Category Archives: Jim Amato

Frankie Duarte – Tough as Nails

FLASHBACK *** this article originally appeared on on November 17, 2011

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer / a contributor to since 2008 with outstanding expertise and loyalty – thank you, Jimbo!

In the 1970’s and 80’s the bantamweight division was loaded with talent. Great champions like Ruben Olivares, Carlos Zarate, Daniel Zaragoza and Jeff Chandler forged their Hall Of Fame careers in that era. So did Lupe Pintor who should be in the Hall Of Fame. There were also fine champions like Rafael Herrera, Chucho Castillo, Rodolfo Martinez, Romeo Anaya and Alberto Davila.

One tough hombre from that era just missed being crowned a world champion. Nevertheless his all out action style repeatedly drew big crowds to the Olympic Auditorium and the Inglewood Forum. His name was Frankie Duarte.

Continue reading Frankie Duarte – Tough as Nails

For Some, The Sun Did Not Shine

*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on August 27, 2015

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer / contributed to since 2008 with much appreciated outstanding expertise

We have all heard of Ali, Frazier and Foreman.  Of Tyson and Holyfield. The lighter weight classes have produced the likes of Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.  Who will ever forget Duran, Pryor and Arguello? What about the “near misses”? The ones who in this day of multi- fractured titles would almost surely have garnered a piece of championship pie.

Let’s start with the big boys. Jerry Quarry failed in his first title try losing a debatable decision to underrated Jimmy Ellis.  In his final title shot he was out gunned by “Smokin” Joe Frazier.  He would later lose a rematch to Frazier as well as two bouts to Muhammad Ali.  What if there were four titles available back then?  The wins on Jerry’s resume are impressive to say the least.  Floyd Patterson, Thad Spencer, Buster Mathis, Jack Bodell, Larry Middleton, Mac Foster, Ron Lyle and a one round blow out of Earnie Shavers.  It would be very safe to say that Jerry was among the top four or five heavyweights of that era.  Then it is also safe to assume that he would have copped at least a portion of title recognition.

It is very hard for me to believe that John Ruiz could have defeated Jerry.

Continue reading For Some, The Sun Did Not Shine

What if (?) … Ken Buchanan vs. Mando Ramos

*** FLASHBACK –  this article originally appeared on on October 11, 2013

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

Ken Buchanan-crop

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)

Continue reading What if (?) … Ken Buchanan vs. Mando Ramos

Bad Bennie

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

There are certain boxers from my past that in retrospect would be champions today. One such boxer was tough enough to be nicknamed “Bad.”  He was Bennie Briscoe from Philadelphia and brother you better bet he was just that, “Bad.” He was probably the most feared middleweight of his era and it was a tough time just be a middleweight in Philly. If you were bad there, you were bad everywhere.

Briscoe turned pro in 1962 and would win his first fifteen contests. Among his victims were Charley Scott and Percy Manning.  In a return with Manning in 1965, Bennie would suffer his first setback.  That year he would also lose to Tito Marshall and Stanley “Kitten” Hayward.  In 1966 Bennie would halt the highly respected George Benton.

Bennie was now among the middleweight elite.  The year 1967 would see him lose two decisions to the great Luis Rodriguez. Sandwiched in between those losses was a draw in Argentina with a fella named Carlos Monzon. In 1968, he would lose to future light heavyweight titleholder Vincente Rondon.  He would knock out Rondon in a 1969 rematch.

Continue reading Bad Bennie

Champions Wasteland; Shozo Saijo

*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on April 30, 2008

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

Today with so many governing bodies and organizations around it has become very hard to take someones claim of ” world champion ” seriously.  I mean there is the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, IBA and God knows how many more will pop up in the future.  Split titles are not anything new to boxing but in days gone by it was a lot less complicated.  As much as I hated it when either the WBA or the WBC ” stripped ” a champion of his crown for some bogus reason and then “made” their own champion, at least it kept the rift between just two claimants.

