Thursday, November 8, 2018

TBG Book Review: Latino Boxing In Southern California

The Boxing Glove Book Review
By Peter Silkov

"Latino Boxing In Southern California" Written By Gene Aguilera.

In his first book, the excellent "Mexican American Boxing In Los Angeles" (2014) Gene Aguilera paid homage to the many Mexican American fighters who have lit up the world of boxing on the West Coast, but especially Los Angeles, where the Olympic Auditorium produced weekly classics from the theatre of boxing. Legendary fighters such as Manuel Ortiz, Mando Ramos, Bobby Chacon, and Alberto Davila, to name just a few, fought out the twists and turns of their careers before thousands of screaming fans in Los Angeles. The book looked at a group of fighters who despite their huge influence upon the sport, especially in the lighter divisions, have been curiously neglected by the many books that have been produced upon the sport of boxing.

Baby Arizmendi (photo not included in book)
Aguilera has now produced his second book, "Latino Boxing In Southern California" and like his first book, it is another gem, which looks at a part of boxing's history that has for too long been underappreciated in boxing literature.

Once again, Los Angeles and the Olympic Auditorium is the center stage, but this time Aguilera mainly focuses on the Mexican born fighters who largely dominate the Latin America boxing world, and who have contributed so much action and excitement to the rich history of the boxing ring.

We are taken into the world of the Mexican warrior, as Aguilera introduces us to fighters such as Kid Azteca, Raul 'Raton' Macias, Baby Arizmendi, Vincent Saldivar, Ruben Olivares, Carlos Zarate, Lupe Pintor, Salvadore Sanchez, and Julio Cesar Chavez.

Just as the Mexicans dominate the Los Angeles community, the Mexican fighters also monopolize the Los Angeles rings.

Alexis Arguello Vs. Ruben Olivares (photo not included in book)
Mexican fight fans are famous for being the most passionate and loyal of all boxing fans. It is not hard to see why when Aguilera outlines how the Mexican fighter, perhaps more than any other nationality, feels so strongly that he is fighting not just for himself and his family, but for his Nation as a whole. Mexican fighters, whether champions, rising contenders or struggling club fighters, no matter what the different levels of fistic talent, are usually always emboldened and toughened by the pride which they feel at representing their people every time that they enter the ring.

It is this pride and drive that has seen so many Mexican fighters reach greatness.

As well as reliving the careers of the great champions and contenders that Mexico has produced over the years, Aguilera also takes us back to some of the legendary matches and rivalries. In addition to the famed ring wars between Mexicans and American, there are also the classics between Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans and of course, the often unforgettable duels between two Mexican battlers. It is true to say that a Mexican fighter is never so determined to win a match as when he is facing a fellow Mexican.

Enrique Bolanos (photo not included in book)
Gene Aguilera takes us on a tour of some of boxing's most exciting moments, especially the sport's golden era of the 60s to 80s. classic fights between the great champions and their most dangerous rivals was a weekly event, and more often than not, one or even both of the participants were of Latino origin.

"Latino Boxing in Southern California" a friendly and engrossing read. It is packed full of a dazzling array photos, ranging from programs, tickets, Flyers, magazines, to action photos and portraits of various boxers in fighting pose. The vast majority of this memorabilia comes from Aguilera's own boxing collection, and an impressive collection it is.

Carlos Zarate (photo not included in book)
"Latino Boxing In Southern California" is unlikely to disappoint any boxing fan with an interest in one of the most exciting areas of a sport that has always relied on its ability to thrill, and entertain, and raise the passions of its fans. The Mexican boxing fan, in addition to being the most passionate of all boxing fans, could also be said to have over the years been the luckiest and most entertained, as he and she have been treated to a veritable feast of great ring warriors over the past six decades.

This is the kind of book with the ability to both delight the boxing connoisseur and converts the non-believer.

If you would like to purchase this book it is available on Amazon.


