CLASSICAL NOTEBOOK OF BOXING HISTORY
IT SHOULD BE.
THE RING VAULT
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QUARRY I ; EPIC FIGHT TOOK PLACE 46 YEARS AGO !
On June 23, 1969 at New York’s Madison Square Garden,
Joe Frazier met the popular Irish fighter Jerry
Quarry. At stake would be the New York State recognized
heavyweight title. Back in the day the New York State
Boxing Commission wielded quite a bit of power.
Commissioner Edwin Dooley wasted little time stripping
Muhammad Ali of his heavyweight title when Ali refused
induction into the Armed Forces. The World Boxing
Association did the same and they set up a tournament to
determine a new champion. Eight top contenders were
selected with unbeaten Joe Frazier being one of them.
However Frazier’s management declined the invitation.
The eventual winner of the tourney was Jimmy Ellis who
defeated Jerry Quarry in the finals.
The N.Y.S.A.C. offered Frazier a chance to fight Buster
Mathis, who like Frazier was undefeated. Mathis had
defeated Frazier twice in the amateur ranks. The winner
would be the champion in New York and a few other
states. Well Frazier met Big Buster and took him out in
the eleventh to gain revenge and also win a piece of the
Although the talented Jimmy Ellis held the more
recognized WBA title, Frazier was considered by most as
the best active heavyweight. They would eventually meet
to settle their differences.
The bout with Quarry would be considered as a measuring
stick between Frazier and Ellis. Frazier had labored
through two decision wins over rugged Oscar Bonavena. In
their first ten rounder, Bonavena had Frazier down twice
but Frazier rallied to get the verdict.
Their second bout saw Frazier and Bonavena slug it out
for fifteen tough rounds with Frazier again getting the
decision. In between the two Frazier-Bonavena battles
Bonavena met Jimmy Ellis. In one of his best career
performances, Ellis he floored the granite jawed
Bonavena twice to win a convincing decision. Based on
those bouts Ellis seemed to have an edge on Frazier. In
the Quarry bout Frazier needed to make a statement.
To no surprise there
were a lot of people who thought Quarry had a real
chance of winning.
Jerry Quarry was surely no pushover. He was ranked as
one of the five best heavyweights in the world. He did a
number on Mathis just three months before meeting
Frazier winning a lopsided twelve rounder.
The bout itself was non stop action. A
real heavyweight slugfest. To his credit Quarry always
came to fight and you never had to look for Joe Frazier.
Early in the first round it was toe to toe action.
Knowing that both boxers could bang the fans were really
enjoying this. Each fighter was rocked a bit but were
still standing at the end of a terrific round.
The next two rounds were more of the same as they
slugged it out on the inside. By round four it was
becoming apparent that Quarry was fighting Frazier’s
fight. Frazier began breaking down Quarry who gamely
fought back. As the bout wore on Quarry was cut and he
was getting staggered by Frazier’s famous left hook.
It ended in round seven. Quarry had a severe cut and at
this point Frazier had taken command. It was a grueling
fight though and even in losing Quarry won a ton of
respect from his courageous performance.
Jerry Quarry is no longer with us and he was later
joined by his brother Mike Quarry who was a fine boxer
in his own right. This was one of my favorite
heavyweight battles. It is hard for me to believe it
took place forty six years ago.
CAREER SHORT OF CLEVELAND's RALPH
Middleweight Ralph Moncrief lost 18 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
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,
IS ALEXIS ARGELLO THE BEST 130
POUND CHAMPION EVER ?
On November 18, 1921 Johnny Dundee won on a
fifth round disqualification over George “KO” Chaney to
become the first recognized champion of the junior
lightweight division.He would lose and then regain the
title in a pair of 1923 fifteen rounders against Jack
Bernstein. Dundee would lose the title for good in 1924
via a ten round points loss to Steve “Kid” Sullivan. In
1925 Sullivan would lose the title to Mike Ballerino.
Later that year Ballerino would be stopped by Tod
Morgan would reign for four years before he was halted
in two rounds by Benny Bass. In the summer of 1931 Bass
would lose the title to the talented Kid Chocolate.
