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Thread: History of California Boxing in Photos

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    While cleaning the garage I also ran across this clipping from the old Los Angeles Herald Examiner,
    dated Friday June 23, 1967.
    I was at this fight with my father. We had some pretty good seats as I recall. The Quarry clan was
    sitting directly in front of us. Mike Quarry, directly in front of me. Jerry was not with the family that night.
    Years later I would spar with Mike, as well as open the show for him and Tom Bethea for their October 30, 1976
    fight at the Aladdin Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

    Randy De La O

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    Oscar Bonavena walking away from his down opponent who I think is Manuel Ramos, not sure though.

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    MUSLIM GREETING-Elijah Muhammad, left, of Black Muslim sect, shakes hands with heavyweight
    boxing champion Cassius Clay at Black Muslim rally attended by 5,000 members in Olympic Auditorium.

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    1958. Chico Vejar & Pajarito Moreno.

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    Mando Muniz in the class room

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    Mike Quarry. Senior high school picture

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    Manuel Ortiz

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    Ike Williams

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    had the pleasure of meeting mr. williams at the san pedro boys club about 6 months before he passed away. very nice man. i ask him if he still had that punch and he laughed and said "no, i lost that a long time ago". amazingly i think he could have still made lightweight.

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    Seasons greeting to all my HOCBIP friends....Have a very Merry Xmas and Happy New Year. And may Tis Season bring you nothing but joy and happiness....Frank "kiki" Baltazar and family

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    thanks frank.

    this has become my favorite thread since it deals with what i remember most, california boxing. i hope you keep making these great contributions as they are much appreciated here.

    i will get those flyers to you after the new year as i know it is tough to keep coming up with material. you have done a great job. they are mailers of the upcoming boxing and wrestling matches from the olympic during the 1970 and 1971 era. hard to believe you could still get anything for a quarter back then but then again when i think of those days i did not have many quarters...... hmmm.

    feliz navidad.

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by gregbeyer View Post
    thanks frank.

    this has become my favorite thread since it deals with what i remember most, california boxing. i hope you keep making these great contributions as they are much appreciated here.

    i will get those flyers to you after the new year as i know it is tough to keep coming up with material. you have done a great job. they are mailers of the upcoming boxing and wrestling matches from the olympic during the 1970 and 1971 era. hard to believe you could still get anything for a quarter back then but then again when i think of those days i did not have many quarters...... hmmm.

    feliz navidad.
    Thanks, Greg, those flyers will come in handly, been that I am low in material..

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    September 15, 1958

    Exit Art, Laughing

    Life was a gag, despite Basilio and a Texas process server

    James Murray
    SI Magazine

    Some years ago the prizefighter Art Aragon delivered himself of the blistering opinion that his chosen profession was a cruel and dirty business and he would quit it in a second if he could think of some other way of making a living without working.

    The fight crowd held its sides and laughed hollowly. That Art was a great kidder, always making with the funnies, was the interpretation. Everybody knew Art was living the rich, good life. He had a fancy home, a wife, a car, three kids. He even had his own radio show.

    Nobody liked to bask in the glory of the ring more than Art. He loved to swagger in front of the crowds between fights when he would be introduced as "Golden Boy," his curly locks carefully coifed, his hard young body swathed in silk, and his wrists and neck dangling enough bangles to keep a Ubangi tribe happy.

    Art had it made, had everything a man could want, in the view of his associates. He liked a few drinks of expensive whisky before dinner and a few after, for that matter. Some of his most spectacular fights were refereed by bartenders. The opponent once turned out to be a cop—which took a lot of the fun out of it.

    Art loved show people and show business, of which he considered himself a part. He loved the fast banter of the borscht circuit comedian and soon picked it up and became expert at it. He would rather make a joke than win a fight, and he could always talk faster than he could punch. Unfortunately, the contests in the ring weren't debates or "can you top this?" but elemental struggles of strength. Art was not completely hopeless at this but, all things considered, he would rather play it for comedy, and on the occasions he was called upon to practice his craft legitimately one of two things would happen: a) he would get knocked half senseless by someone more proficient than he—a description applying to more than half the prizefighters extant; or b) he would wind up so badly cut that his classic profile looked more like a Polynesian death mask than a matinee idol.

    But Art shrewdly babied his reputation along by having fights in between where neither eventuality was in prospect. He did this often in out-of-town dates, places like Albuquerque, N.Mex. where he was born, or San Bernardino, where he had driven through in his gaudy Cadillac. He took these bouts on condition that he could bring his own opponent. It's usual in such cases for fighters to bring their own brothers—or their mothers if they can get away with it. Art usually brought an old school chum name of Joey Barnum. Art even loved the joke when the wags suggested he should change his name to Bailey.

    Art's antics inevitably cost him his marriage when he began indiscreetly showing up at sporting events with young ladies who were definitely not sparring partners. Then, a year and a half ago his good life almost came crashing down around his cauliflowered ears when a judge sentenced him to one to five years for trying to bring his own opponent, fully briefed and rehearsed, to Texas for a fight. Art was up to his cut eyebrows in debt when the appellate court reversed the decision and the district attorney's office did not press for a rematch.

