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Thread: Just Photos

  1. #1081
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    Re: Oleg Maskaew

    Quote Originally Posted by dongee
    Frank:

    Lil' Joey Velez was oone of the nicest kids we ever used in a Hollywood Legion main event. That happened back in 1949, when Joey made the trip down from the Pacific Northwest alone, to take on our "house" little guy, Jackie Blair.

    Joey was not only well-mannered, educated and so on, but he could fight a bit, and managed some good wins before hanging up the gloves. He was also one of the guttiest kids I ever met......a victim of polio as a child, he had one leg, the left one, if memory serves, that did not develop fully and remained shriveled and unsightly for all time. All who met him knew that Joey would not hang around the fight game long because he had his sights on a business career even back then.

    Good fighter, nice kid.....Joey Velez.

    hap navarro


    Joey Velez


    ... the man

    Joseph (Joey) Velez, son of Puerto Rican Ralph Andrew and Alaskan Native Anna Latitia Gordon-Velez was born, June 23, 1925 in Seattle, Washington.

    At 17 months, Joey was afflicted with the crippling disease Polio. It withered his left leg so badly that he didn't take his first steps (with crutches) until the age of five. He didn't walk without crutches until he was nine.

    At the age of 10, he was stricken with Pneumonia. Tuberculosis soon followed and he ended up bedridden in Firlands Sanitarium in Seattle for 18 months. When other young boys were running, jumping, climbing trees and playing ball Joey was forced to sit on the side lines. Because he was so full of energy he would go to the Y.M.C.A. after school worked out and played around in the boxing ring with some of the fellows. He strived hard to overcome his childhood ailments. He didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him. He was quite proud of the way he overcame these obstacles early on.

    When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, patriotism and anger were running high. Joey wanted to enlist in the Navy but the recruiters took one look at his withered leg and booted him out into the street. Frustrated and angry, he then tried to enlist in the Army only to be turned down again.

    In 1944 Joey graduated from Broadway High School in Seattle. He was an athletic student despite his challenges. He was a Table Tennis champion, and accomplished dancer winning Blue Ribbons in four Jitterbug contests.


    ... the husband and father

    In May of 1950, Joey married Shirley May Hoeffer, a lively redhead he met at the Seattle Athletic Club. Their daughter, Debra Jo (Jodi) was born July 1953 at Providence Hospital in Seattle. Shirley and Joey had an amicable divorce in 1958.

    Joey had another precious daughter by the name of Charmaine Noel Bader who was born December 25, 1959 at Northgate Hospital in Seattle. Charmaine’s mother was Darlene Fay Gering of Seattle.

    Jodi and Charmaine are still alive and raising their families in southern California and Gig Harbor, WA, respectively.



    ... the artist

    As a young schoolboy, Joey entered contests to show his artwork. He majored in art at Broadway High School and won 2nd place in the National Scholastics Art Contest. In 1944, he received honors in the National Scholastics awards for art and literary work. In 1945 he won 3rd prize in watercolor. He was also given a scholarship to a Southern California art school.

    Joey was a very talented man, indeed. He drew and painted faces, landscapes, cartoons. He drew portraits of himself to advertise the next fight, or the results of the match that he had been in. He drew and published fight programs for other boxers as well.

    He attended the Edison Technical School in Seattle and developed into a top-notch commercial artist. His favorite medium was the newspaper. Not drawing for them, but on them, as his canvas.

    He managed a branch of Seattle’s Burnley School of Art and before the age of 24, he worked at Frederick and Nelsons and later was Head Commercial Artist at Sears & Roebucks in Seattle.


    ... the prize fighter

    In 1941, after being turned down from both the Navy and the Army because of his withered left leg, he was angry that they didn’t want him. He took this anger that day to the ring at the YMCA in Seattle. He admitted that he became very vindictive. He said, “All I wanted to do was fight servicemen. I went from base to base and took part in Army and Navy sponsored fights. The prize was a war bond.”

    In all 24 of his first amateur fights he took on the best each military base had to offer. He never lost. It was as if he had his own motto, “If you can’t join them, beat them!” He became a serious amateur and took almost every title around.

