My Boxing Past / Grand Memories

By David Martinez / Boxing Historian /

My interest in boxing goes back to 1961. For more than 60 years it has been my passion and an integral part of my life 번아웃 파라다이스. Over the years I have been privileged to know and learn from some of the most knowledgeable people in the fight game. However, if I had to name three whose experience and wisdom had the greatest impact on me, they would be as follows:

Al Nelson (Boxing Historian)

Millie Robinson (3rd Wife of Sugar Ray Robinson)

Jay Tunney (Son of Gene Tunney)

*** Al Nelson – I met in 1969 when he was the host and curator at the Jeffries Barn Boxing Museum at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California 한자 폰트 무료 다운로드. He taught me about fighters of his era which included, James J. Jeffries, Jack Johnson, Bob Fitzsimmons, Stanley Ketchel, Terry McGovern, plus many others, including one of his personal favorites, Jack Root 쏘우 3 다운로드.

Many times I drove the 200 plus miles, round-trip, from my home in Santa Barbara to the Jeffries Barn just to sit and talk with Al. This was such a delight as I absorbed so much from this kind and knowledgeable man 캠핑클럽 5회 다운로드. I will always remember when he told me Bob Fitzsimmons was the most underrated puncher he had ever seen.

Over the years he gave me many pieces of boxing memorabilia, including one of my most prized possessions 다운로드. In 1972 he gave me a cigar box cover (circa 1900) with an image of undefeated world heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries.

*** Millie Robinson – I met in October 1986 at a local amateur boxing show. She came with her husband, arguably the greatest boxer, “pound for pound”, that ever stepped into a boxing ring – Sugar Ray Robinson. She allowed me to take pictures and get an autograph from Sugar Ray, as we privately sat and talked. She asked me, knowing I was a young boxing beat writer for my local newspaper, “David, do you know who Sugar’s toughest opponent was?” Without hesitation I promptly answered “yes, it was Jake La Motta”  With a smile on both her, and Sugar’s, face she promptly said, “oh no David, it was Fritzie Zivic”. At that point Sugar Ray was shaking his head in acknowledgement “that’s right, that’s correct”.

After Sugar Ray passed away, in 1989, Millie and I stayed in touch. She was such a sweet woman, we exchanged Christmas cards before her passing in 1995.

*** Jay Tunney – I met in 1988. He read some of my boxing articles which were published in the Santa Barbara News Press. While in in town on business, he contacted Sports Editor Dave Kohl to inquire about connecting with me.

Jay was a very kind, caring person, and we met twice over lunch. He told me many stories about his father and his fights with Jack Dempsey, Harry Greb, Battling Levinsky, Tommy Loughran, Georges Carpentier, Tommy Gibbons, and other boxers.

In researching Tunney’s record, I discovered he had several “newspaper bouts” which are officially regarded as no-decision contests. Although not a part of today’s boxing world, this was typical with fighters of his era. My research confirmed Tunney had 85 total professional fights, losing only once, 65 wins, 41 by knockout, he had 1 loss,1 draw, 1 no contest, and 17 bouts where no decision was rendered. Incredibly, in 85 bouts in professional career, Gene Tunney was never stopped! 

Jay told me his father had tremendous ring generalship and would study his opponents prior to fighting them. He also said, he twisted and snapped his punches with perfection and was a master in turning his opponents thereby creating angles, enabling him to take advantage of opponents both offensively and defensively. His two wins over Jack Dempsey were indeed memorable, the first in 1926 and again in 1927. The second fight remains one of the most famous in boxing history and is known as “The Long Count”.

Jay presented me with a black and white photo of his dad, which he autographed, thanking me for our visits and for my interest in keeping his father’s memory alive. He also commented how great it was that in August 1975, I traveled to Manassa, Colorado and visited the Jack Dempsey Home and Museum. 

Due to his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, during WW I, Tunney was known as “The Fighting Marine”. However, he also served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War. Jay told me his father received a direct commission as a Lt. Commander in the United States Naval Reserve, in 1941. In that capacity he served as the Navy’s Chief Recreation Officer throughout the war. Twice promoted, he eventually retired as a Captain.

2 thoughts on “My Boxing Past / Grand Memories

  1. is there a place in santa barbarbra we boxing fans could meet for coffee etc to talk boxing past, present,future,personal experiences [my 65 years!!!! thanks

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