Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Boxing History: On This Day: Jackie Graves Remembered






By Peter Silkov

 
Jackie Graves, nicknamed ‘The Austin Atom’ was a hard-hitting southpaw, featherweight, who mixed it with some of the best 126-pounders of the 1940s and 50s. Graves was born, John Thomas Graves, on September 12, 1922, in Austin, Minnesota. Following an amateur career, which saw him win a number of titles, Graves turned professional at the age of 22 in 1944. Graves hard-punching, all-action style made him a big hit with the fans.

During his professional career, Graves fought name fighters such as, Harry Jeffra, Charlie Riley, Luis Castillo, Tony Olivera, Jose Gonzalez, Victor Flores, Charley Cabey Lewis, Jackie Wilson, Jackie Callura, Lefty Lachance, Jimmy Joyce, Clint Miller, Spider Armstrong, Harry Lasane, Harold Dade, Willie Cheatum, Manny Ortega, Bobby Bell, Humberto Sierra, Teddy Davis, Glen Flanagan, Ernesto Aguilar, and Manuel Ortiz,

During the late 40s, Graves was ranked highly in the world by “The Ring” magazine, yet was never able to secure a shot at the World featherweight title. The closest Graves came to a world title chance was when he fought the World featherweight champion, Willie Pep, on July 25, 1946, in a non-title fight. This is the fight in which Pep is said to have won a round (the 3rd) without throwing a punch, but just by dodging Graves' punches, but this was proven false by several sources who were at the fight.

Various accounts of this fight say that both Pep, and Graves, were on the floor. Graves put up a brave display, but was eventually stopped in the 8th round.

In an interview with Jake Wegner, Graves spoke of his greatest memory of his career.“They all were great. But my fight with the Featherweight Champion of the world, Willie Pep. Regardless of the outcome, that was my greatest moment of my career. I just wish I could do it all over again-all of it. I used to joke with Willie that his name is Pep, and he has a lot of pep. (laughs) Lordi, that man never ran out of gas. He was great.”

Graves fought on until 1956, with his last fight being a 3rd round knock out defeat to Glen Flanagan on March 22, 1956. Graves' final record was (82-11-2, 48koes).

Jackie Graves died on November 15, 2005, after a long bout with Alzheimer's Disease. 



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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Boxing History: On This Day: Pat Ford Remembered




By Peter Silkov


 
Pat Ford was a clever and strong featherweight, with a rangy style that made full use of his height of 5' feet 10” inches. Born, Patrick Forde, on December 17, 1955, in Georgetown, Guyana, Ford turned professional in 1976. He would become known as one of Guyana's greatest fighters of all-time.

Ford quickly moved up the world rankings, winning the Guyanese featherweight title on February 4, 1978, by out-pointing Tony Greene over 15 rounds. On May 20, 1979, he added the WBC Fecarbox Featherweight title by out-pointing Enrique Solis over 12 rounds. Then on August 1, 1980, Ford won the Commonwealth featherweight title, by stopping Eddie Ndukwu in 8 rounds.

On September 13, 1980, Ford challenged Salvador Sanchez for the WBC world featherweight title, and gave the great Sanchez one of his toughest fights, before being defeated by a close point's decision after 15 rounds.

Five months later, Ford challenged Eusebio Pedrosa for the WBA world featherweight championship, and was knocked out in the 13th round, after another tough fight. After the fight, Ford said he had difficulties making the weight in the build up to the bout.

After his brave challenges for the world title, against two all time greats, Ford’s form dipped and he lost his next two fights, losing over 10 rounds on points to David Brown on April 17, 1982. One month later he was stopped in 3 rounds by Isidro Perez.

Ford stayed out of the ring for 3 years, then returned and had three fights from 1985 to 1987, winning all three, but then retired from the ring, with a final record of (19-4, 12koes).

After his retirement from fighting, Ford, who by how had moved permanently to America, became a trainer at the renowned Gleasons Gym in Dumbo, Brooklyn, New York, where he was highly respected for his knowledge and his humble demeanor.

Pat Ford died on November 13, 2011, aged 55 years old, after suffering a heart attack as a result of complications arising from diabetes. 



