The late great Manuel Ortiz (L) vs Jackie Graves...1951...I was at the Olympic for this fight.
Babe McCoy...Olympic Auditorium matchmaker....1950's
Cal Eaton handing over a $60,000 check to Carmen Basilio, that being Basilio purse for Art Aragon fight....
Carmen Basilio training for the Art Aragon fight...1958
(Back) George Parnassus, Fred Kilstofte and Cal Eaton
(Front) Alphonse Halimi and Jose Becerra
George Parnassus and Emile Griffith
Art "Golden Boy" Aragon
When Aragon fought Billy Graham at the Olympic, few persons realized that the only sparring the Golden Boy did in preparation for the then top ranking welterweight contender was one round a day for some five days. Art said he was afraid he would re-injure the knuckles of his left hand which had given him trouble in preceding fights. Aragon tired in the late rounds, losing a close decision which was criticized by the Los Angeles press.
The Golden Boy, sixth of 11 children, was born November 13, 1927, on his parents' cattle ranch in Belan, New Mexico. a town of 3,000 population 30 miles south of Albuquerque. With the Aragon children waging a winning population battle with the cattle, papa Aragon found himself facing a financial burden. To alleviate the situation, Art, at the age of 2, was sent to live with a childless aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Gallegos, in Albuquerque. In Art's early years there were no indications of his ever becoming a professional fighter. He was a member in good standing of the Boy Scouts Of America, and Gallegos a localy-noted guitar player, Influenced Art to take violin lessons for six years. He didn't have a street fight until he took a job as a delivery boy in a drug store when he was 12 years old. When Aragon was 15 he sought his fortune Los Angeles and took a job in a dairy lifting empty milk cases onto a conveyor belt. Working with him was a belligerent fellow about three years older and some 30 pounds heavier then Art, then a scrawny 120-pounder. This fellow took delight in roughing up Art, and once when he was in the process, the foreman Lee Boren, caught him at it. Art thought it would cost both of them their jobs, but Boren, who trained fighters as a sideline, took Art aside and said to him, "If you let me train you for a month, you'll be able to beat him." Aragon was skeptical, but agreed. Every day after work Boren would take Art out into the alley in the back of Boren's house and patiently teach him how to move his feet and how to jab. Finally, when he thought Art was ready, he arranged the showdown battle in a old carriage house he rented to use for a gym. Art won, and that was the begining of a fighter-manager partnership. Aragon found out early what it was like to score a knockout. In his very first amateur fight he knocked his opponent to the floor for the count in the first 10 seconds of the fight. When he returned to his corner he said to Boren, "Get somebody else. This guy didn't want to fight. What will people think?"
Art "Golden Boy" Aragon, From The Fight Magazine 1953,
If Art Aragon spent as much time throwing real punches at sparring partners as he does verbal punches at the world, he would be lightweight champion today. Last June in Los Angeles' Olympic Stadium he snapped the six fight winning streak of Elmer Beltz, a highly-regarded welterweight, with a knockout in 50 seconds of the first round of a much-publicized charity fight. Beltz's manager, Bill Gale, was furious after the fight, but not because his boy had been beaten. he muttered in bitter indignation, "The thing that gripes me is that Aragon did just what he said he would." The Golden Boy had predicted he would floor Beltz with one punch and end the fight in the first round. He was also heard to say "I'd feel sorry for Beltz except for one thing: There's money involved." After fullfilling the boast, the loquacious fellow said in reference to his rapid knockout, "The house wasn't big enough. I wanted to get it over fast." It was as simple as that. Someone asked Aragon if he thought the fight should have been stopped sooner. He replied, "They should have stopped it when the match was signed." Another person asked if Art thought Beltz should have waited another year before taking him on. He replied, "He should have waited four years." Actually, though, Aragon is not as brash as he first appears. Out of the ring, he leads with his lip, and it is a widely accepted conclusion that he speaks before he thinks, and allowances are made accordingly. Before the fight the scenes in the dressing rooms of the two fighters provided a distinct contrast. Beltz was earnestly limbering up and shadow boxing. Aragon on the other hand, was deeply concerned over a sign he was in the process of painting. Art's trainer, Ray Luna, was holding a bottle of black liquid shoe polish in one hand and the dauber in the other. Aragon was dictating what he wanted printed on a large piece of white cardboard. On the first line appeared the words "IF IT'S A." On the scond line went "GOOD FIGHT." The Golden Boy was not satisfied with the progress Luna was making on the word "FIGHT." He said, "Aw, that's lousy. Here-let me do the rest of it." Fight time was approaching, but Art wasn't thinking about it. He was painstakingly printing the words "THROW MONEY" on the third line. When he reached the end of the line, there was not enough room for the "Y" in "MONEY," so Art put a small "Y" just beneath "E." Luna said, that's no good," and took the roll of adhesive tape, with which he was going to bandage Art's hands, out of Aragon's bag. He tore off small strips and covered the "MONE" with them. Then he took the bottle of polish and dauber from Aragon and painted a "$" sign on the tape. This met with Art's approval, so he dictated the last line: "P.S. FOR CITY OF HOPE." One of Aragon's handlers then was designated to carry the sign into the ring and display it prominently before the introductions were made. But when it came time for the Golden Boy's procession-consisting of Art in a GOLD robe to enter the ring, the crewman forgot the sign amid the last minute hustle and bustle. Aragon's thought was there, though. He had sincerely wanted t do his part to help the City of Hope, a local cancer and tuberculosis sanitorium.