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Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Mystery of Tony Zale and Carmen Basilio's Stolen Championship Belts

By Peter Silkov
The Boxing Glove

IBHOF in Canastota, NY.
I recently had the pleasure of going to the International Boxing Hall Of Fame, in Canastota, New York.  Though it was a little bit of a fleeting visit, I certainly had enough time to appreciate the wonders of Canastota's legendary boxing museum.  It is quite simply a boxing time capsule, laden with treasures from the sport's rich history, from Gumshields, Robes, Trunks, Gloves to championship belts.  The hall rolls back the years, to when greats of the ring such as Battling Battalino, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Willie Pep, Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Robinson, Carmen Basilio, Tony Zale, Rocky Marciano, Kid Gavilan, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Sugar Ray Leonard, to name just a few, were creating their legends inside the ring, before thousands of screaming fans.  Although physically, the museum is compact, verging on small, it packs a lot of fascinating boxing history into its limited frame. 

IBHOF in Canastota, NY.
Canastota's Boxing Hall of Fame has long been viewed upon as a haven for ex-champions of the ring, a place where they are still remembered and admired, often decades after their ring careers have come to an end.  There are a number of boxing halls of fame paying homage to boxing stars of the past, but the IBHOF in Canastota, set up in 1989, was the original trailblazer for all the halls that have followed in recent years, and is still viewed by the majority of the boxing world as the most prestigious of all the halls of fame.  Fighters often find being elected to the hall of fame to be the greatest achievement of their lives and the pinnacle of their boxing careers.  It is proof to that person, that through boxing they have achieved a form of immortality.

However, for the past three years, a cloud has hung over Canastota's hall of fame.  It is evident when you enter through the museum's entrance and are confronted by the large cabinets, which once held six priceless championship belts belonging to boxing legends Tony Zale and Carmen Basilio. Unfortunately, the belts no longer there.

IBHOF Entrance with Tony Zale and Carmen Basilio's Belts Before Theft

IBHOF Entrance with Tony Zale and Carmen Basilio's Belts After Theft
Three years ago on November 5th, 2015, a person or persons unknown, broke into Canastota's hall of fame, through an unbarred window at 2.45am, then broke into the cases containing the precious belts, four belonging to Carmen Basilio, and two belonging to Tony Zale.  Despite the vast amount of unique memorabilia in the museum, the thief (or thieves) seemed intent solely on Zale's and Basilio's belts.  This is no surprise since the stolen belts were the most valuable artifacts in the museum, whoever stole them knew exactly what they were taking.  Zale's Boxing Hall of Fame ring, which sat next to his belts was left untouched by the thief.  The ring, despite its attractive appearance, was a duplicate of the original ring, with plastic diamonds that was provided by the IBHOF. 

The three cases that held Zale and Basilio's belts stand at the center of the Canastota museum, but the prized exhibits, which once laid so proudly inside them are gone. Understandably, both the Zale and the Basilio families have been left distraught and angry at the thefts of their precious family heirlooms.

Tony Zale's Stolen World Middleweight Belts
It is sadly ironic that it was Zale and Basilio's treasured mementos that were targeted by thieves.  It is hard to imagine two champions who fought harder for what they achieved in their boxing careers.  Tony Zale 'The Man Of Steel' fought his way out of the steel town of Gary, Indiana, to reign as World Middleweight Champion from July 19th 1940 to September 21st 1948, with just an eleven month break between July 16th 1947 and June 10th 1948, when he lost and then regained the World Middleweight title with Rocky Graziano, in the second and third fights of their legendary trilogy.  Zale received a world championship belt after he beat Georgie Abrams on November 28th, 1941, to become the undisputed World Middleweight Champion, (Zale had gone into the match with the NBA title, while Abrams had been defending the New York State version of the crown.) Zale was awarded another world championship belt by The Ring Magazine after he had regained the world title from Rocky Graziano.  These are the belts that were stolen from the Zale case.