Salvador Sanchez Vs. Pat Ford fight:






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Friday, November 10, 2017

Boxing History: On This Day: Charley Goldman Remembered



By Peter Silkov




Charley Goldman was a very clever and tough bantamweight boxer, born Israel Goldman on December 21, 1888, in Warsaw, Poland ( some sources say born in Russia on December 22, 1887.) He later moved with his family to New York, where he started boxing professionally in 1904. Goldman fought notable fighters including Joe Wagner, Benny Kaufman, Paddy Callahan, George Kitson, Young Britt, Phil McGovern, Knockout Brown, Young Ziringer, Patsy Brannigan, Frankie Burns, Tommy Houck, Charlie Harvey, Frankie Burns, George ‘Ko’ Chaney, Kid Williams, Johnny Coulon, Johnny Solzberg, and Abe Friedman.

Although Goldman has 137 verified fights on his record, it is known that he had many more fights during his career.

After his retirement from boxing in 1918, Goldman became a boxing trainer, and would become known as one of the best trainers in the business. His most notable success as a trainer was his moulding Rocky Marciano into the World heavyweight champion. Other world champions whom he trained included Lou Ambers, Joe Archibald, Kid Gavilan, Al McCoy, Carlos Ortiz, Marty Servo, Jersey Joe Walcott (1930 to 1934) and Fritzie Zivic. Goldman also worked with top contenders Rory Calhoun, Walter Cartier, Arturo Godoy, Johnny Risko, Cesar Brion, Tony Alongi and Oscar Bonavena.

Charley Goldman died on November 11, 1968, at the age of 80-years old. In 1992, Goldman was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. 




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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Boxing History: On This Day: Jack Bodell Remembered



By Peter Silkov 


Jack Bodell was a tough and strong heavyweight fighter, with an unorthodox brawling style which, along with his southpaw stance, made him a difficult opponent for just about anyone. Bodell had a lot of heart, and despite being labelled by some as ‘weak chinned,’ most of his inside the distance defeats were caused by stoppages due to cuts.

Bodell was born on August 11, 1940, in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. As an amateur, he won the ABA light-heavyweight championship in 1961, before turning professional in 1962.

During his career, Bodell fought an array of top heavyweight names, including, Joe Erskine, Hubert Hilton, Billy Daniels, Thad Spencer, Ray Patterson, Henry Cooper, Johnny Prescott, Brian London, Billy Walker, Jack O’Halloran, Manuel Ramos, Jery Quarry, Joe Bugner, Jose Manuel Urtain, and Danny McAlinden.

Bodell challenged Henry Cooper for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles on June 13, 1967, but was stopped in the 2nd round. Following this defeat, Bodell had an eleven fight winning streak, and then on October 13, 1969, he won the vacant British heavyweight championship, by out-pointing Carl Gizzi over 15 rounds.

Five months after beating Gizzi, Bodell defended his British title against Henry Cooper and was beaten on points. Cooper also defended his Commonwealth title in this fight.

On September 27, 1971, Bodell scored the best victory of his career when he out-pointed Joe Bugner over 15 rounds, to win the British, European and Commonwealth heavyweight titles. Bodell’s non-stop brawling style and aggression had just been too much for Bugner. However, this victory was followed by three defeats for Bodell. On November 16, 1971, he was knocked out in the 1st round by Jerry Quarry. Just once month later Bodell defended his
European heavyweight title, and was stopped in the 2nd round by Jose Manuel Urtain. Six months later on June 27, 1972, Bodell lost his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles, when he was knocked out in the 2nd round by Danny McAlinden. This was Bodell’s final fight, and he retired with a final record of (58-13, 31koes).
After retirement, Bodell would open the Tile Hill chip shop in Conventry during the 80s. Upon opening it, he invited Muhammad Ali to come down and visit, and Ali accepted the invitation. He was met with a warm greeting. Unfortunately, Bodell would fight a long battle with dementia and died on November 9, 2016, at the age of 76 years old.


Jack Bodell Vs. Joe Bugner




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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Boxing History: On This Day, George Chip Remembered



By Peter Silkov



George Chip was a tough, hard-hitting middleweight, who during his career, mixed it up with the best middles of the 1910s. Born Jurgis Chipulonis on August 25, 1888, in Madison, Pennsylvania, Chip started his working life after he was taken out of school in the third grade and became a water boy in the coal mines in Scranton, PA. In 1909 he turned to boxing to make his living and moved to New Castle with his family to begin training with Jimmy Dime, his manager. Dime also trained George's brother, Joe, who was also a professional boxer.

