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Thread: From The Phillyboxing Site

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    Re: From The Phillyboxing Site

    The Troubled Life And Sad Legacy Of Sonny Liston

    By Mike Dunn

    For those interested in knowing more about the life and times of one of the most enigmatic and troubled heavyweight champs, the book "The Devil and Sonny Liston," by Nick Tosches (Copyright 2000, published by Little, Brown and Company), is a wealth of knowledge. Tosches, who hails from Newark, writes in an engaging style that is as beautifully stylish as a Liston left jab and as savagely straight-forward.

    The author begins appropriately at the beginning with his subject, providing more comprehensive information about Sonny's childhood than probably even Sonny himself knew. Liston's formative years were spent growing up as a physically and mentally abused child living in a forsaken patch of land known as Sand Slough, Ark. This is how

    Tosches describes Liston's birth place: "It was in the sector of Morledge Plantation that lay in Johnson Township, St. Francis County, that Tobe Liston and his family came to live and farm, on a low patch where a rill of muddy water, a mile and a half or so long, dribbled dead to its end in a slough of sandy dirt where nothing could grow.

    The place had a name, but it was not to be found on any map. They called it Sand Slough. It was there in Sand Slough ... that Charles L. Liston was born, on the 50 acres that Tobe rented from the Man."

    Liston was the 12th of 13 children born to Tobe and Helen Liston (and one of 25 children sired by Tobe). Sonny was probably born in 1929, but no one knows for sure. Even Sonny's mother, who was called Big Hela, didn't know, though she believed him to be born during the month of January. Liston would later claim his birth date to be May 8, 1932, but that is off by at least two years.

    By all accounts, Liston had a woeful childhood. Tobe was mean to his children, and especially to Sonny. From the time he was old enough to be useful in the fields, Sonny was a laborer for his tenant farmer father. Sonny, who was known by his proper name Charles while growing up, rarely attended school and never learned to read or write, a fact that haunted him as an adult and fed a lifelong problem with insecurity. As Toches brings out, Liston's brooding temperament can be explained in part by his insecurity. It was a defense mechanism designed to keep people from getting too close.

    Much of what Tosches gleans about Liston's youth stem from interviews with people who lived on the Morledge Plantation in the 1930s and from Sonny's older half-brother E.B. Ward, who resides today in Forrest City, Ark. Perhaps no keener insight can be gained from those early years, though, than from what Sonny himself was quoted as saying: "The only thing my old man ever gave me was a whipping."

    There's no question that the hard-scrabble existence of youth prepared Liston for the success he would later enjoy as a prizefighter. Hungry fighters eager to break free from the shackles of their own environment bring an element of savage desperation into their ring encounters. That inbred struggle for survival often produces champions. Jack Dempsey and Roberto Duran are two cases in point. Liston is another. Unfortunately, the same dark forces that forged Liston's destructiveness in the ring also fueled a distrust for the police and a bent toward criminal activity that would lead to two stints in the Missouri state prison system. Those dark forces were also at work when Liston willingly placed himself in the hands of the mob that ran the fight game during the time of Liston's ascendancy to the crown.

    As a young man in 1949, Liston left Arkansas for good and followed his mother's footsteps to St. Louis. Big Hela had moved there in 1946. She was working in a shoe factory when her son Charles unexpectedly came to the city and looked her up. Liston didn't find gainful employment in St. Louis. Instead, he and some friends took to robbing people on the street and robbing gas stations with a loaded pistol. In a short amount of time, those felonious deeds cost Sonny Liston his freedom.

    As most boxing fans know, it was in the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City that Sonny learned to box. Two Catholic priests who served as chaplains, Father Edward Schlattmann and Father Alois Stevens, helped to direct Liston toward the controlled violence of the ring. From the start, Liston was a devastating puncher. From the start, it was apparent that he had a future in the ring. During his two-plus years in the state penitentiary, Liston attained a new nickname, "Sonny," and a new vocation, boxing.