Carmen Basilio After His Win After Robinson
The four belts that were stolen from Carmen Basilio's case comprised of Basilio's New York State welterweight title belt, (which he won on June 6th, 1953, by beating Billy Graham for the New York State Welterweight title,) and his three world championship belts, all awarded to him by The Ring Magazine. Carmen won the first of these three belts on June 10th, 1955, when he beat Tony Demarco for the World Welterweight title in the first of their two savage classics.  The second belt was awarded to Basilio after he stopped Johnny Saxton in 9 rounds, on September 12th, 1956, (having controversially lost the title to Saxton six months earlier.) 

Basilio gained his third world championship belt after scoring the most memorable victory of his career, by outpointing Sugar Ray Robinson September 23rd, 1957, to win Robinson's World middleweight crown. 

It's perhaps an understatement that Zale and Basilio won their titles the hard way.  Zale was involved in The Ring Magazine's 'Fight of the year' three times running, from 1946 to 1948. While, Basilio was involved in battles, which won The Ring's 'Fight of the Year' vote a record five times in a row between 1955 and 1959.

Both fighters and their families loaned their championship belts to the IBHOF out of a sense of pride for their ring achievements, and a desire to share their accomplishments with their fans, both young and old.  Each man felt very strongly about inspiring the younger generation to achieve their full potential in life, whether it be through boxing or other endeavors.

Awarded Ring Magazine Belt by Nat Fletcher
Ironically the IBHOF was built around Carmen Basilio, who was and still is, the most famous and successful fighter to come out of the small town of Canastota. The town's only other world champion is Carmen's nephew, Billy Backus, who won the welterweight title in the early 70s.  The museum is adorned by life-size statues of both Carmen and Billy.  

Tony and Carmen's belts were won in an era where it was so much tougher for a fighter to reach world championship status than it is today, and the chances of a world title chance, even if you managed to get rated in the world top ten, were few and far between.  The belts themselves are a long way from the mass produced belts handed out to fighters today.  They were hand-crafted and each one was unique and one of a kind.  Aside from their physical uniqueness, the value of the belts to each fighters families cannot be overemphasized.  These are precious, irreplaceable heirlooms, which carry so many memories for each family, especially now that both Tony and Carmen have sadly passed away.

Although three years have passed since the theft, there have been few leads in the chase for answers to their whereabouts.  The Zale family have been very proactive in their attempts to find answers, and ultimately find all six stolen belts, and yet have found much of their efforts frustrated by a lack of communication with the Canastota Museum, and its director Ed Brophy.

Tony and Ted Zale
The Zale's frustrations at the Museum's lack of adequate security at the time of the thefts, (no on-site security guard and no CCTV) have been compounded over the past three years by Mr. Brophy's apparent unwillingness to take a proactive approach in trying to find the stolen belts, plus a complicated relationship with the local Canastota Police department that has often seemed unwilling to share any new information with the Zales.  At times it has looked as if the IBHOF has been attempting to downplay the thefts so as not to attract adverse publicity.  This could be seen from the beginning, when the museum delayed making the thefts public knowledge for five days, for reasons that are still unclear. 

Despite a mention of the thefts on their website, the overall response of the IBHOF can be said at best, to be rather muted.  Most of the publicity created about the loss of Tony and Carmen's belts has been generated by the Zales themselves, as they seek to keep the crime in the public eye in the hope that someone, somewhere will one day come forward with some crucial information.

The Zales were also hurt and frustrated by the IBHOF’s failure to offer a reward for the return of the belts for over three months after the theft.  The IBHOF were finally persuaded to put up a reward after ex-world heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, (who has taken a great interest in the theft of the belts) put up a reward of his own for the belts return.

Since the belts were stolen, the Zale family has also removed the remaining articles that had been loaned on Tony's behalf, including his Presidential Citizens Medal, which was awarded to Tony in 1990 by President Bush.  While Tony was immensely proud of his Polish heritage he was equally proud of being an American citizen, and this award was important to him as he felt that it signified how he had been an inspiration to others through his achievements in boxing, both during and after his career.

