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In my opinion one of the most under rated heavyweights over the last thirty years has been “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon. He was a two time world champion and a solid contender for close to two decades. This man DESERVES some recognition.

Tim, a native of the great fight city of Philadelphia turned pro in 1979. He won his first fifteen fights beating the likes of Marvin Stinson, Alonzo Ratliff and Renaldo Snipes. This led to a 1983 title shot against the respected champion Larry Holmes. Larry walked away with a highly controversial decision win. Despite the loss the “Terrible” one had arrived.

Tim rebounded outscoring Jumbo Cummings and blasting out James “Quick” Tillis in one for the NABF title. In 1984 Witherspoon was matched with the talented Greg Page for the vacant WBC title. On this night Tim would outscore Page to win his first title. In his first defense Tim was out jabbed and out boxed by the speedy Pinklon Thomas. “Pinky” put on a class performance that night.

Witherspoon came back in 1985 to halt tough Mark Wills and score a highlight reel KO over James Broad. Tim then outpointed James “Bonecrusher” Smith. This led to a shot at the WBA title against fast handed Tony Tubbs. In 1986 Tim won the heavyweight title for a second time with a decision over Tubbs. He then defended it with a sensational come from behind KO of England’s heralded Frank Bruno. In Tim’s next defense, the walls came tumblin’ down. He met “Bonecrusher” again. This was a man he had defeated handily the first time around. This time Tim was caught cold and dropped three times in the first round. His title was gone. He would never again get a well deserved chance to reclaim it.

In 1987 he halted Mark Wills again. This time in the 1st. He then outscored prospect Mike Williams. In 1989 Tim scored a stunning one round KO over Anders Eklund who resembled a blond tree being felled. Witherspoon was back in business. In 1990 he halted dangerous Jeff Sims. Then he outfought Jose Ribalta and defeated the flashy Carl “The Truth” Williams for the USBA title. In 1991 he took out Art Tucker in three. To his credit, Tim ducked no one.

In 1992 Witherspoon beat rugged James Pritchard. Tim was then upset by the spoiler Everett “Big Foot” Martin. In 1996 he outscored Alfred Cole and bombed out Jorge Luis Gonzalez. Next Tim would lose a war to tough as nails Ray Mercer. From this point on Tim’s career was up and down. He took out Levi Billips in one. He then dropped verdicts to Larry Donald, Jimmy Thunder and Andrew Golota. In 1999 he was halted by Brian Nielsen and Greg Page. His career appeared to be over.

Tim made one last charge in 2000. He drew with Mike Sedillo. He then halted David Bostice in one. He upset Elieser Castillo but dropped a points call to Monte Barrettt. Tim then gave us one last highlight clip KO dropping Darroll Wilson. In 2002 the aging Witherspoon was savaged in five rounds by Lou Savarese. In 2003 Tim dropped a decision to Brian Nix and called it quits.

Tim never received a chance to win the title for a third time. There are a variety of reasons but that is a story in itself. I do believe though that an in shape and focused Tim Witherspoon would have given a prime Mike Tyson all he could handle.

Jim Amato




courtesy of the Boxing Glove

Paul Pender was a clever and gritty boxer with good technical skills, and an excellent jab. Never a ‘crowd-pleaser’ Pender has not usually got the credit he deserves for his ring accomplishments.

Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on June 20, 1930. Pender turned professional in 1949, and made a promising start to his career by winning his first 21 contests. However, by the early 1950s he was struggling with a hand injury, which would later turn out to be an undiagnosed broken hand. At one point Pender had over 20 x-rays yet, the reason for his hand pain could not be found.

From late 1951 to late 1958 Pender fought only seven times, and had two periods where he did not fight for over two years. During this time, Pender had retired a number of times, due to a mixture of hand and managerial problems. In 1953 he joined the United States Marine Corps, but he had to leave because of the troubles with his hands. He then joined the Brookline fire department and became a firefighter. By November 1958, having been out of the ring for almost two years, Pender returned having had several operations on his troublesome right hand. The hand was much improved, but Pender would still be dogged by hand problems for the rest of his career

From November 1958 to December 1959, Pender had 9 fights and won them all. On January 22, 1960, Pender was given a shot at World middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson, and pulled off the upset of the year when he won a narrow 15-round point’s decision over Robinson, winning the World middleweight title in the process.

Pender parries a jab of Sugar Ray Robinson in 1960.

Pender made 3 successful defenses of his world title, out-pointing Robinson again in another close match, making him the first man to beat Robinson twice, then stopping Terry Downes in 7 rounds on cuts, before going on to out-point Carmen Basilo. Then on July 11, 1961, while making the 4th defense of his title, Pender was stopped after 10 rounds, losing his world title, when he retired on his stool between rounds. Nine months later, on April 7, 1962, Pender regained the World middleweight championship after he beat Downes on points. This would prove to be the last fight of Pender’s career, after fights with Gene Fullmer and Dick Tiger fell through, and with the world boxing organizations threatening to strip him of recognition for failing to defend his world title, Pender announced his retirement on May 7, 1963, with a final record of 40(20koes)-6-2.

After retirement, Pender would hold several jobs; a security officer and was employed as a recreation coordinator at to correctional facility. Pender died on January 12, 2003, after spending several years at the VA hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts.


The CASE OF  . . .


He will always be remembered as " Buster's Dad" but Billy Douglas was quite a fighter in his own right. Billy was born in 1940 and turned pro in 1967 just three days before his 27th birthday. There was no fanfare for this native of Columbus, Ohio. He started at the bottom and fought his way into the rankings. In 1969 he took out the talented Luis Vinales in one round. He would then be stopped himself by Pedro Miranda.

Douglas began to make some serious noise in 1970. He stopped former Olympian Wilbert McClure. He then outscored tough Willie Warren, drew with Don Fullmer and won a decision over Tom "The Bomb" Bethea. Billy suffered a couple of setbacks in 1971 dropping ten round dukes to the slick Bunny Sterling and the always capable Jose Gonzalez. Douglas got right back on track in 1972 with kayos over Billy Lloyd, Carlos Marks, Al Quinney and Marion Conner. Billy's nickname wasn't "Dynamite" for no reason.

Douglas continued his surge into 1973 stopping the respected Nate Collins. Billy was then matched with Philadelphia's Bennie Briscoe for the NABF middleweight title. At the time Briscoe was one of the best middleweights in the world and "Bad" Bennie halted Bill in round eight. Later that year Douglas lost a decision in South Africa to Elijah Makathini. In 1974 Douglas lost to another top notch Philly fighter being on the short end of a points verdict to Willie "The Worm" Monroe. Then in a crazy promotional stunt Douglas was matched with Danny Brewer in a fight that was advertised as being for the world's junior light heavyweight title. The weight limit was 167. Brewer exited in round two

Douglas now began to campaign as a light heavyweight. In 1976 he won a disputed, razor close decision over Pedro Soto. He then lost a rematch to Bethea. Bill was halted by Lonnie Bennett but then he knocked out Angel Oquendo. Douglas was awarded the chance of a lifetime when he got a non title fight with WBA light heavyweight king Victor Galindez. Bill went the distance but the rugged champion won on points. In 1977 Douglas met Matthew Saad Muhammad ( Matt Franklin ) in Philadelphia for the NABF light heavyweight title. In a true "Philly War", Saad got off the canvas to stop Bill in round six. Douglas then returned to Philadelphia but was defeated inside the distance by Marvin Johnson. Bill was quite popular in Philly. The Johnson fight was his tenth appearance there.

In 1979 Douglas lost a decision to rising prospect Pablo Ramos. In 1980 Bill was finished as a legitimate contender when he lost to Jerry "The Bull" Martin. Bill had one more kayo victory and then packed it in. In 58 professional bouts against some of the toughest fighters in the world Douglas posted a fine 41-16-1 record. He scored 31 knockouts. He met three world champions and five others who challenged for the title. Bill Douglas should be remembered for much more then just being Buster's dad.

