Category Archives: History

The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 2 of 2)

I am delighted to bring you a feature article that was published on dmboxing.com in August 2012, and is one of my favorites.  It is about a historic venue that I remember growing up as a kid; I attended many boxing and wrestling matches there.  My friend Bob Quackenbush captures it all in his excellent piece.  This is part two, as part one was just posted last week for your viewing.

By Bob Quackenbush / dmboxing.com

olympic auditorium 1970s The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 2 of 2)

Though boxing was the sport that put the Olympic Auditorium on the map, legions of young fans in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s remember this place as the hallowed ground of Championship Wrestling.  Throughout the 1930’s, matches were held there regularly; but with the growth of television, later wrestlers such as Gorgeous George, Lou Thesz, Count Billy Varga, Freddie Blassie, the Destroyer, Mr. Moto, Mil Mascaras, Bobo Brazil, John “the Golden Greek” Tolos, Harold Sakata (who played the role of Odd Job in the movie “Goldfinger”), and Rocky Johnson (father of Duane “the Rock” Johnson) became household names.  Presided over by an actor-turned newscaster-turned sports announcer, the great Dick “Whoa Nellie” Lane, they were incredible shows in the pre-WWF days.

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The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 1 of 2)

757px Olympic 19304 300x237 The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 1 of 2)

 

I am delighted to bring you a feature article that was posted/published on dmboxing.com in August 2012, and is one of my favorites.  It is about a historic venue that I remember growing up as a kid; I attended many boxing and wrestling matches there.  My friend Bob Quackenbush captures it all in his excellent piece. This is part one, with part two to come next week for your viewing.

By Bob Quackenbush /  dmboxing.com

In the world of championship boxing, the arenas which host the bouts quite often become nearly as famous as the warriors which graced their canvas stages.  Those which come to mind are legendary venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York City, Cobo Arena in Detroit, the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, and more recently, the Las Vegas sites such as Caesar’s Palace, the MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay.

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Fifty Years Ago

CC0001 crop Fifty Years Ago

By David Martinez

If you were around then, as I was, you know that it was fifty years ago this month that Cassius Clay (now known as Muhammad Ali) shocked the world by stopping Sonny Liston to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

The stoppage came after six complete rounds; but when the bell sounded to begin the seventh round Liston remained on the stool, not able to continue. The fight officially went into the record books as a seventh round knockout win for the young, brash confident 21 year old champion, Cassius Clay.

Liston was a 7 to 1 favorite that night and all the experts, myself included, picked him to retain his title.  February 25, 1964 was truly a memorable day in boxing history, one that will be remembered forever!

What Next For Boxing?

By Tom Donelson / Member Boxing Writers Association

 

boxing0001 crop What Next For Boxing?
Boxing is one of those sports that seem forever on its death bed only to rise again and certainly 2012 was a good year and so far 2013 have seen some classic bouts with a whole new generation of fighters making their marks.  The question is can Boxing capitalize on its increase popularity?

 

Let begin with what has happen on the positive side.  The improvement of Showtime and the addition of NBC Sports network have added to the televised coverage.  Let’s begin with emergence of Showtime as the major player in the Sport today.  Showtime for years have adopted a strategy of concentrating on specific weight divisions and their SHOBOX series allowed the network to build up new stars.  Now with coordination with CBS, Showtime has a network television outlet to promote fights to go with the Showtime family.  Showtime has added a new twist they borrowed from their MMA competitors when they broadcast a big event. They have preliminary bouts on Showtime Extreme where many of their young fighters can be exposed to a wider population. ShoBox, the Next Generation has served as promoting stars of the future and Showtime Extreme allows some of those young fighters to be on undercard of bigger events. Fans have an entire evening of boxing to enjoy and Showtime is able to promote stars of the future while putting on great main events with the stars of today.

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“World Colored Heavyweight Championship”

thCA27MP152 World Colored Heavyweight ChampionshipBy David Martinez / Boxing Historian

 

Let me bring you a feature story that you will probably not read any where regarding, all together, the five best black heavyweights at the turn of the 20th century.