    Art then knew he was stuck with the fight game at least until he could bail out. He desperately needed that one more big pay night. Time was running out, alimony was imminent, and Art had to cash in at least one more big pot before leaving the game.

    Aragon's matchmakers came up with a daring plan. Carmen Basilio, a swarthy brawler with a face like the sharp edge of a machete and fists to match, needed a fight. He had just had two ferocious meetings with Sugar Ray, he had got an "eye" in the last one, and (they told the public) he just might be exhausted as a front-line contender. Even his style, wide-open, wild-swinging, might be made to order for Art. On a note of high optimism, the fight was made. Art promptly moved out to the desert of San Jacinto to train and promised faithfully to stay away from the fleshpots for the six weeks before fight night. Characteristically, when he slipped into town he didn't do it quietly. He was observed trying to warm up pitchers in the Dodgers' bullpen one night, and he dropped in at a watering place where he ran into his lawyer-manager on another. All his friends doubled up with laughter.

    Art lived it up with the press. What especially was he working on in camp, one writer wanted to know. "Self-defense!" Art told him artlessly. "If you were going to fight Basilio, what would you be working on?" When he met Basilio at the weighing-in, Carmen asked him idly how things were going. "Not so good," groaned Art. "Both my wife and my girl friend are here."

    Only one thing went according to plan. Despite the fact the fight went on at 7 p.m. to satisfy eastern televiewers, Wrigley Field was nearly full, 22,500 fans paying a record California gate of $236,521.10.

    Art was in the ring a full 15 minutes before the main event. He wasn't nervous; there was a process server from Texas hovering around the dressing-room area. Art is being sued for not going through with the fight which ultimately brought him in court on bribery charges.

    The crowd had come not in the hopes Aragon could beat Basilio but hoping he could give him a fight. Alas, Aragon, never very good, was just a shell of his former mediocre self. His timing was off. His left hook, which he can deliver only after taking a stance like a batter waiting for a pitch, bounced harmlessly off Basilio's face. And Basilio was relentless. A man who disdains a jab when a roundhouse hook will do, he was belting Aragon to the body with a back-swing as long as Sammy Snead's off the tee, and his fists were sinking wrist-deep in Art's middle. Two girls in row four were wincing with Aragon. "But Art's in shape," ventured one hopefully. The other girl was derisive. "You can't overcome 14 years with 6 weeks of training," she said significantly. In the ring the bell rang and Art paused, blinked and swayed to his corner. He looked at his handlers as though to say, "Well, you got me into this. What now?"

    There was no out. Aragon, his back arched like a Gila monster, sought to defuse Basilio's bombs by working inside. This suited Carmen fine. He gave Art no respite until one of the wild cluster of blows Basilio was aiming fell low. Art promptly declared a holiday himself and assumed the duties of the referee, waving Basilio off while he grimaced in a corner. Basilio, unused to a character like Aragon, was under the impression for a minute his opponent had quit. The referee rushed in and, to Aragon's evident lack of enthusiasm, the battle was joined again.

    As the rounds went on, Aragon assumed more and more the role of punching bag. His face was torn and bleeding. The girls in row four and, a little farther down, Cheryl Crane, daughter of Lana Turner, couldn't look. "But look at Basilio's face!" cried one. "It's got bumps on it." " Basilio's face was born that way," disillusioned the other.

    Occasionally, Aragon lashed out and tried to drive his tormentor off him. But it was useless. Basilio was pitching a shutout. Aragon was just catching it. And he wasn't missing a pitch. Basilio couldn't have hit a bag more accurately. "Yah! Robbie took the fight outta that guy!" jeered one spectator. "I'd a hated to see him before." Joe Louis, at ringside, was one of those who joined in the laugh.

    Art went out in the eighth round with neither a whimper nor a bang, just a sense of inescapability. A towel fluttered in the ring but caught on the ring ropes. It didn't matter. Referee Tommy Hart stopped it anyway. Art didn't even permit himself the theatrics of protest but wandered wearily to his corner.

    In the dressing room afterward, Basilio explained: "In that last round, I wasn't trying to take him out with a punch. He was cut real bad and he was hurt plenty. I felt kind of sorry for him. Besides he was all elbows then and I didn't want to hurt my hand. He's a tough boy and he's got guts, but he just wasn't as fast as I thought he was."

    In his dressing room, the ex-Golden Boy sat relaxed on a table, fully dressed, dark glasses over his cruelly cut eyes. When told what Basilio said, he grinned at the press. "I wasn't as fast as I thought I was," he joked. His trainer, Lee Boren, held forth. "I told Art at the end of the seventh round, I wanted to stop it," he explained. "And he said no." Art looked up, idly curious. "I wonder why," he said wide-eyed.

