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Thread: worst handled fighters

  1. #1
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    worst handled fighters

    A couple of days ago, a new post appeared in the "what happened to" section in which the poster called Chuck Leslie one of the "worst handled fighters in recent memory."

    Any thoughts who was the worst handled fighter, let's say in the last 50 years?

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    My friends up North

    Are certain to cast a vote for Shawn O'Sullivan.

    My vote goes to Tyrell Biggs. Maybe becuase of his personal issues, he would not have gone any further than he did, but I think he was given up on and thrown to the wolves when he got a title shot at Tyson. Coming off of the David Bey fight, He didn't belong within 100 Miles of a title shot at a prime Tyson.

    The Duvas and Benton cashed in on Biggs and made what they could, to hell with what it would cost Biggs.

    Hawk

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Pete Rademacher?

    No one did him a favour.

    Woller

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    How about Bert Whitehurst? The guy had some talent, beat some decent names and held his own against some HOFers - but he seemed to be fighting terrific fighters ALL the time, before he had a chance to really become one himself.

    Ha Hawk - no O'Sullivan from me! Screw you!

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    Ha!

    With friends like these..........

    Hawk

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    i THINK rADEMACHER SCREWED HIMSELF.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    hey TKO, I remember seing Bert Whitehurst and was deeply impressed by him, can't remember if it was Zora Foley and/or Sonny Liston he was fighting, he looked smaller and yet was very strong & talented. Definitely a great fighter.

    So what was the deal with him, could he have been more?

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    Little story on Archie Moore & Bert Whitehurst

    Arriving in the City Of the Angels October 10th,1957 I made my way the next day to 318 1/2 South Main Street in the heart of skid row to the Main Street gym. My story is for another day,this is about a hall of fame boxer and my brief brush with this real world champion Archie Moore Light-Heavyweight Champion . Training diligently for several months my team decided I was ready early in 1958 to begin my professional career. The leader and possessing the promotional clout for our stable was Mickey Davies who had migrated from the fisticuff scene in the Pittsburgh,West Virginia areas looking for greener pastures. A promoter and old friend of Mickeys had convinced World Champion Archie Moore to headline a show at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino. Not being locally connected he asked Mick to put together the undercard and naturally our stable had first call.

    My assignment was to be one half of the emergency bout with another green pugilists,if there were a plethora of quick K.O.'s or the Main event ended prematurely we would go on; if not, we got bus fare.

    Even before the show began we were informed we wouldn't go on period,the attendance was sparse,they barely had the carfare! However I had access to the dressing area and was interested in Archie of course, a boxing icon . He arrived nattily attired,carrying a narrow samsonite briefcase as did his companion and chief second. Archie was celebrated in the press about his ability to shed pounds and make the light-heavy limit,he mesmerized the print media about a secret formula he had acquired from the aborigines of Australia that made it possible. Well,he must have lapsed into a period of amnesia prior to this fight because he was carrying a spare tire appropriate for an over-the-road trucker ;not for a world champion! He felt my stare and sent a, "Who in the Hell are you kid glare back", I got the message and headed for the auditorium thinking this sure isn't the Old Mongoose,Archie also had explained the source of his prodigious knockout ability to his study of a ferret like mammal which fearlessly attacks and kills venomous snakes,hence the nickname the Mongoose, tonight he appeared to be and old cleaning woman after a hard night slopping a mop!

    The show was a financial flop and ringside seats were available so I picked one out in the second row and waited for the Main Event. Archie was taking on Bert Whitehurst out of Baltimore a decent fighter and a legitimate heavyweight and unlike the champ he arrived fit as a fiddle for this encounter,he was 26 Arch 44,he was in shape ,the champ,well he was the champ and had kayoed Bert in June 54 at St Nick's in N.Y.C.
    Bert from the neck down would resembled Evander Hollyfield of today and he was cut and ready !

    Round after round Bert rained an avalanche of punches at ol'Arch who attempted to ward off the blows by utilizing his crab like defense of crossing his forearms in front of face and upper torso but some shots were getting through and the area around Archies nose was taking on a pinkish hue. This went on for nine rounds and Bert was well ahead as the bell concluding the ninth rung! This would be a large victory for Whitehurst and lead to better paydays,for Arch it would be an embarassment!

    During the rest period Moore's seconds were in a frantic state urging the Ol'Mongoose to do something to correct this abberation that was unfolding before them, Archie however was calm and he appeared to be younger ,he motioned with his right hand for the mouthpiece and when the bell sounded it wasn't the old washer woman trudging to the center of the ring for the customary touching of the gloves,it was the MONGOOSE !
    Punch after punch landed on Bert's kisser just like a comic strip Slap#^&Bang)*%Bang *&##CRASH! Bert bounced as he hit the canvas and it was over just like that!

