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  FIGHTS AT NASSAU COLISEUM RETURNS AFTER A LONG LAYOFF

                                  LAST EVENT IN MARCH 1986

   UNIONDALE NY 7/16/17   The fights returned to Long Island last night, and in front of a crowd of 7492, fans saw an two uprising stars put on a power display, and an anticipated heavyweight slugfest that turned out to be a one sided affair.

In the main event, welterweight Omar Figueroa made a statement that he belongs with the welterweight elite when he out-slugged former contender Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero in three rounds. The uppercut was an asset for Figueroa, as he hurt his opponent time and time again, dropping Guerrero 5 times until referee Ron Lipton called off the contest.  Figueroa improves to 27-0-1 (19) and is one of the few welterweights on the upswing. Despite his 17 month layoff, he looked sharp, although Guerrero had his moments getting through Figueroa's defense. As for Guerrero, who was stopped for the first time in his career, it may be time to consider retirement as the young bucks are turning the page in the division.

In a battle of Polish heavyweights, Adam Kownacki, Brooklyn, NY, destroyed former contender Artur Szpilka in four rounds. The patient Knownacki stalked Szpilka and took advantage of his opponents lack of defense. Time was 1:23.

In the battle of NY "Islanders" Staten Island's "Sir" Marcus Browne needed only two rounds to stop Long Island's Seanie Monaghan. Browne started fast, employing his right jab from the southpaw stance. A quick left lead on the forehead dropped Monaghan for an eight count in round one. From that point on the outcome was foreseeable and imminent, as Monaghan didn't have an answer to counter Browne's arsenal. Browne continued his onslaught in round two, where he trapped Monaghan on the ropes, forcing the issue and a TKO stoppage. Time was :40 of round two. Browne improves to 20-0, while Monaghan suffers his first loss and drops to 28-1.

The last fight at Nassau Coliseum took place on March 10. 1986, when Mike Tyson stopped Steve Zouski in the main event.

In jr middleweight action Freeport's Patrick Day ended the unbeaten streak of Texas' Eric Walker with a hard fought, spirited 10 round decision. Day improves to 14-2, while Walker drops  to 15-1. This was probably the best fight of the evening. The scores were 96-93 2X, 95-94.

Welterweight Jamal James improved to 21-1 when he defeated former contender Ionut Dan Ion over 10 action paced rounds. Both fighters had their moments but James was the taller, stronger fighter down the stretch.

In earlier action, veteran Fidel Monterrosa 38-13-1 scored a decision victory over local Long Island favorite Tommy "The Razor" Rainone  over 6 rounds.

History of Nassau Coliseum

Other notable fights at the Coliseum include the rematch of George Foreman-Joe Frazier. Foreman had taken the heavyweight title from Frazier years before but had lost it to Muhammad Ali. The rematch at the Coliseum involved no title at stake, but was match Frazier wanted to avenge his defeat. Foreman stopped Frazier again and sent the ex-champ into retirement.

Before that, an historic event at the Coliseum took place on Sept 30 1975, where the main event was the drop down close circuit screen of Ali-Frazier III. Before that the "co-feature" involved a non title match between the lightweight champ Roberto Duran and contender Edwin Viruet. Although Viruet displayed brilliant boxing skills, Duran had enough savvy to pull out a 10 round decision victory.

Other fighters to fight at the Nassau Coliseum were Gerry Cooney, Vito Antuofermo, Vilomar Fernandez, Buddy McGirt, Howard Davis Jr. among others.

JLM

Nicolino "El Intocable" Locche

He turned professional in 1958 and ten years and one day after his pro debut he became a world champion. Nevertheless, it was a long road for Argentine defensive wizard Nicolino Locche. By the time he met Paul Fuji in Tokyo, Japan for the World Boxing Association Light Welterweight title, Locche had amassed over one hundred fights. He halted the pained and frustrated Fuji in the tenth round to capture the crown.

From the beginning Locche fought almost all his battles in his native Argentina. His early career had its ups and downs but he won far more times then he lost or drew. In 1963, he burst on to the international scene with a decision win over former world lightweight champion Joe "Old Bones" Brown. In 1965, Nicolino met newly crowned lightweight titlist, the slick Ismael Laguna. The non title, overweight affair was judged a draw. Laguna then lost the title back to the great Carlos Ortiz and in 1966, Locche met Ortiz in a non title affair. Again, the crafty Nicolino had to settle for a draw.

