Thursday, April 28, 2016

Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto 2 Fight Preview: All Bite Again or Just Bark?



By Stephen Donatelli


On Saturday Night, 'Vicious' Victor Ortiz and 'The Beast' Andre Berto will once again scrap, and hopefully give us, appreciative boxing fans, another epic encounter that claimed the lofty 2011 Award for "Fight of the Year!" Back then, both boxers had promising careers and now in '2016,' this is basically a must-win battle if either Pugilist wants to stay on a path to regaining respected status in the deeply talented 'Welterweight' division.

"This guy doesn't even deserve a re-match, I just want to show him I can whip him again," stated the confident Ortiz. 


Things even got heated at the last press conference when Berto pushed Ortiz as the stare-down was taking place. The one problem that might happen in this encounter, is the first fight between them was so spectacular, this can easily be a deflated let down. However, I'm a firm believer in styles make fights, and anything close to their first back alley slug-fest, will suite the viewers quite well.

Therefore, I really think this fight will, at the very least, be thrilling.


In his last bout, 'The Beast' found out, the hard way, just how hard it is to land on a 'Defensive Guru', like his fight with Floyd 'Money' Mayweather Jr., which was billed as Floyd's retirement fight. While watching the contest, it was hard to give anymore than two rounds to the scrappy, but way overwhelmed Berto. The lackluster fight went the distance, as pretty much expected.

However, it's hard to judge how much Berto has left, because Mayweather Jr. is so skilled. On the other hand, since his surprising second round collapse against Luis Collazo, Ortiz shook that off by stopping Manuel Perez (TKO 3) and Gilberto Sanchez Leon (TKO 8!)


This is a very tricky fight to predict, but when I broke down tape and observed both boxers as of late, here is what I’ve seen. First off, I think Berto is there to be taken once again by a southpaw with good footwork. He fights from a squared-up stance much of the time, while Ortiz stays on his toes, and has a nice bounce in his movement. Another thing I noticed from the first fight, or when Berto takes a hard shot not expected, he sort of half-shuts down and goes into a cautious shell until he figures out what happened. In short, he doesn’t like the unexpected and responds poorly to it. If Berto finds his efforts to puzzle-out the southpaw stymied, he will probably slink into that shell, and give away rounds to Ortiz. What Andre obviously needs to do is get back to his 'bread & butter' & drill his main punch, which is his straight right (preferably a right-left uppercut combo) and try his best, but he won’t be able to employ it as he should.

I see the slight underdog, "Vicious" Victor Ortiz, fighting with that built up rage, and also feel he's the fresher boxer of the two. Berto will come to fight and Ortiz might suffer a flash knockdown that he brilliantly shakes off. In the end, Berto's porous defense, and inability to cut the ring off effectively, will cost him dearly as Ortiz claims a TKO in the 10th Round.

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On This Day: Mickey Walker: The Toy Bulldog Remembered



 By Peter Silkov


Mickey Walker was one of the toughest, most popular, and exciting pugilists of his era.  If ever a fighter was summed up by his nickname, then it was Walker. ‘The Toy Bulldog’ was an aggressive slugger, with a good punch in either hand, and renowned for his durability and heart. Walker was a great in-fighter, and despite his lack of stature (at 5’ feet 7” inches), he fought all the top fighters, from welterweight to heavyweight, during his career.

Mickey Walker was born on July 13, 1901 in New Jersey.  He started fighting as a professional in 1919, and with his exciting all-action style, quickly became a crowd favourite, and rose up the ratings in double quick time.  After just 27 fights, Walker was matched with the clever and hugely experienced Jack Britton, for Britton’s World Welterweight championship on November 1, 1922.  In a classic battle of youth vs. age (at twenty-one he was almost sixteen years Britton’s junior), Walker who proved to be too young and strong for Britton, won a 15 rounds point’s decision, and with it, the World welterweight title.

With the world title in his hands, Walker soon became one of boxing’s most popular champions, staying busy with non-title fights, as well as a number of title defences. ’The Toy Bulldog’ quickly gained the reputation of playing as hard outside of the ring, as he fought inside of it. On July 2, 1925, Walker challenged the great Harry Greb for the World Middleweight title, but was out-pointed after a ferocious fight.  Ten months later, on May 20, 1926, Walker lost his World welterweight title when he was beaten on points over 10 rounds by Pete Latzo. Unable to make the welterweight weight limit comfortably anymore, Walker moved up to middleweight, and on December 3, 1926, he won the World Middleweight championship, with a controversial point’s decision over Tiger Flowers. Walker won despite most ringside spectators believing that Flowers was the rightful winner.