Jim Amato



   He began his career in 1964 but it was not until 1973 that he crashed into the heavyweight ratings.  In between were periods of inactivity and a multitude of meaningless bouts.  He was a murderous, punching prospect that no worthy opponent wanted to chance his career against.  By the time he got his “shot” at the big time, he was 21-1 with 16 kayos.  He scored seven 1st round kayos and eight 2ndround stoppages.  Yet up to this point his claim to fame was being a Muhammad Ali sparring partner.  It is a shame that today very few remember Jeff “Candy Slim’ Merritt.  True, his tenure as a mainstream contender was less than a year but oh what a reputation he had.  Many at that time considered him the hardest puncher in the heavyweight division, bar none.

   Although Jeff had one bout in 1964 his career really began in 1968.  In 1969 Jeff established himself as a legitimate prospect with decision wins over Ray Williams, Roger Russell and Henry Clark.  Finally on September 10th, 1973, Jeff stepped into the ring to face former W.B.A. heavyweight champion Ernie Terrell.  “Big” Ernie had held the W.B.A. title from 1965 to 1967 before losing a unification fight with Ali.  He then lost to Thad Spencer in the W.B.A. eight-man elimination tourney and followed that with a loss to Manuel Ramos. A kayo victory over Jose Luis Garcia propelled Ernie back in to the Top Ten ratings.  Despite a very controversial loss to Chuck Wepner, Ernie was still ranked when he faced Merritt.  Less then one round later Ernie was a retired ex-champion as Jeff destroyed him.  Jeff followed this with a three round butchering of rugged Ron Stander.
   Jeff kept his name in the headlines serving as Earnie Shavers sparring partner while Earnie prepared for his bout with Jerry Quarry.  Archie Moore was training Shavers and he allowed Merritt to spar with Earnie.  A couple of vicious hooks caused the Quarry bout to be postponed, as Earnie’s jaw was broken.  Don King, Earnie’s manager was livid.  Archie was dismissed and Quarry’s trainer Gil Clancy said something to the effect that Merritt was the kind of guy you fought for money, not in the gym.
   All was going well until March 4th, 1974.  Jeff faced old foe Henry Clark.  This time Clark abandoned his usual cautious style and took Jeff by surprise.  Jeff was now the victim of a one round kayo loss.  The defeat put Jeff’s career into a tail spin.  It was almost 2 1/2 years before he would fight again.  His opponent would be tough fringe contender Stan Ward.  For two rounds Jeff out boxed the ponderous Ward, shutting one of his eyes.  In round three the half blind Ward connected and again Jeff’s chin betrayed him.  The bout was soon stopped and Ward had handed Jeff his ticket to boxing oblivion.
                                                                                                                                                                                Jim Amato



1970's were ruled by the Sheriff . . . .


Bob Foster (born April 27, 1938) is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA whom many boxing critics consider to be one of the greatest Light Heavyweight world champions in history. As an amateur he won a silver medal at the 1959 Pan American Games. Professional career Foster started his professional career on the night of March 27, 1961, against Duke Williams, in Washington, D.C., winning by a knockout in two rounds. The first 12 bouts of his career were spent campaigning in the United States' Eastern coast and in Canada. In his tenth bout, he made his first of multiple forays into the Heavyweight division, and suffered his first loss, at the hands of Doug Jones by a knockout in the eighth round. After two more wins, he went in 1963 to Peru, where he lost to South American champion Mauro Mina by a decision in ten rounds at Lima. Three more fights back in the States resulted in quick knockout wins for him, and then, in 1964, he made his second attempt at entering the Heavyweight rankings, being knocked out in the seventh by future world Heavyweight champion Ernie Terrell. He finished the year by posting three more knockout wins at Light Heavyweight, two of them on one night: November 11. That was the night that Foster's first fight of note as a Light Heavyweight took place: Minutes after knocking out Don Quinn in the first round, he stepped up in the ring again and faced former world title challenger Henry Hank. He beat Hank by a knockout in the tenth. In 1965, he had five fights, winning four and losing one. He beat Hank again, by decision in 12, and lost to Zora Folley, by a decision in ten, in another attempt at joining the Heavyweight top ten. In 1966 he defeated Leroy Green in two rounds. By 1967, Foster, although his attempts to become a top Heavyweight were being frustrated, was a ranked Light Heavyweight. He decided to stick to the Light Heavyweight division for the time being, and he won all seven of his fights, six by knockout. Among the fighters he beat were Eddie Cotton, Eddie Vick, and Sonny Moore. After defeating Moore, Foster was the world's number one ranked Light Heavyweight challenger. Light Heavyweight champion In 1968, Foster got his first shot at a world title. At Madison Square Garden in New York, on the night of May 24, Foster became world champion by knocking out the also late Dick Tiger in four rounds. Tiger had been a two time world Middleweight champion and was defending his world Light Heavyweight crown that night.

 Foster (l) vs Dick Tiger in 1968

Then, Foster decided to try on the Heavyweights once again, and he beat future George Foreman victim Charlie Polite by a knockout in three. He ended that year defeating Vick again, and his future world title challenger Roger Rouse, both by a knockout. In 1969, he began by rising off the canvas to knock out Frank De Paula in the same first round and retain his belt. It is believed that was the first time ever a boxer won a world title fight in the first round after being floored in that same round. It is also believed that that fight is one of only two times that's happened, the second time being in 1984, when Juan Kid Mesa rose off a knockdown to dethrone world Jr. Featherweight champion Jaime Garza in the same first round too. Foster's next fight in 1969 was against Andy Kendall, whom he beat in four rounds by knockout, to once again retain the crown. He closed the 1960s with two more knockout wins. Foster vs Frazier In 1970, Foster made two more trips to the heavyweights. In the first, he beat fringe contender Cookie Wallace in six rounds by knockout. This was followed by a return to the Light Heavyweight division to defend his title against Rouse. Infuriated by some comments that Rouse's manager had made before the bout concerning the fact that even though Foster knocked out Rouse in their first bout he was not able to drop him, Foster dropped Rouse five times en route to a fourth round knockout victory. A knockout in 10 to retain the battle against Mark Tessman followed, and then he was given the chance to challenge for the world's Heavyweight title. Facing world champion Joe Frazier on the night of November 18 in Detroit, he was knocked out in two rounds. After defeating Hal Carroll by a knockout in four rounds to defend his crown, the WBA stripped him of the title, but he kept being world champion on the WBC. Foster became enraged at the WBA, which proceeded to have Vicente Rondon of Venezuela and Jimmy Dupree fight for the world title. Rondon won, becoming the second Latin American world Light Heavyweight champion (after José Torres), and Foster set his eyes on him. Foster went on defending his WBC world title, and he defeated challengers Ray Anderson, Tommy Hicks, and Brian Kelly. Of those three, it was Anderson who was the only one to last the 15 round distance with Foster. Foster vs Ali Foster and Rondon met in Miami on April 7, 1972, in an unificatory bout. Foster became the undisputed world champion once again, by knocking Rondon out in the second round. In his next fight, he used what many critics have called one of the best punches in history to retain his title by a knockout in four against Mike Quarry. He then went up in weight and faced former and future world Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, in what was legendary referee Mills Lane's first bout of note as a referee. Foster lost to Ali by a knockout in the eighth, after being knocked down 7 times.