Locche then set upon securing a world title shot for himself. In 1966, he won a non title ten round verdict over reigning world light welterweight champion Sandro Lopopolo. In 1967, he beat rugged L.C. Morgan and former champion Eddie Perkins. In 1968, he defeated Mexican Al Urbina. Then the shot came against Fuji who had defeated Lopopolo.

In 1969, Locche defended against former champion, the very dangerous Carlos Hernandez and the talented Joao Henrique. In 1970, he turned back the challenge of the able Adolph Pruitt. In 1971, he defeated Domingo Barrera Corpas and scored a masterful victory over Antonio "Kid Pambele" Cervantes. Finally, in 1972, Nicolino was enticed to go to Panama where he met Alfonso "Peppermint" Frazier. The underdog Frazier out hustled the aging Locche to annex the crown. Nicolino would then put together a four fight win streak, while Frazier lost the title to Cervantes. In 1973, Nicolino met Cervantes in Venezuela and was stopped in the beginning of the tenth round.
 

 


No longer a champion, the proud Locche reeled off seven straight victories in hopes of regaining his crown. Finally in 1976 it became apparent that a title shot was not going to materialize so Nicolino hung up the gloves for good. Locche ended up with an amazing 117-4-14 record. Although he was not a hard hitter as he scored only fourteen knockouts, Nicolino was a master boxer. He ranks right up there with the great Willie Pep as a defensive genius. He was not nicknamed "El Intocable," (The Untouchable) for nothing.

Nicolino was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 2003. He passed away in 2005, leaving behind a true legacy of his tremendous talents.

Jim Amato

 

 

MARCH 8,1971 ; 42 YEARS AGO THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH TOOK PLACE

 

There are certain dates that will stick with you as long as you live. Your birthday, the birthdays of family members, anniversaries, the day that you got your divorce ( s ), etc…Happy and important days that mark milestones in your life.

One such date I’ll always remember is March 8, 1971. The ” Battle Of The Century “, it was so aptly named. Two undefeated boxers who each had a legitimate claim to being the heavyweight champion of the world would collide. When Muhammad Ali first won the title in 1964 his name was Cassius Clay. He would shortly thereafter change his name and then proceed to change the face of boxing. He dominated the scene until 1967 when he refused induction into the US Military due to his religious beliefs. Then came the Eight Man Elimination Tourney that was won by Jimmy Ellis. The powerful New York State Athletic Commission would recognize the winner of a match up between unbeaten boxers Joe Frazier and Buster Mathis. A bout in which Joe won. In 1970 Frazier stopped Ellis to claim the vacated title. Later that year Muhammad Ali returned to ring wars and halted highly ranked contenders Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena. The stage was now set. Ali and Frazier would clash for the undisputed title.

The first Ali – Frazier bout was the epic that all others are compared to, even today. There is no reason in this article to describe the bout itself. Reams of print have appeared documenting the action that took place in the ring that magical night. What I would like to share is the impact that fight on me and probably millions of others. I have never before or since March 8, 1971 felt the same way about a prize fight. Yes there were a few that stirred my anticipation like Duran-DeJesus II and III, Leonard-Duran I, Leonard-Hearns I, Pryor-Arguello I, Hagler-Hearns and Leonard-Hagler. Still to this day Ali – Frazier I tops them all.

Was Ali – Frazier I the best action fight of all time ? I would have to say no but for sheer anticipation, drama and excitement, this fight was the whole package. You had movie star Burt Lancaster as a commentator and Frank Sinatra as a photographer. Each boxer would receive $ 2.5 million for their nights work. That was an unheard sum of money for one fight in 1971.

I have never been so wound up with anticipation for a boxing match in my life. I was a few months shy of my seventeenth birthday and had been a boxing fan from the time I was ten. I had closely followed all the events leading up this day in boxing history.