    With the help of a farsighted, black St. Louis businessman and some other backers who were aware of Sonny's potential, Liston pursued a ring career after leaving the joint and rejoining society at large. Liston had a short and successful amateur career, following which he turned pro. In September of 1953, he knocked out Don "Toro" Smith in two rounds in St. Louis, setting in motion a career which would span 17 years and bring Sonny to the pinnacle of success in his sport.

    Liston won 13 of his first 14 bouts before trouble with the law cost him his freedom a second time. In 1957, he was sentenced to nine months in the St. Louis workhouse for assaulting a police officer. Tosches does a nice piece of reporting on the incident that led to Liston's arrest, objectively revealing all available viewpoints. The reader can form his own conclusion based on the reports of those involved.

    Because of his arrest and prison term, Liston didn't have a fight between March of 1956, when he decisioned Marty Marshall in Pittsburgh, to January of 1958, when he knocked out Bill Hunter in two rounds in Chicago. Following his release from the workhouse, Liston quickly returned to the ring against Hunter and got his career back on track. In a short amount of time, he rose to prominence as a contender in the heavyweight division. It was around this time that Sonny decided to make Philadelphia his home.

    Sonny kept fighting and kept winning against a progressively better grade of opponents. Foes like the murderous-punching Cleveland Williams, Mike DeJohn and Nino Valdez succumbed to Liston's heavy fists. By that time, Liston had already attracted the attention of organized crime. Tosches goes to great lengths in his book to convey the ubiquitous presence of the mob in those days and the power that men like Frank "Gray Man" Carbo and Frank "Blinky" Palermo wielded in boxing. Basically, for a guy like Liston, it meant that you either dealt with them, or you didn't deal at all.

    As Liston made himself a serious challenger to Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight title, Liston made his alliance with the Devil, as Tosches refers to the mob. Because of this alliance, which was public knowledge, Liston was called before the committee investigating organized crime that had been established by Tennessee Democratic Senator Estes Kefauver. Pressure resulting from appearing before the committee, and from the diatribes of Patterson's manager Cus D'Amato, caused Liston to buy out the contract of his manager, Pep Barone, who was considered to be an undesirable, and name George Katz, an old-time Philadelphian with political and boxing connections, as his manager. It was just a matter of semantics, though. Liston was beholdin' to the mob and everybody knew it. Sonny had to put the proper face forward to the public.

    On top of the mob issue, Liston had to overcome more problems with the law before he could be free to fight Patterson for the title. He was arrested twice in a period of months in Philadelphia in the summer of 1961. For a while, he even lost his license to box in the United States. After having his license revoked, Liston made a smart decision, as he had when he bought out Barone. He put himself under the care of still another Catholic priest, Father Edward P. Murphy, a kindly Jesuit who was the pastor of a predominantly black church in Denver. Liston relocated to Denver with his wife Geraldine and friend/sparring partner Foneda Cox and underwent extensive counseling with Father Murphy. Liston's purpose was to show the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, and the world, that he was turning a new leaf.

    The tactic worked. Just three months after Sonny's move to Denver, his license was reinstated. (Which isn't to say that Liston took advantage of Father Murphy, or that he had a disregard for what Father Murphy had to say. Liston, in fact, had great respect for Father Murphy and behaved admirably around him. Cox, who was interviewed extensively by Tosches, went as far as to say that Liston would still be alive if he had "spent more time with Father Murphy.")

    Liston celebrated the speedy reinstatement of his license with an impressive 1-round knockout of German baker Albert Westphal, who was ranked No. 4 among heavyweights, on Dec. 4, 1961. On the same night at a different location, but on the same closed-circuit broadcast, Patterson defeated unheralded Tom McNeeley in four rounds in what would be the final successful defense of his crown.

    In 1962, Liston went officially from being the poverty-stricken, illiterate child of an abusive tenant farmer in Arkansas to being the heavyweight champion of the whole world. Ironically, by the time Liston finally became champ in September of that year with his 1-round KO of Patterson, the mob was beginning to lose its iron grip on the sport and on Liston himself. Carbo was in prison and Palermo would soon follow. If there is a flaw in Tosches' book, it's that the author seems bent on
    carrying the theme of Liston and the mob beyond its logical parameters. During the years that Liston was champ, the mob was in retreat. Yet, Tosches postulates that Liston threw his first fight with Cassius Clay in Miami in February of 1964 at the behest of the mob. That doesn't make sense. Clay was no debtor to the mob. What advantage would there be to having the brash young boxer from Louisville installed as heavyweight champ in place of Liston?