    The reporters laughed. "Actually," quipped Art, "he said, 'Could we stop the fight?' and I said, 'Please do. Be my guest.' " The press laughed again. Did Art think he could go 12 rounds? was the question. "I was all right," shot back Art. "Only I kept wondering why they had let it go 47 rounds." Boren shushed him quickly. "These are eastern writers," he said reproachfully. "Oh, all right, 45 rounds," sighed Art. He added, "Maybe I should stick to welterweights. They don't punch as often."

    At that, Art's battles weren't over. "Anybody got the time?" he asked quickly. "8:15," came the answer. "The night's young," said Aragon brightening up. "Anybody know where there's some action?" What did you say before the fight, Art was asked. "I left home and said I thought I'd go take in a fight," said Art. "But it was lousy. I should of stayed home."

    He surveyed the reporters. "Will you guys do me a favor?" he suddenly demanded. The reporters looked uncomfortable. "What do you want us to do, Art?" asked one. "I want you to commit yourselves first," commanded Art. The press nodded miserably. "O.K.," said Art. "There's a knothole from Texas outside and need I say more? He's gonna serve me with papers which will hold up $20,000 of my end of the purse. I want you guys to block for me while I heel-and-toe outta here. Actually, he's only a bantamweight."

    The reporters shrugged and crowded out of the room. It was impossible to tell whether they were really aiding Aragon or whether the quarters were so cramped no other course was possible. Aragon rushed out behind his interference.

    " Art Aragon, summons and complaint!" bellowed the process server, lunging for the fighter. Aragon fled down the stairs from the dressing room to the ball park concourse. A knot of a couple of hundred fans began to cheer. Then their jaws gaped open. Here came their hero flying down the stairs in wild flight from a fattish, hysterical man, waving papers. What made Artie run was not decipherable to his fans. But run Art did. Out into the night, between parked cars, weaving through the crowds of fans streaming out of the park. "Hey, Art," said one baffled observer, " Basilio's gone." But Art didn't stop to joke. He fled. The summons-server was in hot pursuit. But Art's footwork was improved. He disappeared into the night, coat-tails flying in undignified rout.

    In another part of the park, Telecaster Gil Stratton spotted Mrs. Aragon. "How did you like the fight?" he asked innocently. Georgia looked at him. "Fine," she said evenly. "Just fine."

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    Aragon/Basilio..

    "I could use him again," said George Parnassus. "You don't kill Aragon just because he doesn't win. He's good for more fights. Wait a few months and he'll talk about how he had Basilio hanging on. I could match him with a lot of Welterweights and middleweights and keep him busy." "You got to shoot him with a pistol to finish him off. He's got more lives then Houdini." Aragon was sitting on a table in a dressing room at Wrigley Field. He had exchanged his ring clothes for a black silk suit. The abrasions and contusions above and below his eyes were hidden by dark glasses. He had just taking a beating that would have caused a lesser ego to lay down and weep. Not Art Aragon. "Before I left home I said I thought I'd take in a fight. But it was lousy. I should have stayed home."

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    THE GOLDEN BOY REVISITED : Once Upon a Time, Art Aragon Was King of L.A.; He Really Misses Those Days

    May 08, 1988|EARL GUSTKEY | Times Staff Writer

    The Golden Boy, at 60:

    Art Aragon is at his desk in his Van Nuys bail bond office, the one next to the tattoo shop. Through sunglasses in the dark office, he stares through the window at passers-by on Victory Boulevard.

    The phone rings.

    "HelloAragon," he mumbles.

    He listens briefly, then mumbles again, "Sorry, no collect calls," and abruptly hangs up.

    A visitor asks who it was.

    "Some guy in jail," he says. "He'll call back."

    Seconds later, the caller is back on the line--his nickel.

    "HelloAragon.

    "What're you in for, Danny?

    "Possession of a controlled substance, huh?

    "What's your booking number, Danny?

    "How old are you?

    "What's your address, Danny?

    "That sounds like a trailer park. It is? That's bad, Danny. You could haul that trailer out of there one night and disappear on me and I'd get awful mad.

    "You got a job, Danny?

    "A roofer? How about this Danny: I get you outta jail, you fix my roof. How's that sound?

    "OK, Danny, I need $260 from someone who knows you well and who owns property. How about your girlfriend? OK, how about your boyfriend? Your Mom? That's great, Danny. What's her phone number? OK, stay by that phone. I'll call you right back."

    He dials.

    "Hello, Mrs. . . . ? This is Art Aragon calling. Did you know your son is in . . . You know me? From where? Jerry's Bar? Oh, yeah. From years ago. Sure I remember you. Real sexy, right? Yeah, I remember you. Hey, Mama, you were so beautiful in those days you were dangerous. They shoulda put you in jail years ago, Mama.

    "Hey, I'm a bail bondsman now. Your son's in jail. You want me to get him out or what? You don't? OK, suit yourself."

    But the woman decides that she does want to bail her son out, and makes an appointment with Aragon.

    The visitor asks Aragon if the woman really was beautiful.

    "Yeah, she was," he says. "Hey, in those days, I didn't drink with bums, pal."