 In 1973, Foster retained his title twice against Pierre Fourie, both by decision. Their second fight had a distinct social impact because it was fought in Apartheid-ruled South Africa, Foster being Black and Fourie being White. Foster became a hero to South African Blacks by beating Fourie the first time around, and in their rematch, the first boxing fight in South Africa after Apartheid featuring a White versus a Black, he cemented that position by defeating Fourie on points again. However, as Mark Mathabane noted in his autobiography Kaffir Boy, South Africa's black population also felt betrayed by Foster since he didn't address Apartheid during his time in South Africa. His last defense as world Light Heavyweight champion came in 1974, when he was dropped by Argentinian Jorge Ahumada, but managed to keep the title with a draw. After that, he announced his retirement, leaving the world's Light Heavyweight championship vacant. Retirement and comeback Foster had scored a draw against Jorge Ahumada before retiring from the sport for awhile. Because he did not lose to a non-Heavyweight champion in the ring, he was still considered the Lineal Light heavyweight champion. Foster would go on to fight seven more times, with the first five as wins and the last two as knockout losses, before retiring from boxing for good. Life after boxing In his retirement, the former world champion joined the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department and became a detective, where he would become a well known officer in the Albuquerque area. Later on, the avid autograph signer was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Foster had a record of 56 wins, 8 losses and 1 draw, with 46 wins coming by knockout. He was named to Ring Magazine's list of 100 Greatest Punchers. He was also named to Ring Magazine's list of the 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years, ranking at #55. Official professional boxing record 56 Wins (46 Knockouts), 8 Defeats (6 Knockouts), 1 Draw




   He was a hard banger and a crowd pleaser who battled some of the best welterweights of his era. Eventually he would move up to 154 pounds and win a world title in that division. He thrilled crowds in his home state of Texas and would also become a popular draw on the West Coast. His name was Oscar Albarado and they called him ” Shotgun “.
   Born in 1948, Oscar turned professional in 1966 and reeled off 25 straight victories. He suffered his first loss via a decision to the highly touted Hedgemon Lewis in 1969. He came back in 1970 with two wins over Youngstown, Ohio veteran L.C.Morgan. Oscar would then drop verdicts to rated contenders Adolph Pruitt and ” Have Mercy Mr. Percy ” Pugh.
   Albarado bounced back with five straight wins including a decision over rugged Raul Soriano. He was then upset over ten rounds by Manuel Fierro. In May of 1971 Oscar met then undefeated Armando Muniz and the two battled to a draw in an action packed bout. Oscar would then lose a decision to top contender Ernie ” Red ” Lopez. Albarado would win seven in a row but in 1973 he was surprised in one round by Dino Del Cid. Oscar came right back to stop Del Cid in the second round of a rematch.
   In June of 1974 Oscar traveled to Tokyo, Japan take on world junior middleweight king Koichi Wajima. In a tough battle Albarado rallied to halt Wajima at 1:57 of the fifteenth round to capture the crown. Oscar would return to Japan to defend against Wajima’s countryman Ryu Sorimachi. Albarado retained his title with a seventh round stoppage. It was back to Tokyo again to face Wajima in a rematch. This time Wajima paced himself and fought a smart fight in regaining his title by decision. There would be no rubber match.
   It would be over five years before Oscar boxed again and it was obvious he was no longer the same fighter. He did find himself matched with some pretty good fighters though. In 1981 he was kayoed by Bobby Czyz and Bernard ” Superbad ” Mays. In 1982 he was taken out by Louis Arcaries and John Collins. Finally he was stopped in two rounds by Ayub Kalule in his last fight.
   Albarado ended his 72 fight career with a record of 58-13-1. He scored 43 knockouts. He was stopped seven times but six of those stoppages came after his five year layoff. In his prime he was a game and durable fighter with a lethal punch.
                                                                                                                                                                             Jim Amato


During his formidable professional career heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner was known as the "Bayonne Bleeder". Hundreds of stitches had adorned his rugged face throughout his career. After his fighting days were over Chuck has become known to his legion of fans as the "Real Life Rocky". The inspiration for Sylvester Stallone's film character Rocky Balboa.

Wepner was born on February 26,1939 in New York. He was the son of a heavyweight boxer and as an amateur he won the 1964 New York Golden Gloves Novice heavyweight title. He then turned professional. In his first two years in the paid ranks he went 4-1-2 losing only to tough Bob Stallings. On January 7,1966 Chuck met highly regarded prospect Buster Mathis at Madison Square Garden. Wepner was halted in the third round. In 1967 Wepner would win the New Jersey State heavyweight title stopping Don McAteer in the seventh.
   Chuck went undefeated in 1968 winning six fights. He beat Eddie Vick and upset highly regarded Forest Ward. In 1969 Wepner defeated Roberto Davila but then lost to future heavyweight title challenger Joe "King" Roman. On August 18th he met 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist George Foreman at the Garden. Chuck was stopped in the third round. Wepner finished the year by outscoring veteran Pedro Agosto. Chuck opened 1970 by defeating former world title challenger Manuel Ramos. On June 29th Chuck would meet former world champion Sonny Liston. Sonny cut the game Wepner to ribbons and the bout was ended after the ninth round. Chuck then traveled to London to meet another future world title challenger named Joe Bugner. A cut forced Wepner to exit in round three.
   As 1971 rolled in Wepner was again badly cut forcing a stoppage against Jerry Judge. Chuck would then lose his New Jersey title to smooth boxing Randy Neumann. The two would meet again in 1972 and Wepner pulled out the decision to regain the New Jersey crown. This would be the beginning of an eight bout win streak that would lead Chuck to a crack at the world title. On June 23,1973 Wepner pulled off a major upset in Atlantic City winning a controversial twelve round decision over former World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Ernie Terrell. Chuck was now rated among the top ten heavyweights in the world. He solidified his ranking in 1974 by defeating Randy Neumann in their rubber match and stopping Terry Hinke.
   The stage was now set. On March 24,1975 Wepner would meet world champion Muhammad Ali at the Richfield Coliseum outside on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio. Ali had shocked the world in October of 1974 by regaining the heavyweight title defeating George Foreman. He was looking for an easy defense of that title. Although Wepner was ranked few if any gave him a real chance at defeating Ali. What transpired that day made Chuck Wepner a cult hero. Ali won and retained his crown but it was hardly the walk in the park he expected. Wepner hadn't read the Ali script. In fact Chuck became the script for Rocky. Despite scoring a debatable knockdown over Ali in the ninth round, Chuck was battered throughout the contest. Ali punished Wepner but try as he might he couldn't put Chuck away. Finally the dead game Wepner fell in the fifteenth and final round. It was more from exhaustion then Ali's punches. A true testimony to Chuck's grit and courage.
   After the Ali fight the career of Wepner slowly wound down. He was cut and stopped by undefeated prospect Duane Bobick in 1976. In 1977 he dropped a decision to Mike Schutte. He was then halted in the tenth round by Horst Geisler. Chuck won two fights in 1978 but the lost a decision to yet another future title challenger, Scott Frank. That would be Wepner's last fight.
   Chuck retired with a record of 35-14-2. During his career he met four world champions and five others that challenged for the crown.
                                                                                        Jim Amato


    When there is any talk of the greatest era of heavyweight boxing, the name Ken Norton has to be mentioned. Ken was a mainstay in the ratings throughout the 1970's and he briefly wore the World Boxing Council version of the heavyweight title. Norton of course is remembered most for his famous trilogy with Muhammad Ali.