In 1933 Frankie Klick stopped the ” Kid “. It
would be sixteen years before the title would resurface
again. On December 6, 1949 in the grand city of
Cleveland, Ohio the great Sandy Saddler outscored the
slick Orlando Zulueta for the “vacant” title. Sandy had
little interest in that crown.
It would be nearly a decade before another fight for the
“vacant” title would take place. On July 20, 1959 Harold
Gomes outscored Paul Jorgensen and the 130 pound
division has been with us ever since. Gomes would lose
the title in 1960 to a wonderful fighting machine from
the Philippines named Flash Elorde. Flash would go on to
establish himself as one of the best little fighters of
that time period. Elorde would finally lose the title in
1967 to Japan’s Yoshiaki Numata. Later that year Numata
would surrender the title to fellow countryman Hiroshi
A little over a year later the fledging World Boxing
Council decided that they would recognize the winner of
a bout between Rene Barrientos and the dangerous Ruben
Navarro which was won by Barrientos. In 1970 Numata
would “regain” the crown with a points win over
Barrientos. Over a year later Kobayashi would lose the
“real” title to rugged Alfredo Marcano. A few months
later Numata would be dethroned by Ricardo Arrendondo.
To try to keep up the the exchanging of belts between
the WBA, WBC and later IBF would be a waste of space.
The division was graced by some fine fighters. There was
the power punching Ben Villaflor, the slick stylist
Sammy Serrano and the great Alfredo Escalera.On January
28, 1978 the game Escalera would relinquish his title to
possibly the greatest 130 pounder of all time. The
“Explosive Thin Man” himself, Alexis Arguello.
Why is Arguello a good choice as the best 130 pounder
ever ? Rafael “Bazooka” Limon, Boza Edwards, Rolando
Navarette and Bobby Chacon were all defeated by Alexis
while he held the crown. All four would gain title
recognition after Alexis moved up go after the
lightweight title.That is how dominant Alexis was at
The 1980′s produced some fine titleholders such as Roger
Mayweather, Hector Camacho, Julio Cesar Chavez, Rocky
Lockridge, Azumah Nelson, Brian Mitchell and the popular
Tony ” Tiger ” Lopez.
The 1990′s gave us Genero Hernandez, Gabe Ruelas, Jesse
James Leija, Arturo Gatti, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and
Diego Corrales. The new millinium has produced Acelino
Frietas and Joel Casamayor for starters. Still no one
with the possible exception of Flash Elorde dominated
the weight class like Alexis Arguello, the greatest
junior lightweight of all time!
JOSE LEGRA...SHOULD HE BE IN THE
HALL OF FAME ?
He was a two time world champion and a perrenial
contender for the featherweight title for more then a
decade. In a fifteen year career he amassed 150 fights.
He won 134 of them. At one point in his career he reeled
off over 50 straight wins. Are these the credentials for
a future Hall Of fame inductee ?
Born in Cuba in 1943, Legra turned pro in 1960.
Although active, most of his early fights took place in
Cuba and Mexico. He made his first appearance in Spain
in 1963. It is there that he decided to live and ply his
trade. He was tall, lean and very fast. He would
befuddle his opponents with his grace and boxing skills.
He would emerge as a serious threat for world honors.
In 1965 Legra took a big step up meeting future
champion Howard Winstone of Wales. The vastly talented
Winstone defeated young Jose over ten rounds. Legra
would not lose again until 1969. Some 50+ bouts later.
On his march to a title fight Legra would defeat the
likes of Love Allotey, Rafiu King, Don Johnson, Yves
Desmarets (for the EBU title) and Joe Tetteh.
This led to a 1968 title shot against the
newly crowned WBC featherweight titleholder, Howard
Winstone. The rugged Winstone had failed no less then
three times to dethrone the great Vincente Saldivar. All
three were great battles. Finally when Saldivar retired
Winstone was matched with Japan’s worthy Mitsunori Seki
for the WBC version of the vacated crown. Winstone
finally cashed in halting the game Seki in round nine.
Now it was Legra’s turn. It was sweet revenge for Jose
as he dropped Winstone twice in the first round and
damaged Howard’s eye badly enough to force a stoppage in
Legra’s first tenure as champion would not last long.