Zale Presidential Citizens Medal Removed from the IBHOF by Zale Family
“Receiving this medal was a confirmation that his life's effort and dedication to helping others was worthwhile,” remembers Tony's nephew, Ted Zale.

One of the saddest repercussions of the theft of the belts is that the Zale family felt it necessary to withdraw this medal from the museum, due to continuing concerns over its security.  This is painful for the family, as they regret that visitors to the IBHOF can no longer share in Tony's accomplishments as he would have wished.

Yet there has seemingly been little to go on in the three years since the thefts, despite the involvement of the FBI and the fact that blood was found on the scene (thought to be of the perpetrator cutting themselves on a shard of glass during the theft.)  

Zale's  World Middleweight Belt Awarded  After Beating Abrams
Various rumours have grown in the last three years, ranging from money being collected on an insurance policy covering the belts, to the thefts themselves being an inside job.

Regarding the rumours that the IBHOF collected insurance money for the theft of the belts, Ted Zale had this to say:

“If this is true, what does that say to our family?”

The Zale family has also heard rumours recently that the belts have been located.  But, these rumours have yet to be proved ultimately true or false.  For the moment at least, all six championship belts remain missing. 

There is little chance of the belts ever being sold on the open market, and as they were not made of gold they would be worthless melted down.  The only remaining way that the thieves could profit from their theft is by selling the belts on the black market.  There also remains the possibility that the theft was made-to-order.

What remains clear, is the distress and anger that this theft still provokes within the Zale and Basilio families. Both fighters have passed on and didn't suffer the trauma of seeing their beloved belts stolen.  Yet both fighters families have had to bear the loss of irreplaceable family heirlooms, that were won literally with the sweat and blood of Tony Zale and Carmen Basilio.

Tony Zale Wearing His Belts
From the Zale's point of view, the theft of Tony's belts is made all the more poignant by the fact that Tony suffered some severe hard times after he retired from the ring, and even found himself homeless at one point.  Yet, this proud man kept his struggles to himself as much as he could and no matter how bad his economic hardships became, he always refused to sell his hard-won championship belts.

How unfortunate then, that these belts which meant so much to Tony, are now in the hands of someone who has no right to hold them. 

The mission statement of the IBHOF is to ‘Honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of those who excelled, and provide an educational experience for our many visitors.’

The Zales feel that the stolen championship belts have fallen victim to the IBHOF failure to live up to its mission to ‘preserve and protect’.

There remains a reward of 15,000 dollars for any information leading to the recovery of the six missing belts.  As of yet, there have been no takers.

$15, 000 Award for the Return of the Belts

Hopefully, this is a mystery which one day will be resolved.

If you would like to find out more about the stolen belts, or perhaps have any information that could be helpful in their return, please look up #bringbackthebelts @bringbackthebelts on social media.


or the Zale's own website   

Family of Tony Zale on theft of boxing belts: 'They stole our heritage'

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Big Fight Preview: Vasyl Lomachenko Vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux

By Peter Silkov

When Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11koes) takes on Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7koes) next week (December 9) at New York’s Madison Square Garden, it will be a throwback fight to the days of the 1980s, when the highly-tuned,and technically gifted, champions of that era regularly faced off against each other in matches, which are now part of the sport's rich history.

For raw technical brilliance, it is difficult to find any other active boxers who can compare with either Lomachenko or Rigondeaux. Both men had superb amateur careers, culminating in each man winning two Olympic Games Gold medals each. This is the first time in boxing history that two boxers, both with two Olympic Gold Medals each, have met as professionals for a world championship. Both men have unbelievable amateur records, with Rigondeaux’s reported to be 463-12, and Lomachenko’s amateur record said to be 396-1. The fact that both men are also southpaws, adds yet another twist to this pugilistic duel.