Babe McCoy On Art "Golden Boy" Aragon,
"We've been given trouble by fighters we lose money with, so when a fellow like Aragon comes along, we can tolerate him. But believe me, he gives us plenty of trouble. Art is a boy with alot of confidence. He thinks he's a better fighter then Carter, and a better matchmaker then me. He tells our publicity man how to write his releases and tells the ticket office how to sell tickets. For a big fight, he tells us how to scale the house and how much to advertise."
When Aragon was up at Pop Soper's Ranch near Ojai, California, training for his title fight with Carter in November 1951, he became concerned over the influx of newspapermen coming to see him train. Art, who worries more about how advance ticket sales are progressing then the promoters do, was counting on a capacity crowd for his fight with Carter, and by simple arithmetic he arrived at the conclusion that for every newspaperman to be accommodated, one less ticket could be sold. When a group of newspapermen crowded around him after one of his rare sparring sessions, he said, to no one in particular, "Remind me to call the Olympic in the morning and tell them to cut down on the press pass list."
The booing of the Golden Boy has grown into a tradition. It is his trademark as much as his eye-catching robe. The fight fans boo Aragon for the same reason baseball fans eat hot dogs. It is the customary thing to do.
THE ORIGINAL GOLDEN BOY: ART ARAGON
Los Angeles, 1949. Men wore hats, women were dames and sawbuck tossed on the bar at Ciro's made you the toast of the town. The Dodgers were in Brooklyn, the Lakers in Minneapolis and the Rams had just come out of Cleveland. Horse racing and boxing dominated the sports pages, five daily newspapers battled for copy and sports heroes were in short supply. Into that vacuum strutted boxing's original "Golden Boy," Art Aragon. "The ladies, my friend, the ladies!" laughed Aragon, remembers the time with a twinkle in his eye. "There were women everywhere you looked and I was makin' a living, so life was pretty good." The Golden Boy began his pro career on May 23, 1944 with a win over Frenchy Renee, notched 11 wins before his 17th birthday, entered the Coast Guard after turning 18 and, while stationed in Boston, managed to fight seven times in 1946, piling up six wins and a draw. "I did pretty good considering I couldn't train," he said. His only bout in '47 was a loss to Charley Early in Salem, Massachusetts, then It was back to L.A., Where in '48 he learned his trade the hard way, scoring quick knockouts over overmatched opponents like Ray Louis and Connie Smith in between hard-fought draws with nationally ranked veterans Tommy Campball and Jesse Flores. The "Wavy-haired fighter with a vicious left hook" had a knack for self-promotion to go with his heavy hands and his star rose quickly. Next on the hit list was Alfredo Pescatore, the self-styled lightweight champion of Italy. "After a minute of dancing, Pescatore walked straight towards Aragon, who was waiting with a right hand cocked. He pulled the trigger and the fight was over, with the Italian having suffered a broken nose," Less the three weeks later, well regarded "Irish" Tim Dalton stepped through the ropes to face the man the Herald's Morton Moss called "the handsome hard-hitting Golden Boy of southland fistiana." Dalton lasted seven rounds before the referee stopped the fight. Three weeks later Aragon was in Detroit, staying at the same home of his Idol, Joe Louis, who was making his first foray into promoting. "There I was Joe Louis' house, reading all his scrapbooks, and following him around. He was a real class act, but I don't think he said 10 words to me he whole time I was there, not that I cared," he said. On the card that Included exhibition bouts featuring ring legends Williie Pep and Jack Dempsey Aragon battled Luther Rawlings in the main event, dropping a close 10-round decision to a local favorite in a fight the Associated Press described as "One of the best scraps seen in a Detroit ring in years, so hard-fought it had the crowd of 10,062 tossing paper from the rafters into the ring as a way of cheering the bloody brawlers." Aragon returned home the #7-ranked lightweight in the country. He stayed busy, beating Benny Black and Wilf Desjardins before facing wily southpaw Harold "Babyface" Jones. "I hated lefties, you could never catch 'em, especially the ones who jabbed and ran," joked Aragon. The hard-earned victory kept the Aragon train rolling along. As did his marriage, the first of many. "I had plenty of wives I guess, but I loved 'em all, and they loved me, too, it's just that I had trouble staying put," he recalled with a grin. "They were all classy, too. I kept hoping it would rub off on me." In the ring Aragon continued wowing the crowd at the Legion Hall. First, ringsiders Joe Louis and Bob Hope watched Tony Chavez fall in one, then fighting with his right eye swollen shut for the final four rounds, he decisioned John L. Davis in what the Herald called "The best action fight of the year." Next up was Julio Jiminez and "Blood flowed like wine in the savage scrap, with both men cut over both eyes...Aragon had what it took when it counted and took the decision." A fith-round KO of Freddie "Babe" Herman followed, then the Golden Boy took out Alfredo Escobar in three. Aragon was crowned "Los Angeles Fighter of the Year" by boxing writers, prior to taking on Mario Trigo...To be continued..