    Tosches here betrays an ignorance of boxing that no doubt hurts his credibility with those know the sport. Tosches insists that films of Liston losing to Clay reveal that Liston was missing punches intentionally. Clay, later to be known as Muhammad Ali, may have had the fastest hands of any heavyweight ever to lace on a pair of gloves. Clay is certainly to be counted among the greatest heavyweights of all time. Did he need Liston's cooperation to beat the rapidly aging champion that night in February of 1964? Hardly. If it was truly a fix, then Liston would have found a way to avoid taking the punishment that he received at Clay's hands before retiring on his stool after the sixth round.

    As for the rematch between the two fighters in an ice rink in Lewiston, Maine, in May of 1965, there are a lot of possible explanations for Liston's bizarre actions that night. Maybe Liston realized that he couldn't beat the youthful Clay/Ali, and he opted not to get up off the canvas in round one instead of absorbing another beating. Maybe Liston was concerned about the death threats that had been made against Ali in the wake of the assassination of Malcolm X and Liston just wanted to get out of the ring that night as quickly as possible. Tosches' explanation, of course, is that Liston was again dutifully following orders given by the mob.

    Liston continued fighting following the loss of his title, mainly because it was the only legal way he knew how to make a buck. He was still a fringe contender at the age of 40 or so when he died under mysterious circumstances in December of 1970 at his house in Las Vegas. Some suspect foul play; others believe Liston died of a self-inflicted drug overdose. Tosches believes the latter. As with the date of Liston's birth, no one knows for sure.

    Tosches is admirably objective in his presentation of Liston. The dark side is evident. The continual conflicts with the police. At least two sexual assaults. Womanizing. Drinking. Gambling. Armed robbery. Aligning himself with the Devil.

    But there is another side. For all his womanizing, Liston had a respect for his wife Geraldine and was faithful to her in his own way. Liston and Geraldine had no children, but Liston loved kids and enjoyed being in their company. There were also times when he showed surprising compassion for the less fortunate. A story is told of Liston ordering his driver to stop on a
    busy highway, so that Liston could go and buy some pencils from an obviously poor, old, white women whom he had observed. Liston emptied his pockets of bills and returned to the car with all of the women's pencils.

    In the end, one can't help feeling some sympathy for Liston. He was a victim before he was ever a brute. He overcame tremendous odds to win the title and earn a measure of fame, but even so he was never embraced by the public. That hurt him deeply, though he instinctively hid the scars behind a scowl. He died in Vegas as mysteriously as he had lived, a man bent under a great shadow, afflicted by a legion of personal demons that no one could exorcise. Least of all, Sonny himself.
    Last edited by kikibalt; 05-18-2007 at 01:09 PM.

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    From The Phillyboxing Site

    Philly Boxing History

    May 9, 1905




    JOHNSON WINS PHILLY BOUT

    On this day in 1905, future heavyweight champion Jack Johnson won a six round newspaper decision over fellow legend Joe Jeannette. It was one of several bouts Johnson fought in Philly. His other opponents here included Bob Fitzsimmons and Philadelphia Jack O'Brien. Johnson took the world heavyweight championship in 1908 with a TKO over Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia.