In 1969 after two non title victories he was outscored
by Australia’s under rated Johnny Famechon. Six months
later Jose would drop a ten round duke to the returning
Vincente Saldivar. This set up Saldivar recapturing the
crown by outpointing Famechon in a great fight. Saldivar
would then be stopped by Japan’s Kuniaki Shibata in a
major upset. In another upset Shibata would be flattened
by Mexico’s Clemente Sanchez.
Meanwhile Legra won the EBU title by defeating Jimmy
Revie. Then in a shocker he was taken out in four by
Tahar Ben Hassen. Jose would rebound with EBU defenses
against Giovanni Girgenti, Evan Armsrtong and gallant
Tommy Glencross. Legra then suffered a 1972 upset
decison loss to Jonathan Dele. He added one more EBU
defense against Daniel Vermandere and was set to face
then WBC champion Clemente Sanchez.
The champion Sanchez lost his title on the
scales but since Legra made weight he made the most of
his opportunity and won the crown a second time via a
tenth round stoppage.
In 1973 Legra lost his championship to the legendary
Eder Jofre. Later that year he was stopped in one by
future legend Alexis Arguello. Legra finished his career
with a 1975 verdict over Daniel Valdez. His record of
134-12-4 speaks for itself. He met some of the greatest
featherweights of his era. Saldivar, Jofre, Famechon,
Winstone and Arguello. He was a major player at 126
pounds for what seemed like forever.
YES…Considering some of the inductees that are
enshrined in the IBHOF…I would vote for Legra in a
JIMMY ELLIS...REST IN PEACE
It’s too bad that the cruiserweight division was not
around in the 60′s and 70′s. Many fine boxers scaled
less than 190 pounds and gave creditable performances
against bigger men. Doug Jones is an example as he came
close to upsetting Cassius Clay in 1963. Doug had lost
in 1962 to Harold Johnson for the light heavyweight
title. In 1965 he lost to Ernie Terrell for WBA
Heavyweight crown. Back then there was no middle ground.
If you weighed over 175 pounds you fought heavyweights,
Bob Foster, who was one of the greatest light
heavyweights of all time had trouble moving up to
heavyweight. Jones, Terrell, and Zora Foley soundly beat
him in heavyweight bouts. After winning the light
heavyweight crown in 1968 he failed in attempts to beat
Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. How would he have fared at
I’m sure if you took all the top boxers who weighed
between 175 pounds and 190 pounds since 1960 most
experts would rate Holyfield number one. How would a
190-pound Holyfield have coped with Floyd Patterson’s
hand speed? How about Bob Foster’s reach and devastating
punch? Could he have beaten Jimmy Elllis? Before you
laugh take a look at Jimmy’s record. He started as a
middleweight in 1961 and through 1964 he lost five bouts
to Holly Mims, Henry Hank, Rubin Carter, Don Fuller and
George Benton. All top middleweight contenders. By the
time he blasted out Johnny Persol in one round in 1967
he had grown into a heavyweight. He swept the WBA
elimination tournament by beating Leotis Martin, Oscar
Bonevena and Jerry Quarry. Jimmy twice had the iron
jawed Bonevena on the canvas. Something Joe Frazier
could not do in 25 rounds of fighting. Against Frazier,
Ellis weighed in over 200 pounds. He looked flabby and
after a few rounds became sluggish.
The following year Jimmy met his long time friend
Muhammad Ali. Jimmy was in great shape at 189 pounds.
His muscles were tight and he looked fit. Unfortunately
Ali was too big. He wore Jimmy down and stopped him in
round twelve. I believe the Jimmy Ellis of the Ali fight
could have given any 190 pounder since 1960 a run for
their money including Evander Holyfield.
Ellis was a slick boxer with sharp reflexes. He had a
good left hand and a sneaky right. He also had loads of
courage. How many fighters could have gotten to their
feet before the count of ten after catching Joe
Frazier’s full swing left hook flush on the jaw? Jimmy
is one of the most overlooked heavyweight champions of
the last four decades. This may be due in part because
he boxed in the Ali-Frazier era. I’ve often wondered
what the outcome may have been had Bob Foster challenged
Ellis for the WBA title. Now that might be a dream match
to run through a computer.
