pay him back, and no one does. “This is as much for me as it is for them,” he says. “They get some money. I get some of the old excitement.”
That is a pretty cool arrangement, and certainly a generous move by Chapman to help them out since he has already made it in terms of athletic and financial success.
That was one of the many good details revealed about Chapman in the profile. It’s actually somewhat sad to read it. You learn about a guy who seems to have lost some motivation and is lacking satisfaction in life, mostly because he is in a different country that really does not feel like home for him. Another funny detail is that the Reds pitcher smokes Reds — Marlboro Reds. In fact, when Chapman left his baseball team in the Netherlands to escape, he left with just a passport and pack of cigarettes. Priorities people, priorities.