   Norton was born on August 9,1943 in Jacksonville, Illinois. He was always an exceptional athlete but didn't turn to boxing until he joined the Marine Corp. He won the All Marine heavyweight championship three times and compiled a 24-2 amateur record. After being passed over to represent the United States in the Pan American Games, Ken opted to turn professional. He made his debut on November 14,1967 by halting Grady Brazell in the fifth round in San Diego. It would be the first of sixteen straight victories for Ken. During the streak Norton would gain experience beating veterans like Bill McMurray and Aaron Eastling.
   It would all come crashing down on July 2,1970 at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. Norton would meet a lanky heavyweight from Venezuela named Jose Luis Garcia. Based on appearance it looked like the muscular Norton would steamroll his opponent. Garcia though possessed fast hands and he could bang. In a major upset Garcia took out Ken in the eighth round. It was back to the drawing board for Norton.
   Ken would begin to see a hypnotist and this seemed to work as he rallied to win thirteen straight contests. Norton moved up the heavyweight rankings with two wins over the capable James J.Woody. He defeated rugged Jack O'Halloran in a thriller and stopped the talented Henry Clark. On March 31,1973 Ken would meet former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in San Diego. Ali had failed to regain the heavyweight title on March 8,1971 against Joe Frazier in the "Fight Of The Century". Ali was now taking on all comers to establish himself as the "People's Champion" and entice Frazier into a rematch. Norton was viewed as just another opponent and Ali was listed as a 5 to 1 favorite. Ken hadn't read the script though and he came out and forced the fight. Ali suffered a broken jaw in one of the early rounds but he gamely fought on. This day Ken was too much for Muhammad and Norton was awarded a well deserve decision. Along with it came the North American Boxing Federation heavyweight title.
   Ali and Norton would meet again on September 10,1973 at the Inglewood Forum. Ali vowed to be in better shape and he was. Muhammad swept the early rounds but as the bout progressed Norton came on strong. At the end of twelve rounds Ali's early lead held up and he won the verdict. After giving "The Greatest" twelve rounds of pure hell Ken was given a shot at the heavyweight title.  The man in the other corner would be undefeated George Foreman. The power punching Foreman had destroyed Joe Frazier in two rounds to capture the title. At this point in his career George looked unbeatable. The fight would take place March 26,1974 in Caracas, Venezuela. After a quiet first round George would lower the boom in round two. Again it was back to the drawing board for Ken.
   The two fights with Ali still left Norton as a very marketable heavyweight. Ken came back with a vengeance. He took apart Boone Kirkman and then in 1975 he scored knock out wins over Jerry Quarry and former conqueror Garcia. In 1976 he had inside the distance wins over Pedro Lovell, Ron Stander and Larry Middleton. In 1974 Ali upset Foreman in the famous "Rumble In The Jungle" to regain the championship. Now Ken was considered the #1 threat to his title. Their rubber match took place on September 28,1976 at Yankee Stadium. After fifteen see saw rounds Ali was given a highly controversial decision to retain his crown. Norton was heartbroken but he vowed to get Ali one more time.
   In 1977 Ken reinforced his status as the number one contender by demolishing unbeaten Duane Bobick in one round. Later in the year he met the crafty Jimmy Young in a World Boxing Council heavyweight eliminator. The fight with Young took place on November 5,1977 in Las Vegas. In an extremely close affair Norton edged Young and Ken was now Ali's mandatory challenger. In 1978 a fading Ali would lose his title to unbeaten but untested Leon Spinks in a huge upset. Spinks was now obligated to defend the title against Norton. Leon though would opt for a much more lucrative rematch with Ali. The WBC then stripped Spinks of the title and awarded it to Norton based on his win over Young. Finally Norton was a champion.
   Ken's tenure as champion was short lived. On June 9,1978 in Las Vegas Norton would lose a razor close verdict to unbeaten Larry Holmes in a truly classic battle. Ken would fight on hoping for another crack at the title. He stopped classy Randy Stephens in three rounds. Then disaster struck in the form of Earnie Shavers powerful fists. Shavers blasted Norton out in one round derailing any hopes of a Holmes rematch. Next Ken took on rough and tumble Scott LeDoux. Norton was winning handily but faded after taking a thumb to the eye. Norton was knocked down twice in the tenth and final round but hung on until the bell. The fight ended in a draw. Ken would retire but then come back a year later to face undefeated Randall "Tex" Cobb. Norton was able to out box the plodding Cobb and win the decision. Next for Norton would be the unbeaten punching sensation Gerry Cooney. There was already a great demand for Cooney to meet champion Larry Holmes. Norton would supply Gerry with his toughest test to date. The test ended in the first round as Cooney scored a brutal knock out. That ended the career of Ken Norton.
   In all Norton had fifty professional fights. His record was a very respectable 42-7-1. Ken scored thirty three knockouts and was stopped four times. He met three champions in Ali, Foreman and Holmes. He also faced eight boxers who challenged for the title. He was among the elite heavyweights for nearly a decade.
                                                                                                                                             Jim Amato


1960's and a Light heavyweight  named Jose Torres

There was a time in the mid 1960′s that revolved around who would be Muhammad Ali’s next opponent. The former Cassius Clay was chewing up and spitting out challengers with alarming ease. His hold on the heavyweight title was reaching the point of fan boredom. Few could see any serious contenders on the horizon.

Then a tremendous boxer-puncher of Puerto Rican heritage exploded on to the scene. He was really a blown up middleweight with an extensive and successful amateur background, but boy could he fight!

He was a thing of beauty to watch. Hands held high in front of his face in the peek-a-boo style taught to him by his mentor Cus D’Amato. The flashing combinations, the burning body shots and his business like command of the situation inside the ropes. He was quite simply, a fighting machine.

When Jose Torres lifted the world’s light heavyweight title from Willie Pastrano on March 30, 1965 he was truly great. Who will ever forget the picture perfect body shot that sent a pained Pastrano to the canvas Only Willie’s undeniable gameness kept him the fight until the ninth round.

Almost every conceivable positive boxing adjective was heaped upon Jose after his stellar performance. Rightfully so as Jose seemed destined to a bright and illustrious future.
Let’s go back to Jose’s early pro career. This young man appeared to have success stamped on his forehead. He turned professional in 1958 and won all nine of his fights that year. In 1959 he scored four straight kayos two of which were over rugged Joe Shaw and talented Al Andrews. He finished the year by drawing with future welterweight king Benny Paret.

In 1960 he stepped up in class and was forced to go the distance three times. Twice against the clever Randy Sandy and once versus tough Tony Dupas.In 1961 and 1962 Jose put together an impressive ten fight knockout streak that led to his coming out party. On May 26, 1963 Jose took on the feared Florentino Fernandez in San Juan. Florentino had unsuccessfully challenged Gene Fullmer for the middleweight crown in 1961. He was still very much a threat the night he met Torres. Time would have to wait for Jose Torres. Fernandez gave him a very rude welcoming to the big time halting an overmatched Jose in six rounds.

The loss seemed to make Jose even more determined. Less then five months later he returned to out score Don Fullmer. Jose picked right back up in 1964 reeling off seven very impressive wins. Among the victims were Jose Gonzalez, Wilbert McClure, Gomeo Brennan and a crushing one round blitz of former middleweight king Carl ” Bobo ” Olson.

Next came Pastrano and the championship. Then a foray into the heavyweight ranks to cop a verdict over Tom McNeely. Three solid defenses of his crown followed against capable challengers Wayne Thornton, Eddie Cotton and Chic Calderwood. The future seemed vast and unlimited.

Then came December 16, 1966. Where did it all go wrong? It was supposed to be a routine defense against the respected former middleweight king Dick Tiger. If a stuffed welterweight named Emile Griffith proved to be too much for Tiger in taking Dick’s middleweight title, how could he beat Jose? Answer? Tenacity, conditioning and a burning desire and relentless will to win. Jose was just outworked. It was close and debatable but nevertheless a loss.

The rematch five months later was almost a carbon copy of the first engagement. Neither fight will go down in the annals of classic encounters but little did anyone suspect that Jose only had two more dates on his dance card.

Almost a year after his second setback to Tiger, Jose traveled to Australia and beat a useful Bob Dunlop. Fifteen months later he emerged in New York. The colorful but erratic Charlie “Devil” Green all but knocked Jose out cold in the opening stanza. Call it guts, pride or whatever, Jose came out in the second round and he downed the "Devil "for good. It was high drama but also the curtain call. Jose Torres would never box again.
What Jose Torres has done in his post boxing career is a tribute to the man himself. He has established himself as a fine writer and humanitarian. He is a hero to the Puerto Rican people and rightfully so. I can give you my account of what I saw of Jose Torres, the man. It was June of 1998 and I was attending a fight show during the festive
International Boxing Hall Of Fame weekend in Canasota, New York. Many former boxing greats entered the ring to have their pictures taken. Jose was among them.

