Subj: The BAWLI Papers No. 35
Date: 99-01-16 09:52:51 EST
The BAWLI Papers
(Boxing As We Liked It)
By J Michael Kenyon
Issue Number 35
Sunday, January 17, 1999
New York City, New York, US of A
IN THIS ISSUE: EDDIE FUTCH ON QUARRY; THE EARLY CLAY; AND JIMMY BIVINS ON THE
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A KING WITH A LOT TO SAY
(Louisville Courier-Journal, February 26, 1964)
By Earl Ruby
MIAMI---Cassius Marcellus Clay, 22-year old boy, from Louisville, just four
years out of Central High School, is the new heavyweight boxing champion of
The loquacious youngster, who predicted he would win in eight, missed his
prophecy by only one round when Sonny Liston, the champion who was defending
his title for the second time in two years, complained of a dislocated
shoulder and would not come out of his corner for the seventh round.
The superbly conditioned Clay tantalized Liston, who is a mechanical fighter.
He jabbed him constantly, jumping and leaning away-something his managers had
advised him not to try-forcing the enraged and baffled champion to swing
wildly and widely.
Cocky and corny, but more prepared than most of the experts believed, he was
not in trouble at any time, and came out of the match with only the slight-
scar on his handsome face.
The officials counted the points even, but Clay is the winner and new
The orator-fighter, undefeated in 20 professional fights, joins a select group
for three heavyweight rulers who won all of their pro fights before assuming
the throne. The others were John L. Sullivan, Rocky Marciano, and Ingemar
The last major upset in a heavyweight title bout-nothing to compare with this-
was Jersey Joe Walcott's seventh-round knockout of Ezzard Charles in 1951. He
was a 6-o-1 underdog.
Jimmy Braddock was a 10-to-1 long shot in 1935 when he earned a 15 round
decision over Maxie Baer.
Clay is the second Louisvillian to hold the title but the first to win it from
a champion. Marvin Hart knocked out Jack Root in the 12th round at Reno in
1905 for the title vacated by Jim Jeffries-who refereed the match for a big
After fighting one patsy, Hart then lost the crown to Tommy Burns in February,
Hart died in 1931 and is buried at Fern Creek.
Clay surprised everybody by rushing in and taking the first round. He moved
around well, made Liston miss time and again, and caused the crowd to roar and
laugh. He landed three good punches and Liston seemed to lose his poise.
They were fighting so hard at the bel neither heard it, and Clay landed a
solid left as the referee finally stopped them.
Clay landed two more lefts to open the second. Liston missed two and forced
Clay to the ropes. Clay's weaving, fade-away style was giving the champion
Liston did all of the chasing, however, and it might have seen his round as
the aggressor. But Clay didn't seem to he winded at all.
Cassius crashed out in the third with a barrage of blows so vicious that he
had the champion crouched, bleeding, and curling into his shell. But the way
the champion came back from that showed Clay the mettle of the man he faced,
Liston's recovery seemed to earn him a draw for the round.
Liston landed a solid left in the fourth that cased Clay to resort to the
dancing tactics he had practiced so long. Clay continued to force the champ to
come after him, presumably to wear Liston out-and seemed to succeed.
But in the fifth, Liston decided to go after him-and he landed several
crushing rights and lefts to the body that seemed to hurt Clay and brought
yells and hoots and cheers from the crowd.
By now, Clay's face was showing a little the worse for wear. He seemed to have
some thing in his eyes and squinted throughout the fifth round. Liston chased
him and caught him, but had lost his steam.
Clay slashed in with a solid right in the sixth and followed with a jab, hook,
right cross, then another solid left. If that wasn't Clay's round, I never saw
a man take a round.
He was definitely taking command of the fight&ldots;&ldots;..The crowd hooted
and howled-could this kid be beating the toughest man in the world?
The bell sounded. Liston swayed to his corner. The bell sounded for him to
come out. He remained stolidly on his chair.
Then referee asked what his trouble was. He replied, "I can't get up."