Despite the controversy, ‘The Toy Bulldog’ proved himself to be a worthy champion over the next four and a half years, defending the middleweight title three times, and winning all three defences.  During this time, on March 28, 1929, Walker challenged Tommy Loughran for the World Light-heavyweight title, but was beaten on a split point’s decision, by the fast and skillful Loughran.  By this time, Walker was already regularly fighting light heavyweights and heavyweights in non-title fights, and from 1930 onwards, Walker concentrated his efforts on fighting mainly heavyweights in an effort to gain a shot at the World Heavyweight title.  On June 19, 1931, Walker relinquished his World Middleweight title, undefeated champion, and spent the remainder of his career fighting heavyweights.

Although a huge size disadvantage that he was usually facing against heavyweights, Walker was successful against his larger foes. His opponents during this time included Leo Lomski, Johnny Risko, Bearcat Wright, King Levinsky, Paulino Uzucdun, Jack Sharkey, and Max Schmeling.  Mickey’s best result as a heavyweight was holding future World Heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey to a 15-round draw on July 22, 1931, but on September 28, 1932 , ‘The Toy Bulldog’ took a shellacking from former World Heavyweight champion, Max Schmeling, and was stopped in 8 rounds.  In this fight, Walker gave one of the gutsiest performances ever seen in modern times, as the much bigger Schmeling countered his attacks with slashing punches that cut Walker over both eyes, and floored him in the 1st, twice in the 8th, and final round.  Even though he gave a brave effort, Walker’s defeat to Schmeling cost him any chance of a shot at the World Heavyweight title.

’The Toy Bulldogs’ final title fight was for the World Light-heavyweight championship, on November 3, 1933, against Maxie Rosenbloom, who out-boxed him for a point’s decision win.  Walker’s battles finally began to catch up with him now, and after the Rosenbloom fight Walker was 12-5-3 in his last 20 fights, eventually retiring after scoring a 2nd round knockout win over Red Bush, on June 22, 1939.  Mickey Walker’s final record was 94(61koes)-19-4.

In his retirement, Walker would go on to have a short career as an actor, a salesman, and opened his own restaurant in New York City. Mickey Walker also found another passion… oil painting, and became almost as dexterous with a brush as he had been with gloves on.  On April 28, 1981, in
Freehold, New Jersey, after suffering, for years, with Parkinson's disease and Arteriosclerosis.


Watch Max Schmeling Vs. Mickey Walker:


 
Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

On This Day: Rocky Marciano Retires As Undefeated Heavyweight Champion



By Peter Silkov



60 years ago today, on April 27, 1956, Rocky Marciano announced his retirement from boxing, while still the undefeated Heavyweight Champion of the World.  Marciano had been champion since September 23, 1952, when he knocked out Jersey Joe Walcott in the 13th round, in one of the most violent, and exciting fights ever waged for the World heavyweight title.  The ’Rock’ had defended his championship 6 times, with each fight being an exciting, and often, brutal brawl.  When he retired many were skeptical about him resisting the lure of a comeback, like so many before him, but Marciano did resist, and he remains the only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated, and stay retired.

 "I don't want to be remembered as a beaten champion" -Rocky Marciano

While there may have been other heavyweight champions that were more talented, none ever had a bigger heart than Marciano, whose sheer will to win could border on the frightening at times. He was a jovial, easygoing man outside of the ring, but inside it he was a merciless wreaking machine.  His career should be an inspiration to every short guy who wants to live tall.  Marciano showed that with courage, willpower, and dedication, you can succeed in life, and upset all the doubters.

Today, 60 years after he retired, The Boxing Glove salutes Rocky Marciano.



Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On This Day: Gene Fullmer: The Cyclone From West Jordan Remembered


By Peter Silkov

Gene Fuller was one of the roughest and toughest fighters to ever hold the World middleweight title, he was a throwback to the fighters of the turn of century, who stood toe-to-toe with every opponent they met.

Fullmer was born on July 21, 1931, in West Jordan, Utah, and turned professional in 1951.  Fullmer made up for in strength and endurance, what he lacked in science, and finesse.  On January 2, 1957, Fuller caused a huge upset when he won the World middleweight title by out-pointing the already legendary Sugar Ray Robinson.   However in a rematch 3 months later, Robinson regained his World middleweight title by knocking out Fullmer with a perfect left hook in the 5th round.

