Hey -- you know where I'm hoping to be that same weekend next year -- and hooking up with you and all the lads Greg -- Canastota -- IBHOF induction weekend...
Hey -- you know where I'm hoping to be that same weekend next year -- and hooking up with you and all the lads Greg -- Canastota -- IBHOF induction weekend...
Peter and Greg---
I haven't posted for awhile because of a modem problem with my internet system due to a power outage in my area last week that messed things up. I now have a new one and am ready to rumble.
Thank you so much for posting Jose Becerra's title fight program. I remember that night when I went into the ring in Jiquilpan to face Jose Garcia, Angel Casillas my manager told me that I better knock this guy out if you want to be like to your cousin. He is going to win the Bantamweight Championship of the World tonight, you'll see.
Gato: Me & Greg Beyer are going to fly down to LA for Hap & the Baltazar brothers induction in August. We are both hoping you will be there because both Greg & I would like nothing more than to meet you, Hap & Frank personally.
After all these years it would be terrific if we could actually meet.
& you know I'm going to have a lot of questions about your cousin, & a childhood hero to both of us, the great, Jose Becerra.
Go to Calif. boxing an see a pic. of Jose Becerra that I posted.
GReg did you receive a pm I sent you a few days ago?
oly....no sorry, i did not. did you send it to my personal e-mail address ?
try that one bud.
Last edited by Zevl; 06-16-2006 at 01:31 AM.
Last edited by Zevl; 06-16-2006 at 01:29 AM.
In the above newspaper pic. on Gonzalez right, left to you, is none other then Cannon Ball Green.
thats right frank. i have the tape of this bout and along with cannonball green in gatos corner was a young jesse reid. this was one of jesse's first big bouts under the wing of jackie mccoy as a trainer.
on one of the boxing programs on television (can't remember which)...the one where in the intro they show joe frazier and duran and mancini training young fighters they show a guy sitting on a bench in the hallway as a fighter is going to the ring. this guy is throwing punches from a sitting position...anyway ...that guy looks a lot like cannnonball green.
Frank and Greg:
Happy go lucky, Smilin' Cannonball Green!
Ray Luna, who sorta managed and trained Månuel Ortiz after the champ had left Tommy Farmer, always called Cannonball "Angel Face", and got away with it!
Green was one of about a dozen guys who practically lived at the gyms, day in and day out. Sometimes, when an undercard bout fell out late, the night of the show, one could always call the gym and one of those die-hards would be there, with some kid ready and willing to bail you out of a bind. Cannonball, Charlie Williams, Johnny Villaflor, all "show savers".
Cannonball had several interesting experiences when he was a fighter. Once he lost on a tko to hard hitting Johnny "Bandit" Romero at San Diego. It was a rarity because Green had sustained a bady cut TONGUE and could not continue.
Another time he held the very great Maxie Rosenbloom to a draw at Ventura and had supposedly dropped the champ with a solid LOW blow. Ring Magazine showed a shot of the champ being dragged to his corner in that one. Cannonball held another worthy all even when he met California's Middleweight Champ, Vearl Whitehead, also at Ventura. I guess the old boy was a real cannonball, and not just cannon fodder.
Mi buen campeon Rodolfo:
Please excuse the intrusion into your personal thread but I felt the urge to recall Cannoball as i knew him. You must also have some thoughts on the man, if he trained or seconded you for ring battle.
Cannonball Green was truly devoted to boxing and helped many fighters by teaching them what he knew. He was an honest person and spoke from his heart. I will always remember him for his encouagement. On the night of my championship fight he was in my dressing room giving me advice along with Jacky McCoy. He kept telling me over and over, "Tonight you are going to be a world champion." He had watched me get in shape for this fight and told me that Carmona would not have a chance against me. He became a reaaly good friend of mine and I respected him alot.