AT STEINER SPORTS STORE AT ROOSEVELT FIELD MALL ON
LONG ISLAND BRING CLASSIC SWEET SCIENCE HISTORY TO
LIFE ON SATURDAY, APRIL 5
Evander Holyfield vs. Mike
Tyson II (June 28, 1997) and Sugar Ray Leonard vs.
Roberto Duran II (November 25, 1980) produced two of the
most bizarre finishes in the history of boxing. The
headlines blared “Tyson bites Holyfield,” and “No Mas.”
Now, Steiner Sports gives fans of the sweet science the
chance to meet these boxing legends, along with Thomas
“Hitman” Hearns, at a ticketed (starting at $49) meet
and greet on Saturday, April 5, at the Steiner Store at
Roosevelt Field in Garden City, Long Island. The full
details and schedule are below.
Fighter appearance schedule at Steiner
11:30 am-1:00 pm: Duran
Noon-1:30 pm: Holyfield and Tyson
1:30-3:00 pm: Leonard and Hearns
Tyson, Holyfield, Leonard, Duran,
Hearns To Appear…
New York, March 27—Boxing legends “Iron” Mike Tyson,
Evander Holyfield, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran
and Thomas “Hitman” Hearns – all who engaged in epic
battles and storied rematches – will be back in main
event status at the Steiner Sports Store at Roosevelt
Field Mall (630 Old Country Road) in Garden City, Long
Island sharing classic sweet science memories on
Saturday afternoon, April 5.
The “Classic Quintet” will all be available to sign
autographs, pose for photographs, and to meet & greet
fans at the designated times below. Tickets, starting at
$49, as well as VIP packages and memorabilia are all
available. For tickets and more information call the
Steiner Store at 516-739-0580 or 800-242-7139.
Holyfield and Tyson will renew their class, late
nineties heavyweight rivalry from 12:00 noon to 1:30 PM,
and will be available for photo opportunities and to
sign gloves, trunks and other collectibles. The duo
engaged in a pair of epics at the MGM Grand in Las
Vegas. In the first on November 9, 1996 Holyfield
outmuscled Tyson to score one of the most monumental
upsets in boxing history. Holyfield became the first
heavyweight since Muhammad Ali to regain the heavyweight
title twice. The rematch was one of boxing’s most
bizarre encounters on June 28, 1997, and saw Tyson bite
off a piece of Holyfield’s ear to be disqualified by
referee Mills Lane.
Like Holyfield and Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard (11:30 AM
to 1:00 PM) and Roberto Duran (1:30-3:00 PM) battled in
one of the most famous championship fights in boxing
history. After Duran took the title from Leonard in a
unanimous decision on June 20, 1980 in Montreal, a
rematch was inevitable. Just five months later, on
November 25 in New Orleans, Duran said “No Mas” and
Leonard regained the belt. It gained its famous moniker
at the end of the eighth round when Durán turned away
from Leonard, towards the referee and quit by saying "No
más." To this day, Duran says that stomach cramps.
Leonard was the winner by a technical knockout at 2:44
of Round 8, regaining the WBC Welterweight Championship.
Nine years later, Leonard again beat Duran in their
third match up by unanimous decision on December 12,
1989, in a fight that didn’t have nearly the hoopla of
the first two.
Leonard and Thomas “Hitman” Hearns (1:30-3:00 PM)
likewise had classic encounters. They fought twice, once
in 1981 and again in 1989, both are considered to be
epics, both at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. In their
first encounter on September 16, 1981, for the
undisputed Welterweight championship, Leonard beat
Hearns by TKO at 1:45 in the 14th round when the referee
stopped the fight.
After almost eight years, the Leonard-Hearns rematch
finally happened. It was promoted as "The War". Leonard
(35-1 with 25 KOs) and Hearns (46-3 with 38 KOs) met on
June 12, 1989 at Caesar's Palace in a scheduled
twelve-rounder for the WBC & WBO super-middleweight
titles. Though Hearns had Leonard on the canvas twice,
the judges scored the fight a draw, with both boxers
retaining their respective titles. The decision was
soundly booed, as most felt that Hearns had won.