On fight night I was at a party and we gathered around the radio listening to the round by round summary. We were pretty much split on the outcome of the fight but almost all of us were rooting for ” Smokin’ Joe “. From the round by round reports we could sense that this was a bout with shifting momentums. The ever proud Ali realized that Joe had come to fight this evening. Maybe Ali took Frazier too lightly. Maybe Muhammad rushed too soon to get back in the ring after his lengthy layoff. Maybe, just maybe the Joe Frazier of March 8, 1971 was one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. I’ve never seen a boxer who laid it all out for one fight like Joe did that night. You’ve heard it said that a boxer would rather die then be defeated. On this night Joe would have died a hundred deaths before giving in to Ali.

Round after round went by and as we listened to the radio. In the eleventh Frazier rocked Ali and we as a collective group cheered. Even the ones who had bet on Ali to win. As the bout moved into the ” championship ” rounds, we were all on the edge of our seats. Then it happened. It was announced on the radio the Joe had decked Ali in the fifteenth round. More cheering and now the wait. Finally it was time to render the decision. The winner and still heavyweight champion of the world…Joe Frazier!

Oh what a night. Forty two years later I can remember it like it was yesterday. Joe Frazier has passed on and Ali, my friends and myself are in the twilight of our lives. Still when I think of that night it takes me back to my youth and to the ultimate excitement that probably the greatest single sporting event of all time brought me. Thanks Joe and Muhammad.

 

Jim Amato

 

 

 

 

 SHORT ON HEAVYWEIGHT JOSE LUIS GARCIA ; HE KNOCKED OUT KEN NORTON !


There may have never been a more talent rich period in the heavyweight division then from 1968 to 1978. With Muhammad Ali (a.k.a. Cassius Clay) on the sidelines due to his draft case, other big men emerged. They would compete with each other on an almost equal basis for the next decade. Joe Frazier had risen to the top of the heap but the level below him would remain as mainstays in the ratings for years to come. Jimmy Ellis, Jerry Quarry, Oscar Bonevena, Floyd Patterson, George Chuvalo and Henry Cooper would eventually give way to Ron Lyle, Joe Bugner, Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers and Jimmy Young. All time great champions like George Foreman and Larry Holmes also made their mark and Ali re-emerged to reclaim his throne.

Lost among the giants of that time period was a fine heavyweight from Venezuela named Jose Luis Garcia. Although Jose never challenged for the world championship he did meet three who did. He also met three world champions in a career that never seemed to reach its full potential.

Jose turned pro in his native country in 1968. He would go undefeated in his first nine bouts before losing a decision to future light-heavyweight champion Vincente Rondon. Three fights later Jose was halted by tough Allen Thomas in his first U.S. appearance. The lean Garcia was beginning to grow into a full-fledged heavyweight. On July 2, 1970 Garcia scored the biggest victory of his career. In Los Angeles as a heavy underdog, Jose met unbeaten and upcoming future champion Ken Norton. Garcia’s superior hand speed and deceptive power sent Norton crashing in round eight.

The huge upset of Norton landed Garcia smack in the middle of the heavyweight picture. Four months later Garcia halted used up ex-contender Thad Spencer. By now Garcia was gaining substantial weight. He was, by today’s standards, a cruiserweight when he beat Norton. Now he was ballooning to over 200 plus pounds. In 1971 he moved up in the ratings with wins over veterans Charlie Polite, James J. Woody, John Griffin and Alberto Lovell. Jose opened 1973 with victories over Roby Harris, Florida Al Jones and Johnny Hudgins.

It all came crashing down on October 23rd, 1972 when ex-WBA champion Ernie Terrell came to Caracas. Ernie had been written off after late 60’s losses to Thad Spencer and Manuel Ramos. Against Garcia though he looked the part of a rejuvenated former champ as he pounded Garcia into submission in the sixth round. In Jose’s comeback bout seven months later Joe Alexander destroyed him in one round. Next came a crushing kayo loss to Ron Lyle. Jose put together four wins but then lost a decision to Jimmy Young. In his next bout Joe Bugner stopped him in two. Finally on August 14, 1975, Jose got a rematch with Ken Norton. At this time Norton was the top heavyweight contender. They met in St. Paul; MN and this time Kenny took all Garcia could throw at him and eventually wore Jose down and stopped him in the fifth round of a tough fight. Even in defeat Garcia proved he was still world class.