After losing the title back to Robinson, Fullmer put together a run of 9 victories, and then on August 28 he fought Carmen Basilo for the vacant NBA version of the World middleweight title (Robinson  having been stripped of recognition by the NBA due to his inactivity.) Fullmer won the NBA title by stopping Basilo in the 14th round after a brutal contest.

Fullmer made 8 defences of his NBA World middleweight title, successfully defending it against Spider Webb, Joey Giardello, Carmen Basilo, Sugar Ray Robinson (twice) Florentino Fernandez and Benny Paret, before losing his championship on October 23, 1962, when he was out-pointed by Dick Tiger.

Fullmer would try to regain his title twice from Tiger. On February 23, 1963, he and Tiger fought to a draw after 15 rounds and then six months later, Tiger stopped Fullmer in the 7th round. That was the end of the road for Gene, and on July 23, 1964, he announced his retirement, with a final record of 55(24koes)-6-3.

Fullmer would go on to be part owner of the Rocky Mountain Region Golden Gloves Boxing franchise in 1964. In 1978, he would open the Fullmer Brothers Gym with his brothers Jay and Don in Utah, where he would train boxers, along with his brothers. He lived a provincial life in Utah, raising quarter horses, minks, and farming while participating on the fair board with his second wife, Karen. He also taught Sunday school and headed priesthood classes at his Mormon Church.

The International Boxing Hall of Fame inducted Fullmer in 1991. Unfortunately, on April 27, 2015, Gene Fullmer, who had Alzheimer's, dementia, and was battling a bacterial infection, died in Taylorsville, Utah. Ironically, he would die hours after his brother Jay’s funeral, who had been suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL.) His brother, Don, also died from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2013.


Watch the documentary "The Fullmer Brothers":




Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Sunday, April 24, 2016

TBG Book Review: Ring Battles of the Century by Gilbert Odd

The Boxing Glove Sunday Night Book Review

Review by Peter Silkov

“Ring Battles Of The Century  By Gilbert E. Odd.




This week I am reviewing one of the classic boxing books, “Ring Battles of the Century” by Gilbert E. Odd.  First published in 1948, this book contains a varied selection of fights, which in Odd’s opinion, were worthy of the description of being a ring ‘battle of the century.’

Ever since boxing first gained popularity, right back in the days when it was fought to a finish with bare fists, one of the most fascinating aspects of boxing, for its followers, was to recall outstanding matches of the past.  As boxing’s history has grown, so its wealth of ‘classic’ fights of the past has grown with it. 

Gilbert Odd was already recognized by 1948 as one of Britain’s premier authorities on boxing.  He had started writing about boxing for the newspaper Boxing (later to be known as Boxing News), and at just 18 years old and by 1941, he was installed as the paper’s editor, a post he kept until 1951.  In “Ring Battles of The Century,” Odd brings together a collection of fights from the 1910s, to the 1940s. Given the age of the book, many of these fights are now forgotten by today’s generation.  This book is a fascinating insight back into a time when boxing was a much more intense and difficult profession.  This was a time when fighters often fought every week and to gain a title was a much more difficult achievement than it is today.

Included in this book are some fighters that current boxing fans might find familiar, such as Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Graziano, Benny lynch, Henry Armstrong, and Jimmy Wilde.  There are also greats of yesteryear in this book, whose names have been largely forgotten today.  Men like Len Harvey, Jack Peterson, Peter Kane, Eric Boon, Mickey Walker, Ted ‘Kid’ Lewis, and Jim Driscoll.

In recalling each of the 22 fights that are featured in his book, Odd builds up the background for us in each match, placing it in context of both fighters’ careers at that point in time. The reader is given some fascinating insights into both men’s build up to their climatic showdowns.  The fights themselves are described in great detail, along with every thrill, controversy, and twist or turn.

The boxing matches inside this book include Jack Dempsey’s classic brawl with the giant Luis Angel Firpo, which saw Firpo floored over half a dozen times, and Dempsey punched out of the ring.  Joe Louis is featured in his famous defence of his World heavyweight title against Britain’s Tommy Farr.  Benny Lynch’s classic war with London rival Peter Kane is another highlight.  Then there are the exciting scraps between Teddy Baldock against Alf ’Kid’ Pattenden, Tony Zale against Rocky Graziano at Yankee Stadium, and Gus Lesnevich against Freddie Mills. 