We have to go back perhaps to the first Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran match in 1980, (for Leonard’s WBC world welterweight title) to find a comparable match up in regards to seeing two such technically gifted warriors toeing the line against each other. Indeed there are parallels between the two matches. Lomachenko has been hailed by many as the Sugar Ray Leonard of his generation, and like Leonard, the Ukrainian mixes a heavy dose of flashiness with his boxing speed, and skills.

Meanwhile, Rigondeaux, while outwardly a very different animal to Roberto Duran, is stepping up two divisions to meet Lomachenko, just as Duran did against Leonard, and like Duran was against Leonard, Rigondeaux goes into this match on Saturday night, despite all his ability, the firm underdog.

It’s not difficult to see why ‘The Jackal’ is the underdog. When he challenges Lomachenko for the WBO Junior-lightweight championship, he will be stepping up two weight classes, from his usual super-bantamweight division home. A jump of eight pounds might not sound much to the average man on the street, but when you are in the lighter divisions, eight pounds is indeed a lot of weight to suddenly travel, especially when it is to meet an opponent as highly gifted as Vasyl Lomachenko.

Unlike many champions today, Rigondeaux does not lose, and then gain a significant amount of weight between the weigh in and fight night. He is a small looking super-bantamweight, who has often been outsized by his opponents.

In addition to the size difference, ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachenko is the younger man by eight years. In a contest that both men are so evenly matched, with regards to boxing ability, such advantages, like those held by Lomachenko over Rigondeaux, could rightfully be seen as a the telling factor between them.

Undeniably it is these advantages that have led Lomachenko’s promoter, Bob Arum, to take the match with Rigondeaux. Arum and Rigo have a well known enmity for each other, which can be traced back to when Rigondeaux beat one of Arum’s ‘golden eggs’ Nonito Donaire, back in 2013. Rigondeaux didn’t just beat Donaire, he out-boxed and out-fought him in a manner that made him look foolish at times.

Arum big plans for Donaire were well and truly dashed by his defeat to Rigondeaux, and although he promoted both men, he was incensed by the result, and went on to denigrate Rigondeaux a number of times publicly in a manner that was quite extraordinary, when taking into account the fact that Rigondeaux was supposedly Arum's fighter, as well as Donaire.

In the run up to this showdown, Arum has still been talking about Rigondeaux ‘stinking out’ the place. It seems Arum no longer appreciates the finer points of the sweet science, and has grown too lazy to promote such boxers.

It's no exaggeration to say that ever since he beat Donaire in 2013, Rigondeaux has been effectively blackl
isted, and has become the most avoided boxer in the sport. Incredibly, it says a lot about the state of the sport when an outstanding world champion, perhaps the best pound-for-pound of his era, is left scrabbling for fights, as his possible opponents and top contenders choose to meet other champions and each other, rather than him. The way in which his world titles were stripped from him, handed out to Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg, so that they could have their own little private party with themselves (and what a thriller that turned out to be!!) speaks for itself.

In the six fights that he has managed to have since beating Donaire in 2013, Rigondeaux has found the kind of big matches, which his skills deserve, impossible to make. Until now that is. On December 9th, Rigondeaux has the chance to display his rare ability in a manner denied him since he beat Nonito Donaire. The irony that he will be doing it against a Bob Arum fighter is unlikely to be lost on him.

Undoubtedly Arum sees this contest as very winnable for Lomachenko, and one which will provide the Ukranian with an outstanding name upon his record, and provide Arum himself with perhaps a little bit of revenge, for what Rigondeaux did to one of his favourite fighters (Donaire) back in 2013.

The most intriguing question here is whether Arum has made a miscalculation, just as he did on that night of April 13th 2013, when he let ‘The Jackal’ loose on Nonito Donaire? Rigondeaux was supposed to be a good name on Donaire’s record that night, but it didn’t turn out that way.

One aspect of this fight, which should not be ignored, is Rigondeaux’s own willingness to take the fight, despite the weight disparity. In fact, Rigondeaux has done much to make the match with a marvelously inventive twitter campaign.