    OTHER FIGHT RESULTS ON THIS DATE:
    1917 - Bob McAllister W10 Battling Levinsky at Bronx, NY
    1921 - Tommy Loughran W8 Alex Costica at the National A.C. in Philadelphia
    1927 - Midget Wolgast W8 Jose Allano at Harrisburg, PA
    1927 - Louis 'Kid' Kaplan W10 Al Foreman at Philadelphia
    1940 - Ellis Phillips W6 Joe Amico at the Olympia A.C. in Philadelphia
    1949 - George Costner W10 Chico Varona at the Arena in Philadelphia
    1949 - Johnny Saxton KO3 Jimmy Swann at the Arena in Philadelphia

    1977 - Augie Pantellas KO1 Eddie Rivera at the 69th Street Forum in Philadelphia

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    From The Phillyboxing Site

    Philly Boxing History

    May 10, 1965




    BANKS DIES FROM MARTIN'S HEAVY BLOWS

    On this day in 1965, hard-luck heavyweight contender, Leotis Martin won his fight against Sonny Banks at the Philadelphia Arena. However, Banks slipped into a coma after the bout and died from his injuries three days later.

    The fight itself was a scrap, with Banks taking an early lead. But Martin fought back and landed many hard shots throughout rounds three to eight to pull ahead in the scoring. In the ninth round, it was a single shot - a big right hand - that dropped Banks. Referee Joe Sweeny counted him out at 2:58.

    Banks was eventually taken to Presbyterian Hospital where he underwent surgery but never recovered. Banks died on May 13, 1965.


    OTHER FIGHT RESULTS ON THIS DATE:
    1933 - Dick Welsh W6 Leroy Dougan At Norfolk, VA
    1938 - Tiger Jack Fox W10 Jersey Joe Walcott at Convention Hall in Camden, NJ
    1943 - Perk Daniels W10 Curtis 'Hatchetman' Sheppard at Laurel Garden in Newark, NJ
    1943 - Gus Dorazio W10 Joe Baski at the Arena in Philadelphia
    1944 - Billy Fox KO2 Andy Holland at Harrisburg, PA
    1948 - Clarence 'Honeychile' Johnson TKO8 Buster Tyler at Philadelphia

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    From The Phillyboxing Site

    Philly Boxing History

    May 11, 1953




    GIL TURNER SCORES TECHNICAL KO OVER LOMBARDO IN NY

    On this day in 1953, Gil Turner won his bout against Johnny Lombardo at Eastern Parkway Arena in Brooklyn, NY with a seventh round stoppage.

    After reeling off 31 straight victories to start his pro career, Turner struggled through a 4-3 stretch - albeit against the likes of Kid Gavilan and Joey Giardello - leading up to the Lombardo fight. His prior bout was a thrilling Philly war with Giardello that went the ten round limit and packed enough action to fill a dozen main events. But Turner was no stranger to exciting fights. His style was one of pure action. He threw punches in breathless flurries and in doing so, was responsible for some of the most memorable fights of the 1950's. He was a popular TV attraction and fought all over the country but especially in New York and Philly. His career spanned from 1950 to 1958 and ended with a 56-19-2 (35 KO) record. He is probably best remembered for his gutsy close call for the world welterweight title in a 1952 bout with Kid Gavilan. Turner fought on even terms with the Hall of Famer until his dreams were shattered in round 11. Gil fought on but never again stepped into a championship ring.


    OTHER FIGHT RESULTS ON THIS DATE:
    1923 - Bobby Wolgast W8 Pancho Villa at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia
    1923 - Nate Goldman W8 Willie McCloskey at the Cambria in Philadelphia
    1931 - Harry Blitman W10 Young Joe Firpo at the Arena in Philadelphia
    1931 - Tony Morgano KO3 Young Johnny Brown at the Arena in Philadelphia
    1932 - Steve Hamas W10 Tommy Loughran at Convention Hall in Philadelphia
    1942 - Gus Dorazio W10 Harry Bobo at the Arena in Philadelphia
    1942 - Johnny Hutchinson W8 Chief Crazy Horse at the Arena in Philadelphia
    Birthdays:
    1915 - Tony Cisco

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    Re: From The Phillyboxing Site

    Philly Boxing History

    May 12, 1939



    Philadelphia's Can't Miss Prospect

    by Chuck Hasson

    Back during the 1950s, the most fertile breeding ground in boxing had to be a section of North Philadelphia known as Strawberry Mansion. Gil Turner, Jimmy Hackney, Sugar Hart, Charley Scott, Von Clay, Bob Cofer, Stanley "Kitten" Hayward, and Len Matthews were all products of this neighborhood.