In some cases there were much needed unification fights like Bob Foster and Vincente Rondon or Carlos Monzon against Rodrigo Valdez.  There were also cases where a unification bout would have generated a lot of fan interest and cleared up the situation but they never came off.  Some bouts that come to mind are Salvador Sanchez vs Eusebio Pedroza, John Conteh vs Victor Galindez and Carlos Palomino vs Pipino Cuevas.  There is one bout that could have taken place in 1971 pitting two champions from Japan who each claimed a portion of the featherweight title.  They were WBC title holder Kuniaki Shibata and his WBA rival, Shozo Saijo.   Alas the fight never materialized.  It seems that today Shibata is still remembered as the man who made great Vincente Saldivar surrender.  What about poor Shozo Saijo ?  He has been long forgotten outside of Japan and somehow that just does not seem quite fair.

Saijo was born in 1947 and turned pro in 1964.  Shozo was not an instant sensation and over his first twenty fights he compiled a less then earth shaking 14-4-2 record. In 1968 he lost a decision to the highly regarded Jose Luis Pimentel.  In a rematch Saijo turned the tables and he got the verdict.  That led to a fight with the rugged Raul Rojas.  After the retirement of Saldivar, Rojas defeated Enrique Higgins to claim the vacant WBA featherweight title. Rojas was matched with Saijo in a non title battle and Saijo copped the decision.  On September 27th, 1968 in a rematch with the title on the line Saijo became the new WBA champion.

Continue reading Champions Wasteland; Shozo Saijo

Bruno Arcari – A Forgotten Champion … and Update on Jim Amato Surgery

*** FLASHBACK – This article originally appeared on on February 20, 2013

By Jim Amato  / Senior Boxing Writer  

Jim has contributed to since 2008.  He is a “class act” friend and one the most knowledgeable sports people that I have ever known.  His passion in all sports is second to none and, through social media, he kindly shares his outstanding collection of memorabilia to all.  I am asking everyone to “please” keep Jim in your sincerest prayers as he has  been very ill lately and is scheduled for surgery on Monday, September 17th … our prayers are needed to help keep him strong and healthy … thank you everybody – we love you Jimbo!

He may very well be one of the most underrated champions of the glorious seventies.  He won an astounding 70 of 73 battles.  He held the 140 pound title for nearly four years and relinquished it.  He never lost his belt in the ring.  He was a 5’5″ southpaw from Italy named Bruno  Arcari.

Amazingly he was stopped in his first professional fight in 1964.  He would then win ten straight before being halted again.  He would never lose another fight! In 1966 he proved he was a legitimate contender when he beat former lightweight king Joe Brown. In 1967 he followed that up beating the always tough Angel Robinson Garcia.  In 1968 he won the European junior welterweight title by halting the respected Johann Orsolics.

Continue reading Bruno Arcari – A Forgotten Champion … and Update on Jim Amato Surgery

Why Duran Would Have Got Past Pacman

*** FLASHBACK –  This article originally appeared on on November 4, 2009 

NOTE:  Jim Amato is a friend and has contributed to since 2008.  His opinions and input are honest to the highest of quality.  His expertise in boxing is second to none and his work is respected by all.  To view all of Jim’s article’s – go to the Categories menu section and click onto his name. 

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer 

With all due credit, Manny Pacquiao is on top of today’s boxing world. He is the “Man”. His destruction of Oscar De La Hoya drove the “Golden Boy” into retirement and put Manny as the #1 fighter pound for pound in the world today.  His hammer job on the formidable Ricky Hatton put an exclamation point on his current status.

Continue reading Why Duran Would Have Got Past Pacman

Jose Napoles — Was He Too Good For His Own Good?

*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on October 7, 2008 

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer 

The late 1960’s and early 1970’s produced some of the finest, most
dominant champions ever. While Ali, Frazier and Foreman were taking turns
ruling the heavyweights, other divisions found themselves under the
supreme rule of a certain superior boxer.

Continue reading Jose Napoles — Was He Too Good For His Own Good?

Canada’s Robert Cleroux Beat Chuvalo Twice

*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on September 26, 2014
Bob Cleroux 1969


By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

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.

Continue reading Canada’s Robert Cleroux Beat Chuvalo Twice