Category Archives: R.I.P.

Mickey Duff – R.I.P.

Mickey Duff Mickey Duff   R.I.P.

 

By David Martinez

 

On March 22, 2014 boxing lost a true icon in the sport – Mickey Duff.  Although I did not know Mickey personally, he was highly respected for all of his dedication and accomplishments in boxing.  He was a matchmaker, manager, corner man, and promoter.
 
Born on June 7, 1929 in Krakow, Poland, he moved to England in the late 1930′s and focused on boxing.  He boxed as an amateur before turning professional at the young age of 15, posting a professional record of 33 wins, 8 losses, and 3 draws.
 
His involvement with boxers included 19 world champions including Jim Watt, Alan Minter, Barry McGuigan, John Coteh, Terry Downes, Howard Winstone, Maurice Hope, John Mugabi, Cornelius Boza Edwards, Lloyd Honeyghan, Frank Bruno and Joe Calzaghe.
 
May his soul rest peacefully in heaven with God.

Ken Norton R.I.P.

Ken Norton 0001 crop Ken Norton R.I.P. By David Martinez / Boxing Historian

I consider my first meeting with Ken Norton to be the night of July 2, 1970.  My late wife (girlfriend at the time) Constance and I went to the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles to see Ken Norton fight an unknown fighter from Caracas, Venezuela by the name of Jose Luis Garcia. In what I call (to this day) one of the biggest upsets I have seen in any arena, Garcia knocked out the previously unbeaten Norton (16-0 / 15 by KO) in eight rounds.Ken Norton crop Ken Norton R.I.P.

Ken Norton passed away on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at the age of 70.  He is always remembered by boxing fans for his three fights with Muhammad Ali.

In that trilogy, he beat Ali in 1973 (breaking Ali’s jaw as well) in their San Diego bout by a split 12 round-decison. Later that same year, he lost to Ali in Los Angeles by a split 12 round-decision.  In their final bout at Yankee Stadium in 1976, many, including myself, thought he beat Ali.  He lost the bout and his bid to gain the heavyweight championship by a close, but unanimous 15 round-decision.

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Craig Bodzianowski R.I.P.

By Steve Corbo
ct spt 0731 bodzianowski obit 20130731 001 197x300 Craig Bodzianowski R.I.P.

 

As my last article was about to be posted, I received some additional sad news. Another friend from Chicago boxing circles, former Cruiserweight Contender, Craig “Gator” Bodzianowski passed away in his sleep, Sunday July 28. He was 52 years old. Incredibly, Craig gained his greatest success as a boxer, becoming world ranked and then fighting for a world championship title, after losing part of his right leg in a 1984 motorcycle accident and while fighting with the use of a prosthetic. He turned pro in 1982, after winning a Chicago Golden Gloves title and ran off 13 straight wins, 11 by way of KO. Then disaster struck.  While riding his motorcycle he was involved in a collision with an automobile, resulting in the amputation of his right foot and a portion of his leg. After a year and a half layoff he returned to the ring and went on to make history. In 1986 he stopped current boxing promoter Bobby Hitz, in the 3rd round, to capture the Illinois State Heavyweight Championship. In 1987 and 1988 he fought former WBC World Cruiserweight Champion, and fellow Chicagoan, Alfonso Ratliff with the Illinois State Cruiserweight Title on the line. Both times he dropped, razor thin, majority decisions. How close were these two fights? According to boxrec.com, The Illinois Boxing Commission appointed the same three judges to work both fights. All three judges scored both bouts identically. After watching these two guys go 20 rounds with each other, one of the judges still had it even! 

Johnny Lira and Lenny LaPaglia R.I.P.

By Steve Corbo Johnny crop Johnny Lira and Lenny LaPaglia R.I.P.

In December, 2012 I lost a good friend, Johnny Lira, to liver disease. He campaigned as a lightweight back in the late 1970′s and early 80′s. At one time he was the WBA’s #1 rated lightweight in the world. He also won the USBA lightweight title in spectacular fashion when he knocked out the undefeated Andy Ganigan. Nicknamed the “Hawaiian Punch”, Ganigan had a record of 25 – 0, with 23 wins by KO and he was looking to keep busy, while waiting for a shot at then champion, Roberto Duran. Johnny seemed a safe enough tune-up, he was only 14-0-1 with 8 wins by KO. The smart guys figured he’d go a few rounds, give Ganigan a little work and in short order become KO victim number 24. But the smart guys never could get a handle on the tough kid from Grand Avenue on the west side of Chicago.