    Aragon breaks into a wide grin.

    And you know that, behind the sunglasses, he has winked.

    Always, the mouth. He was the fighter they loved to hate. Arrogant Art, they called him. They booed when he won. They booed when he lost.

    Recently, he was asked what he missed most from the 1950s, when he was the owner of Los Angeles.

    "Nothin'!" he retorted, almost snarling.

    "I hated it! Boxing's a horrible sport. Getting whacked in the head, managers and promoters stealing my money, all that road work, tryin' to make weight . . . Whaddya mean, what do I miss?

    "Let me tell you something--I got brain damage from boxing, you know that?

    "Well, OK, I do miss one thing.

    "The broads.

    "And I miss the boos, too. Walking into the ring at the Olympic, 10,000 people there, wearing that gold robe, hearing all those boos, yeah I miss that. You ever get booed by 10,000 people? It's exciting.

    "I liked it even better when I beat the . . . out of some guy the crowd loved and then I'd look out at 'em, give 'em a big smile, and the boos would be even louder. I loved that."

    Art, about brain damage . . .

    "Well, sometimes I slur my words, right? I didn't used to sound like this. I've been to doctors. Like I say, boxing is a horrible sport. People like Don King and Burt Sugar make lots of money and there're all these fighters out there whacking each other in the head.

    "Let me tell you something, I did more damage to myself my last two years in boxing than I did in the previous 14 years combined. The fighter is always the last guy to figure out when it's time to quit."

    In his 60th year, the Golden Boy wins a paternity suit.

    In court, Aragon's attorney has a doctor on the stand, who says to the judge: "Your honor, it is not possible for Mr. Aragon to have been the father of this woman's child."

    Aragon stands up and says: "Your honor, I want a second opinion."

    The Golden Boy. In the 1950s, before the Dodgers arrived, Art Aragon was the king of Los Angeles.

    Take a look at the pictures on the walls at Golden Boy Bail Bonds. Hey, isn't that . . . ? You bet it is. It's Marilyn Monroe and the Golden Boy. And is that . . . ? Yep. Jayne Mansfield and Art. And there he is with Mamie Van Doren. And there's Bob Hope, Joe Louis . . . Between 1950 and 1953, Aragon fought 23 times at the Olympic Auditorium and his bouts drew $626,442. No one knows how many times his fights sold out the old arena, but he's the acknowledged record-holder.

    He fought for his biggest purse against Carmen Basilio in 1958, at old Wrigley Field. Aragon earned $104,000--and took the worst beating anyone at ringside that night had ever seen. "When I started fighting in 1944, I was broke," Aragon said. "When I fought Basilio, I made $104,000 and owed my ex-wives $200,000. What sense does that make?

    "Hey, in the 1950s, I \o7 owned \f7 this town. Ask anyone who was around then. And then those . . . Dodgers came to town. I had to start booking my fights around Dodger games. I hate 'em. When I get up in the morning and see they've lost, it makes my whole day."


    Aragon was born in Belen, N. M., on his parents' humble cattle ranch, in 1927. He was the 6th of 13 children. When Papa Aragon realized he had more kids than steers, 2-year-old Art was packed off to an aunt in Albuquerque.

    He wound up in East Los Angeles, and was a 1946 graduate of Roosevelt High School. But he'd already been boxing as a professional, under an assumed name, since 1944.

    "My heroes then were Boston Blackie and Tyrone Power, so I fought under Blackie Powers," Aragon said.

    "In high school, I worked at the Knudsen creamery. I got in a fight one day there, and the boss wouldn't stop it. He liked the way I was whackin' this guy. So I became a fighter, and the boss, Lee Boren, became my manager.

    "For six months, I was in his back yard and he taught me how to throw left hooks, jabs, stuff like that.

    "I had 13 amateur fights, then I turned pro. But turning pro then, it's not what it's like today. Today, you can turn pro and get a title fight before you've had 10 fights. In those days, there must've been 10,000 fighters in L.A.

    "I mean, L.A. was a real fight town. There were fights every night, someplace. Monday was Ocean Park in Santa Monica. The Valley Garden Arena in North Hollywood was Tuesday. The Pasadena Arena was Wednesday. The Olympic was Thursday. Friday was Hollywood Legion Stadium . . .

    "I fought 4-rounders for two years. I used to get paid $27 for 4-rounders. Here's how it was: You had 12 or 15 prelim fights and had to show you were ready for semi-mains, or 6-rounders.

    "My God, to get a main event, you had to be really good. You had to win all your semi-mains. I didn't get a main event until 1948.

    "Eventually, I got up to $10,000 for just about anytime I wanted to fight. And the more I made, the broker I got. I'd get $10,000, see, then two months later I'd be broke again and I'd need another fight.

    "Hey, I kid myself a lot about my career. And I'm not sayin' I was great. But I must've been pretty good, right?"

    There probably has never been another Los Angeles sports figure who could fill up newspaper library envelopes or photo files the way Arthur Anthony Aragon did.