The photo was taken by Mike Greenhill and I have it in my office at home. It shows over twenty smiling warriors enjoying the companionship of their peers. In one corner of the photo I notice a frail and aged Beau Jack. The now late former lightweight champion was not in the best of health at the time. What I see behind him is a man, a caring man who is not worried about smiling for the camera. I see concern etched on his face thinking only of watching out for the once robust champ.

As they say, a picture says a thousand words.

Jim Amato

1 Attached Images





Middleweight Ralph Moncrief lost eighteen of 47 fights. Records are deceiving though as you will see in this article. Born in 1950,Ralph turned professional in 1972 and won his first three bouts. He suffered his first defeat in 1973 being stopped by Detroit's tough Lee Barber. Two fights later Ralph lost on points to crafty Al Styles Jr.

Moncrief would win six straight including a rematch kayo over Barber. Then in the first many career upsets he won the verdict against unbeaten Ernie Singletary. In his next fight Moncrief took on another unbeaten prospect Dwight Davison. Ralph lost on points. He beat journeyman Johnny Heard and then lost a close decision in a rematch to Singletary.

It's now 1979 and Moncrief outscored hard hitting Lamont Lovelady. In 1980 Ralph would travel to South Africa where he would upset Gert Steyn in seven rounds to gain a world ranking. It was short lived though as he dropped a ten round decision to the highly touted and undefeated, Bernard "Superbad" Mays.

From here on out Moncrief's career became very checkered losing to Jean Marie Emebe and James Kinchen in 1982. In 1983 he lost to Sumbu Kalambay and in 1984 he was halted by Britain's Mark Kaylor in London.On November 22,1985 Ralph would meet Eddie Hall in Cleveland for the Ohio State middleweight title. Moncrief was the loser in this one.

Three years after his loss to Hall, Moncrief would score another upset. This time Ralph outpointed "Diamond" Jim McDonald. In 1989 he was stopped by the outstanding Mike McCallum but would bounce back to upset Phillip Morefield. Ralph ended the year losing to the capable Antoine Byrd. In his only bout of 1990 Moncrief lost a ten rounder to Marvin Hagler's half brother Robbie Sims.

Ralph opened 1991 losing to Percy Harris. Then came Moncrief's marquee victory. Ralph stopped veteran top contender Michael Olajide. The win paved the way for some decent paydays and four straight losses. After being stopped in one round by Bernard Hopkins and dropping a ten rounder to Lindell Holmes,Ralph was headed for the boxing scrapyard. Moncrief would win his last four fights against losing opposition and then call it a day in October 2000.

Moncrief's ended his career with a 29-18 record. He scored 15 knockouts and was stopped himself on six occasions. He met four world champions and eight who challenged for a world title. He fought in England, France, Italy and South Africa. Ralph Moncrief was another from a long list of class fighters to come out of Cleveland,Ohio.

Jim Amato



Henry Hank of Detroit was born in 1935 and began his long professional career in 1953. In less then two years he was fighting the likes of Virgil Akins. By 1959 Henry was good enough to mix it up with the best middleweights and light heavyweights in the world. Fighting men like Holly Mims,

In 1961 Henry beat Joey Giardello. They met again in 1962 with Joey turning the tables. The rematch was voted the Fight Of The Year by Ring Magazine for 1962.

Other top names on his record are Chic Calderwood, Dick Tiger and Mauro Mina. Henry also defeated future heavyweight titleholder Jimmy Ellis. On October 23, 1963 Henry met Eddie Cotton for the Michigan version of the light heavyweight title. Henry lost in fifteen rounds.

Henry would go on to meet Harold Johnson and Johnny Persol. The great Bob Foster halted Henry in ten in 1964 and Bob outscored him in a 1965 return match. Henry would also cross gloves with Roger Rouse and Heschel Jacobs.

Henry became the “Man” for young contenders to fight on their way up the ladder. Henry tested tough upstarts like Mark Tessman, Eddie “Bossman” Jones, Hal Carroll and Charlie “Devil” Green. In one of his last fights Henry went ten rounds with the then unbeaten mammoth heavyweight heavyweight, Claude “Humphrey”McBride.
Henry’s last fight was a decision loss to highly ranked Andy Kendall.

In all Henry had 97 fights with 62 wins and 31 losses with 4 draws. He scored forty KO victories. An impressive record considering the quality of opposition he faced in his outstanding career. He was halted only once and that was by the fearsome Foster. No shame there.

Jim Amato




The 1960's spawned many great fighters. Dick Tiger, Jose Torres, Emile Griffith, Luis Rodriguiz and Carlos Ortiz just to name a few. One of the best of this era was a 5' 3" southpaw from Mexico City named Vincente Saldivar. He ruled the featherweight division for three years and then retired. He decided to come back and two and a half years after he gave up his crown, he re-claimed it..

This boxing legend was born on March 5, 1943. He started his professional career in 1961 and quickly showed that he was a budding star. Saldivar won his first sixteen fights and scored thirteen knockouts. He suffered his first loss in December of 1962 when he was disqualified in a bout against Baby Luis.

The year 1963 saw Saldivar make great strides in the rankings. He halted the respected Dwight Hawkins in five rounds. He avenged his loss by stopping Baby Luis in eight rounds. There was also an impressive one round win over Eloy Sanchez.

On February 8, 1964 Saldivar captured the Mexican featherweight title by knocking out Juan Rameriz in two rounds. He defended the title with a twelve round points win over tough Eduardo " Lalo " Guerrero. Then on June 1st Vincente won a very important bout against future lightweight champion Ismael Laguna. Saldivar outscored the clever Laguna in ten rounds.

On September 26, 1964 Vincente Saldivar won the featherweight championship of the world. He battered the great champion Sugar Ramos and the bout ended in the twelfth round with a new champion being crowned. Saldivar was about to begin a campaign that eliminated all opposition to his throne. He started in 1965 by wearing down and finally stopping his game challenger Raul Rojas in the final round. In his next defense Vincente turned back the fierce challenge of Welshman Howard Winstone in fifteen rounds. These two would get to know each other very well over the next few years.

Saldivar opened 1966 with a two round kayo over Floyd Robertson. Next Vincente faced the stern challenge of Japan's Mitsunori Seki. For the Japanese tiger, it would be his third shot at a world's title. He failed in a 1961 bid to dethrone flyweight champion Pone Kingpetch and in 1964 he was beaten in six rounds by featherweight king Sugar Ramos. Seki gave Saldivar all he could handle but in the Vincente pounded out a decision victory.

Seki and Saldivar would meet again in 1967 and this time Vincente left no doubt to his claim to the title ending Seki's challenge in the seventh round. Next was some unfinished business with Mr. Winstone. Again the spry and crafty Welshman traveled the fifteen round distance but in the end he fell short. The two bouts between Saldivar and Winstone were close enough to justify a third meeting. This time Saldivar ruled supreme ending Winstone's dream in the twelfth round.

With really no one left to seriously challenge Vincente, he decided to retire. Quickly the World Boxing Council matched Saldivar's two toughest challengers, Howard Winstone and Mitsunori Seki for the vacant title. On January 23, 1968 Howard Winstone finally got his championship beating Seki in nine rounds. Howard's stay at the top was short lived as he lost the title to Spain's Jose Legra in five rounds.

Finally there was some new blood in the division. Legra in turn would lose his crown by decision to Australia's Johnny Famechon. Saldivar still felt he was the best featherweight in the world so he embarked on a come back. To prove he was worthy of a title shot he out fought Legra to win a ten round verdict. Then on May 9, 1970 in Rome, Italy Vincente met the champion Famechon. The Aussie was a very good fighter who had just sent the great Fighting Harada into retirement with a brutal fourteenth round kayo. Against Saldivar he was out boxed and out fought but gamely went the distance. The great Saldivar was king again.

