View Full Version : Old Man "irish" Pat Lawlor Fights On

04-06-2006, 12:55 PM
Old man Irish Pat fights on in ring
At 42, Lawlor seeks two more big paydays vs. Holyfield, Tyson
By Dave Newhouse,

BOXER "Irish" Pat Lawlor is right out of a Damon Runyon novel. He's the onetime pride of San Francisco's Sunset District, he trains on a whim, he swills beer associated with Clydesdales, and he can't make himself retire.
He's 42, long past his pugilistic prime, and his weight has ballooned from middleweight to heavyweight. At best, he was a journeyman boxer, winning one of those nondescript championship belts. Only his belt does have notches.
Lawlor owns victories over Roberto Duran and Wilfred Benitez. He caught them with the sun going down on their careers, but a win is a win.
Now Lawlor wants two more notches: Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. Don't ask Irish Pat if he's out of his mind, for he's been broke, jailed, homeless, hospitalized, divorced and on his own since 14.
He's a perfect Damon Runyon character, only he's interested in writing his own book. And Holyfield and Tyson Irish Pat says both are a possibility would make two interesting chapters, regardless of their outcomes.
Lawlor hasn't fought since a four-round draw last year, but he showed up at King's Gym in Oakland recently for a short workout and an interview.
Q. Why do you want to keep fighting?
A. Money. Definitely money, money, money. I lived on boxing when I was doing it before, so I never really banked anything. Never had too many big paydays the most money I made was $25,000 fighting Duran, and I lost it over a girl who was a snake.
Heavyweight is where there is bigger money. I'd like to get a couple of big paydays and put it away. One fight might do it. Then I'd open up a pizza parlor/sports bar in the Mission District, with films of old fights.
Q. Fighting Holyfield and Tyson, wouldn't you worry about being badly hurt? A. I don't feel like I'll get hurt at all. That's the furthest thing from my mind. I never think like that. Boxers would be stupid to think that way. Look, I know I'm staying (in boxing) too long, but it can't hurt. I want to have Holyfield and Tyson on my rsum.
Q. Wouldn't you be more fearful of those two than Camacho and Duran?
A. Definitely. They're heavyweights. But you've got to get over it before you get to the event. When I fought Terry Norris, I knew he was the best fighter in the world, pound for pound. The first round, he beat the hell out of me. I did all right in the second, then they stopped it in the third after he broke my nose. He gave me the worst beating that I've had in boxing.
Q. At 42 and out of shape, what could you bring to the ring against the likes of Holyfield and Tyson?
A. My body's in good shape when I get a shot of cortisone. I've trained on 12-ounce curls for the arms. But for Holyfield, I bring safety. His safety. The best I could do is tap, tap, tap a victory. I have seven knockouts in 23 wins. I'm not a big puncher at middleweight. We're talking heavyweight.
I'm in heavyweight shape, or in shape enough to be a heavyweight. Heavyweights throw maybe 15 jabs a round. Pathetic. Middleweights throw 40 to 60 easily. I should have gone to heavyweight years ago. I've passed 16 kidney stones trying to break weight down, to be a middleweight. I never want to go there again.
Q. Being so heavy, isn't your boxing effectiveness reduced?
A. No, no. It would be if I was young and stupid, trying to go in there and run around. You'll notice, Camacho doesn't go in there and run around anymore. He plants his feet, throws feints and gets the opponent backing off.
Evander Holyfield is much more experienced than any opponent I could fight. I don't want to back away, or back into a corner. Not with Evander Holyfield. We'll see what happens.
Q. How reasonable are your chances of fighting Holyfield or Tyson?
A. Holyfield definitely wants to fight again, and if he fights again, he'll fight me. (Boxing promoter) Don Chargin tells me that. But it won't be in the states; they won't let Holyfield fight here because, they say, he is taking too many punches. But if I can't break an egg as a middleweight, how am I going to hurt the guy? If I beat Evander Holyfield, he should retire.
Q. What hold does boxing have on you exactly?
A. I never wanted to be a boxer. I played a guitar in a rock band. But then my friend, Merlin Porter, was killed in a motorcycle accident. I was so upset that I entered the Golden Gloves to get the championship for my buddy Merlin. Then I found out if you got a championship belt, it's yours forever. I got the IBC middleweight belt ... a continental championship, not a major belt.
But, look, I was on the street at 14. I don't have a relationship with anyone in my family. As a teenager, I lived under a table at Carol Schultz' house. Christy Maquire became like my mother. The Rosens, Danny Dajani, Terry Kelly, Cassandra Keown, Mario Flaviani, and my manager, Tom McGarvey, the biggest father figure in my life, they've all been there for me.
Q. Are you happy with your life today?
A. No. I've screwed up and pissed a lot of my money away. I blew a lot of deals. In my glory days, everything I got in boxing, I got with my fists. I lived like an idiot. If I'd just gotten a bartending job four days a week ... hindsight's 20-20.
After my loss to Hector Camacho in 1994, I could have retired with 20 wins, 5 losses. But I stuck around and became a whore, so now I'm 23-16-1, having beaten three world champions, including Duran and Benitez, and losing to a bunch of champions, including Duran, Camacho and Norris.
Q. What will be your boxing legacy?
A. The World Boxing Hall of Fame asked me for my rsum. I questioned them on it, and they said, "Pat, it's not for what you've been doing, it's for what you did."
But I'm born and raised in San Francisco, packed the Civic Auditorium a dozen times, beat two of the greatest fighters who ever lived. And the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame doesn't ask me for my resume. That's a slap in the face.

04-06-2006, 01:52 PM
He is a real nice guy and has a lot of great stories. Kind of a fixture in SF at any Irish event. He was good enough to get to the top 10 but couldn't get over the hump, especially with guys like Terry Norris ahead of him.

One sunday night I was at my local pub watching a game with a couple of buddies when Pat staggered in. He was doing jager shots and budweisers and way beyond 3 sheets to the wind. Problem was that he was supposed to fight Dana Rosenblatt, then ranked 2nd, that friday. I asked him about it and he said he was replacing doing situps with dry heaves in the morning. He was having a great time and seemed not to care about the future.

Needless to say, it was a short fight but we watched in a pub packed with his supporters. Win or lose they loved him.

04-06-2006, 04:11 PM
"12 Oz. curls?" Man, that is sad. Real sad. What we encourage as "colorful" behavior that's "good for the game" today just leaves guys old, sick, broke and spent tomorrow.

You've got to wonder...How many fans in that packed barroom will line up to donate a liver when Irish Pat's gives out?