    The photo file: There's Art, leaving a courtroom with one of his former wives. There's Art, in a denim jacket with "L.A. CO. JAIL" stenciled on the breast. There's Art, emerging from a police booking office the morning after a drunken brawl. There are almost as many pictures of Aragon with lawyers as there are boxing pictures.

    And the clipping file:

    "Wife Sues Aragon Names 15 Women"

    Said Aragon: "My first wife named 15 women. My second wife divorced me and named 9 women. My third wife divorced me and named 2 guys."

    "Aragon, Salas in Wild Cafe Brawl"

    That 1951 clipping reports that Aragon and Lauro Salas, a prominent lightweight at the time, had engaged in an epic fistfight at a Sunset Boulevard Mexican restaurant. Witness accounts had the brawl lasting from 15 to 45 minutes.

    "I was in a bad mood," Aragon said in recalling it. "It was New Year's Eve, and I walked into this joint by myself, if you can imagine that. To begin with, I didn't like Salas. He was ugly. And the first guy I see is Salas, with a big grin on that ugly puss of his, with two of the most gorgeous women I ever saw.

    "Right away, I'm hot. I wise-cracked him, called him ugly or something. I take off my jacket so I can really pop him one and the . . . waits until my arms are hung up in my sleeves, then he starts whacking me on my head. When I finally got my coat off, I beat him up good."

    Later, the two met in the ring, and it was billed as the cafe rematch. Aragon won.

    "Aragon Wins Dismissal of Fight-Fix Charges"

    Aragon, in 1957, was charged with trying to fix a fight against an opponent named Dick Goldstein. After a trial, he was sentenced to five years in prison. Later, on appeal, the sentenced was overturned and all charges dismissed.

    Aragon's explanation: "I signed for a fight in San Antonio with Goldstein for $3,000. I said to him: 'Now listen, if I knock you down, don't be an . . . and get up.' He took that as a bribe attempt.

    "The next thing I know, he's testifying at a (boxing) commission meeting, and I'm in court. I did nothing wrong, and it cost me thousands to get out of trouble."

    "Aragon Calls Cohen 'Bum' "

    Mickey Cohen was a Los Angeles gambler, thought by many to have mob connections. He went to the fights a lot, and liked being photographed with boxers. Including Aragon.

    "I'm in court for something in downtown L.A. and Cohen's in court the same day," Aragon said. "Cohen was always hanging around me and he made me nervous. I was afraid of him.

    "So some newspaper photographer wants me to pose with Cohen, and I told him I didn't want him photographing me with that bum. He scared me to death.

    "So the next day, there's that headline. I nearly died. Cohen sees me the next day in the courthouse hallway and whispers to me: 'You bastard, in the old days I'da cut your heart out.'


    Even at the end, at his last fight, when he was beaten badly by Alvaro Gutierrez at the Olympic one night in 1960, Aragon sent everyone home laughing.

    As Aragon lay bleeding on his dressing room table, surrounded by trainers and sportswriters, a sheriff's deputy came in and dropped a summons on Aragon's chest.

    Aragon lifted his head, looked at the blue document, and dropped his head back.

    "That's Art Aragon, for you," he said. "One hundred and 15 fights and 116 summons."

    "HelloAragon.

    "What're you in for, Mama?

    "Prostitution? I'm sorry, Mama, I don't issue bonds to prostitutes. Let me give you a number of a guy to call . . . "

    Art, how is it you don't bail out prostitutes?

    "I don't bail out prostitutes or bad-check artists," he says. "People like that have no addresses. They don't own anything. They live in their cars. They're on the run all the time. They're runners.

    "Prostitutes have cost me a lot of money. I got a soft heart.

    "One time a prostitute jumped bail on me, and I had to go look for her. I found her in some crummy apartment. She had a baby, and no money. Not a dime. She'd already cost me $500, see. So she starts crying. She tells me her story, then I start crying. So I gave her 50 bucks and left.

    "Soft-hearted, right?"

    Art, who are the best risks?

    "Bookmakers and narcotics peddlers," he says.

    "Bail for a bookmaker is the cheapest in town. See, a bookmaker has to be out by the next race. I'll get a bookmaker out on his wink--or for a good tip on a horse.

    "Narcotics guys, they need to get out immediately . For narcotics pushers, time is money. They need that time on the streets. And if he runs, you just go find the addicts. They always know where their source is."

    Art, back in the '50s, where did you hang out?

    "A place called La Zamba, a little strip joint at Seventh and Alvarado. It was a great place. They had a little stripper there who, I swear, was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.

    "Her name was Lotus Wing. She was a Mexican girl, but looked Chinese.

    "One night, I did a dumb thing. I took my wife, Georgia. The lady who owned the place was named Betty. So I introduce her to Georgia, and Betty says: 'Oh, but didn't I just meet you last night here?' "

    What about Art Aragon, the fighter?

    "I was a 'tweener,' when I fought. I was too big to be a lightweight and too small for welterweight. They didn't have all those junior divisions then. Today, I'd have been a junior welterweight, instead of a junior schmuck.