    By 1945 he was being called such names as, “Gentleman Joe Velez” and “Coast Slugger”. In 1946, he won the Northwest Golden Gloves Crown, the AAU Washington State Championship, and went on to Boston for the 1946 National Championship of the lightweight division.

    In 1947, they were calling him, “Slashing Seattle Grappler” and “Seattle Scrapper.” as well as the “Little Gamester with the Gimp Leg”, and “Joltin’ Joe Velez". But he was most famous for the name of “Lil` Joey Velez.” which emblazoned the back of his boxing robe.

    Weighing in at 135 pounds he was compared to condensed dynamite. His ability to move in the ring with his Polio inflicted leg was extraordinary. Observers marveled at Joey’s footwork, his quick maneuvers and sharp reflexes were superior to more than 90% of the fighters in action in his day. Nothing short of remarkable, considering that Joey’s Achilles cord on his left leg was completely helpless caused by the infantile paralysis. They say he was “exceptionally hard to knock off his feet.” Joey couldn’t back up very well in the ring, but most of the time, he didn’t have to. When he got an adversary in the corner, it was usually the beginning of the end.

    He traveled throughout his career. He was chosen to represent the U.S. in London, although he couldn’t make it at the time. All told, he went into 62 amateur battles — and came out on top in 60 of them!

    One story has it, Joey stuffed $40 into his shoe and headed for Los Angeles, CA. There he wandered into the famous Main Street Gym, which was the haunt of many of the world's most famous boxers and the location of several Hollywood films. Joe Louis, Max Baer, Rocky Marciano, 'Jersey Joe' Walcott all passed through the doors of the famous gym and all became good friends of 'Lil Joey' Velez.

    His first fight didn’t bring him the riches he had hoped for. He explained, “I made $35 in my first pro match in California. It wasn’t the gold mine I had thought it would be.” But his prizefight of $35 expanded by the end of his first year as a pro to over $26,000. Over the years Joey made over $250,000 in the ring, saying, “It didn’t last. My hindsight is terrific. I blew it.” Losing the money never bothered him though.


    ... the teacher

    For a time, Joey coached boxing at the Washington Athletic Club, teaching the manly art of self-defense to 50 or more young boys each Saturday morning. Later, he operated his own Joey Velez School of Boxing for boys in the 6 to 13 year age bracket, first in the Greenwood District, then at the Eagles gymnasium near Fourth and Wall Streets in downtown Seattle.

    A local television station presented Joey’s “Madison Square Kindergarten,” a weekly telecast that he produced for four years. Youngster’s ages 6 to 12 went at each other with gloves almost as big as they were. Harmless fights pitched the mini-battlers against each other in three weight divisions; flea weight, gnat weight, and paper weight. Most of the children found it a challenge just to lift the heavy gloves. Before long, he was conducting boxing classes for youngsters in six different parts of Seattle. By his own count, approximately 4,000 Seattle youngsters “learned to absorb a few knocks, to stand up straight and conduct themselves as gentleman." under his supervision.

  2. #1082
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    Just Photos

    Hap;

    The above article was pen by Joey Velez's daughter--Jodi Velez-Newell.


    KiKi

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    Joey Velez

    Joey Velez 1925 - 2002
    Gone, But Not Forgotten

    Memories written by Tim Robinson

    Robinson Newspapers, Seattle, WA.
    December 18, 2002




    The sweat-filled air rolled out the door of Velez's boxing gym in Seattle whenever a would-be fighter walked through. It was dark. Dirty. Old fashioned poolroom lamps hung from the ceiling. The 'ring' was three feet above the floor in the center of the room. In that hollow space, you could hear punches whacking human flesh like carpets.

    Around the room were kids, young adults, and a few older men. Some had dreams of whupping their best friend or whipping the school bully. Some had dreams of prolonging their youth. Most had never taken a punch from anyone tougher than a fifth grader.

    Joey Velez, Seattle prize-fighter, was my hero. A small man with a big heart. He welcomed my brothers and me into his boxing school. My dad thought we needed to learn to defend ourselves. At 11, in 1957, I was scrawny and small. A perfect target for any boys larger than me and that was most of them.

    A speed bag hung from a circle of plywood like a large teardrop. Jump ropes lay coiled like tired snakes on wooden benches or hung from hooks on the east wall. Good ropes with ball-bearing handles. I loved those ropes and tried to find some years later.