    Len Matthews was born on May 12, 1939. Tall and lean, trigger-fisted with terrific power in both hands, he had already been wowing boxing people and fans long before he turned pro. Signing with Anthony Graziano and his surrogate father, Quenzell McCall (another Strawberry Mansion legend as proprietor of Champs Gym), he launched his pro career with much fanfare as a six round co-feature with Jake Josato on November 7, 1957 at the Cambria. Len stopped Charles Carter in the third round and became a big attraction for Al Lewis. Within six months he had scored nine straight knockouts and was such a sensation

    that he headlined the Deborah Hospital Show at the Arena in May, administering a terrific beating to the veteran Henry "Pappy" Gault, who barely managed to last the eight round limit.

    Len next encountered hard punching North Philly rival Henry "Toothpick" Brown at Connie Mack Stadium as a supporting bout to Sugar Hart and Gil Turner. Matthews stole the show as he blasted out Brown in spectacular fashion in the fourth round, even overshadowing Georgie Benton’s sensational knockout of "Slim" Jim Robinson on the same card. Now the whole town was talking about this new phenom who seemed to have it all.

    The following month he was showcased in New York in a semi-final of a Madison Square Garden show by destroying the rugged Bobby Rodgers in three rounds, breaking his jaw in the process. Teddy Brenner now wanted Len to headline at St. Nicholas Arena, on the Dumont Television Network, against the tough New Englander, Steve Ward, whom he flattened in the ninth round with a performance that had the New Yorkers’ tongues wagging.

    The Friday Night Fights were next for Len and he impressed a national audience with his skill and firepower easily beating Tommy Tibbs (a recent victor over Willie Pep). His next assignment was the cute Cuban warhorse Orlando Zulueta at Convention Hall.

    Showing great determination after receiving a gaping wound on the left eyelid in the fourth round, Len blazed away with both hands at the former title challenger, dropping him in the sixth and seventh rounds and, having his man in full retreat, drubbing him the rest of the way.

    On the surface, everything seemed great. In less than a year, Len was the talk of boxing. He was featured in The Ring magazine as the "New Lightweight Sensation." Boxing Illustrated headlined its article on Len as "Boxing’s Million Dollar Baby." He was labeled "can’t miss" and the "Philly Phenom" in the press. But, some wise old railbirds cautioned of too much too soon.

    Crusty disciplinarian Quenzell McCall and Anthony Graziano had been partners since 1955 and had enjoyed a good working relationship. Tony took care of the business end and McCall made all the boxing decisions. Now, with the prospect of huge money, there appeared to be a crack in the foundation as reports of encroachment into each other’s expertise by both was leaked.

    On December 22, 1958 fighting in a tune-up for Al Lewis at the Cambria against club-fighting journeyman Ray Lancaster, Len was hard-pressed to get a draw from the officials. Only a desperation last second knockdown saved his undefeated string, now at sixteen.

    Three weeks later, Len was again on national television meeting top west coast lightweight Paulie Armstead at the Hollywood Legion Stadium. Fighting well, Len’s unbeaten streak was ended by what Boxing Illustrated called "probably the worst decision of the year."

    Some unfinished business with Ray Lancaster the following month at Convention Hall lured 6,930 fans as Len seemed to regain his old fire demolishing the opponent in the second round.

    After this bout, Matthews purchased a brand new car over the objections of McCall, who believed automobiles made a fighter lazy. Of course, Tony approved saying the kid deserved some rewards for his achievements.

    Some 6,881 fans were on hand on April 13, 1959 at the Arena to witness the most anticipated lightweight match in years as Matthews faced New York wonder boy Carlos Ortiz. After a terrific "give and take" battle for five rounds, Len was hurt with a screeching left hook in the sixth round. Ortiz opened a blistering assault, trapping him on the ropes. Len was unable to defend himself and referee Pete Pantaleo jumped in to stop it.