The Jackal’ has shown a calm confidence throughout the build up to this showdown, and regarding the weight difference, he said in a recent interview: ‘The most deadly poisons come in the smallest containers’.

Lomachenko has been brimming with confidence in the lead up to this fight, as would be expected, but there is something deeply impressive in quiet confidence of Rigondeaux. He knows that this is his night to show what he can do for the first time since the Donaire contest. This is a fight that will define his career, a victory should see him crowned as the number one boxer pound-for-pound in the world, defeat on the other hand. may well see him swept under the carpet for good.

Head-to-head, these two men match up like fire and ice. While they are both tremendously talented and well-schooled, they are very contrasting boxers. Lomachenko is a total extrovert in the ring, who likes to blatantly play with his opponents. Rigondeaux, on the other hand, is one of the coolest boxer you will see in the ring, who dismantles his opponents with a silky brilliance that the untrained eye can fail to appreciate.

Lomachenko generally throws more punches, while Rigondeaux makes every punch he throws count. Rigondeaux, who usually dominates the pace of his fights, is likely to find the high work rate that Lomachenko can set, to be one of the most daunting challenges of this match. On the other hand, the Ukrainian will find himself up against probably the best defensive boxer in boxing today. How will he react if his punches are not connecting.

Much depends upon how both men approach this fight. Will Rigondeaux stick to his usual counter-punching style, or will he be more aggressive and offensive minded against Lomachenko? All indications seem to be that Rigondeaux will stick to his usual counter-punching style and it will be down to Lomachenko to decide whether he is going to try an offensive approach against ‘The Jackal’ or whether he is going to box him. This could end up being a chess match that only the purists will truly appreciate. However, if Rigo, or more likely Lomachenko, decides to take some risks, and strike out on the offence, then we could see some real fireworks.

The most likely outcome of this fight is a brilliant chess match with some occasional fireworks thrown in. Both men have dangerous punches, but it is Rigondeaux who is the biggest one punch hitter of the two. This has been illustrated by the fact that he has broken the jaw and cheekbones of 2 of his last 3 opponents, and has ended several of his fight with single punches. Lomachenko may not want to try the kind of tricks against Rigondeaux that he has been performing against his recent opponents, as one slip could end up with him knocked out.

Rigondeaux himself has been down a few times in his career, but never visibly hurt. If Lomachenko tries to score a knockout over Rigondeaux he may just find himself falling into ‘The Jackal’s trap.

Both men have great footwork, with Lomachenko’s being the more flamboyant and extrovert, while Rigondeaux often glides around the canvas without seemingly moving his legs.

The person who wins this boxing match will be the man who is able to best nullify the other. Will ‘The Jackal’ be able to deal with the high pace and speed of Lomachenko, will size and age be a factor?. How will Lomachenko deal with a boxer of Rigo’s speed and defensive abilities?

Lomachenko’s only defeat as a professional came in his second professional match when he was out-hustled and out-muscled by Orlando Salido. Will Rigondeaux opt for a drastic change of style against Lomachenko, and look to smother and out-work the Ukrainian.

However the night goes, one hopes that we get to see a fair decision if it goes all the way, as so far 2017 has been a year of bad decisions in boxing.

Logic points to a Lomachenko victory on points. He looks to be too big and too young, with these advantages giving him an unassailable edge for victory, and yet, greatness can sometimes break the sharpest of edges. There is something just a bit extra special about Guillermo Rigondeaux, beyond his mere ability in the ring. Perhaps it is his hunger, to make up for lost time and to strike back against those in boxing who have wronged him in recent years. The more this writer thinks about it the more he feels drawn towards a Rigondeaux victory against all the odds. This is the moment he has waited for and I believe that on December 9 we will see ‘The Jackal’ unleashed like never before. Watch out Bob!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Boxing History: On This Day: Jackie Graves Remembered

By Peter Silkov

Jackie Graves, nicknamed ‘The Austin Atom’ was a hard-hitting southpaw, featherweight, who mixed it with some of the best 126-pounders of the 1940s and 50s. Graves was born, John Thomas Graves, on September 12, 1922, in Austin, Minnesota. Following an amateur career, which saw him win a number of titles, Graves turned professional at the age of 22 in 1944. Graves hard-punching, all-action style made him a big hit with the fans.