    A thickset, older guy slugged the heavy bag in another corner. Every time he clubbed the bag, he would "hiss" with pursed lips. I didn't know then, but he was over-the-hill in fighter's lingo. Probably 35 and washed-up. But he was there, still training. Believing he might regain what he had ten years earlier.

    The sagging ring ropes were a memento of all the fighters who leaned on them for support. Joey Velez gave lessons to hundreds of Seattle area kids in a time when learning to box was considered an important step in a young boy's life.

    We went to Joey's gym once a week to learn the science of boxing. The art of self-defense. We weren't aggressive types, we weren't even streetwise. My oldest brother was a skinny bookworm and my other brother was a dude who wore Italian shoes before he was 14. None of us had really been in a fight, except for those moments when we grappled in the living room.

    Growing up in the suburbs, we lived in a Ricky Nelson sitcom. We had the Korean War behind us, Ike was President. On Friday nights, between razor blade commercials, we watched Gene Fullmer, Bobo Olson, Carmen Basillio and Sugar Ray Robinson. Maybe we could be fighters too.

    At the gym we were not even allowed into the ring, much less put on gloves until we had trained. I didn't understand since the gloves they were using were BIGGER than our heads. They looked like large brown marshmallows with laces. You couldn't hurt Jello with gloves that size.

    Joey Velez was a top fighter. He had some stories, too. We heard about Rocky Graziano, Sugar Ray and Willie Pep, fighters who could put their fists through walls. We heard about fighters who could go 15 rounds in 100 degree heat. It was all dreamy stuff. We wanted to be like that. Like Joey. Tough, gritty, with busted noses and fists like rocks.

    Joey told us how to get there. Hundreds of push-ups, thousands of reps with the jump rope. None of that ONE , TWO, THREE, O'LEARY. Velez picked up the rope and skipped. He danced from one foot to the other, twisting the rope back and forth in front of him. He changed cadence. The rope whistled over his head and down. Over and down in rapid succession. Fred Astaire could not move that way.

    The speed bag wore scars left by Velez and dozens of others. Raising his fists to chin level (the perfect level ) Velez could roll his knuckles like a wheel. The bag responded with a staccato chatter. Smooth. Musical in its rhythm. I wanted to move the bag like THAT! I wanted to be a champion. I needed a soapbox to reach it, but I was hungry.

    The first time I whacked it wasn't perfect. The bag went rocking off in five directions. I swung at air. The jump rope got me too. I maxed out at 8 hops, caught my shoe and stumbled. I was no Joey.

    That's how it went all summer. I got a little better, made the bag behave and managed to skip the rope as well as the other kids.

    But I didn't have the stuffing to become another Joey Velez. He had the extra piece, the heart to hang around, keep banging the bag when everybody else went home. Somehow, even at 11, I knew that too.

    When he passed away last week, they held no ceremony in his name. Maybe I'll hold one of my own, if I can find that old punching bag, those balloon sized gloves. I don't wanna hurt myself.


    Tim Robinson

    Robinson Newspapers, Seattle, WA.

    December 18, 2002

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    Joey Velez


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    Earl Wells vs Rex Layne...1953


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    Jimmy Ellis


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    Joey Maxin


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    Justo Suarez vs Ray Miller...1930




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    Just Photos


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    Just Photos


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    Tony Galento & unknown sparring partners...1938




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    Tony Galento vs Natie Brown...1939


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    Tony Galento vs Eddie Mader...1935


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    Tony galento vs Nathan Mann...1938


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    Pancho Villa vs Jimmy Wilde...1923


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    Robert Villemain...1952


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    Danny Nardico vs Robert Villemain...1952


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    Pancho Villa...1924


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    Chico Vejar...1957


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    Henry Johnson (Artie Towne)


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    Victor speed bag platform...Circa 1940


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    Verquan Kimbrough vs Rodney Jones


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    Primo vs George Godfrey


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    Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams...1961


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    Billy Bossio...1950


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    Tadashi Mihara...1982


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    Bob Satterfield vs Archie McBride...1955


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    Mike Rossman vs Aldo Traversaro...1978


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