A friend of mine has been posting these Art Aragon stories in another site, and with his permission I have posted them on the CBZ..
THE ORIGINAL GOLDEN BOY: ART ARAGON, Continued..
The Trigo fight was one of many controversies that marked Aragon's career. Warming up in the bowls of the Olympic Auditorium, Aragon and his handlers were overwhelmed by charcoal burner fumes so severe that chief second Billy Connyers had to be rushed to the hospital. Weakened by the fumes, Aragon fought gallantly, but lost a decision. He avenged the loss a month later, paving the way for a showdown with the top attraction in town, Enrique Bolanos. "That was the fight that made the 'Golden Boy," recalled Aragon. "He was 'the man.' So when I beat him, I became 'the man." Ten thousand fans packed the Olympic to see the bout, generating Aragon's biggest payday, with his 22 1/2 per cent of the gate worth the then-princely-sum of $6.700. Aragon battered Bolanos from the opening bell, after knocking him down in the 12th, saw his Idol rise, glassy-eyed and weak-knead. "He was really hurt and shaking, standing there with his hands at his sides, so I didn't hit him and the ref finally stopped it." While this sportsmanship wowed the writers, the fans never forgave Aragon for toppling there hero. "When they raised my hand everyone booed. I thought my next fight they'd cheer, naturally, but when I came into the ring 'Boo!'-and for the rest of my life when they mentioned my name in the ring they all booed...but they filled up the joint every time." The Hollywood crowd, on the other hand, embraced the handsome lightweight. Aragon quickly became a fixture on the nightclub scene, palling around with Bob Hope, golfing with Mickey Rooney and frequenting the Coconut Grove, Mocambo and Brown Derby, often with a well-known starlet." The Ink-stained wretches of the Times, Daily Mirror and Herald Express aslo stayed loyal to the man who provided them with juicy copy, including one even predicting his knockouts, a practice he stopped fairly quickly. "In those days everyone had action on the fight, so when I actually got lucky and knocked the guy out when I said I would, people thought things were fishy, so I stopped," said Aragon, who was spending money faster then he made it. While the predictions stopped, the attention didn't. His brashness filled the stands and his fists did the rest..
From The Ring Jan 1952,
Although Keeny Teran is still in the prelimenary ranks, the baby-faced youngster is already being hailed as another Manuel Ortiz in the making. Teran is built very much like Ortiz was at the same age, and like the former champion, Keeny packs a punch. Teran has had but twelve professional bouts, yet has displayed so much class and shown so much improvement that his manager and trainer, Ray Luna, is already thinking of the time when his handsome little protege will be fighting for the bantam title. And in this instance such thinking is not merely the "pipe dream" of some noisy handler, but instead, the observation of an exceptionally intelligent fellow, who was himself a clever boxer and is now one of the best trainers in California. However, although Teran has been boxing professionally for only eight months, he his no green hand at the trade, having been boxing since he was twelve years of age. In California, a boy must be 18 years of age to box even as a amateur, so Teran's fistic activities were confined to smokers. Keeny appeared on nearly a hundred such programs, and then as now, he "stole the show" most every time. Teran engaged in 24 amatuer contests, losing 2 of them, which decisions he reversed in return matches. Teran was born in Los Angeles on April 10, 1932 of Mexican parentage. And at 19 years of age he is still under the Bantamweight limit and he isn't apt to outgrow the weight for some time. California has produced three World Bantam champions, and if the ambition of this clever, hard punching little Mexican is realized, the fourth will be Keeny Teran.