During his professional career, Graves fought name fighters such as, Harry Jeffra, Charlie Riley, Luis Castillo, Tony Olivera, Jose Gonzalez, Victor Flores, Charley Cabey Lewis, Jackie Wilson, Jackie Callura, Lefty Lachance, Jimmy Joyce, Clint Miller, Spider Armstrong, Harry Lasane, Harold Dade, Willie Cheatum, Manny Ortega, Bobby Bell, Humberto Sierra, Teddy Davis, Glen Flanagan, Ernesto Aguilar, and Manuel Ortiz,

During the late 40s, Graves was ranked highly in the world by “The Ring” magazine, yet was never able to secure a shot at the World featherweight title. The closest Graves came to a world title chance was when he fought the World featherweight champion, Willie Pep, on July 25, 1946, in a non-title fight. This is the fight in which Pep is said to have won a round (the 3rd) without throwing a punch, but just by dodging Graves' punches, but this was proven false by several sources who were at the fight.

Various accounts of this fight say that both Pep, and Graves, were on the floor. Graves put up a brave display, but was eventually stopped in the 8th round.

In an interview with Jake Wegner, Graves spoke of his greatest memory of his career.“They all were great. But my fight with the Featherweight Champion of the world, Willie Pep. Regardless of the outcome, that was my greatest moment of my career. I just wish I could do it all over again-all of it. I used to joke with Willie that his name is Pep, and he has a lot of pep. (laughs) Lordi, that man never ran out of gas. He was great.”

Graves fought on until 1956, with his last fight being a 3rd round knock out defeat to Glen Flanagan on March 22, 1956. Graves' final record was (82-11-2, 48koes).

Jackie Graves died on November 15, 2005, after a long bout with Alzheimer's Disease. 

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Boxing History: On This Day: Pat Ford Remembered

By Peter Silkov

Pat Ford was a clever and strong featherweight, with a rangy style that made full use of his height of 5' feet 10” inches. Born, Patrick Forde, on December 17, 1955, in Georgetown, Guyana, Ford turned professional in 1976. He would become known as one of Guyana's greatest fighters of all-time.

Ford quickly moved up the world rankings, winning the Guyanese featherweight title on February 4, 1978, by out-pointing Tony Greene over 15 rounds. On May 20, 1979, he added the WBC Fecarbox Featherweight title by out-pointing Enrique Solis over 12 rounds. Then on August 1, 1980, Ford won the Commonwealth featherweight title, by stopping Eddie Ndukwu in 8 rounds.

On September 13, 1980, Ford challenged Salvador Sanchez for the WBC world featherweight title, and gave the great Sanchez one of his toughest fights, before being defeated by a close point's decision after 15 rounds.

Five months later, Ford challenged Eusebio Pedrosa for the WBA world featherweight championship, and was knocked out in the 13th round, after another tough fight. After the fight, Ford said he had difficulties making the weight in the build up to the bout.

After his brave challenges for the world title, against two all time greats, Ford’s form dipped and he lost his next two fights, losing over 10 rounds on points to David Brown on April 17, 1982. One month later he was stopped in 3 rounds by Isidro Perez.

Ford stayed out of the ring for 3 years, then returned and had three fights from 1985 to 1987, winning all three, but then retired from the ring, with a final record of (19-4, 12koes).

After his retirement from fighting, Ford, who by how had moved permanently to America, became a trainer at the renowned Gleasons Gym in Dumbo, Brooklyn, New York, where he was highly respected for his knowledge and his humble demeanor.

Pat Ford died on November 13, 2011, aged 55 years old, after suffering a heart attack as a result of complications arising from diabetes. 