I got the idea when I over heard some mutual friends talking about the best black baseball players that never got the chance to play in the major leagues, and had to settle playing against each other in the old negro league.

I have rated many boxers in many categories throughout my over 50 years of boxing … on this website alone you will find that I have rated the best heavyweights, the best lightweights, the best Mexicans fighters, and now I will personally rate the best black heavyweights in a time period that but only one of them, Jack Johnson, had the opportunity to fight for the heavyweight championship.

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Boxing and Ohio

Aaron Pryor0002 Boxing and Ohio
                           By Jim Amato
                   Senior Boxing Writer
            The history of great boxers to come out of the fine state of Ohio is rich and glorious. Many came well before my time. Jimmy Bivins and Johnny Risko. Joey Maxim, Paul Pirrone and the great Ezzard Charles. Need I go on?
            In my time that stretches back some forty years, this state has produced a fine array of talent in several weight classes.

DM Boxing Classifieds

FOR SALE: My friend, Joey Olmos, the former Chief Inspector of the California State Athletic Commission, is selling boxing statues. The statues are of various boxers and highlighted by a statue of John L. Sullivan (4′ tall / 150 pounds). These are unique items from his collection for the avid collector.

statues crop1 DM Boxing Classifieds

If interested, and on behalf of Joey, I will gladly assist you through this website at email address dmmcgn9@verizon.net  Please reference the subject as “boxing statues” when contacting me.

Thank you,
David Martinez

Peter Jackson

images Peter Jackson

 

                               By David Martinez / Boxing Historian

I agree with most boxing historians before me, that had Peter Jackson been born white, he would have been heavyweight champion in the John L. Sullivan era. In the late 1800’s Jackson never received a world title bout because of Sullivan’s refusal to fight black fighters, so racial prejudice was the only thing that kept Jackson from his chance to win the heavyweight crown.

Jackson was a true pioneer and the first black heavyweight, before Jack Johnson, that set the stage for the top recognition of the black boxers, which was before the turn of the 20th century.

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The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 2 of 2)

by Bob Quackenbush / dmboxing.com

 olympic auditorium 1970s The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue  (Part 2 of 2)

Though boxing was the sport that put the Olympic Auditorium on the map, legions of young fans in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s remember this place as the hallowed ground of Championship Wrestling.  Throughout the 1930’s, matches were held there regularly; but with the growth of television, later wrestlers such as Gorgeous George, Lou Thesz, Count Billy Varga, Freddie Blassie, the Destroyer, Mr. Moto, Mil Mascaras, Bobo Brazil, John “the Golden Greek” Tolos, Harold Sakata (who played the role of Odd Job in the movie “Goldfinger”), and Rocky Johnson (father of Duane “the Rock” Johnson) became household names.  Presided over by an actor-turned newscaster-turned sports announcer, the great Dick “Whoa Nellie” Lane, they were incredible shows in the pre-WWF days.

Continue reading

The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 1 of 2)

by Bob Quackenbush / dmboxing.com

757px Olympic 19304 The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue   (Part 1 of 2)

In the world of championship boxing, the arenas which host the bouts quite often become nearly as famous as the warriors which graced their canvas stages.  Those which come to mind are legendary venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York City, Cobo Arena in Detroit, the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, and more recently, the Las Vegas sites such as Caesar’s Palace, the MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay.

For boxing fans in Southern California, though, one name stands out when it comes to the sweet science:  the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles.  The edifice was constructed in 1924 in preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games of 1932 (the location at 1801 South Grand Avenue led to its later name of the Grand Olympic Auditorium). At the opening ceremonies on August 25, 1925, celebrities such as screen legend Rudolph Valentino and boxing champion Jack Dempsey were in attendance.  Dempsey had also turned over a spade of soil at the official ground breaking ceremony prior to construction.

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