    "Making weight was murder. I hated that more than anything. For my second fight with Jimmy Carter, I had to make 135. I was the first fighter in the history of the sport who had to be carried \o7 into \f7 the ring."

    Aragon, in a 1951 upset, beat Carter, the lightweight champion, in a non-title bout at 142 pounds. But in a rematch for the title, at 135, Aragon ran out of gas and lost a decision.

    The Golden Boy's reign in Los Angeles came to an end the night Carmen Basilio came to town, Sept. 5, 1958.

    The headline said it all:

    "Basilio KO Finishes Aragon as Big-Timer"

    "In the corner, after the seventh round, my manager says to me: 'Art, if you don't start punching back, I'm going to stop it in the next round.' I said: 'Why wait?' "

    That fight drew 22,500 who paid $236,000, a Los Angeles boxing record at the time. The former record had been set at Wrigley Field three weeks earlier, when Floyd Patterson beat Roy Harris in a heavyweight title fight.

    Reporters covering the Basilio-Aragon fight described Aragon's handlers carrying his battered body to the dressing room, and carefully laying him on the trainer's table.

    "Oh, I think I'm gonna be sick," Aragon moaned.

    Then, seeing sportswriters in the room, he said: "Hey, can one of you guys get me a beer? I haven't had a beer in three weeks."

    Despite the beating, the interview was on.

    Reporter: Art, do you want a rematch with Basilio?

    Aragon: Sure, if they let me use a gun.

    Reporter: Art, what did you say to the referee when he stopped it?

    Aragon: I said: 'How come you're stopping it? I got a no-hitter going.'

    The other day, in his office, Aragon remembered Basilio.

    "I ran into Basilio about 10 years ago and I said, 'Hey, you're a good guy but, damn it, you gave me brain damage.' "

    "Basilio said: 'Whaddya talking about, Aragon. You never had a brain to begin with.' "

    A year after the Basilio fight, when Aragon finally retired, Sid Ziff, sports editor and columnist for the old Mirror News, asked Aragon about his plans.

    "I'm going to open a big liquor store, play lots of golf, insure myself for plenty, and get held up twice a year," he said.

    Of Ziff, Aragon said: "Poor old Sid. You know how dumb he was? He thought I was a great fighter."

    In 1953, Elmer Beltz was a marvelous young prospect, a flashy welterweight with a knockout punch. After he had scored six straight knockouts, his handlers decided to throw him in with the Golden Boy.

    By 1953, almost everyone hated the Golden Boy. This would be the end of Arrogant Art, many predicted. Our guy Elmer, he'll wipe that sneer off his face.

    A few days before the fight, Aragon predicted that he would knock out Beltz with one punch in the first round.

    Boo!

    Fifty seconds, into Round 1, Aragon hit Beltz on the chin with a right hand and knocked him out.

    Boo!

    When Jimmy Lennon raised Aragon's hand, Aragon waved at the angry Beltz fans, and sneered.

    Boo!

    Aragon said in the locker room: "I'd feel sorry for Beltz, except for one thing. There was money at stake."

    Boo!

    Said Beltz's manager, Bill Gale: "The thing that really gripes me so much is that the . . . did just what he said he would."

    Boo!

    Aragon, on being an old fighter:

    "My last fight (Jan. 21, 1960, at the Olympic) was against Alvaro Gutierrez. My legs were so far gone I was useless.

    "In the first round, I gave Gutierrez my best shot, a right hand right on the chin, and I went down. He beat the hell out of me that night.

    "Thank God the referee stopped it in the ninth, because I might have been killed in the 10th. You know, I was dizzy for a year after that fight."

    At Golden Boy Bail Bonds, a nervous, distraught woman--not the same woman who knew Aragon when--arrives to bail out her son.

    "Sit down, honey," Aragon says. He pulls out a tablet of bond forms.

    "I've got some serious questions here. What is your name?"

    He writes the woman's name on the top line, then sets his pen down. He locks his fingers, stares solemnly at the woman and says: "How long have you been a member of the Communist party?"

    Thunderstruck, the woman is speechless. Then Aragon grins and she begins to break up.

    Aragon says: "Just try to relax, honey. All we're doing here is getting your boy out of jail. No big deal."

    Unpopularity can be lucrative.

    Art, how come folks hated you so much?

    "Because I beat Enrique Bolanos, on my way up," he said.

    "Bolanos was an idol to the Mexican community in Los Angeles. He was a really good fighter, too, and he was an idol of mine when I was coming up. But I beat him bad twice, and they didn't like that.

    "I didn't like it much, either. But then I started noticing that the more people hated me, the more they'd pay top dollar to come boo me."

    Aragon's record stretches over three columns in the Ring record book. Between 1944 and 1960, he had 115 fights (one was later changed to no decision). He won 97 of them.

    In 1951, he fought somebody named El Conscripto.

    Art, who was El Conscripto?

    "He was some bum from Tijuana somebody dug up, gave him a fancy name. He was supposed to be the champion of some island in the South Pacific. He was just a bum. I knocked him out.