The 22 fights in this book don’t offer a dull moment from start to finish.  One thing that comes through in this book, is that many of these contests if they took place today, would have been stopped much sooner.  This was a time when referees were usually unwilling to stop a fight, unless it was warranted by one of the contestants taking a truly terrible amount of punishment. 


Ring Battles of The Century is a rare insight into some of the great fights of the last century, when boxing was far more interwoven with every day life and its champions were house hold names.  Gilbert Odd takes us to a time when boxing was still one of the most popular sports world wide, a time which unfortunately will probably never be recaptured.

*The book contains many photographs, the photos on this page are not from the book. 

*Book available at Abe Books and Amazon:

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Saturday, April 23, 2016

On This Day: Lou Ambers: The Herkimer Hurricane Remembered


By Peter Silkov


Lou Ambers was born Louis D’Amrosio on November 8, 1913, in Herkimer, New York. Ambers was an extremely tough box-fighter, combining guile and grit, and was a very popular fighter with the fans due to his busy, aggressive style, that earned him the nickname, “The Herkimer Hurricane."

By his own admission, Ambers was a ‘bad boy’ as a youngster, frequently in trouble, usually for fighting, but when he discovered boxing his energies became focused for the first time. In his mid-teens Ambers began spending a number of years fighting ‘bootleg fights.’ These were ‘unofficial’ boxing matches, which took place weekly at little clubs all over the country. Many boxers would start off their fighting careers fighting in these matches. Ambers changed his name from D’Amrosio to prevent his mother from finding out about his choice to box. 

From 1929 Ambers fought in these ’bootleg’ bouts every two to three weeks, earning 10 to 15 dollars per fight. It was a rough introduction to fighting for Ambers, but the money was a small fortune at that time and the fights themselves would prove to be priceless experience for when Ambers began his full fledged official boxing career.

During this time, when he was traveling around America fighting bootleg bouts, Ambers would live like a hobo, riding the trains and living as cheaply as he could between fights, all the while to help support his widowed Mother, and siblings during the Great Depression.

Once he had began his official boxing career in 1932, at the age of18, Ambers soon showed himself to be a tremendous force in the ring, and managed by Al Weill (who would later manage Rocky Marciano) and quickly rose up the lightweight rankings. Ambers was a busy fighter and by the beginning of 1935 Ambers already had a record of 42-1-5. 

On May 10, 1935, he fought the great Tony Canzoneri for the World Lightweight championship, but was beaten on points. Canzoneri was Ambers idol, and Ambers was nervous. Sixteen months later however, on September 3, 1936, Ambers gained a second shot at Canzoneri. This time, a more experienced and confident Ambers came out the winner on points, after a terrific fight, and the new Lightweight Champion of the World.

Over the next two years Ambers fought a number of non-title bouts and defended his world title successfully twice (including a 3rd fight against Canzoneri, which he won again on points.) On August 17, 1938, Ambers defended his title against the great Henry Armstrong. This proved to be a truly savage contest, despite all his toughness and Armstrong, who at this time was one of the greatest and fiercest fighters ever seen in a ring, out-gunned the brave Herkimer Hurricane. Ambers was out-pointed, losing his World Lightweight championship to Armstrong, who already held the Featherweight and Welterweight world titles. Armstrong became the first and only man to hold three world titles simultaneously in three-weight division. 

Despite losing, Ambers had given Armstrong one of his toughest fights, cutting his mouth so bad that Armstrong needed nine stitches after the fight, and had almost collapsed in the later rounds from sickness, due to the blood that he had been swallowing. 


One year later, on August 22, 1939, Ambers and Armstrong fought again, and once more, it was a savage affair, but this time Lou won a controversial point’s decision and regained the World Lightweight championship. Although Ambers regained the title on points, he was helped greatly by the referee Arthur Donovon who took five rounds away from Armstrong for perceived fouling.

After controversially regaining the world title, the wars with Armstrong left their mark on Ambers and after a few non-title fights, he lost his world title on his first defence when he was knocked out by Lew Jenkins in 3 rounds on May 10, 1940. Ambers gained a rematch with Jenkins nine months later, and this time was stopped in the seventh round, of what proved to be his final fight.
After he retired from fighting Ambers joined the Coast Guard during the war, then following the end of WW2 he took a job at Reynolds Metal in Phoenix, Arizona.

Lou Amber's final record official was 88(29koes)-8-6. Although he said himself that, including his bootleg fights, he had 238 fights in all.

