Category Archives: Jim Amato

The Greatest Show on Earth – March 8, 1971

pic 1 233x300 The Greatest Show on Earth   March 8, 1971 By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

          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 pic 2 230x300 The Greatest Show on Earth   March 8, 1971claim 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 pic 3 242x300 The Greatest Show on Earth   March 8, 1971
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 on me, and probably millions of others.

Greg Richardson – The Pride of Youngstown

 By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

He was grace and artistry in the ring. He was one of the best pure boxers of his era. He won one world title and failed twice to win titles in two other weight classes. He had class and was a gentleman. He proudly represented the great fight city of Youngstown, Ohio. His name was Greg Richardson and they called him “The Flea.”

greg richardson Greg Richardson   The Pride of Youngstown

Born in 1958, Greg launched his pro career in 1982 winning by a first round kayo. In his next bout Greg was halted in the opening stanza by Harry Lee. Hardly the start of a legend.

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William “Gorilla” Jones

By Jim Amato, Senior Boxing Writer / has contributed to since 2008
jones gorilla William Gorilla Jones
One of the finest boxers ever to come out of Akron, Ohio was William “Gorilla” Jones. He was good enough to hold the National Boxing Association’s version of the middleweight title in 1932. He was born on May 12, 1906 in Memphis, Tennessee and he began his professional boxing career there in 1924. By 1927 Jones was operating out of Akron. In 1928 Jones took a 20-4 record into the ring for his first major test. On July 17 he dropped a ten round duke to Sergeant Sammy Baker.

Bernardo Mercado

Mercado 278x300 Bernardo Mercado
By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer
has contributed to since 2008
          As the talent rich 1970′s heavyweight picture faded into the 1980′s, Larry Holmes emerged as the dominant boxer. Still there were some very capable contenders. Among them was a 6’4″ brute from Columbia, South America named Bernardo Mercado.

What if ? … Jimmy Ellis vs. Bob Foster in 1969

ellis jimmy 11 241x300 What if ? ... Jimmy Ellis vs. Bob Foster in 1969 By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

In April of 1967, Jimmy Ellis pounded out a fifteen round decision over Jerry Quarry to win the vacant W.B.A. heavyweight championship. In March of 1968, Joe Frazier halted Buster Mathis to win heavyweight title recognition in New York State. Two months later Bob Foster knocked out the great Dick Tiger to capture the light heavyweight crown. Foster felt the big money was in the heavyweight division and he began to challenge the champions. Frazier actively defended his title turning back Manuel Ramos, Jerry Quarry, Oscar foster bob 11 211x300 What if ? ... Jimmy Ellis vs. Bob Foster in 1969 Bonevena, and Dave Zyglewicz. Ellis on the other hand made only one defense, a disputed verdict over ex-champion Floyd Patterson. Proposed matches for Jimmy against HenryCooper, Gregorio Peralta and Robert Cleroux never materialized. By the time Ellis met Frazier in February of 1970 to unify the crown the ring rust had settled in. After Frazier destroyed Ellis he would go on to meet Foster later on that year with disastrous results for Bob.

What if during his period of idleness before the Frazier debate had Ellis entertained Foster’s challenge? Foster as we would find out could not handle Frazier’s power, strength and aggression. How would he have fared against a master boxer like Ellis? It may have gone something like this.

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What if ?… Liston vs. Johansson in 1961

LISTON 0003 What if ?... Liston vs. Johansson in 1961
INGEMAR 0001 crop What if ?... Liston vs. Johansson in 1961
By Jim Amato

Senior Boxing Writer

Champion Ingemar Johansson vs. Sonny Liston was a fight that very well could have happened. After Ingo shocked Floyd Patterson to win the title in 1959, he was the “man.”