I left my seat and jumped to the ring by Liston's side.
"What's the trouble?" I asked, "Too much of that left jab?"
"I couldn't get up," he said. "I just couldn't get up. My left shoulder is out
of place or something. I threw it out of joint, I guess."
The announcer held up Clay's arm and cried, "the winner and new champion."
Clay waved his arms and gave one of his famous whoops.
The crowd began arriving early-about 6:30 for the 10 o'clock feature-in a
driving rain. They came in dripping, and-after locating their poor seats-
The $250 seats weren't bad. Just about 15 feet back of the four press rows.
But then came a wide aisle before the $200 and $150 undertaker chairs.
Ironically, the farther back the seat the more comfortable they became: The
$50 seats were soft, blue theatre-type chairs on a rise.
The $20 seats, however, were in the corners, back of posts, placards, beer
salesman, and bums. Any seat at the closed telecasts in Louisville provided a
thousand-times better view of the fight. All the TV viewers missed was the
smell of the blood, sweat, and ammonia-and the $20-patrons here missed that,
too, along with the fight.
By 8:30, when the National Anthem was ground out on a scratchy phonograph,
there weren't 3,000 pesons present. The place holds 16,000.
Chris Dundee, the promoter, wandered by. He was wearing a neck brace.
"You break your neck trying to put this thing over?: asked Dan Parker, a New
"No." Dundee replied, seriously. "I was in an automobile accident. I pinched a
nerve. I'm sorry for Bill MacDonald, who guaranteed $650,000 for tonight's
gate. I don't think it will go $400,000. But that's boxing."
Cassius stood silently in the wings, dressed in an immaculate black suit, a
ruffled dress shirt, black bow tie, as he watched his young brother, Rudolph
Valentino (a middle name Cassius gave him "for class") win his first
professional fight in the second bout on the card.
Rudy earned a fairly easy victory over a boy named Chip Johnson of Naples,
Fla. Cassius turned quietly and returned to his dressing room.
Clay was told early of the commission's determination to permit no "silliness"
in the ring-that a fine would result and his purse help up until paid.
He apparently didn't understand that this included the weighing in ceremonies.
He and Drew "Bundini" Brown, a member of his entourage, put on one of their
now familiar rooster crowing ceremonies before the room full of reporters and
three stands full of mikes and movie machines.
Ed Lassman, a member of the Miami Beach Boxing Commission and president of the
World Boxing Association, stepped to the mike and quieted The Lip for the
first time in his life-"Cassius Clay has just been fined the sum of $2,500 for
his actions on the platform," he said.
"I find we have no jurisdiction over what he does coming down aisle tonight,"
sighed Morris Klein, chairman of the Miami Beach Commission. "He can wear any
goofy outfit he chooses-but he better not try bringing it or any of his
oratory into the ring. Like I told him-that $2,500 will look like chicken feed
if he does."
Clay's Louisville backers made a gala occasion of the fight and the parties
surrounding it. With a hundred or more friends from all parts of the country,
they climaxed their prefight fun with a dinner at the Roney Plaza, which has
served as press-entertainment headquarters since the contestants began their
Among those drinking toasts to the success of the Louisville boy early last
evening were Harry Guggenheim, publisher of Newsday in New York, with which
Mark Ethridge, former publisher of The Courier-Journal, now is prominently
connected; Horation Luro, the Argentine trainer who won the Kenucky Derby with
Also the following couples: Mr. And Mrs. George Kelly, Booker Coleman, Cyrus
Radford, Sam English, Sherman Jenney, Ben Robertson, L. Allan Caperton, Louis
Herrmann, Jr., W.L. Lyons Brown, George Garvin Brown, Robinson S. Brown, Jr.,
D.L. Street, Rodman W. Moorhead, Earl Dorsey, Phillip Newman, Tom Helm, Reagor
Motlow, Willliam Faversham, Jr., Roger M. Coleman, Roberts Wood, Jack Spanier,
Mason Tush, Vertner Smith, Sr., Worth Bingham, William Cutchings, Gordon
Davidson, Frank Shipman, Jouett Ross Todd and Elbert Gary Sutcliffe.