Watch Henry Armstrong Vs. Lou Ambers. August 22, 1939, at Yankee Stadium:
 


Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

On This Day: Ruby Goldstein: The Jewel of the Ghetto Remembered


By Peter Silkov

Ruby Goldstein was for a while one of the most popular boxers in the ring. He was an idol for many boxing fans, especially the Jewish boxing community, and much was expected of him.  He was seen by many as a future Lightweight champion of the world.

 ‘The Jewel of the Ghetto’ was a gifted boxer, with speed and technique, and a knockout punch, and seemed to be destined for the very top.  Born on October 7, 1907, in New York, New York, as an amateur he compiled a record of 19-0 with 9 knockouts, before turning professional in 1924, at the age of 17.   He quickly became a sensation with the fans, and put together a run of 23-0 (13koes) before being put in with top contender Ace Hudkins on June 25, 1926.  With hindsight it would turn out to be a disastrous mistake to match Ruby, who was still three months shy of being 19 years old, with the ferocious, battle-hardened Ace Hudkins.  ’The Jewel of the Ghetto’ was brutally wrecked at the hands of Hudkins. He was knocked out in the 4th round by a monstrous left-hook, which was described by the New York Times, as “apparently coming from the floor, and landing clean to the point of Goldstein’s chin, stretched Ruby on his back over the lower ring rope, where he swung to and fro for a space, his eyes gazing upward, but seeing nothing.”

The defeat to Hudkin’s was a set back from which Goldstein never fully recovered and he was never the same boxer again.  Three months later in his f upon his return to the ring since the Hudkin’s defeat, Goldstein was stopped in the 6th round by the unheralded Billy Alger, after injuring his ankle. Ruby did come back with a 6 fight winning streak, including a 6-rounds point’s victory over Jimmy Goodrich, that gave his fans hope that perhaps he would still live up to his promise.  Then on June 15, 1927, Sid Terris knocked out Goldstein in the 1st round.  Goldstein had put Terris down for a count of nine, but then been caught himself, and counted out.  It was clear now that Ruby had that fatal flaw that is dreaded by all boxers, and would-be champions a glass chin.


Ruby put together a 10 fight winning streak in the 3 years following the defeat to Terris, but on December 13, 1929, a second round knockout defeat, to Jimmy McLarnin, finally put an end to any remaining hopes of Ruby ever making it to the top.

Ruby would carry on fighting for another 8 years, but only sporadically, going 16-2, against most mediocre opposition. He was still a draw for the fans, although they were only too aware now of his flawed talent.  Goldstein won his last 12 bouts, before retiring in 1937, with a final record of 55(39koes)-6. 

After he retired from fighting, Goldstein a boxing referee.  By the 1950s he was one of the most respected, and popular referees in the sport, and still displaying the nimble footwork that had once made him one of the most talented boxers of his time.  Goldstein’s career as a referee ended on a tragic note on March 24, 1962, when he refereed the World welterweight title fight between Benny Paret and Emile Griffith, that ended with Griffith punching the defending champion Paret into unconsciousness in the 12th round, from which he would never awake.  Paret would lapse into a coma and die on April 3rd.


Although he had stepped in at the end, and stopped the fight when it became clear that Paret was laying on the ropes unconscious, and it was only Griffith’s punches that were keeping him up, Goldstein would face harsh criticism for not stopping the fight sooner.  The reality is that Goldstein was beaten by the speed of Griffith’s final fusillade of punches, some 25 of them, that landed before Goldstein was able to get between the two fighters, and stop the contest.

Goldstein would only work one more fight as a referee, when almost 2 years to the day; he was the 3rd official in the Luis Manuel Rodriguez vs. Holly Mims middleweight contest.  Goldstein would work two fights as a judge in late 1968, before he retired into a quieter life away from boxing. 


Watch Ruby Goldstein officiate Robinson Vs. Fullmer (1st meeting) January 2, 1957:


 
 
Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Friday, April 22, 2016

On This Day: Remembering Jack Kid Berg: The Whitechapel Whirlwind




By Peter Silkov



Jack ‘Kid’ Berg was one of the most exciting, all-action fighters ever to come out of Britain.  Born Judah Bergman, he was inspired to become a boxer by the ring exploits of Ted ‘Kid’ Lewis. Berg turned professional at the age of fifteen, in 1924, and soon became a top attraction in London due to his relentless, non-stop, windmill-style of fighting, which gained him the nickname ‘The Whitechapel Windmill.’ In 1928, Berg moved to America to fight, where he was trained by Ray Arcel. Berg’s style and out-of-the-ring charisma made him an instant hit in America, and he was soon fighting the top lightweights in the world, including Tony Canzoneri, Billy Petrolle, Mushy Callaghan, Joe Glick, Buster Brown, Sammy Fuller and Kid Chocolate. 