    "See, in those days, the idea was to build up the Golden Boy. Make the Golden Boy look good."

    Aragon is going through a divorce, his third. Billie Dallum, who owns Aragon's answering service, was divorced two years ago. They'll be married when Aragon's divorce is final.

    Billie, how did you meet Art?

    "My business is a block away from Art's," she says.

    "He signed up for the service and I sent him a notice, telling him that I required the first month's charge in advance.

    "Art is not the greatest bookkeeper. He didn't send a check. A month later, I sent him a notice that said payment had to be received in one week or the service would be shut off. A week went by, and I shut him off.

    "He called me up and yelled at me over the phone, called me terrible names. I didn't know him at all, and of course I thought he was a horrible man.

    "Every time I drove by his office and he saw me, I'd stick my tongue out at him.

    "I bought out another answering service, and I was studying the roster of clients and right at the top was Aragon, Art. I sent him a notice saying I would not provide him with service.

    "Out of the blue, he walks right into my office one day, sits down and says to me: 'All right, is it money you want or my body?'

    "Well, I nearly fell out of my chair. Then he said he wouldn't pay his bill unless I had coffee with him. We became great friends immediately. He's such a funny man, you can't help but like him."

    Aragon starts talking about the memories, and his eyes glisten.

    "You know, what I remember even more than my fights and all the boos when I fought, was the nights I'd go to the Olympic with some broad, just to watch a fight.

    "Remember, in those days, I owned this town. It was just me and the Rams then. And all I had to do was just walk down the aisle to my seat. Right away, the boos would start coming down from the balcony.

    "By the time I'd reach my seat, they'd have to stop the fight until everyone settled down. The entire crowd would be on its feet, booing.

    "I loved it. I do miss that."

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos


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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    Art "Golden Boy" Aragon..

    Outside the ring, Aragon was an enigma, his tumultuous life a peculiar mixture of fury and levity. Wherever he was, trouble was never far behind, but he loved to party and could poke fun at himself. He once called a reporter and said; "This is Aragon. Remember me? Let me give you a hint;...Eight, nine, 10. He's out!. His escapades were notorious and invited constant headlines. There was New Year's Eve in 1951, when Aragon went into a Mexican restaurant on Sunset Boulevard and started a fracas with fellow lightweight Lauro Salas that police had to break up. "I walked in and he said, 'Aragon, mi amigo, Art recalled, "I said 'Get away from me, you ugly...' He was there with two gorgeous [women] and I guess that [ticked] me off. "Then I took a punch at him and damn it, I missed. Big mistake. Never miss a little guy. He was so small I couldn't find him." The banner headline over a story about his divorce read; "Wife Sues Aragon, Names 15 Women." "She missed three," Aragon said.. Aragon, on the other hand, could be located easily. His hangouts were gymnasiums, nightclubs, strip joints and with astonishing regularity the courthouse. In 1957, Aragon was sentenced to five years in prison for attempting to fix a fight. The verdict was overturned on appeal. Aragon said he told his opponent not to foolishly get up if he knocked him down, and the guy mistook it for a bribe...

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    I was at the Olympic that night..Peanut Gallery

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    Art "Golden Boy" Aragon, Marilyn Monroe and Mickey Rooney

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    Art Aragon vs Chico Vejar

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    The following boxing news letters from the Olympic Auditorium were sent to me by Mike Cortese via Greg Beyer. Greg and Mike were big boxing fans (and still are) and would attend the fight at the Olympic every Thursday night during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Thanks guys, much appreciated.







    More to follow

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos




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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    Emile Griffith & Mike Nixon

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    A very young Aragon



    Art "Golden Boy" Aragon

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    i want to thank frank for doing another great job in posting the flyers my friend mike cortese donated to the ZONE.

    the ramos - buchanan flyer is a famous fight that never happened. quite a story.

    i get a kick out of this flyer because they actually show the training schedules. i met ken buchanan at the the main st. gym while he trained for his show down with mando. problem was try as i did i never caught mando training for this fight. mando was a partying type guy and never got it together to train for this fight and 2 or 3 days before we got the word that ruben navarro was going to fill in for him.

    what took place later is a sad story ... another of boxings sad stories. its about a great fighter who got lost in the limelight. i spoke to mando about this and he admitted he was having major drug problems and it ended up costing him his "prince status" with the olympic auditorium. he came back and fought a trilogy with pedro carasco and ended up with the WBC version of the lightweight title. then it was back to the parties. when the people at the olympic signed him to fight chango carmona mando was forced to sign a 50 thousand dollar waiver that the buchanan fiasco would not be repeated. under threat of a huge penalty mando went into the carmona fight before 25 thousand people at the L.A. coliseum ill prepared and drug laden and took a savage beating that for all intents and puposes ended him as a viable practioneer.

    mando ramos. beaten by drugs, alcohol and life left that ring on a stretcher in what was the saddest scene i have ever seen in a boxing ring.

    just a memory.

    greg

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    Is this Mamie Van Dore with Art Aragon (L) and Julian Eget

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    that looks like mamie van doren. she has other photos online that look like that one.

    greg

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos



    The "Golden Boy" with MM...The Golden Boy was a star among stars.