During his career, Chip fought big names such as, Jack Dillon, Leo Houck, George ‘Ko’ Brown, Jeff Smith, Willie ‘Ko’ Brennan, Frank Klaus, Gus Christie, Jimmy Clabby, Al McCoy, Harry Greb, Young Ahearn, Les Darcy, Art Magirl, Tommy Gibbons, Eddie McGooty, and Mike Gibbons.

Chip won the World middleweight title on October 11, 1913, when he stopped
Frank Klaus in the 6th round. He reigned as champion until April 7, 1914, when he stepped in for his brother, Joe, who had broke his hand, to fight Al McCoy. Chip thought it was going to be an easy bout, but he was stopped in the 1st round by Al McCoy. In a rematch with McCoy on January 20, 1916, Chip would win the fight, but it was a non-title bout.

George Chip would again compete for the World middleweight title on July , 1921, when he met Mike Gibbons in Youngstown, Ohio, and lost by newspaper decision. After Gibbons came back from the armed services, he gave Chip a rematch in Terre Haute, Indiana, on June 11, 1919, and Chip once again was clearly defeated by Gibbons.

Chip continued to box until 1922. His final opponent was Frankie Maguire. Who he beat on points in 8 rounds. Chip's final record was (42-17-4, 36 koes). He also had about 90 no-decision contests.

After retirement, Chip would work as a referee and trainer. He owned and managed a billiards hall in the 1920s, but was closed down due to alleged gambling activities. During the Great Depression he was employed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Penn Power, as a watchman, in 1937.

While crossing a highway in New Castle, a 73-year old George was hit by a car and suffered two broken legs and neck on November 4, 1960. He would die two days later in New Castle, Pennsylvania hospital. 



Les Darcy vs George Chip











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Monday, October 30, 2017

On This Day: Mike "Twin" Sullivan Remembered





By Peter Silkov

 

Mike ‘Twin’ Sullivan was a clever boxer who fought many of the top fighters from lightweight to middleweight, of the 1900s and early 1910s. The twin of Jack Sullivan, who was a formidable fighter in his own right, Mike, was born on September 23, 1878, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and began his paid fighting career in 1901.


Throughout his career, Mike fought name fighters such as George ‘Elbows’ Mcfadden, Jack Blackburn, Joe Gans, Rube Smith, Harry Lewis, Honey Mellody, Jimmy Gardner, Dick Fitzpatrick, Belfield Walcott, Jimmy Clabby, Paddy Lavin, Dixie Kid, Young Loughrey, Jack Dillon, Stanley Ketchel, and Kid Henry.

On April 23, 1907, Sullivan out-pointed Billy ‘Honey’ Mellody over 20 rounds, to win recognition by the California State, as the World welterweight champion.

Sullivan gave up his welterweight title in late 1908, and thereafter, fought as a middleweight. His final contest was in 1914, when he was knocked out in 4 rounds by Roddy Macdonald.

Mike ‘Twin’ Sullivan’s final record was (35-7-14, 18koes).

Mike Sullivan died on October 31, 1937, aged 59.




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Saturday, October 21, 2017

On This Day: Aaron "The Hawk" Pryor Remembered




By Peter Silkov

When people talk about the greatest fighters of the 1980s, the names usually mentioned are those of Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, or Thomas Hearns. However, there were many other great fighters who were active during what may well have been one of the last ‘golden eras’ that the sport of boxing will experience. One fighter, whose name was mentioned in the same breath as those of Leonard, Duran, and Hearns during the early 1980s, and who for a while looked as if he had the ability to eclipse the success and fame of all three previously mentioned men, was Arron “The Hawk” Pryor.

Aaron Pryor came from a difficult and often traumatic childhood, and discovered boxing as a teenager. Pryor used his talent as a boxer to achieve wealth, fame, and success, only to then self-destruct, and see everything he had built and achieve collapse around him. He ended up back on the streets of his childhood with nothing except a bad eye and a life threatening drug addiction.