It all came crashing down in his next fight. Vincente took on Japan's Kuniaki Shibata. It seemed like Vincente grew old overnight. At times he boxed well and punched sharply but at other times seemed overwhelmed by the force of Shibata's attacks. The Japanese fighter was very strong and try as he might, Vincente was unable to hold him off. Finally it was over. It ended in the thirteenth round. The reign of Saldivar was over.

Maybe Vincente was not yet convinced he was through or maybe he wanted to go out a winner. Anyway Saldivar returned to the ring seven months later and outpointed the always tough Frankie Crawford. Then two years later Saldivar again emerged to attempt to regain his throne. Former bantamweight champion Eder Jofre of Brazil had won recognition by the W.B.C. as featherweight champion by winning a majority decision over Jose Legra in May of 1973. Vincente would meet Jofre on October 21, 1973 in Brazil. What looked to be a great match up on paper turned out to be a bitter disappointment. Saldivar had nothing left. His great skills had eroded. Jofre was too strong and too powerful for the shell of this once great fighting machine. It ended in the fourth round and so did Saldivar's career. There would be no more comebacks.

Vincente only had forty fights in his career. He won thirty seven of them. He was a knockout winner on twenty six occasions. He was the whole package in his prime. Pound for pound he was one of the best fighters in the 60's.

Jim Amato



Remembering Al "Blue" Lewis 1942-2018



The late 60’s and early 70’s spawned an array of fistic talent in the heavyweight division. From the great champions Patterson, Liston, Ali, Frazier and Foreman along with Ellis and Terrell to the parade of bonafide contenders. Almost always among the top contenders of the day were the names of Chuvalo, Quarry, Bonevena, Norton, Lyle, Shavers, Bugner, Leotis Martin and Henry Clark. Throw in a Mac Foster, Boone Kirkman and Chuck Wepner and you get an idea of the talented mix. Among the elite during this time was a fine fighter out of Michigan named Al “Blue” Lewis. It is conceivable that if “Blue” would have boxed in a different era, he may have become a champion.

Lewis turned pro in 1966 and quickly racked up eight straight victories that year. He continued to roll in 1967 winning six more. Among his victims were veterans Aaron Eastling, Willie McMillan and Dick Wipperman. Al’s 14 bout win streak ended when rugged Bob Stallings in seven rounds stopped him. “Blue” regrouped in 1968 and he reeled off five more wins, twice beating Stallings in rematches. He also scored a huge victory stopping highly regarded Eduardo Corletti in two rounds. People began to take Lewis seriously as a legitimate contender.

The bubble burst on November 26,1968 when Lewis soared to an early lead over veteran Leotis Martin but faded down the stretch, the bout being stopped in the ninth round. Three months later Al again failed to beat the clever Martin dropping a ten round decision.

Lewis spent the rest of 1969 and 1970 trying to re-establish himself. He won six straight including a kayo win over Cleveland Williams. On October 4,1971 “Blue” traveled to Argentina to meet Oscar Bonevena. He returned with a seventh round disqualification loss. Many felt that Al was getting the better of Oscar at the time of the stoppage. His performance against Bonevena was good enough to get Al a shot at Muhammad Ali. The former champion was fighting all the contenders trying to eliminate all of them to force a bout with titleholder Joe Frazier. The Ali-Lewis content took place on July 19,1972 in Dublin, Ireland. Muhammad struggled with Lewis before scoring a knockdown in the middle rounds. Al rallied back but Ali finally ended matters in the eleventh round.

Lewis, right, blocking a lead from Muhammad Ali in 1972.

Lewis came back in 1973 beating Charlie Reno but then lost a surprising verdict to Big Jack O’Halloran. Lewis then scored three straight kayo victories over mediocre opponents. He then decided to hang up the gloves finishing with a 30-6 record.

Jim Amato


No doubt the most well known heavyweight to come out of Canada is George Chuvalo. For a while Lennox Lewis called it his home and Trevor Berbick made his mark but George is still #1 in Canada. Nevertheless there is a very overlooked heavyweight contender from the 1960's who at one time was closing in on a world title shot. His name was Robert Cleroux. The fact is that "Big Bob" had a trilogy of bouts with Chuvalo for the Canadian heavyweight title. Cleroux won two of those contests.

Cleroux was born on February 23,1938. He joined the punch for pay ranks in 1957 after winning the Montreal Golden Gloves title in 1956. At 6'1'' and weighing over 200 pounds,he was a fairly big heavyweight in his era. He won twelve of his first thirteen contests. Only a draw with Eddie Vick stained his record. He beat Eddie in a return go. Vick would go on to fight the likes of Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson.Chuck Wepner,Jeff Merritt and Bob Foster twice during his career. Bob invaded New York's Madison Square Garden in 1959 and suffered his first loss, an eight round decision to veteran Buddy Turman.

Cleroux would regroup to win nine in a row including a decision over Willie Besmanoff and a five round kayo against Roy "Cut-N-Shoot" Harris. In 1960 he won a close and hard fought split decision over Chuvalo to capture the Canadian crown. Later in the year he would drop a twelve round verdict to George losing the title. In between those two battles, Bob halted Turman in two rounds to gain a measure of revenge.

1961 was a good year for Robert as he stopped Harold Carter, Harris again and the hard hitting Alex Miteff. He then won another split decision over Chuvalo to recapture the Canadian heavyweight championship.. He defended that title by knockout over Cecil Gray and then stopped rugged George Logan in seven. Then Bob hit a rough patch dropping ten rounders to the highly rated Zora Folley and tough Mike DeJohn. He then won a close points call against Tom McNeely. Cleroux followed that with four straight knockout victories and was again paired with the clever Folley. Zora clearly outboxed Cleroux and Bob stepped away from the ring for five years.

When Cleroux returned in 1968 he quickly won five straight bouts. He then outduked the still dangerous Cleveland Williams to re-establish himself as a contender for world honors. In 1969 he whipped Charlie Chase twice and Bob Felstein. It was now rumored that Bob was going to challenge Jimmy Elis for the WBA version of the heavyweight title. In July he met Billy Joiner in a tune up bout. Joiner,a former Ohio standout amateur boxer and capable professional fighter upset the apple cart by winning a ten round split decision. With this defeat Cleroux's hopes for a title shot were dashed and he retired for good.
In 55 fights Bob posted a very respectable 48-6-1 record. He won 38 by knockout and he was never stopped.

Jim Amato



Toughness...Every fighter has a degree of mental and physical toughness. Some more then others. Even the toughest of the lot won't make it all the way in boxing without a certain degree of skills. The skills can be obtained by hours of hard work with a trainer. Skills can be taught. A trainer can not teach a fighter toughness. Either you have enough toughness or you don't.

There was a little bulldog of a fighter from the state of Washington who throughout the 1980's and early 90's was a fixture in the world ratings at 135 and 140 pounds. He developed some pretty good skills along the way. His name was Greg Haugen and he was good enough to be crowned a world champion no less then three times.

Haugen turned pro in 1982 and by 1985 he was making his move in the ratings. That year he scored wins over Jeff Bumpus, Freddie Roach and Chris Calvin. It was the Calvin fight that I first remember seeing Greg fight. It was on ESPN and it seemed to me that Calvin was the favorite going in. Haugen fought a beautiful fight and stopped the game Calvin in six. In 1986 Greg halted former world title challenger Charlie "White Lightning" Brown in one round. Later he defeated rugged Edwin Curet to claim the NABF lightweight title.
The stage was now set for Haugen to meet clever Jimmy Paul for the IBF lightweight crown. Paul had beat previously undefeated Harry Arroyo of Youngstown, Ohio in 1985 to win the title. He had since made three defenses. He was out of the Kronk stable and he was an astute boxer who earned the nickname, "The Ringmaster". Haugen never let Jimmy get started in the fight. His aggression and tenacity won over the crowd and two of the judges. Haugen walked off with a majority decision and the title.

In 1987 Haugen made his first defense against a red hot lightweight from Rhode Island named Vinny Pazienza. These two would develop quite a history together. In their first encounter Vinny would take the crown from Greg by a unanimous verdict. All three judges had it 144-141 for Pazienza. Haugen wanted his title back and in their 1988 rematch Greg did just that. He won a convincing decision over Vinny to regain the championship. Their paths would cross again.