    It was time to get payed and I was told to go get my bus tokens in the dressing room,there was Arch again looking even sharper than when he arrived earlier in the evening,check in hand,heading out the door for the short ride back to San Diego. Another day at the office!

    Several years later I would again be in the presence of the Champ but the ending wasn't a happy One!

    That's a story for another time.

    Sincerely,

    Tommy Noel

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Thanks for that Frank,

    WOW that just goes to show you the difference from the 'elite' cream and the good contenders! the old mongoose just biding his time conserving his energy and probably taking the sting out of most of the punches he recieved...by-the-way upon checking Whitehurst's record it was him and Machen I'd seen and as before, he looked the smaller man, strong and talented. He sure fought a lot of great fighters and would appear to have given them all a good showing. What happened to him?

    Jim.

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    Bert Whitehurst vs Eddie Machen


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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Jim, I remember when Burt was fighting on TV they always made mention
    that he was studying to be a doctor. He graduated from Morgan State College and later went to the University of Maryland to finish his training. I later heard that he actually became one and worked at John Hopkins. Unfortunately I also heard that he died some years back.
    I cant confirm what "I heard" because it was gym talk but the people who relayed this info were pretty reliable.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    good for him, excellent. Thanks phlbox

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Between Greg Page, Howard Davis, and Bernard Taylor, with a touch of Alex Ramos thrown in.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Maybe not for his entire career, but mention should be made of the hideous decision by Robin Blake's management to take a "tune-up" fight with Tyrone "Butterfly" Crowley only a few weeks before a guaranteed title fight awaited Blake. I know hindsight is always 20/20, but I saw that defeat roaring down the ski jump at the undefeated Texan from the moment the "tune-up" was announced. PeteLeo.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteLeo
    Maybe not for his entire career, but mention should be made of the hideous decision by Robin Blake's management to take a "tune-up" fight with Tyrone "Butterfly" Crowley only a few weeks before a guaranteed title fight awaited Blake. I know hindsight is always 20/20, but I saw that defeat roaring down the ski jump at the undefeated Texan from the moment the "tune-up" was announced. PeteLeo.
    The Crowley fight was bad for Blake style-wise, but he should had been taking a rest after that war between him and Tony B., he was back in the ring against Mevin Paul 30 days after that war, I think his management and CBS were out to make as much money of him as they could, I told Tony that Blake was going to be ruin the way they were moving him to quick into the Paul fight.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    defintley rex layne. Marv Jenson threw him into the wolves when he was too young and green before he really could polish off his boxing skills. The fact he threw him in against world class fighter like jersey joe walcott at age 20 when a 4-1 underdog shows you his lack of careful management. I have a article where the press critisizes marv jenson for moving rex layne too fast, ill try to post it here.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    I love this topic and there have been a ton of guys that fit the bill. Some guys had somewhat successful careers==Cooney comes to mind--and others never did. How about this example for a "never did" guy?

    How about Nick Wells? He and Stevenson and Vysotsky? {spelling} were the big punchers out of the amatuers in the 70's. Wells had hose 2 big ko's over Holmes as an amatuer & picked the worst management out of Texas to develop him. He went absolutely nowhere and a left hand slugger w/ ko power should've had some pro success. He had some pedigree but needed refinement and mangement. Look at the fine job Futch did with a guy like Bobick or the job Giachetti did with Holmes. Sure can't say that about Wells.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Tim Witherspoon ! I can't remember the figures exactly ... does anyone remember what "King" Paid him for the Bruno fight? I remember it being a fraction of Bruno's purse. I think he cleared 17Gs after Don & Carl were finished with him.
    Last edited by evander; 12-16-2007 at 07:33 PM.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Quote Originally Posted by tedsares
    Sean O'Grady anyone? His old man screwed him up something terrible. When he fought Ganigan, his head was all messed up.
    I think Sean’s alleged mishandling was evidenced more by him being stripped of his WBA title than his loss to Ganigan, who caught him with a good shot from which he was never able to recover.

    Sean’s dad was a big admirer Cus D’Amato’s handling of Floyd Patterson, and believed Floyd kept the title for as long as he did only because of Cus’ skilled management in matching Floyd with the Pete Rademachers and Roy Harrises of the world instead of contenders like Eddie Machen and Zora Folley. He always told me that if he ever had a champion, he would manage that champion exactly as Cus managed Patterson. Pat forgot there was a difference between managing an undisputed heavyweight champion in the 1950s and a WBA lightweight champion in the early 1980s.

    I guess it depends how you define “mismanaged,” but Sean did have an 81-5 record, two title shots, held the WBA championship and had a successful boxing career that propelled him into a lucrative broadcasting gig when his ring days were over. And today he can still see out of both eyes, walk in a straight line, and do long division.