On February 18, 1930, Berg won the World light-welterweight championship when he out-pointed Mushy Callahan in London. Over the next 14 months, Berg defended the world title successfully nine times, before losing his championship to Tony Canzoneri, when he was knocked out in the 3rd round.  Berg’s defeat to Canzoneri was controversial, as Canzoneri’s World lightweight championship was also at stake. Both men scaled under the lightweight limit, so Berg argued that his light-welterweight title was not at stake in the fight. However, according to Berg, his light welterweight title was not supposed to be at stake, but it was, so Berg lost his championship.

Five months later, Berg and Canzoneri fought again, with both Lightweight and Light-welterweight world titles at stake once more, and this time Canzoneri won a narrow 15 rounds point’s decision.  Berg returned to London to fight in 1933, and won the British lightweight title on October 29, 1934, when he knocked out Harry Mizler in 10 rounds; a title he held for two years.  Berg would return to fight in America in 1938 to 1939, although he failed to secure another world title shot. Berg carried on fighting until 1945, when he finally retired with a record of 157(57koes)-26-9.

After he retired Berg had a new career as a movie stuntman in various films, and remained a well known character in the boxing scene until his death in 1991 at the age of 82. 








Watch Jack 'Kid' Berg "This is your Life":



Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

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On This Day: The Alabama Kid the Boxer Who Had a Knock Out Punch Remembered



By Peter Silkov

Alabama Kid was one of the toughest and most dangerous fighters of his era, being one of the most formidable middleweight and light-heavyweight contenders of the 1930s and 40s.  The Alabama Kid scored a prodigious 108 knockouts during his career, a career in which he started as a flyweight, and fought in every division up to heavyweight.

Born Clarence Reeves on January 1, 1914, in Concord, Georgia, the Alabama Kid turned professional in 1928, fighting as a flyweight. By 1931, Alabama Kid had grown into a middleweight and was an established crowd favourite.  He often had to give away weight in matches, fighting men who were naturally bigger than him, as those of his own size often avoided him.  Ironically, despite his name, the Alabama Kid did not have very strong connections with Alabama. He never lived in Alabama and there are no verified records of him ever fighting in Alabama, (although that doesn’t mean that he did not fight there), but he took on the name so that his parents would not know that he was boxing.

During his career, Alabama Kid met top fighters such as Ko Kelly, Frankie Palmo, Paul Pirrone, Tommy Freeman, Sammy Slaughter, Joe Sekyra, Buddy Knox, George Nichols, Gus Lesnevich, Gorilla Jones,  Buddy Walker, Bob Amos, Dave Sands, Lee Q Murray, Arturo Godoy, Archie Moore, and Sid Peaks.

In 1938, Alabama traveled to Australia for some fights. Originally he planned to have just two fights there, but he found himself so popular with the Aussies that he ended up staying for over two years, before he decided to head home.  When he did decide to head back to America in 1940, fate took a hand when Alabama’s ship hit a mine, and sunk within half an hour.  Luckily all the passengers on board, including Alabama, were saved and put into lifeboats.  Instead of returning to America, Alabama went to New Zealand for a couple of fights, and then returned once more to Australia.

In a twist of fate, which would turn out to be tragic, Alabama Kid met a white Australian woman, whom he soon married.  This should have been a happy turn of events, especially when Alabama’s wife gave birth to two children.  For a while everything went well for Alabama, he continued to fight regularly, both in the ring, and also toured Australia with ’tent’ troupes, which were ran by his manager, Harry Johns. It is said that when Alabama tried to leave Harry Johns' Boxing Troupe over poor working conditions and low wages, he was threatened by Johns that he would turn Alabama into the immigration department. Ironically when he did leave the tent shows it was shortly there after that the Australian authorities caught up with Alabama and swiftly deported him.