Haugen made two successful defenses and then he met 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Pernell Whitaker. Try as he might Haugen was totally out-boxed by the ultra slick southpaw Whitaker. After fifteen rounds Greg left the ring without his belt. Nevertheless Haugen's career was far from over. In 1990 Haugen met Paz in their rubber match. This time Paz boxed and moved all night to win a ten round non title fight.

As 1991 rolled in Haugen signed to meet unbeaten Hector "Macho" Camacho. Hector was 38-0 and had won titles at 130 and 135 pounds. This bout would be for the fledging WBO's junior welterweight title. In a controversial fight.Camacho was deducted a point at the beginning of the twelfth and final round for refusing to touch gloves. Haugen had dogged Hector all through the fight. The point deduction cost Camacho the fight on the judges cards. Without the deduction it would have been a draw. Instead Camacho took his first career loss. They would meet again three months later and this time Camacho won a close split decision.
In 1992 the popular Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini decided to return to the ring. Ray had first retired in 1985 after losing his WBA lightweight title and then failing to regain it against Livingstone Bramble. Four years later he came out of retirement to lose a very debatable decision to Camacho. Now three years later he was returning again. This time to fight Haugen. The pre fight billing for the bout was "Tough Guys Don't Dance". It looked to be a great match up on paper but the bout itself was a mismatch. Haugen almost had Ray out in the very first round. The game Mancini fought on but Haugen dominated him. Finally Greg ended matters in the seventh round and with the victory he captured the vacant NABF 140 pound title.

The win over Mancini proved to be a springboard to a tile bout for Greg against one of the best fighters of the era. The one and only Julio Cesar Chavez. The bout was for Julio's WBC light welterweight title. It took place in Mexico City in front of over 132,000 fans. Chavez had a sterling 84-0 record going into the bout. To me the outstanding Chavez had two signature fights in his long career. His eleventh round beat down of the talented Edwin Rosario and his dominating victory over Haugen. It was not that Chavez beat Greg but how he defeated him. In this fight JC just took apart a world class fighter. Chavez may have been at his peak for this fight.

In 1994 Haugen was halted in ten rounds by former two division world champion Tony "The Tiger" Lopez. That turned out to be Greg's swan song. Over the next five years Haugen would go 6-4-1 with one no contest. He finally hung up the gloves in 1999. His career ledger stands at 40-10-1. He scored 19 knockouts and was only halted three times. He met seven world champions. He was truly a "Champ" in his own right.

Jim Amato




Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams was one of three gifted heavyweights from the 50's and 60's. Williams, Eddie Machen and Zora Folley were a trio of hard luck boxers who met tragic deaths after a career of frustration. Machen who lost a decision to Ernie Terrell in a 1965 W.B.A. title bout may or may not have committed suicide. Folley who was stopped in seven by Muhammad Ali in 1967 died of injuries suffered in a poolside accident.

Machen and Folley passed on several years ago. Williams lived to be 66 before being struck down by a moving vehicle. All three finally received their title shots long after their prime. One wonders how they would have made out if they got their chance five years earlier against Floyd Patterson. To Floyd's credit he did win a twelve round decision over Machen in 1964, two years after he lost his crown to Sonny Liston.

Williams began his career in 1951 and won his first 27 fights, 23 by knockout. In 1954, he suffered a knockout loss to Bob Satterfield. Cleveland did not box in 1955 because he was in the Army. When he resumed his career he ran off 12 straight wins leading him to a match with the feared Sonny Liston. The two traded bombs until Sonny put over the sleeper in round two. Eleven months later they met again in another war with Sonny winning in round three.

In Cleveland's next 22 fights he went 20-1-1 with 13 kayos. He lost a decision to Terrell and he drew with Machen. He scored victories over Terrell, Wayne Bethea, Alex Miteff, Billy Daniels, and Tod Herring. This led to a title bout with Muhammad Ali in November of 1966. In 1965, Williams was badly injured when he was shot by a patrolman during a traffic stop argument. The bullet entered his stomach doing severe damage. That he was even able to fight again, is a testimony to his will and courage. The Williams that entered the ring against Ali was just a shell of his former self. In what many feel was Ali's best career performance, the champion dominated his aging rival. The bout was mercifully stopped in the third round. Cleveland would never again be a major factor in the division. He lost to Bob Cleroux and and Mac Foster and served as an opponent for upcoming fighters looking for a name on their record.

I had the opportunity to see Williams box a decent heavy weight named Ted Gullick at the old Cleveland Arena. Gullick would meet George Foreman, Earnie Shavers, and Duane Bobick during his career, but he was no match for Williams this night. Using a ram rod jab and a solid body attack, Cleveland outboxed his upstart foe to win a ten rounder. The consummate professional at work. That is how I'll remember Cleveland Williams.

Jim Amato=


He turned professional in 1974 and in a short time he became a serious contender for the welterweight title. Dave ” Boy ” Green took England by storm. He won his first 24 fights as he quickly climbed the ladder. In 1976 he halted Billy Waith in an eliminator for the British junior welterweight title. Later in the year he stopped Joey Singleton to win the British title.

1976 continued to be a big year for the busy Green as he defeated seasoned veterans Ramiro Bolanos and Jimmy Heair. Dave finished the year by knocking out Jean Baptiste Piedvache to win the European 140 pound title.

Six months before Green’s win over Piedvache, John H. Stracey the man who had finally dethroned the great Jose Napoles, surrendered the welterweight title to Carlos Palomino. The drums were now beating for a match between Green and Stracey. Finally in March of 1977 the two met at Wembley. This much anticipated fight ended with Green the winner in the tenth round.

Next up, a shot at Carlos Palomino and the WBC welterweight crown. This fight took place in June of 1977. What a fight it was. Green was never one to take a backward step and he forced the action from the beginning. Palomino was as tough as nails. He was a great counter puncher. He was also a devastating body puncher as Stracey had found out. Nevertheless Green forced Carlos to give ground early in the fight. As the bout wore on Palomino was working his way back in but after ten rounds it was a very close fight. Then in round eleven, boom and it was over. One punch left Green out on the canvas. Palomino had retained his title and Green had taken his first defeat.

Three months later the gritty Green bounced right back to outpoint the formidable Andy Price, a fighter who held victories over Palomino and WBA champion Pipino Cuevas. That was the start of a seven fight win streak for Dave. It all came crashing down in June of 1979 when Green was surprisingly stopped by Denmark’s Joergen Hansen in the third round for the European welterweight title.

Dave came back to win two fights and then found himself again challenging for the WBC welterweight title. Palomino had been out boxed by the clever Wilfred Benitez in losing his title. In turn Benitez was halted in the final round by Sugar Ray Leonard who was now the champ. On March 31, 1980 Green came to America to challenge Leonard. With one of the most devastating left hooks I’ve ever seen Leonard flattened Dave in round four. It was a brutal knockout.
It is hard to recover from a loss like that but Green put together four wins to stay in contention. Finally on November 3, 1981 Green lost in five rounds to Reggie Ford, a fighter with an 8-7-1 record. It was time to hang up the gloves.

Green ended his career with 41 fights. He won 37. In all four of his losses he was stopped. In turn he won 29 by the kayo route. He was a tough, game and rugged competitor. He was among the best welterweights in the world in an era when the welterweight division was loaded with talent.


Jim Amato


Back in the late 1970’s and early 80’s there was a pretty good
heavyweight out on the West Coast. His name was Marty Monroe.
Marty was from Los Angeles and he turned pro in 1974. In 1976 he beat
another up and coming heavyweight named Randy Mack. In 1977 he defeated tough Joe Gholston. In 1978 he defeated Leroy Boone. In 1980 Marty would lose a decision to the rough and rugged Scott
Ledoux. Marty bounced right back with impressive stoppage victories over
Lynn Ball and Eddie ” The Animal ” Lopez. Marty was now a force to be
reckoned with.