In addition to these couples were George Wright, D. Evans Motlow, J. Royden
Peabody, Lord Lovat of England, Sam Tyler, Tom Stokes, Campbell Foster, Warner
Jones, Jr., and his daughter, Mrs. Harriet Hickok, Bob Evans, Fritz Drybrough,
A. B. Hancock of Paris, Ky., Lee Brown, Martin Brown, Pat Calhoun, Sam Miller,
and Mrs. Shirley Reiss.
BIVINS WINNING BIGGEST FIGHT
(Associated Press, August 14, 1998)
By Ken Berger
CLEVELAND - Although it is dark and silent inside the Loft Boxing Club, Jimmy
Bivins imagines he can hear the speed bag pumping and jump-ropes swishing in
the gym where he used to train.
He walks gingerly with a cane and can't really move his left arm, the one that
used to flick jabs at Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott and Archie Moore.
"I feel OK," says Bivins, the boxing great found neglected in the attic of his
daughter's home in April. He knows this is the greatest comeback of his life.
Bivins, a top contender in the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions in
the 1940s and '50s, was found amid squalid conditions four months ago. Part of
the middle finger on his right hand had to be amputated. He nearly lost a leg
that was wracked with infection. He is partially blind in his right eye.
But after two hospital stays and nearly three months in a nursing home,
Bivins, 78, is back on his feet. He visits a stuffy old gym three times a week
with friend Gary Horvath, who helped nurse him back to health.
"It's Jimmy Bivins again, back in the gym, being himself," said Horvath,
trained by Bivins in the 1960s. "The inspiration that the kids get, the kids
are real loving toward him. They look up to him. He gets better respect or
attention around here than I do."
Bivins weighed only 110 pounds when he was found wrapped in a soiled blanket
in a dank, filthy attic. Only the determination and years of conditioning that
made him a 5-foot-9 fighting machine got him through the crisis.
"I just put my mind to it and came on through it," Bivins said softly, sitting
ringside in the gym where he tutors about a dozen of Cleveland's up-and-coming
fighters. "I said, 'I got to get up and walk again.' I had a lot of boxing
friends come around, and that made me feel better."
Bivins now weighs 176 pounds, one pound over the light-heavyweight limit.
Wearing a new outfit of slacks and a fashionable collared shirt, he climbs
slowly into the ring, grasping the squeaky ropes frayed by heat and musty air.
Once inside, he seems to move faster, gliding on the faded canvas.
"This is where I used to rest," Bivins jokes, leaning against the ropes in the
The wit and old boxing bravado are sharp as ever. He recalls his fights with
the likes of Louis, Moore and Ezzard Charles. His career included a 28-bout
unbeaten streak from 1942-46 and eight victories over future champions.
"They were going around saying they were going to knock me out, and they
didn't even knock me down," Bivins said.
Horvath, 51, was named Bivins' legal guardian on July 9, and three days later,
he was released from the nursing home. His daughter, Josette, and her husband
were indicted on neglect charges on June 23.
Horvath organized a boxing benefit in June that raised $6,100 for Bivins'
hospital bills. Bivins, born in Dry Branch, Ga., near Macon, now lives with
two sisters. After years away from it, he came back to the gym on his first
day out of the nursing home. The boxer walked slowly to the rusted metal door,
guarded by a giant padlock, and stepped into the makeshift lobby to let the
memories bombard him like a punch combination.
"It was quiet, just like it is today," Horvath said. "He said, 'I can hear
them now.' You can hear the workouts and the noise and everything that a gym
makes. If these walls could talk, I'm sure there'd be a lot of stories."
