Luis Magana and I chalked up a combined total of 140 plus years of following Hispanics in the fight game. We agreed and disagreed on various levels. We were of one mind, however, when it came to picking the greatest Mexican battler we ever saw.........Manuel Ortiz. Not the greatest boxer, not the greatest puncher....simply put, the greatest fighter!
All of his poor showings were due to some extenuating circumstance, either by chance or design. When he made up his mind to fight he was, indeed, a great fighting machine.
I'm with you & Luis M. on Ortiz, I got to see Ortiz at the tail end of his career and I had a chance to see most of the BWs that follow him and of all the ones that I seen I've to say that Ortiz imo is the #1 BW of all times.
Frank, which bantam do you think would have given him his toughest fight?Originally Posted by kikibalt
I would've to say Eder Jofre, a fighter that I got see fight live, and who imo is second only to Ortiz as a BW
Good choice!Originally Posted by kikibalt
Jack Leonard, 89; fight promoter who took on mob boss
By Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 28, 2007
Jack Leonard, a former Los Angeles boxing promoter who withstood mafia threats and a suspicious attack inside his garage to become a key witness in a sensational trial that sent organized crime's so-called boss of boxing to prison, has died. He was 89.
Leonard, who died Saturday of heart failure in a nursing home in Winter Haven, Fla., was a promoter and matchmaker at the old Hollywood Legion Stadium, where boxing matches drawing an estimated 6,000 fans were routinely scheduled on Saturday evenings.
One of his fighters was Don Jordan, a welterweight who in 1958 won the world welterweight title by defeating Virgil Akins as a 3-to-1 underdog at Los Angeles' Olympic Auditorium.
Jordan also defeated Akins in a rematch in St. Louis.
In 1959, Leonard told the California Athletic Commission he had been approached immediately after Jordan's second victory by Frankie Carbo, described by The Times as "a reputed underworld boxing czar."
Carbo wanted Leonard to serve as an intermediary to Jordan's manager in an effort to "muscle in" and seize a large percentage of earnings from the fighter's contract in future bouts.
Two weeks later, Leonard was hospitalized with a concussion and several other injuries after he told police he had been attacked inside his Northridge garage by two men.
Calling the beating retribution for his testimony, Leonard told The Times that a man identifying himself as Carbo had called him before the hearing and said "he'd have my eyeballs torn out if I talked."
Although police later suggested that Leonard suffered a heart attack and fell to the floor of his garage, he maintained his beating story before a federal grand jury and later reported that his children were threatened.
His home was also subjected to a reported arson.
"I don't know if you can say the mob did it, but I saw him the day after the attack, and he was pretty bruised and beaten," said John Hall, a former Times sports columnist.
Carbo, Philadelphia fight promoter Frank "Blinky" Palermo, Los Angeles boxing figure Joe Sica and two others were ultimately indicted for crimes including conspiracy and extortion.
In the 1961 trial, Leonard, under 24-hour police protection, testified that Carbo had told him he had controlled the welterweight champion's earnings for 25 years, "and no punk is going to take it away from me."
Leonard said Carbo told him, "You're going to get hurt, and when I mean hurt, I mean dead."
The intimidation "was tough on him," said Leonard's friend and boxing promoter Don Chargin.
"I'd see him daily during that time. He was very nervous, and he had every right to be," he said.
Boxing publicist Bill Caplan said Monday that the trial illuminated that "this group of mafioso had controlled the lightweight and welterweight titles for years.
When Jordan upset Akins, Jackie Leonard said, 'Oh no, we're L.A. people, we don't go for that stuff.' I think they sent a message to him when they got to him in the garage, that 'We could've killed you. . . . ' But he still didn't back down."
A jury convicted Carbo and four others, and federal prosecutors called it the most significant court decision against national underworld operations in more than 20 years.
"It was almost unfair how these mob guys just looked like mob guys, and the jury looked like it was out of Kansas -- mild-mannered, church-going," said boxing promoter Don Fraser, who testified for the defense during the trial.
"Carbo, Palermo, Sica -- they were so menacing-looking. You could tell just by looking at them that they didn't get where they were by looking like a banker."
Carbo was sentenced to 25 years in prison, with U.S. Judge George Boldt telling the courtroom, "Never in [Carbo's] life has he been associated with any useful activity. . . he has been a menace to humanity and a hardened and degenerate criminal."
A former boxer who studied engineering, Leonard left the sport for several years after the trial and worked on construction projects in Guam, Saudi Arabia and South Vietnam before relocating to Winter Haven in 1982.
He helped train fighters in a Police Athletic League there, including current unbeaten welterweight Andre Berto.
In 1998, Leonard was inducted into the U.S. Boxing Writers' Hall of Fame, and he received a longevity award from the World Boxing Assn. His Winter Haven boxing club also reportedly produced several amateur champions in Florida.
Chargin said Leonard's legacy is the blow he struck against boxing's mob influence.
"After that, it scared them all off," Chargin said.
Leonard is survived by his wife, Jeanne.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Good to see an image of a fine friend from my youthful years, Joey Olmos.
Joey and I, along with Lou Magana, of the Olympic Aud., Rudy Garcia, of the Spanish language daily "La Opinion" and Midget Martinez, who edited "The Sports Page" in East L.A. were charter members of the Hispanic Press Association back in the early 1950s.
I had been dealing with Joey even before that, when I was in charge of the prelim bouts at the Legion Stadium and he had a promising young featherweight, Fugie Rodriguez. I don't know how much of Joey's talent is covered in the book you mentioned, but I do know he was an extremely capable sketch artist. He surprised me once when he presented me with a full-scale caricature, pen and ink, of our mutual friend, Fabela Chavez, who had just returned from a boxing tour of Eastern rings. Joey honored me with a personal inscription to wit:
"To my pal, Hap Navarro, one of the best pals in town."
The last time I spoke with Joey was at a spot show put on by Mickey Davies at the Imperial Fair Grounds in El Centro. Mickey had asked me to attend as his guest and several of the old L.A. fight mob were there, guys I had not seen or spoken to in about five years. Joey was an Inspector for the State Athletic Commission working that show.
Two youngsters I booked back in the early 1950s within two months of each other, miles apart, one in Mexicali, Baja, the other in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Richards, along with Rafael Gutierrez, Glen Hendershot and Al Enriquez, made the trip with me from Hollywood to Albuquerque for a show put on by the local American Legion Hugh Carlisle Post.
Gallardo faced Baby Franco on a New Year's day card, sharing top billing with Rudy Cruz at the Mexican border arena.
Long, long time ago.
He was really Bobby Why Garcia. Rugged as they come for being only a featheweight. Supplemented his income in those days by working as a heavy equipment operator. Nice guy, serious about his career, etc. Lee Boren had him and he was friendly with Jackie McCoy.
Thanks Hap:Originally Posted by dongee
I always wonder about the name "Why", didn't know he was a Garcia.