    Managed better? You betcha. "Mismanaged?" I don't think so.

    (I admit that I may be a tad bit biased. I've always liked Sean, and the old man stood by me during a hard time in my life when the rest of my so-called 'friends' deserted me like rats fleeing off a sinking ship.)

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    How about Leon ? Now I realize there was no way to manage this guy, he was simply a wild man child. However, after losing the title to Ali maybe they should have gone back to building him up as a fighter instead of throwing him to the wolfs .. I understand this is boxing and you go for the money but after Coetzee he was a huge mess ....

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    I think there is a difference between having a "much better career" and being "mismanaged." Joe Frazier got mugged by Foreman . . . so did Ken Norton, who, in turn, mugged Duane Bobick. Sometimes those things just happen - it doesn't necessarily mean the fighter was mismanaged, especially when you look at a "mugging" in the total context of the guy's career.

    What upset me more about Sean's career was Pat blowing off the WBA. I never understood why he thought he could get away with that.
    Last edited by raylawpc; 12-18-2007 at 01:49 AM.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Quote Originally Posted by tedsares
    "What upset me more about Sean's career was Pat blowing off the WBA. I never understood why he thought he could get away with that." That's exactly what I am referring to. He fouled up his kid's career.
    But that's not what you wrote earlier: "Sean O'Grady anyone? His old man screwed him up something terrible. When he fought Ganigan, his head was all messed up." You indicated that Pat messed with Sean's head and caused Sean to be one of the most worst handled fighters of the last 50 years (the original thread topic).

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Quote Originally Posted by tedsares
    From the web: "In part because of problems with his manager/father, he never defended the WBA title and was eventually stripped of it. Pat O' Grady then formed the little-regarded (and very short lived) World Athletic Association to recognize Sean as a champion. O' Grady promptly lost this "championship" to Andy Ganigan of Hawaii." I agree with this. I think Sean had more left, but after Ganigan, it was pretty much over. Ranzany and Verdorasa finished him off.
    Yes, that is what happened. Pat thought he could dictate to the WBA when he couldn't, and that was a major blunder. But for all the reasons I noted above, I don't think Sean was one of the worst handled fighters of the last 50 years.

    A little insight on the loss to Ganigan and Sean's post-title career: I first got to know Sean in 1971 (I knew who he was before that, but didn't know him very well). Post-1971, I spent hours with Sean - in fact, I taught him how to drive a car. Sean always dreamed of becoming a world champion.

    I expected Sean to become a world champion, and I picked him to beat Watts and, later, Kenty. He had the talent, and I knew he had the desire. But, when he won the title, I did not expect him to remain champion very long. I always believed that winning the championship was more important to Sean that being the champion. It might seem like a minor distinction, but I think its an important one psychologically. When he beat Kenty, he achieved his goal - he was the champ.

    So, although I didn't expect him to lose to Ganigan (I was actually pretty shocked at how badly he got thumped), I wasn't surpirsed that it happened. And I wasn't at all surprised that his career ended soon the way it did.

    He reached the goal he had set for himself. He was a champion.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    I remember watching Sean O'Grady as a commentator on "Tuesday night fights" and thought ..." this guy was a fighter?" because I thought he was a terrible commentator at the time, and that was my frame of mind about the guy when I was a young man . But a few yrs ago a real cool guy on this forum (Detroit Bomber) gave me the Kenty/O'Grady fight, and by watching that fight , I gained tremendous respect for O'Grady as a fighter. He was a tough guy with very good skills !He looked like he could have beaten many good fighters that night , that's I was so surprised that he fizzled against fighters like Vederoza . I just read Ray's words above and he nailed it by saying..."I always believed that winning the championship was more important to Sean than being the champion." It's so true in Sean's case because once he climbed and reached that plateau of being champ...it was all downhill from there.
    Last edited by evander; 12-18-2007 at 11:38 PM.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Maybe Tony Tucker could be added to this list to.He fought too many years in limbo before truly stepping it up.

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    Re: worst handled fighters

    Quote Originally Posted by raylawpc
    A couple of days ago, a new post appeared in the "what happened to" section in which the poster called Chuck Leslie one of the "worst handled fighters in recent memory."

    Any thoughts who was the worst handled fighter, let's say in the last 50 years?
    Lem Franklin. He got knocked out by Bob Pastor and one month later he's tossed in against Harry Bobo, only to be knocked out again in a single round. Couldn't they have given the guy a bit more time and a soft touch or two to rebuild his confidence? You don't send in your just-kayoed fighter in against a big, powerful banger like Bobo, who'd scored knockouts in over half his victories. Bad bad call....

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