Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Andy Kendall: The Scappoose Express

Remembering…Andy Kendall         September 5, 1938 – January 31, 2015

Andy Kendall, who passed away on January 31 2015, at the age of 76, was a rugged, big-hearted fighter, who fought the best light-heavyweights of the 1960s and early 70s. Nicknamed "The Scappoose Express,” Kendall was born Andrew Pierce, on September 5, 1938, in Burns, Oregon, Kendall’s mother was a full-blooded Seminole Indian, and the family lived on the Paiute Indian Reservation. Kendall's early life was touched by tragedy when first his father, a school teacher on the reservation died, then his mother died, leaving him an orphan at the age of 12. The Pierce family was broken up, and the children sent to foster care. The Kendall family, from which he took his new name, adopted Andy.

After learning to box during a stint in the Marines, Kendall turned professional in 1962 and soon proved to be a tough match for anyone in the 175 division. In a career which lasted until 1974, Kendall fought top names such as Roger Rouse, Mike Quarry, Ron Marsh, Eddie Jones, Don Fullmer, Bobo Olson, Eddie Cotton, Pat O'Connor, Henry Hank, Dick Tiger, Yaqui Lopez, Jorge Ahmuda, and Bob Foster. The biggest night of Kendall’s career came when he challenged the great Bob Foster for the world light-heavyweight title, on May 24, 1969. Kendall gave his usual rugged display but, found the deadly punches of Foster too much and was stopped in the 4th round.

The Scappoose Express continued punching until 1974, when he retired with a final record of 44(11koes)-15-8. In his post fighting life Kendall turned his attention to training and helping troubled youth, becoming another fighter who used boxing to positive effect, long after his own fighting career had ended.

Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com and www.theboxingtribune.com

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1 comment:

  1. As a young sports writer in Portland during the 1960's I got to know Andy and his manager, Mike Morton, on a personal basis. He was a fun guy to be around and always a great action fighter in the ring. He was one of Sonny Liston's sparring partners in Vegas between Liston's first and second "fights" with Cassius Clay (I can't remember if he had become Ali by that time). Anyway, Andy came home with some great stories directly from Mr. Liston concerning how all that came down. But that's a different story. Concerning Andy Kendall, I consider it an honor to have known him during Portland's golden era of boxing when they had Andy, Denny and Phil Moyer, Richard "Sweet" Sue and many more ranked fighters, not to mention the national champion amateur boxing team from the Knott Street Center. Aaron Jones