    Tension between McCall and Graziano increased and many thought that Len would never be the same after taking such a terrible beating. Daily News boxing writer, Jack McKinney, disagreed, comparing Matthews’ defeat to that of Ike Williams’ loss to Bob Montgomery, and predicting that Len might come back better than ever and maybe whip Ortiz somewhere on down the line just as Williams had done to Montgomery.

    Looking better than ever, Matthews went on a brilliant fifteen-bout run that was to establish him as the "Number One" challenger for the Lightweight Championship. Only a highly disputed loss to South African welter Willie Toweel, after decking him twice at Madison Square Garden, and a Miami Beach "hometown" draw with Doug Vaillant (that the press and a national audience thought Len won decisively) marred the string. Impressive television wins over contenders Johnny Gonsalves, Candy McFarland, and Paulie Armstead and sensational knockouts over Johnny Busso in one round (at the Arena with 7,648 looking on), longtime contender Arthur Persley at the Cambria in four, and a three round stoppage of top-rated Kenny Lane, screened from the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, highlighted the skein.

    During this stretch, Graziano replaced McCall with Johnny Hutchinson. Hutch, like McCall, was a top-notch teacher but he was not the disciplinarian the former trainer was and rumors of Len’s flashy lifestyle were reported.

    The break-up with McCall was ironic since he and his wife had welcomed Len to live in their home for a few years before he married. They considered him a son. Tony, who had genuine affection for Len as well, seemed to indulge his every whim and his preparation for a rematch with Doug Vaillant on December 6, 1960 at Convention Hall seemed to lack the intensity needed against such a talented opponent.

    Bringing back memories of the Carlos Ortiz debacle twenty months before, Vaillant caught Len with a vicious barrage of head shots on the ropes in the opening round that he somewhat survived. But, he took a battering throughout the bout and lost his chance for the title shot.

    A savage beating by Paolo Rosi the following May in Madison Square Garden forced Matthews’ suspension by the New York Commission which requested that Len undergo electric brainwave tests before he be allowed to box in New York again.

    Although never the same, he still had enough to knockout cross-town rival Jimmy Soo in the eighth round of one of the most sensational battles in local Philadelphia boxing history. But, when Kenny Lane exacted full revenge on Lenny at the Arena on September 15, 1962, dishing out such a frightful beating that referee Sweeney was forced to stop the slaughter in the ninth round, Tony Graziano and the Pennsylvania Commission requested that Len retire. Taking a nine-month layoff, Len returned to the ring for one last drive. Hooking back up with Quenzell McCall and adhering to strict training laws, Len scored six straight knockouts and returned to the ratings.

    Eye problems finally forced Len to call it a career after losing a ten round decision to Chico Veliz (whom he had previously knocked out) at the Arena three weeks shy of his 25th birthday. A won-lost log of 42-10-3 with 29 knockouts and a "can’t miss" prospect who just did miss, he was one of Philadelphia’s boxing legends.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Len Matthews died on August 29, 2005

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    From The Phillyboxing Site


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    From The Phillyboxing Site


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    From The Phillyboxing Site

    PA BOXING HALL OF FAME
    DINNER - THIS SUNDAY!!!

    Tickets are still available for this year's PA Boxing Hall of Fame banquet. The event will be held at 5:00 PM on Sunday, May 20 at Romano's Caterers on Castor Ave & Wingohocking Street in Philadelphia. Seven new members will be inducted in this annual event. To buy tickets, call the Veteran Boxers Association at 215-465-1778. With all the living inductees scheduled to appear, it should be a great event. This year's class is outstanding. SEE THE LIST & get your tickets for Sunday right away.


    2007 INDUCTEES


    BENNIE BRISCOE

    Middleweight Contender 1962-1982



    DICK TURNER

    Welterweight Contender 1959-1964


    AUGIE PANTELLAS

    Featherweight Contender 1967-1979


    RODNEY MOORE

    Welterweight Contender 1983-1997


    JIMMY SYKES

    Middleweight Contender 1971-1984


    LEN MATTHEWS

    Lightweight Contender 1957-1964


    DANNY DOUGHERTY

    Bantamweight Champion 1900-1901
    Last edited by kikibalt; 05-16-2007 at 08:26 PM.

