Saturday, February 13, 2016

Boxing History: "Chief" Eugene Parris

Remembering…"Chief" Eugene Parris

DECEMBER 8, 1911 – FEBRUARY 14, 1993

Chief Parris was a tough and clever boxer who fought some of the best welterweights and middleweight of the 1930s.  Born Richard Eugene Parris, on December 8, 1911, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Parris, was a Native American Indian, (his mother was full Cherokee Indian, while his father was half Irish, half Cherokee) and fought under the name of Chief Parris.  His colourful character and style soon made him a popular fighter amongst the boxing fans.  "Chief" Eugene Parris grew up in Allowee, Oklahoma, where his family became known as the only ‘Indian’ family in town. This is where his introduction to boxing happened, when a carnival came to town, and he coaxed someone into signing his father’s name so he could box since he was underage. He won his first fight at this carnival and shortly afterwards started traveling the Southwest boxing professionally.

During a professional career, which ran from 1932 to 1939, Parris fought an impressive array of top welterweights, including Baby Manuel, Midget Mexico, Cowboy Eddie Anderson, Wild Cat Monte, George Salvadore, Alvin Lewis, Harry Dublinsky, Al Manfredo, Ceferino Garcia, Young Peter Jackson, and Al Hostak.

Chief Parris’ last fight was on March 28, 1939, when Ceferino Garcia knocked him out in the 3rd round.  Parris final record was 59(18koes)-23-12.

When asked about his longevity, Parris, who ran 6 miles a day and lived a clean life.

""I never drank or smoked," he said. "I watched what I ate. I only ate two times a day.

"I always went to church every Sunday and kept good company. I didn't care which denomination I went to. There's only one God and only one heaven, and we'll all go there some day."

He gave up boxing because, "A boxer only has so many fights in him.”"

After his boxing career was over, Chief Parris returned Oklahoma City, and became an iron worker. Parris became a trainer and trained three National Amateur champions, Alvin Williams, Jack McCann, and Hershal Action.  Chief Parris died on February 14, 1993, at the age of 81. 

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1 comment:

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