In 1981 Monroe would meet the streaking Greg Page. At this time Page
was considered one of the best heavyweight prospects in the game. Greg
proved to be too much for Monroe halting a game Marty in the sixth round.
That might have been the best performance in the career of Greg Page.
Marty would layoff for two years and then return to win two fights. He
ended his career in 1983 with a very respectable 25-2-1 record. He scored
sixteen knockouts and was stopped only once.

Jim Amato


He may have been one of the best middleweights to never hold a title. He was a ranked contender for almost a decade but he received only one title shot. That was fairly late in his fine career. He fought in the days when there only eight weight divisions with ONE champion per division. By today's standards Attilio "Rocky" Castellani would have easily won a piece of a title.

Rocky was born on May 28, 1927 in Luzerne, Pennsylvania. He would die in the same town 81 years later. Rocky made his professional debut on February 14, 1944 fighting to a six round draw. He would lose his next two fights by knockout. It's very hard to believe at this point that Rocky would one day become a top contender. He was tenacious though and he soon began to win more then he lost. He was stopped in four rounds by Billy Kilroy in 1946.He would only be halted one more time in his career and that was not until 1952. In fact Rocky was only defeated by kayo only four times in 83 career battles. Seeing the competition he faced, that is quite amazing !

Rocky beat Kilroy in a 1947 rematch and then he made his Madison Square Garden debut against rugged Lenny "Boom Boom" Mancini. The father of Ray Mancini was a pretty tough guy himself. Rocky won a decision in this fight. He would defeat Lenny again later in the year.1948 was a good year for Rocky as he moved steadily up the ladder with wins over Harold Green, Herbie Kronowitz and clever boxer out of Niles, Ohio named Sonny Horne.

In 1949 Rocky lost a decision to Charley Fusari at the Garden. Later though he would defeat the slick Tony Janiro in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Back at the Garden Castellani lost to the great Kid Gavilan. Rocky would then put together a ten fight win streak that would carry him into 1952 and establish him as a fighter to be contended with. Among his victims were Harold Green, Ernie Durando, Gene "Silent" Hairston and a rough fellow named Joey Giardello. In 1952 Rocky lost a controversial stoppage to Durando. He quickly regrouped to defeat Ralph "Tiger" Jones. He drew with the outstanding Billy Graham and he defeated another top notch guy in Johnny Bratton. As you can see Rocky ran in fast company.

In December of 1952 Rocky made his debut at the famous but now long gone Cleveland Arena. Rocky would become quite popular there. That night he defeated a good fighter named Jimmy Flood. In 1953 Rocky would again defeat Tiger Jones. He would split a pair of verdicts with highly regarded Pierre Langlois.He then stopped a gutsy Clevelander named Jackie Keough. Rocky finished the year with a big win over Philly's Gil Turner.

In 1954 Rocky would win a one sided decision over Durando. That set the stage for August 20th at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Rocky would face Carl "Bobo" Olson for the middleweight championship of the world. At this point Rocky had been a pro for a decade and a top contender for a half dozen years. The fight with Olson was well contested. Bobo was a very good fighter and he is in the International Boxing Hall Of Fame. Rocky gave a good account of himself. He had Bobo down in the eleventh. Rocky was down in the twelfth. In the end Olson retained his title with a few points to spare.

In 1955 Rocky took on the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson. Ray was on the comeback trail and the winner of this fight would probably get another crack at the title. It was a very close fight Rocky floored Ray in the sixth round and had him hurt. Robinson survived and won a controversial split decision. Again Rocky was on the outside looking in. In 1956 at the Cleveland Arena Rocky took on Gene Fullmer. The bull like Fullmer took the early rounds as his strength and awkward style had Rocky on the defensive. By the middle rounds though Rocky had figured Gene out and was putting on a counter punching clinic. Still in the judges eyes it was not enough and again Rocky was on the short end of a split decision.

From this point Rocky's career began to wind down. He was still a viable contender but there were two losses to Joey Giambra. In 1957 Rocky lost to Bobby Boyd and Rory Calhoun and he decided to hang up the gloves. He put together a sterling record of 65-14-4 facing the cream of the crop. He was a fan favorite at the Garden, the Cleveland Arena and in Scranton. As a fan you knew, when Rocky Castellani stepped into the ring, you were going to get your money's worth. Rocky would become a popular and highly respected fight judge.

I would like to thank Rocky's son David and the rest of the Castellani family for sharing information and photos of Rocky. He was loved and respected by his family, friends and the sport of boxing.

Jim Amato








One of the most exciting fighters of the 1970's and 80's was three time light heavyweight king Marvin Johnson. If ever a fighter lived by the sword and died by the sword, it was Marvin. He was a rangy southpaw who was constantly shuffling toward his opponent. His give and take pressure style created several memorable contests.

Born April 12,1954 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Marvin would become an accomplished amateur boxer. He was a three time National Golden Gloves champion. He also represented the United States in the 1972 Olympics winning a bronze medal.

Johnson turned professional in 1973 and won his first fifteen bouts. Twelve wins by knockouts. Among his victims were capable fighters like Gary Summerhays, Eddie Owens, Ray Anderson and Tom Bethea. On July 26, 1977 Marvin went to Philadelphia to meet hometown hero Matt Franklin (later to be known as Matthew Saad Muhammad). This was for the North American Boxing Federation light heavyweight title. In an absolute war, Johnson suffered his first defeat as he was halted in the last round. Johnson rebounded by winning five in a row scoring victories against Billy "Dynamite" Douglas and Eddie Davis. Johnson then traveled to Serbia where he lost an eight rounder to Lottie Mwale. Marvin returned stateside and outscored highly regarded Jerry Celestine.

On December 2, 1978 Marvin traveled to Europe and upset Mate Parlov by a tenth round stoppage to win the WBC light heavyweight crown. It was now time for a rematch with Matthew Saad Muhammad. This time though it would be on Johnson's home turf in Indianapolis. They clashed in April of 1979 and it was again a war ! Muhammad took everything that Johnson had to offer. He then put on a rally and stripped Marvin of his crown in the eighth round.

Johnson was not an ex-champion but not for very long. In November of 1979 he met long time WBA light heavyweight king Victor Galindez. Marvin punished the game Galindez until the fight was stopped in round eleven. Now Johnson had the WBA belt but just for a short time. In March of 1980 Marvin took a beating from an in shape and motivated Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. Johnson lost his title in the eleventh. A year later it looked like Johnson was out of the title picture for good after losing to upstart Michael Spinks. Michael had won a Gold Medal in the 1976 Olympics and was streaking toward a world title. Johnson was to be his first stern test. Spinks knocked Marvin out cold with a devastating left hook in round four.

Johnson still believed he could become champion again. From 1982 to 1985 Marvin won fourteen straight. This included a win over Jerome Clouden in a "Closet Classic". Johnson also defeated Johnny Davis, future champion "Prince" Charles Williams and Eddie Davis for the United States Boxing Association light heavyweight championship. Finally on February 9, 1986 Johnson met the talented Leslie Stewart for the vacant WBA title. Marvin realized his dream of being crowned the champion again in round seven as a badly cut Stewart could not continue. In his first defense Johnson outlasted rugged Jean Marie Emebe to win in the thirteenth round. Next came a 1987 rematch with Stewart. This time Lady Luck was in the Stewart corner. Marvin gave up his crown in the eighth round. It was Johnson's last fight.

Marvin Johnson had nothing left to prove. He was the first to win the 175 pound title three times. He retired with a 43 - 6 ledger. He won 35 fights by KO. He lost five by the knockout route. Three men he fought, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Victor Galindez and Michael Spinks are inducted in International Boxing Hall Of Fame. Yes Marvin Johnson was a thrilling fighter and a worthy champion.

Jim Amato

























































































































































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Last updated: 07/15/18.