However in 1947, Alabama Kid was told by immigration that he would have to leave Australia, as his marriage violated the ‘white Australian’ rule, which was intended to guard against white Australians marrying black partners.  Alabama Kid protested at being deported and underlined his love for both his wife and babe’s and Australia. even though his wife begged and pleaded to the authorities to allow her husband to stay in the country. “She said to the court “We are without a bread winner in a strange city and I do not want to die,” said Mrs. Reeves in Sydney following the arrest of her husband on a deportation order. The Alabama Kid, whose real name is Clarence Olin Reeves, burst into tears when he was arrested after having been beaten in a boxing bout.’"

But despite this and the outcry that his deportation raised amongst many Australians, especially within the boxing community, Alabama Kid was detained in April of 1948 at the Long Bay Jail and deported from Australia within a week, leaving his wife and children behind.  He would never see them again. They didn’t even allow his wife and children to say goodbye to him. He was placed on the ship Marine Phoenix' on April 16th, heading to San Francisco. He tried many times over the following years to get back to Australia. 

Once he returned to America, Alabama Kid continued to fight for a while, but he was a pale shadow of the fighter that he had been previously.  The Alabama Kid had his final fight on March 8, 1950, when O’Dell stopped him in 3 rounds.

The Alabama Kid’s final record is 178(108koes)-59-20.

After his retirement from boxing, the Alabama Kid worked as a trainer, and also ran a liquor store. Alabama would write Harry Johns in 1952 and said “he was managing a beer, wine, and food saloon in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. The Kid sends his regards to his many fans.”

Clarence ‘Alabama Kid’ died on April 22, 1970. 




Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

On This Day: Johnny Dundee: The First of the Great Italian-American Fighters Remembered


By Peter Silkov

Johnny Dundee, the ’Scotch Wop,’ is recognized by many as the first great Italian-American boxer. He was one of the cleverest and most durable fighters ever, with great stamina, footwork, and ring guile. In a career lasting over 20 years, Dundee fought the best of his era, from featherweight to lightweight. He would also be one of the busiest and most prolific boxers of all time.
Born Giuseppe Carrora, on November 22, 1893, in Sciacca, Sicilia, Italy, Dundee emigrated to America in 1898 with his family, and was eventually naturalized in 1919.

Dundee’s professional career began in 1910, and was soon facing name fighters. Dundee would face an amazing array of top fighters, and it is a tribute to both his ability and determination that he eventually forced his way to a world title shot, after many years of being avoided. Some of the outstanding fighters whom Dundee fought include Paddy Callahan, Charlie White, Joe Shugrue, Johnny Kilbane, Freddie Welsh, Rocky Kansas, Matty Baldwin, George ‘Ko’ Chaney, Joe Mandot, Grover Hayes, Willie Richie, Mexican Joe Rivers, Benny Leonard, Leach Cross, Ever Hammer, Lew Tendler, Jack Bernstein, Sid Terris, Joe Glick, Tod Morgan, Tony Canzoneri, and Al Foreman. 

Dundee’s first shot at a world title came in 87th contest, when on April 29, 1913, he challenged Johnny Kilbane for the World Featherweight title, but was held to a draw. 

He would have to wait another 8 years before he got a second chance at a world title. On November 18, 1921, in his 260th fight, he beat George ‘Ko’ Chaney on a 5th round disqualification, to win the World Junior-lightweight championship. Dundee would defend this title 6 times, and on August 15, 1922, he added the New York State world featherweight title to his collection, when he knocked out Danny Frush in the 9th round. On July 26, 1923 Dundee gained recognition as undisputed World Featherweight champion, when he out-pointed Eugene Criqui.

On June 20, 1924, Dundee lost his World Junior-lightweight title when he was out- pointed over 10 rounds by Steve ‘Kid’ Sullivan. Two months later, Dundee vacated the world featherweight title.

Dundee had one last shot at a world title on October 24, 1927, when he challenged Tony Canzoneri for his old World featherweight title, but was out-pointed over 15 rounds.
Johnny Dundee carried on fighting until 1932, with his last contest being a 6 rounds point’ win over Mickey Greb, on December 5, 1932. It was Dundee’s 333th contest.
Dundee’s final record, was 200(22koes)-59-31 (and 32 no decisions) There are different versions of Dundee’s record , this is Nat Fleischer’s version of Dundee’s professional record.


Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

Saturday, April 16, 2016

TBG Book Review: Battling Bruce: The Story of the Fighting Career and rise to fame of Bruce Woodcock


The Boxing Glove Sunday Night Book Review 


Review by Peter Silkov

"Battling Bruce: The Story of the Fighting Career and Rise to Fame of Bruce Woodcock"


By Brian Hughes




This is a very interesting book on the career of Bruce Woodcock, British, European, and Commonwealth heavyweight champion of the mid to late 40s.  Hughes is a former boxing trainer and has written a series of books on the great fighters of yesterday, including Jock McAvoy, Johnny King, Jackie Brown, Peter Kane, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Willie Pep.  In this book, Hughes builds a portrait of the man whom he says was responsible for instilling within him his life long passion for the fight game.

Bruce Woodcock was born on January 18, 1920, in Doncaster, Yorkshire, into a tightly knit, but poor family. He started his professional career in 1941, and within a few years, had become one of Britain’s biggest sporting stars.  He won the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles in 1945, and was viewed as one of the country’s greatest heavyweight prospects since the days of Bob Fitzsimmons.  Woodcock had a picture-perfect left jab, a knockout punch in his right hand, grit, and durability. He seemed to be a prime candidate to go all of the way to the World heavyweight championship, at a time when the legendary Joe Louis was aging, and coming towards the end of his amazing 12-year reign.


By the time WW2 was over, Woodcock was being hailed by many as the future world champion and every fight he was in became a huge occasion. With the country suffering from the after effects of WW2, it was sportsmen-like Woodcock who people relied upon to cheer up and brighten the dark and grey days of post-war rationing.

However things would take a disastrous turn for Woodcock, as he was pushed too far, too fast. The result was that his once promising career came to a bitter and premature end, at an age when he should have been in his prime.

Brian Hughes takes us through Woodcock’s boxing career, from its meteoric rise to the top in Britain and Europe, to the point when things started to go wrong, and eventually the brutal end of Woodcock’s boxing dreams.


After winning the British and Commonwealth titles from Jack London in 1945, Woodcock went on to defend them twice in two brutal bouts against Freddie Mills, another huge star of British boxing at that time.  But, things went wrong when Woodcock was put in with world-ranked American contenders.  The first misstep came in May 1946, when Woodcock was taken to America, and matched with the hard punching and far more experienced, Tami Mauriello, and was stopped in the 5th round. Less than a year later, after 6 impressive rebuilding victories, Woodcock was matched with the 20 pounds heavier, big punching, Joe Baksi, and brutally stopped in the 7th round.  Woodcock was never really the same after this defeat to Baksi, which left him nearly blind in his left eye.  Despite this, Woodcock was still maneuvered into a ‘world title’ fight with Lee Savold in June 1950, in which he was stopped in the 4th round.

By the time Woodcock had his final fight against Jack Gardner in November 1950, he was just a shadow of the great fighter that he had once been.  Woodcock’s story is both an uplifting tale of a poor boy making good with his fists. It is also a cautionary warning about what happens when a bright young prospect is pushed too fast by those wishing to make their money quickly, rather than things more shrewdly, and looking more to the future. 

Hughes has structured this book in an interesting fashion, with each chapter of the book focusing upon a particular fight of Woodcock’s career.  Within each chapter, Hughes gives us the build up and background of the fight, then the fight itself, followed by the fight’s aftermath.  There are interesting insights into the politics that took place in the background of Woodcock’s career and the manner in which he is mishandled by his management and promoter, and pushed too far, too soon is graphically described.  Woodcock’s story is an all-too-typical bittersweet boxing tale, which shows how a man from humble beginnings is able to fight his way to fame and riches, only to have his career ruined by his over eager manager and promoter.


Had Woodcock been given a few more years to develop, then there is little doubt that he would have had a longer, and more lucrative career as British and European champion. Eventually he would have gained a genuine shot at the World heavyweight title.  One only needs to look at the lucrative career of Henry Cooper in the 50s and 60s, to see how Woodcock’s own fighting career might have turned out had he been more patiently handled.  As it was though, the people behind Woodcock could not resist fast tracking him, even though the signs were clear that he was not yet ready for such a move.

Bruce Woodcock died on December 21, 1997, at the age of 77.  He is still fondly remembered today by those who recall his fights, as a champion whose time at the top was all too brief. 

‘Battling Bruce: The Story of the Fighting Career and Rise to Fame of Bruce Woodcock’ is a gritty, fast-moving, analysis of the fighting career of one of Britain’s great champions of the past, which shows once again why boxing is known both as the sweet science, and the hardest game.



*The book contains many photographs, the photos on this page are not from the book. 

*Book available at Brian Hughe's webpage  http://www.brianhughesmbe.co.uk/Boxingbooks.html



Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com