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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos




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    Re: History of California Boxing in Photos

    The Bum

    A Fictional Short Story

    By Randy De La O


    In the days leading up to the fight he heard the talk. “He won't make it to the second round” “He doesn't stand a chance, the bum”. “He has no heart” said another.

    Thirty-nine years of age, fifty-nine fights, losing half and stopped in most Still he fought on. It was all he knew. At the weigh in, he stepped on the scales. No more cheers for this tired old fighter. The crowed snickered and the press ignored him. His best days were a decade ago.

    Once, he was an up and comer but then came the losses, than the ridicule and then the moniker “Bum”. Now he fought only to survive. He stepped back from the scale. Watched as his opponent was weighed. Lean, sinewy and young. The crowd roared their approval. “You'll kill the bum, kid, he's got no heart”.

    It's the morning of the fight now, your wife and kids watching as you get your gear together. You look into their eyes and you see yourself as they see you, and you begin to believe again. “Maybe, you think to yourself, just maybe.”

    You are alone with your trainer in your dressing room. The days when your room was filled with the press, the boxing crowd, leeches and beautiful chaos is long gone. No one cares anymore. The world loves a winner.

    You can hear the roar of the crowd from your room. Another knockout. Another bum knocked into oblivion, and another up and coming fighter moving up the rankings.

    You hear your name called. It's time to make the ring walk. You look at your cornerman and he says to you, “Just do your best son, just do your best. He's young and strong, don't get careless”. You smile and begin your walk.

    As you make the walk, you begin to hear the jeers and laughter. Someone throws a soda at you. You hear the laughter and your mind begins to think about your old trainer, long dead, who once said to you “What's he got that you ain't got? A head with a brain in it, two arms, two legs and two feet? What's he got you ain't got?” And again, you begin to believe.

    You step into the ring, you hear the boos and you wait. You pace up ad down the ring. Something you haven't done in a while. You are suddenly anxious. Feels like old times maybe. You look at your trainer and he smiles.

    As the young opponent climbs into the ring the crowd roars it's approval and he prances around the ring. He looks at you and sneers and you think to yourself “What's he got that I ain't got?” You smile at him.

    The introductions are made and the first round begins. Almost immediately his jab is in your face. You can't avoid it. He's fast. He backs you up and the crowd goes wild. “I'm okay” you tell yourself. It continues like that for the rest of the round. Jab, jab, right hand and an occasional left hook to the body. “Predictable” you think to yourself.

    “Follow that jab” says the trainer, “Follow that jab! Don't just stand there!” You can hear him faintly but your mind begins to wander and you remember how you fought the best in your day. Didn't win them all "but you fought the best” and you begin to believe again.

    As the next round begins the kid throws two careless jabs and you follow them home with a right hand and a left hook and the kid goes down. He's never been down before, this kid, and panic sets in and he jumps up and goes crazy. You've been here before you remind yourself.

    You look across the ring as you sit in the stool. You see the concern in the opposite corner. “Okay, I got their attention”. You look at your trainer and his eyes are lit up for the first time in years and he nods at you.

    That this has become a test for the young contender becomes obvious. He comes out for the next round back in control of himself. He has recovered. He's quick, this kid, and he can bang but still you ain't going to quit on yourself!

    Somewhere in the middle rounds a fight is taking place. For the first time in years you hear the crowd calling for you to win. You smile and remember how good it felt. For a brief moment you find yourself reaching back in time.

    No one expected this fight, not the press, not the crowd, not even yourself. Then you remember your family. They know you, they believe in you, they dared to expect it, and you fight on.

    It's the late rounds now. One eye is closed, blood is pouring from your nose but you are unbowed. “I will not quit!” you say to yourself, not quite sure if you are thinking it or speaking out loud.

    You find yourself on the ropes, fatigue hurting you more than the punches. Your hands going down just for a second or two, and your young opponent takes full advantage, then you begin to punch.

    You remember your old trainer telling you years ago “When you find yourself on the ropes or in the corner and you don't know what else to do, just punch, just punch your way out!” and so you punch.

    It's the last round now. “Maybe I can knock him out” you think to yourself. You look him in the eye as the last round begins. This young, strong fighter shows something in his eyes that you didn't see earlier and you recognize it immediately. This young man has come to respect you!

    Still his job is to fight and win. Several times in the round you find yourself against the ropes, punching, swinging at anything but never, ever lying down.

    The bell signals the end of the final round. The crowd roars it's approval. You and your young opponent collapse onto each other, spent, tired and worn. You give each other a hug and you tell him “Great fight kid”, “Same to you old man” and you both walk back to your corners.

    You didn't win this fight, you know that and you never fought again. You were never a champion. You were once a contender. It was enough. You found a job, you lived your life with your family and you were content.

    Oh, to have been such a magnificent bum!

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