Lira got his shot at a world championship in front of a home town crowd, when he took on WBA Lightweight Champion Ernesto Espana in 1979. The fight was televised on the old ABC Wide World of Sports with Howard Cosell calling the action. What a fight it was! Cosell called it even after five. Lira knocked down the champ in the seventh and it looked like he was going to put him away. But Espana fought back hard. That’s what champions do! Lira was dropped near the end of the 8th, then suffered a severely lacerated right eye and picked up a broken jaw. The ringside doctor stopped the fight after the ninth round.
There were more ring wars to come. After Espana, Lira’s career included losses to Willie “Fireball” Rodriguez, Howard Davis, Jr. and Alfredo Escalera. There were also wins over rugged Bobby Plegge, Al Ford  and Sammy Matos! Lira finally hung up the gloves in 1984 with a record of 29-6-1 with 15 wins by KO.

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Emile Griffith R.I.P.

Emile Griffith 0002 crop 150x150 Emile Griffith R.I.P. This past week the boxing world lost a great champion Emile Griffith. The former welterweight and middleweight champion passed away on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 in Hempstead, New York at the age of 75. 

In his career (1958-1977) Griffith posted 85 wins, 24 losses, 2 draws,  23 knockouts, with 1 no-contest.

As I knew him, he was always kind to others and a gentle man to all. May his soul rest in peace in heaven with the Lord.

 

My Friends – Ernie Terrell and Frankie Rivas

Terrell crop My Friends   Ernie Terrell and Frankie RivasBy David Martinez

The month of April has a special meaning for me both in a happy and sad way.

April 4th is my friend Ernie Terrell’s birthday. The former WBA heavyweight champion has to be one of my favorite boxer friends ever. I was honored, on the evening of October 16, 2003 when Ernie was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame, to be his presenter.  I remember that night as if it was yesterday and I will always treasure that moment in time.  At the very top left hand side of the banner for this website, you will see the photo taken on his special night.

Frankie crop My Friends   Ernie Terrell and Frankie RivasApril 7th is the anniversary of the passing of my best friend Frankie Rivas.  In 2009 I tearfully, but honorably, delivered the eulogy at St. Raphael’s church for his funeral service.  As well as boxing as an amateur himself, Frankie was the truest boxing fan I have ever known.  He was always there with me as a referee or judge at many boxing shows in our community, and gave his support to the kids in local boxing gyms.  I have known Frankie since my childhood days and in memory of his death (I say), “May his soul rest in peace with the Lord in heaven”.

ARNIE KOSLOW R.I.P.

Arnie ARNIE KOSLOW R.I.P.A dear friend to the boxing community recently passed away last month, Arnie Koslow at the age of 88. Arnie was loved by all that knew him and was an honored member of the Golden State Boxer’s Association and was on hand for almost every luncheon that are held by the organization on a weekly basis.

Arnie 2 0001 ARNIE KOSLOW R.I.P.He was an outstanding time keeper for over 1500 boxing matches in the Los Angeles area in his career. He would always tell members his favorite fighter was Joe Louis and as GSBA president (pictured) Bill Dempsey Young stated “Arnie will truly be missed by all” is certainly an understatement, as we all knew Arnie as truly a wonderful human being.

There will be a celebration of Arnie’s life this Sunday, February 10th at the Stevens Steak House, 5332 Stevens Place, Commerce, CA 90040, at 1pm.

May Arnie’s soul rest in peace in heaven with the Lord.

 

Hector Camacho R.I.P.

Camacho 1 crop1 227x300 Hector Camacho R.I.P.Camacho 2 300x190 Hector Camacho R.I.P.                 By David Martinez
                  Boxing Historian
 One of the biggest names in boxing has passed away at the age of 50 years old. Hector “Macho” Camacho died Saturday, November 24, 2012 in his hometown of Baymon, Puerto Rico after being shot in the face and neck by an unknown assailant in a passing car.
Camacho was a flamboyant, colorful and skilled “southpaw” boxer who fought the biggest names spanning two eras, including Rafael Limon, John Montes, Jose Luis Ramirez, Howard Davis Jr., Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Ray Mancini, Freddie Roach, Edwin Rosario, Vinny Pazienza, Greg Haugen, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez and Oscar De La Hoya.