Jim Amato

 

THE "LITTLE GUYS"

The only year that I was able to attend the International Boxing Hall Of Fame ceremonies was in June of 1998. That year one of my favorites was inducted. His name is Miguel Canto. He fought in an era that produced so many wonderful boxers from 140 pounds on down. How many of these "little guys" are truly remembered today ? At super lightweight you had the legendary Antonio Cervantes. There was also a youthful boxer who stopped in at 140 for a short time. Just long enough to outbox the great Cervantes and take his title. That of course would be Wilfred Benitez. There were other fine fighters at 140 lbs. Guys like Billy Costello, Saoul Mamby, Leroy Haley, Bruce Curry and the one and only Aaron Pryor.

Roberto Duran dominated the lightweight world for eight long years. Only Esteban DeJesus was able to really hang with Roberto. Nevertheless DeJesus was a great fighter in his own right. In the 130 pound weight class only one name sticks out,ARGUELLO. Alexis literally wiped out that division. After Arguello moved up in weight. Four of his past opponents would garner a piece of the title. Boza Edwards, Rolando Navarette, Rafael Limon and Bobby Chacon all stepped up after Alexis moved on. Too bad Alexis didn't move up to lightweight a little sooner. We as fans may have had a chance to see Duran -Arguello !

The featherweight division was rich with talent. Vincente Saldivar helped bridge the gap between the 60's and 70's. Danny "Little Red" Lopez was a thrill a minute champion and Eusebio Pedroza laid claim to the crown. The real star though was Salvador Sanchez. It is amazing to see how much he accomplished before his tragic death at the age of 22. The bastard 122 pound weight division showcased the great talents of Wilfredo Gomez. The bantamweight division gave us Japan's favorite son Fighting Harada along with the outstanding Eder Jofre. Then there was the murderous punching Ruben Olivares along with his great adversary Chucho Castillo. Then there was Rafael Herrera and Rodolfo Martinez. Later came the "Z Bombers" Carlos Zarate and Alfonso Zamora. Add in Jeff Chandler and Lupe Pintor and you can see it was the most loaded division of this era.

Last but far from least were the true little guys of the game. The flyweights...Starting with three time titleholder Pone Kingpetch, the title changed hands rather often. Chartchai Chionoi was another dominant flyweight title holder. In another tragedy, Masao Ohba had a very bright future before his untimely death. Miguel Canto was one of the best boxers I've ever seen but the competition was fierce and boxers like Betulio Gonzalez made their mark during this time period too.

Jim Amato
 


  

 

 

 

 

FORMER LIGHTWEIGHT CONTENDER JOHNNY LIRA PASSES AWAY AT 61


The city of Chicago has produced its share of outstanding professional fighters. One of them was a tough as nails lightweight who campaigned in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s. His name was Johnny Lira and he fought his way into the top echelon of the lightweight rankings. Johnny passed away Saturday at the age of 61.

Lira turned pro in 1976 and quickly gained notice by winning his first twelve fights. In 1977 he drew with Manuel Lopez but defeated Lopez in a return bout. Johnny hit the big time in 1978 when he received a shot at the United States Boxing Association lightweight title. His opponent was the highly ranked southpaw bomber Andy Ganigan. Johnny was a decided underdog going in but he shocked the boxing establishment by stopping Ganigan in round six. Lira then went to New York’s Madison Square Garden to outscore the talented Larry Stanton. Lira was now high i n the ratings and in 1979 he received a shot at the World Boxing Association’s version of the lightweight title. Their champion was a hard-hitting bomber from Venezuela named Ernesto Espana. It was a gruelling fight but Espana emerged victorious stopping Johnny in nine rounds. Lira would suffer a broken jaw for his gallant effort.

In 1980 Johnny traveled to Spain and dropped an eight round decision to Andoni Amana. He would later lose a ten round duke to the flashy Howard Davis Jr. In 1981 Lira would post a ten round win over Ohio’s rugged Bobby Plegge. Johnny was then outdueled over ten rounds by Nicky Furlano and the was stopped in nine rounds by Willie Rodriguez for the USBA super lightweight title.Lira regrouped in 1982 scoring a points verdict over Canadian Al Ford. Johnny then lost a tough call to former world champion Alfredo Escalera. Lira would come back to win four fights but in 1984 he lost a ten rounder to Russell Mitchell. That was his last fight.

Lira hung them up with a fine record of 29-7-1. He scored fifteen knockouts. Johnny himself was stopped on two occasions. May he rest in peace.