At this time Sonny was just beginning to establish himself as a heavyweight to be reckoned with. By the time Floyd and Ingo met again in June of 1960, Sonny had defeated Nino Valdez and Cleveland Williams twice. One month after Patterson – Johansson II, Sonny stopped the clever Zora Folley. Then two months later he outscored the classy Eddie Machen. There was little doubt that Sonny Liston would have to be dealt with.
Think about this:  What if Ingemar would have won his 1960 bout with Patterson? There would have been no need for a 1961 rubber match with Floyd. Enter Sonny. He would have been the most logical contender. So how would a match between Johansson and Liston panned out in June of 1961?

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What if ?… Ken Buchanan vs. Mando Ramos

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

Ken Buchanan crop What if ?... Ken Buchanan vs. Mando Ramos

In the time that I have followed boxing there are many matches that could have happened and should have happened. Some, like Archie Moore-Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta-Rocky Graziano, were before my era. They might have been thrilling matches, but for one reason or another they just never came off.

One from “my era,” the early 1970′s, was Ken Buchanan against Mando Ramos. Mr. Ramos was one of my early favorites. He was just a few years older than me when he won the lightweight title in his second try versus the talented Carlos Teo Cruz, when he was barely 20 years old. He lost the title soon after to Panama’s slick former world champion Ismael Laguna. Mando was cut up by the jabs and quick hands of Laguna. He also had trouble with Laguna’s fast feet and shifty style. Soon after Ismael Laguna handed the crown to another crafty boxer, the gritty Ken Buchanan of Scotland.

( Photo taken courtesy David Martinez at World Boxing Hall of Fame Banquet of Champions, October 20, 2001,  Westin Bonaventure, Los Angeles, California )

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Book Review

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

1001501 10201602159440871 281029963 n BOOK PIC Book Review “Fifty Years of Fights, Fighters and Friendships” Author: Jerry Fitch

One of this year’s best boxing books has arrived this year.
“Fifty Years Of Fights, Fighters And Friendships” covers the boxing life journey
of the astute author Jerry Fitch. The author has seen a lot on his fifty year
venture. What impressed me was that Jerry accomplished most of this while
working at an unrelated full time job. Amazing !

Jerry has covered boxing all over the United States and other parts of the world.

He has rubbed shoulders with boxing royalty such as Ali, Frazier, Archie Moore and Roberto Duran. Fitch talks about these great fighters and many more.

Jerry also relives some of the great ring battles he has witnessed over his five decade span as a ringside reporter.

Fitch was fortunate enough to have developed great friendships with legends like Earnie Shavers and Jimmy McLarnin.

Then there is the very special bond he had with Cleveland’s greatest boxer Jimmy
Bivins. Jerry discusses all of these and so much more. It is such a smooth and
entertaining read. Jerry tells it like he saw it with great candor and spiced
with a healthy dash of wit. I found it very difficult to put this book down once
I started reading it. I felt like I was sitting with Jerry at a local tavern
sipping a cold one as he told his story. A truly wonderful book.

I highly recommend this for all boxing fans. It would make a great addition to
your boxing library. To find out how to purchase the book contact Jerry at ;

Zora Folley

ZORA FOLLEY 0003 crop Zora Folley
By Jim Amato
Senior Boxing Writer

images Zora Folley

Throughout the 1950′s and 60′s Zora Folley was among the best heavyweights in the world. Only a reluctant world champion and untimely losses kept him from getting a title shot in the prime of his career. It took Zora fourteen years before he received a crack at the championship. That would be against Muhammad Ali who at that time was at the peak of his powers.

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Roy Jones Jr. versus the 70′s and 80′s

ROY vs crop Roy Jones Jr. versus the 70s and 80s
By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer


Where would Roy Jones Jr. have fit in during the talent rich 70′s and early 80′s? I have picked who, in my opinion, were the ten best light heavyweights of that time period. Eight were champions and two were long time contenders. I then matched each against Roy in scheduled fifteen round bouts as they were back then. Based on my recollections of these boxers talents, I have formed the following scenarios.

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