Art "Golden Boy" Aragon, From The Fight Magazine 1953. Lee Boran managed Aragon through his first five years as a professional, then sold him in 1948 just as Art was about to become an established main eventer. Boren says, "I sold Art because I thought I'd rather be friends with him than train him. Boran sold Aragon to Barney Barnett. There personalities clashed, and Barnett, in turn, sold him a few months later to Jimmy Roche, who possesses a shrewd business mind and considerably more patience then his predecessor. Roche steered his Golden Boy to the big-money fights with one hand, and kept him humored by patting him on the back with the other. It has been difficult at times, but Roche says, "Other fight managers have alot of other kinds of trouble with their fighters. Art isn't so bad. He just pops off a little when he shouldn't." Recently the Golden Boy was watching a fight on television in which Elmer Beltz and Phil Kim, another Aragon knockout victim, were the contestants. Someone said, "Beltz seems to have slowed down." Another person said, "Kim doesn't look as fast as he used to, either." Aragon concurred. "Let me tell you something," he said. "Very few fighters look the same after they fight me."
Jimmy McLarnin On Art "Golden Boy" Aragon,
"If a kid can hit, and Aragon can, he's always dangerous. He can't be blamed for his cockiness because, most of the time, he delivers.
Mickey Walker On "Golden Boy" Aragon,
"I know Aragon's cocky, and has been beaten, but none could destroy his confidence. He always snaps back, bragging as usual. He's the most 'colorful' we have had around since Bert Colima."
The always reserved lightweight champ Jimmy Carter, merely said, after his non-title and title bouts with Art: "He's a good boy." Billy Graham, who bested him in a close nod when Art ran out of gas after a whirlwind start and also receipted for a cut face, put it this way: "He's a very good fighter. He stunned me a couple of times. I think he'd take Chuck Davey. He's a hooker and Chuck would be walking into his best punch.
The evidence shows that Art, who can be as quick with an alibi as a left jab, was justified in claiming that a bad left index foreknuckle-which later required surgery-bothered him noy only in the Graham set-to but prior fights with Salas and Kim, as well. He knocked out the latter, however, despite the handicap. Art's own excuse for losing his second battle with Carter, which was for the title, was that he had difficulty in making weight. The excuse made sense for it was apparent he was too finely drawn. The operation on his damaged mitt proved successful when he belted Elmer Beltz into helplessness in one of the briefest encounters on record. In any event, win, lose, or draw it is an even bet that Art's philosophy, as expressed in his own words, will prevail: "I intend to be a fathead, come what may. What else gets the moola? You can have those starving 'good losers.' "
The great Bobby Chacon and me....California Boxing Hall Of Fame Luncheon....2011
!950's lightweight Ramon Tiscareno and his beautiful daughters
California Boxing Hall Of Fame...2011
Ramon and daughter Yvette
I didn't get this daughter's name
2011 California Boxing Hall Of Fame
Eddie Rodriquez and 2006 inductee Frankie Baltazar with 2011 California Boxing Hall Of Fame inductee Richard Savala
Had a good size crowd at the 2011 California Boxing Hall Of Fame Luncheon...6-25-2011
With some friends at the California Boxing Hall Of Fame...2-25-2011
With Frank Aragon
With Ray Maynez
Frank, Ray and their ladies were sitting at my table...
My photos from the 2011 CBHOF luncheon
Thanks for posting those pics Frank. Some day I would like to make the trip to that luncheon.
Last edited by kikibalt; 06-27-2011 at 11:35 AM.
Sorry to hear that Frank. I knew you were fighting the battle but didn't know about Don.
Our prayers are with both of you.
The attendance for the California Boxing Hall Of Fame luncheon on Saturday, 6-25-2011, was over 500, we got billed for 490 meals, but were told that more than that were actually served .....
The Knockout Magazine, Feb 18, 1950, Olympic Auditorium Boxing..
JOHN NOVELA 4 rds-135 Ibs. vs CHUCK THOMPSON
Two good-looking youngsters. Thin edge to Novela
BOBBY GARZA 4 rds-124 Ibs. vs JIMMY DUNN
These two may steal the show. Dunn a slight choice.
M. MALDONALDO 4 rds-128 Ibs. vs F. RODRIGUEZ
Manuel will have his hands full, but pick him.
GIL CADILLA 4 rds-126 Ibs. vs FREDDIE HAYES
Cadilla is one of Forbe's pupils. Must pick him.
CHU CHU JIMINEZ 4 rds-132 Ibs. vs ROCKY HARO
This will be a minor war...Jiminez has one several good bouts
at Ocean Park...Rocky knows his way around. Tab Haro.
ENRIQUE BOLANOS 12 rds-136 Ibs. vs ART ARAGON
This is a "natural" ... Aragon takes the place
of the injured Maxie Docusen ... Form chart
points to Bolanos, but many observers give "Golden
Boy" Aragon the punchers chance ...Promoter Cal Eaton
looks for a near sell-out house ... Should be one of the year's
best scraps with the more experienced Bolanos rating the edge.
California Hall Of Fame Luncheon....6-25-2011