The CBZ Newswire

Chicago’s ‘Midnight Stalker’ Michael Walker Shot Dead at 35

by on Nov.15, 2013, under Boxing News, Obituaries

The late Michael Walker, at right, circa 2006 (photo by Juan C. Ayllon)

The late Michael Walker, at right, circa 2006 (photo by Juan C. Ayllon)

CHICAGO, November 14, 2013 — Legislators are debating Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s gun control bill in Springfield, but, meanwhile, the carnage goes on.  This time, it’s a boxer.  In an ironic twist, Michael Walker — who’s nicknamed “The Midnight Stalker” — is dead, quite possibly the victim of a late night robbery gone bad.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the two-time Chicago Golden Gloves winner was found unresponsive in a narrow walkway on the 8200 block of South Drexel Blvd. at roughly 8:45 A.M. this morning and was pronounced dead at 9:31 AM at Northwest Memorial Hospital.

A middleweight, Mr. Walker kicked-off his professional boxing career with a two round demolition of one Jason Marcus in April 2004 at the Radisson Star Plaza Hotel in Merrilleville, Indiana, running up a record of 19-0-1 before suffering a majority draw in February 2008 against hard-hitting Antwun Echols (who’d given Bernard Hopkins a few scary moments in losing a bid for the IBF Middleweight Title in 2000). He’d avenge his draw in October that same year by majority decision, but by then the slide had begun.  Losing a televised bout to David Lopez in June 2008 by unanimous decision, he was no longer undefeated.  In addition to dropping a pair of decisions to former stablemate Derrick Findley, he went on to fight — and lose to — such notables as Daniel Jacobs, Fernando Guerrero, Andy Lee and Ricardo Mayorga.

It was in his rugged, but losing effort against Jacobs that Walker earned high praise from ring commentator Larry Merchant, who noted with admiration that he “is a hard man.”

Walker, at left, absorbs a hard right from Antwun Echols (photo by Juan C. Ayllon)

Walker, at left, absorbs a hard right from Antwun Echols (photo by Juan C. Ayllon)

Fightnews.com’s Sam Geraci wrote, “Walker maintained a reputation as a fighter willing and capable of challenging some of the division’s toughest and more promising fighters.”

Unfortunately, as with many rising from the ranks of  the Indiana-Midwest circuits, his aura of invincibility gave way to that of an opponent and, eventually, cannon fodder.  He lost his last three fights inside the distance to upstarts Caleb Truax, Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez and Willie Monroe, Jr., with his final bout ending on July 27, 2013.  Now 35, his record was 19 wins, 12 losses and 3 draws with 12 wins coming by way of knockout.

Michael Walker, at right, with Roy Jones, Jr. (photo by Trayce Zimmerman)

Michael Walker, at right, with Roy Jones, Jr. (photo by Trayce Zimmerman)

A never-say-die competitor inside the ring, Mr. Walker was friendly and known as a straight-shooter outside its confines.  The Tribune reports that he was planning on taking more fights this year to support his nine year-old daughter to whom he was very devoted.  

On a personal note, I am reminded of a Saturday late in August four or five years ago in Merrilleville, Indiana.  I’d spent the night after covering the fights on Friday at the Star Plaza and was getting ready to head back north on I-65, when I spotted this lean, bald-headed man running along a side street in a black sweatsuit.  It was really hot outside.

As I pulled up alongside him at a stoplight, I recognized him.  It was Michael Walker.  I called out.  He smiled.  Holding my cell phone camera out the driver’s window, I snapped a shot.  He said something like, “You’re not going to publish that, are you?” and sauntered across Rte. 30 in a slow jog.  Saturday afternoon or not, it was just another day in the office for him.

That’s how I want to remember him — a good, hard-working boxer with an easy smile, preparing for his next fight.

God bless you, and may you rest in peace, Mr. Walker.

 

 

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