Rodolfo, I was curious as to why you had not fought for a regional title leading up to your title fight with Chango Carmona. The North American Boxing Federation Lightweight title was quite prestigious back then before everyone and his brother had a title of sorts and that would have been a real launching pad into a title fight. Researching this I found that Jimmy Robertson was the NABF Lightweight champ when you fought him in '72. He had won the vacant title against Ruben Navarro the previous year and appeared to hold it until about '73. The next bit of action I found with this title (unless I missed something, which is possible) was Esteban DeJesus winning the vacant title over Ray Lampkin in early '73. I'm curious as to why Jackie McCoy or the Olympic promotional team wouldn't push this as a title fight at least for marketing purposes instead of simply as a ten rounder. Any recollections on this?
i don't think they were looked on so prestigiously. at least it was lost on me. i was at both robertson-navarro fights and remember no title being on the line other than i believe they were 12 rnd. fights which JUST tipped me off. DUH. well at least that goes to show what the fans thought of those titles.
guys that won california state titles ,in most cases, were not even world ranked. almost like the guys gunning for the big prize scorned these lesser belts. a good example is when jackie mccoy told an 18 or 19 yr. old mando ramos that he could get him a shot at the worlds jr. lightweight title. mando told him " i don't want no jr. title...get me carlos ortiz" (even as a teenager mando never lacked confidence). this, i think, shows how rather lightly regarded minor titles were held in those days.
of course for a while we were pretty spoiled...there were a lot of great lightweights in L.A. then.
Greg-- you know back in the 40s and 50s a state title was a prestigious title for a fighter to hold. I remember lots of state fights that I got to see back then at the Olympic and at the Hollywood Legion Stadium.
Dan and Greg---
A fight for the North American Title was never brought up to me by Jacky McCoy. He knew I was not interested. I was aiming to be a World Boxing Champion and that is why I went into the ring when Mando fought Carmona and challenged the winner. Besides there was not much money in those days for the North American Title. Previous to this I had Jacky challenge Tio Cruz to a World Title fight but they wouldn't give me a fight. Instead they gave it to Mando because he was a big draw. Also the same went for Ismael Laguna and they also refused to give me a fight. I was actually going to retire at this point because I was so disappointed when Jacky McCoy came to me to tell me that he had gotten me the title fight against Carmona. I told Jacky to please not joke around like that with me. He told me it was real but I told him that I will only believe him when he shows me the contract. He brought me the contract the next day and told me I would be making $10,000 for that fight.
Rodolfo and guys, thanks for the replies on the NABF title thing. It's amazing how that title may have been looked upon with a very cavalier attitude in that era. Today, where titles appear to mean so much to everyone, that fight would have been played up to the hilt. On a separate note, Rodolfo, I understand you've had a bit of a reunion with someone. I won't divulge, but I'll bet everyone would like to hear how it went including myself.
Dan and everyone---
Barbara and I just returned from "The Great Reunion" a few hours ago. It was a whirlwind trip that we had and it was really something!!!.
A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a television group in Los Angeles who had been searching for me for some time, making phone calls everywhere trying to track me down. They had planned an event that was to take place in Tombstone, Arizona which is not too far from Tucson. It is a small western town very much like it was in the late 1800's and where many movies have been filmed with actors such as John Wayne and Kurt Russell who played the part of Wyatt Earp in the movie "Tombstone".
Arrangements were made for Barbara and I to fly over yesterday morning to set up this surprise event for this other person. We were to dress in Western clothes and the meeting was planned for 5:00 pm at the historical Big Nose Kate Saloon. I dressed up in a cowboy shirt, jeans, and cowboy hat with a gun and holster strapped on me. If Clint Eastwood would have seen me he would have tipped his hat to me, especially the way I handled the gun, twirls and all. This was all being filmed for television viewing. I had rehearsed a script for several days and memorized the lines.
The big moment had arrived. The special person I was to meet soon arrived with his family (two daughters and a son) at the saloon and they were seated at a special table. He had his back to the front entrance. After some dialog with others at the table which was part of the filming I had my cue to come through the front door. I strolled in slowly, looking around the room, then seeing him I strolled up to his table and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around and I said in a serious tone of voice, "Hey, I have been looking for you." He looked at me but couldn't figure out what was happening. I then said, "Long time no see." And after a brief pause I said, " Don't you recognize me?" I guess that gave him a clue and he said, "Gonzalez?" At that point I started to laugh. He stood up and I reached out to shake the hand of "Guts"Ishimatsu Suzuki but instead we the hugged each other and the celebration began. What a surprise reunion after 32 years when we had our title fight in Japan in 1974.
The cameras continued to roll as introductions were made with his children and Barbara who was sitting at the next table came over to join in.
Even though there was a language barrier the feelings of great joy and respect were there. We had some assistance of translators from time to time and learned much about each other. So many photos were also taken. Later in the evening about 40 or so people went to dinner at a hotel and we all ate together as a big family. It was a night to remember.
I will give you more details on my next post.
sounds like a great reunion. was ishimatsu in cowboy wear? hope you can get some pictures posted.