Salvador Sanchez Vs. Pat Ford fight:

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Boxing History: On This Day: Charley Goldman Remembered

By Peter Silkov

Charley Goldman was a very clever and tough bantamweight boxer, born Israel Goldman on December 21, 1888, in Warsaw, Poland ( some sources say born in Russia on December 22, 1887.) He later moved with his family to New York, where he started boxing professionally in 1904. Goldman fought notable fighters including Joe Wagner, Benny Kaufman, Paddy Callahan, George Kitson, Young Britt, Phil McGovern, Knockout Brown, Young Ziringer, Patsy Brannigan, Frankie Burns, Tommy Houck, Charlie Harvey, Frankie Burns, George ‘Ko’ Chaney, Kid Williams, Johnny Coulon, Johnny Solzberg, and Abe Friedman.

Although Goldman has 137 verified fights on his record, it is known that he had many more fights during his career.

After his retirement from boxing in 1918, Goldman became a boxing trainer, and would become known as one of the best trainers in the business. His most notable success as a trainer was his moulding Rocky Marciano into the World heavyweight champion. Other world champions whom he trained included Lou Ambers, Joe Archibald, Kid Gavilan, Al McCoy, Carlos Ortiz, Marty Servo, Jersey Joe Walcott (1930 to 1934) and Fritzie Zivic. Goldman also worked with top contenders Rory Calhoun, Walter Cartier, Arturo Godoy, Johnny Risko, Cesar Brion, Tony Alongi and Oscar Bonavena.

Charley Goldman died on November 11, 1968, at the age of 80-years old. In 1992, Goldman was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. 

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Boxing History: On This Day: Jack Bodell Remembered

By Peter Silkov 

Jack Bodell was a tough and strong heavyweight fighter, with an unorthodox brawling style which, along with his southpaw stance, made him a difficult opponent for just about anyone. Bodell had a lot of heart, and despite being labelled by some as ‘weak chinned,’ most of his inside the distance defeats were caused by stoppages due to cuts.

Bodell was born on August 11, 1940, in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. As an amateur, he won the ABA light-heavyweight championship in 1961, before turning professional in 1962.

During his career, Bodell fought an array of top heavyweight names, including, Joe Erskine, Hubert Hilton, Billy Daniels, Thad Spencer, Ray Patterson, Henry Cooper, Johnny Prescott, Brian London, Billy Walker, Jack O’Halloran, Manuel Ramos, Jery Quarry, Joe Bugner, Jose Manuel Urtain, and Danny McAlinden.

Bodell challenged Henry Cooper for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles on June 13, 1967, but was stopped in the 2nd round. Following this defeat, Bodell had an eleven fight winning streak, and then on October 13, 1969, he won the vacant British heavyweight championship, by out-pointing Carl Gizzi over 15 rounds.

Five months after beating Gizzi, Bodell defended his British title against Henry Cooper and was beaten on points. Cooper also defended his Commonwealth title in this fight.

On September 27, 1971, Bodell scored the best victory of his career when he out-pointed Joe Bugner over 15 rounds, to win the British, European and Commonwealth heavyweight titles. Bodell’s non-stop brawling style and aggression had just been too much for Bugner. However, this victory was followed by three defeats for Bodell. On November 16, 1971, he was knocked out in the 1st round by Jerry Quarry. Just once month later Bodell defended his
European heavyweight title, and was stopped in the 2nd round by Jose Manuel Urtain. Six months later on June 27, 1972, Bodell lost his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles, when he was knocked out in the 2nd round by Danny McAlinden. This was Bodell’s final fight, and he retired with a final record of (58-13, 31koes).
After retirement, Bodell would open the Tile Hill chip shop in Conventry during the 80s. Upon opening it, he invited Muhammad Ali to come down and visit, and Ali accepted the invitation. He was met with a warm greeting. Unfortunately, Bodell would fight a long battle with dementia and died on November 9, 2016, at the age of 76 years old.

Jack Bodell Vs. Joe Bugner

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