Jim Amato
 


 

 

 

WHO'S YOUR DADDY Part II : Monzon- Benvenuti

By Jim Amato:

Nino Benvenuti may be considered among the best amateur boxers of all time. He had a great professional career too. His first loss was on a highly disputed decision to Ki Soo Kim. He would win two out of three in a legendary middleweight trilogy with the highly respected Emile Griffith. Eventually though his star would diminish..

There was a non title draw in 1968 against Akron, Ohio's rugged Doyle Baird. It was a fight many thought Doyle won. Then came a loss to the terrific Dick Tiger. Then a life and death DQ win over Fraser Scott. Nino was then cut and on the verge of losing before he landed a left hook on slick Luis Rodriguez to retain his title. In Nino's next bout he was halted by Tom " The Bomb " Bethea. Benvenuti had obviously under rated Bethea the first time around as he whipped Tom good in a rematch. Still you could see Nino was not the fighter of days gone by.

In November of 1970 enter Argentina's Carlos Monzon. A disputed draw against the feared Bennie Briscoe earned Carlos a rating. Still Carlos was not considered a serious challenge to Nino's crown. WRONG !!! Maybe Nino was on the downside of his fabulous career. Maybe a prime Benvenuti would have fared better against Monzon In my opinion Nino is lucky he met Monzon when he did. Any sooner would have resulted in the end of Nino' s title reign. Make no mistake about it folks, Carlos' style owned Nino.

Benvenuti                  Monzon

Benvenuti could not intimidate Monzon. Carlos could have cared less about Nino's complaints to the referee. To Monzon it was a street fight with a few rules. He mugged Nino. Along the eighth, ninth and tenth rounds Nino realized his dilemma. He could not hurt Carlos and he could not deter his aggressiveness. He knew he was doomed. Give Nino his due. He was a proud champion and he would go out on his shield. That is just what he did in round twelve as a Monzon right left him in a heap. Nino's title was gone.

Again a case can be made that Nino was past his prime. In his next fight he lost a decision to Monzon's countryman Jose Chirino. Still Monzon-Benvenuti II took place. This was child's play for Carlos as he dominated Nino until the fight was stopped in the third round. There is no doubt in my mind that Nino would have lost to Carlos anytime they fought.

 

 

Cecil Shorts

By Jim Amato

CLEVELAND’S CECIL SHORTS:

I learn more about the history of boxing in the great city of Cleveland everyday. Talking to knowledgeable people in the area like Jerry Fitch, Gene Glen, Tom Huff, Jim Borgen and Sal Marino, well…I just learn something new all the time.

Cecil Shorts was a wonderful welterweight who fought out of Cleveland in the 1950′s and 60′s. Born in 1938, Cecil turned pro in 1956 and won his first ten bouts. Among those wins were decisions over Larry Boardman and soon to be Hall Of Famer Eddie Perkins. Cecil lost his first bout in 1958 dropping a decision to Rudy Sawyer. He was then stopped in two rounds by Perkins in a rematch. Cecil bounced back to win three straight including a split decision victory over Benny ” Kid ” Paret. He was then halted by another Hall Of Famer, the crafty Luis Rodriguez.

Cecil had an up a nd down career against some of the best welterweights in the world. In 1960 he lost to Phil Moyer but defeated tough Vince Martinez. In 1961 Cecil suffered a KO loss to Gomeo Brennan and a decision defeat to Mick Leahy. He came back to beat the capable Isaac Logart but was then taken out in eight by Virgil Akins. Shorts lost a decision to rugged Jorge Fernandez but then got a points verdict over Billy Collins.

Shorts did not fight in 1962 and when he returned in 1963 he was stopped by Chuck McCreary. Next came a ninth round disqualification loss to Akron’s Fate Davis. A 1964 return match with Davis saw Cecil on the short end of the decision. Cecil had one more fight winning a six rounder over Doug McLeod and then retired.

In all Cecil had 33 fights posting 21 wins and a draw. He lost eleven fights. He registered nine knockouts while he was stopped six times. He met four men who held world titles. Eddie Perkins, Benny Paret, Luis Rodriguez and Virgil Akins as wel l as several contenders. The city of Cleveland should be proud of the accomplishments of Cecil Shorts.

 

Jim Amato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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