Rodolfo, that reunion sounded toooooo cool. Suzuki was a tough guy but should have felt real lucky he hadn't faced you a year earlier. In fact after his fights with you I think I could hear him screaming, "It's my birthday! It's my birthday!" LOL!
To answer your question---
No, Ishimatsu was not wearing anything "cowboy" or Western clothing. In fact, we couldn't have looked more opposite. He was dressed in a white Ralph Lauren designer outfit. All white pants and top with a black logo and he was wearing his collar up---very stylish like Elvis. Barbara and I were so involved in filming and photos that we didn't get any pictures of our own but will be receiving alot of photos from Yuki and Shin from the LA group, including the edited Japanese TV show. The producer and production crew were so friendly and did so much to accomplish this event. It was a great experience.
What intuition you have---
Ishimatsu said that he was fortunate that we did not fight 3 months earlier when I had to postpone our fight because of my black widow bite. He remembered that immediately and said that he was not in shape to fight me at that time and knew he could not win. He even said that he was lucky to win the first fight and gave me so many compliments telling his family that I was the best classic fighter he had ever fought, the way I threw my punches impressed him. Barbara said I should tell you this---he said several times that I was also the most handsome fighter he had fought.
After Ishimatsu retired from boxing he has been very successful in television in Japan as an actor/writer. He gave me a boxing movie where he is star of the movie and where they used a clip of the first fight that he and I had. It is in Japanese but I can get the idea of the story and it is a very good story.
sounds like guts is still a dapper fellow. i am glad to hear he has been so successful. would love to see some of those pictures when you recieve them. gordoom and i are going to be at the california inductions next month. was wondering if you are going to be there. would be great to see you again in person after all these years.
don't be embarrassed about barbara making you say that guts thought you were his most handsome opponent. a girlfriend i had in L.A. when you were champ said the same thing and you are really lucky you did not have to fight her! i remember people comparing you to the actor omar sharrif.
take care. hope to see you in california.
Very happy to read this thread on Gato Gonzalez. Gato, I remember you as a great fighter and believe you belong in the IBHOF.
Tomorrow I'm going to call Don Fraiser to make reservations for the California State Boxers Association Induction luncheon. Barbara and I will be there.
Thank you for your compliments and support and for taking the time to write on my thread. Welcome. I would like to hear more about you, where you are from, etc. if you would care to share any details.
El Gato -- I've been trying for ages to fill the void in my collection of boxing memorabilia -- I have many programs but none from your fights! This I think is a good sign -- your fans just don't want to part with them!
Well, as I went through my list of programs I found one that I'd purchased a long while back but hadn't quite catalogued properly... anyways, do you remember July 31, 1972, in Anaheim? I have the program -- and it's your famous first battle with Ruben Navarro! What a fight card that was -- and what a fight!
I don't have anything from that fight, not a program or even any write-ups from the newspapers. All I remember is that I was not toally in shape for that fight and I was upset by what Aileen Eaton had told Jacky McCoy in a very angry manner. This fight was contracted with Don Fraser Promotions, not Aileen Eaton who I had fought under for many years. She had told Jacky that if I did not win this fight, she woulf never give me a fight again. All I remember that Ruben and I were still standing at the end of 10 rounds. I was keeping track of the rounds and knew I had won but Ruben was not convinced of the decision. So a rematch was inevitable. But that didn't take place until after I had already won the championship from Carmona.
I'm glad to know you have the program. If you could make a copy for me for my collection of memorabilia, I would be so appreciative. I don't even remember who was fighting on the card that night.
the nite of your first fight with navarro boxrec.com shows the following:
armando muniz won in 12 over ruben vasquez zamora
rodolfo lobato won in 10 over jose valdez
bobby chacon ko 4 alfredo de la rosa
Greg, it's funny because I saw the Gonzalez-Navarro fight and the Muniz-Vasquez fight but on different nights. The Forum telecasts which were distributed would sometimes air a doubleheader on different weeks, I guess to get a little more bang for the buck. I don't remember seeing the other two fights, but I did see Chacon's first fight with DeLaRosa. The first guy to take him the distance. They would always throw in an undercard fight on those telecasts. Man, what I wouldn't give to see all those cards now. Just a couple of years before the invention of the VCR.
What year did you see these fights on TV? Do you think it would be possible to track down my fight with Navarro being it was on the same night? Actually, I would really like to have a copy of my second fight with Navarro when I defended my title against him. That was in March of 1973 at the Sports Arena in LA.