Pryor was one of the most charismatic, and controversial boxers of his time. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 20, 1955, into a dysfunctional family that struggled with poverty and various abuse issues. Pryor was a fighter who seemed to have talent to burn, and burn it he did. Style-wise he was a fast, free swinging, boxer-fighter. He fought with the kind of pace and aggression which provoked comparisons with the legendary Henry Armstrong. He would come forward, throwing punches with both hands from all directions, and as a fight went on, he only seemed to get stronger and faster. In addition to this, Pryor could also box with great skill. Along with these attributes, Pryor had a swashbuckling attitude, he didn’t just want to win his fights, and he wanted to entertain. He would disdain his boxing skills and go toe-to-toe with his opponents, often taking punches he didn’t need to in order to underline his superiority. Fans quickly took up his chant, ‘Hawk Time’, at his fights, with every contest, he became more popular.

Photo: howarddavisjrfoundation.org
Some purists frowned at Pryor’s approach in the ring. The fans, however, loved it. After a great amateur career, which saw him just miss out on a place in the 1976 Olympic Games, and compile an amateur record of (204-16, Pryor turned pro in late 1976, and started demolishing opponents with impressive ease. Although he was climbing up the lightweight division with every fight, Pryor found that the top men in the 135 division were not eager to meet him in the ring. So, Pryor moved up to the light-welterweight division and on August 2, 1980, he knocked out Antonio Cervantes, who had been a great world champion in his own right in the 4th round, to win the WBA world light-welterweight championship.

What followed would be 5 years of brilliance, chaos, and ultimately self- destruction. Pryor would never lose his world title in the ring, instead he was gradually stripped of recognition as world champion by the various world boxing bodies, as his life spiralled out of control.

In all, Pryor made 10 defences of his world title, with his crowning moment being in his 6th defence in November 1982, when he defended the title against the legendary Alexis Arguello. In a fight that has been recognized as one of the greatest fights of that decade or any decade in fact, Pryor displayed the true extent of his ability for perhaps the first and only time of his professional career. In this fight, Pryor showed clearly that he had the possibility of greatness.

After he had bludgeoned Arguello into a 14th round knockout defeat, the talk was of Pryor fighting the likes of Duran, or Leonard, in what would have been huge fights. Yet, just as he had truly arrived, and was at last gaining the recognition that his talent and hard work deserved, Pryor’s world started to crumble. Although he would make 4 more defences of his world title, including beating Arguello for a second time, in reality, it was all down hill for Pryor after the first fight with Alexis.

With Marshall Terrill, Pryor details his climb to the top, and then the devastating fall back down to earth. His story is an often harrowing one, which shows the true ravages and dehumanization that comes with drug addiction. But, what might have been a great tragedy, in the end, turns into an uplifting story of redemption. As Pryor shows that the strength and will power, which made him a success in the first place, could also lead to his recovery from his addictions.

Aaron Pryor is an example of the human spirit, and all the conflicting facets that make human beings so complicated. We see once more how one man can be so talented and dedicated, and yet at the same time, how that same single-mindedness that took him to success, could also undo everything he had achieved. Aaron Pryor’s final professional record is (39-1, 35koes).

During his peak years as a fighter, Pryor was often compared with one of the greatest fighters of all time, ‘Hammerin’ Henry Armstrong, due to his frenetic, nonstop, all-action aggressive fighting style. There were similarities in their lives outside of the ring as well, with Armstrong also having some hard times with addiction after his boxing career ended, but eventually finding redemption through a new faith in God.
Photo: boxingnewsonline.net
Armstrong became an ordained minister after recovering from alcoholism, and Pryor himself became an ordained deacon at the New Frendship Baptist Church, and dedicated himself to good causes and spreading the anti-drug message. Pryor also kept his ties with boxing, training both amateur and professional boxers, and touring the world giving personal appearances where he would discuss his career and life in and out of the ring. Living in his hometown of Cincinnati, Pryor made a new life with wife Frankie, and their children Aaron Jr, Antwan, Stephan, and Elizabeth. Both Stephan and Aaron Jr. have had solid professional boxing careers of their own, and were trained by their father.

Aaron Pryor died on October 9, 2016, after a brave struggle with heart disease.









The Boxing Glove book review of Aaron Pryor's authorized biography, "The Flight of the Hawk"

http://www.theboxingglove.com/2015/08/tbg-book-review-flight-of-hawk-aaron.html




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