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    Re: From The Phillyboxing Site


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    From The Phillyboxing Site


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    Von Clay


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    From The Phillyboxing Site


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    From The Phillyboxing Site

    Philly Boxing History

    MAY 21, 1943




    MONTGOMERY TAKES TITLE

    On this day in 1943, Bob Montgomery became Lightweight Champion for the first time with a 15-round decision over Beau Jack, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The win, which played out before 18,343 fans, was a decisive one for Montgomery. Bob started slowly but then built a commanding leading, scoring a knockdown and almost completely closing Jack's eyes along the way.

    This fight launched a legendary four-bout rivalry between the North Philadelphian, Montgomery and Jack of Augusta, GA. All their matches were hotly contested, with both men winning two decisions each. It was the perfect rivalry. But as grueling and competitive as they were inside the ring, these two Hall of Famers remained friends outside it.

    Montgomery would lose his title to Beau later that year, only to regain it in 1944.



    BIRTHDAYS:
    1951 - Richie Kates (Some say he was born in 1953)

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    From The Phillyboxing Site


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    From The Phillyboxing Site

    PA HOF SMASHING SUCCESS WITH BRISCOE INDUCTION

    Boxing fans still love the one and only Bennie Briscoe and were thrilled to see him for the first time in years at Sunday's PA Boxing Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Bennie was in great form and seemed to have a wonderful time. Also inducted on Sunday were Dick Turner (backed by a huge rooting section), Augie Pantellas, Jimmy Sykes & Rodney Moore. Len Matthews & Danny Dougherty were inducted posthumously. Many Philly boxing celebs were also on hand at the banquet.

    Dick Turner


    Bennie Briscoe


    Augie Pantellas


    Jimmy Sykes


    Rodney Moore
    Last edited by kikibalt; 05-24-2007 at 09:24 PM.

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    STEVE CUNNINGHAM IS PHILLY'S NEWEST CHAMP

    On his most recent trip to Poland, "USS" Steve Cunningham grabbed the IBF cruiserweight championship by majority 12-round decision over home-towner Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. In their first match six months ago, Cunningham dropped a disputed decision. But this rematch win on 5/26, made Steve Philadelphia's newest world champ. Congrats to Steve. Here's hoping that he has a long & distinguished run at the top, and that he manages to bring a world title defense to his hometown of Philadelphia.

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    JAMES SHULER:
    BORN ON THIS DAY

    On this day in 1959, James "Black Gold" Shuler was born in Philadelphia. Shuler had an outstanding amateur career, winning a national golden gloves champ-ionship in 1980. He would have been an Olympian in Moscow were it not for the US boycott that year. As a pro, Shuler reeled off 22 straight wins, taking the NABF crown along the way. In his 3rd defense, he faced Thomas Hearns & was KO'd in round 1. One week later, Shuler died in a motorcycle accident at 26. Today Shuler would have turned 48.

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    Gil Turner vs Gene Fullmer...1955


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    WOLGAST BEATS ZURITA
    IN HOLLYWOOD

    On this day in 1935, former flyweight champion Midget Wolgast faced Juan Zurita in the 2nd of their 5 meetings. Wolgast was coming off a bantam title shot loss when he faced Zurita this time, and repeated his 10-round decision win of 3 months prior over the Mexican. Their 5-fight series would end 3-2 for Wolgast. Today's fight was held at the Hollywood Legion Stadium in California, and Wolgast's win kept him on track for yet another title try. He would lose that one, but fight on for another five years

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    GEORGE GODFREY TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE IBHOF

    On June 10, 2007, George Godfrey will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY. This honor was a long time coming but the Leiperville Giant will finally have his day, albeit posthumously. Godfrey was an outstanding heavyweight who fought between 1919-1937, compiling a record of 96-20-3 (79 KO). He was a feared man who never got his chance to fight for the world title due to the color of his skin. Godfrey died in 1947 at age 50. Next week he becomes a hall of famer!

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