Hearns and Duran fought only once for the WBO Super
Welterweight championship. That was a dominating
performance by the Hitman, who dropped Duran twice in
the first round. After nailing Duran with a devastating
right to the jaw in the second round, Hearns stepped
back and Duran fell face first to the canvas. The fight
CARMEN BASILIO DEAD; JOURNEY OF THE "ONION FARMER"
Recent Years: Basilio (l) clowns with Gerry Cooney at
Carmen Basilio, a
legendary old school fighter from the 1950's, has passed
away Nov 7th. Basilio is best remembered for his two
epic battles with Sugar Ray Robinson, the first which he
annexed the middleweight crown in 1957.
But the Basilio
story was much more than the Robinson bouts that
climaxed a wonderful career, a career that spanned
thirteen years. Fighters that swapped leather with
Basilio included Art Aragon, Ike Williams, Don
"Geronimo" Jordan, Chuck Davey, Johnny Saxton, Gene
Fullmer, Carmen Fiore, Billy Graham, and Pierre Langlios.
Basilio took the welterweight title from Tony DeMarco
via 12th rd stoppage in June 1955. He then took on
DeMarco again later that year and successfully defended
the crown with another TKO in the 12th round.
Nicknamed "the Onion Farmer" from
his New York upstate roots, Basilio did not rise to
prominence until the early 1950's.
BASILIO BOXING RECORD
LENNY "BOOM BOOM" MANCINI
AUTHOR’S NOTE ; With Ray “Boom Boom”
Mancini’s new book “The Good Son” out. I thought I would
re-release this article on his father,the original “Boom
Boom” Lenny Mancini.
Although he will be best remembered as the father of
Ray Mancini, Lenny was a pretty darn good fighter in
his own right.
Lenny was born in Youngstown, Ohio on July 12, 1919.
The city of Youngstown and the surrounding areas
produced such outstanding fistic talent in the
1940′s with the likes of Tony Janiro, Tommy Bell and
Sonny Horne. Lenny was among the talented Y’town
Standing at 5′ 2″, Lenny who turned pro in the late
30′s slugged his way to a world ranking during the
glorious 40′s.He was an extremely popular attraction
in New York as he climbed the ratings ladder. In
December of 1939 he lost an eight rounder to tough
bounced back in 1940 fighting a six round draw with
future welterweight king Marty Servo.He kayoed
Frankie Terranova and outscored Joey Fontana. He
then drew with Jimmy Vaughn and again outpointed
Fontana. Lenny then took a tough decision over Carl
“Red” Guggino and closed out the year splitting a
pair of eight round verdicts with Irving Eldridge.
In 1941 he lost on points to the highly respected
Leo Rodak. He came back to defeat Billy Marquart
over ten in New York and then again in a Cleveland
On May 19,1941 Lenny met National Boxing Association
lightweight champion Sammy Angott in a non-title
fight at Cleveland’s Public Hall. After ten grueling
rounds Angott was awarded an unpopular split
decision. Lenny would never receive a shot at the
crown. In his next fight he drew with Terry Young.
In August he lost on points to Pete Lello.Still
Lenny and Canadian Dave Castilloux were considered
the top two lightweight contenders.On November 11
Lenny went to Montreal and won a convincing decision
Lenny served his country during the war and when he
got out he was close to being a heavyweight ! He
still had the burning desire to be a champion so he
returned to training and came back as a
welterweight. He continued to be a good drawing car
d in New York but his career never really got back
on track. In 1946 he lost to Phil Palmer and later
to Harry Hurst on two occasions. He dropped another
to Johnny Williams.
In 1947 Lenny gave it one last try at middleweight
losing to the gifted Rocky Castellani at Madison
Square Garden and then in a rematch in Scranton.
Lenny had around 70 professional fights among fast
company and was NEVER knocked out ! One can only
wonder if he had not been called off to war, would
he have won the crown ? How proud he must have been
when his son Ray captured the W.B.A. version of the
title in May of 1982.
The career of Ray Mancini has been extensively
covered in the past. No sense in re-hashing it here.
All that can be said is that he did his father
proud, inside and outside of the ring.
had the pleasure of meeting Lenny Mancini at a fight
show in Youngstown back in 1994. He was very easy to
approach and was nice enough to sign a photo I had
of him in his fighting stance. I only wish now I
would have had more time to have talked to him.
OLD TIME BOXING