EDDIE FUTCH REMEMBERS QUARRY
(Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jan. 8, 1999)
By Royce Feour
When Hall of Fame trainer Eddie Futch heard about Jerry Quarry's death this
week, he said the news brought forth a flood of memories about the former top
The legendary Futch knew Quarry well from the latter's two fights with former
heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, whom Futch trained. Futch, 87, said he
respected Quarry and added if Quarry was born some 25 years later, he would be
world heavyweight champion today.
"In today's boxing world, with no Muhammad Ali around and no Frazier around,
(Quarry) would have been the top man," Futch said. "He definitely would have
been head and shoulders above the crowd around today." Would Quarry, in his
prime, have been able to beat Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson?
"I think so," Futch said. "Tyson would have been the biggest problem. It would
have been two punchers and two aggressive punchers. Holyfield, I don't think
would have been too much of a problem for Quarry. If you look at (Quarry's)
record, he fought every top fighter in his division in his time.
"Quarry was a very good fighter. I think with the proper handling, he would
have been heavyweight champion of the world."
Quarry did fight the Who's Who of the heavyweight division in his time.
In addition to his two fights with Frazier, Quarry fought former heavyweight
champions Ali and Floyd Patterson twice each. But Quarry fought many other
leading heavyweights of his time, including victories over Thad Spencer,
Buster Mathis, Ron Lyle, Brian London and Earnie Shavers, and losses to Eddie
Machen, Jimmy Ellis, George Chuvalo and Ken Norton.
Futch said he had such a high regard for Quarry in the mid-1960s that he had
to talk Frazier's Cloverlay management team out of fighting Quarry at the
time. He told Frazier's investors that Quarry was too dangerous a fighter to
"That is a 50-50 fight. Both fighters are too close in ability," Futch said he
told Frazier's management. Futch said he thought Quarry and Frazier had a lot
"I noticed when they (sparred) against each other in 1966, they had similar
styles," the Las Vegan said. "At the time, Joe was a standup fighter. Jerry
was a standup fighter. Both were aggressive. I had to change Joe to a bobber
and weaver. He was getting hit too much by the taller guys."
Quarry and Frazier were also similar in age and height. Quarry died at 53, and
Frazier will be 55 Tuesday. Both were 5-foot-11 3/4.
Futch finally allowed Frazier to fight Quarry in 1969, and Frazier stopped
Quarry in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden in New York, then the
"mecca" of boxing.
"He was ready for Quarry. It was a great fight. It was a war," Futch said.
Randy Gordon, who went on to become editor of Ring Magazine and chairman of
the New York Athletic Commission, said, "It was as good as anything I have
seen in the heavyweight division for a short time."
Gordon said the first two rounds of the first Frazier-Quarry fight were the
heavyweight version of the Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns middleweight
championship fight that came along 16 years later at Caesars Palace. The
fighters had a rematch in 1974 at the Garden, with Frazier stopping Quarry in
the fifth round.
Former heavyweight champion Joe Louis was the referee for the second fight and
let the fight go too long. Frazier put a tremendous beating on Quarry.
"Quarry was taking too much punishment," Futch said. "I thought (Louis) was
late stopping it. I thought it should have been stopped in the fourth round.
Everyone was screaming for (Louis) to stop the fight."
Gordon, who also did television commentary for the ESPN and USA Network weekly
fight cards, agreed with Futch.
"Jerry took a savage beating," Gordon said. "Louis had no reason to be in that
ring. Frazier kept turning to (Louis), asking him to stop the fight. It was
the only time in my now 30 years in the sport that everyone in the press
section was standing up screaming for the referee to stop the fight
"Jerry was cut over both eyes, under the eyes, his nose was bleeding, and he
was bleeding from the mouth."
It was beatings like that which apparently had Quarry suffering from brain
damage in his later years and left him a man-child who needed his family to
care for him.
After Quarry retired for the second time in 1983, he lived in Las Vegas for a
few years and was a bartender at the Stage Door. The last time I saw Quarry,
he said he was forming an organization that would start a pension fund for
As it turned out, Quarry's idea would have surely helped him out in the last
years of his life.
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