Tag Archives: Jim Amato

Monzon vs. Benvenuti II

Benvenuti crop 150x150 Monzon vs. Benvenuti II  By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer 

 

Nino Benvenuti may be considered among the best amateur boxers of all time. He had a great professional career too. His first loss was on a highly disputed decision to Ki Soo Kim. He would win two out of three in a legendary middleweight trilogy with the highly respected Emile Griffith Eventually though his star would diminish..

There was a non title draw in 1968 against Akron, Ohio’s rugged Doyle Baird. It was a fight many thought Doyle won. Then came a loss to the terrific Dick Tiger. Then a life and death DQ win over Fraser Scott. Nino was then cut and on the verge of losing before he landed a left hook on slick Luis Rodriguez to retain his title. In Nino’s next bout he was halted by Tom ” The Bomb ” Bethea. Benvenuti had obviously under rated Bethea the first time around as he whipped Tom good in a rematch. Still you could see Nino was not the fighter of days gone by.

In November of 1970 enter Argentina’s Carlos Monzon. A disputed draw against the feared Bennie Briscoe earned Carlos a rating. Still Carlos was not considered a serious challenge to Nino’s crown. WRONG !!! Maybe Nino was on the downside of his fabulous career. Maybe a prime Benvenuti would have fared better against Monzon In my opinion Nino is lucky he met Monzon when he did. Any sooner would have resulted in the end of Nino’ s title reign. Make no mistake about it folks, Carlos owned Nino.
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BOOK REVIEW

Fitch Book BOOK REVIEW By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

 

I just read a book about a man who may be the best boxer to come out of my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. As an accomplished amateur he knocked out future world light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim. As a professional fighter he defeated some of the best heavyweights and light heavyweights of that era. Men like Ezzard Charles, Archie Moore, Charley Burley, Gus Lesnevich,Maxim, Billy Soose and many others tasted defeat at the hands of Bivins. Jimmy even took on Joe Louis and Jersey Joe Walcott.For his great accomplishments Bivins was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999.

 

The author of this book is fellow Clevelander Jerry Fitch. Jerry is a well respected boxing historian who has developed a long friendship with Jimmy and his family. This connection enabled Jerry to tell the story of Bivins and his roller coaster life and career.Along with the great text Fitch published some vintage photos that are priceless.

 

I’ll say say this is a “must read” for boxing fans. I feel you will enjoy it as much as I did.

 

BOOK NAME ~ James Louis Bivins; The man who would be CHAMPION; Author Jerry Fitch

 

The book is available at www.amazon.com

Barnes and Nobles and various sites in the UK.

It is also available by contacting jerryfitch@aol.com

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How High Should We Rate Riddick Bowe?

Bowe crop How High Should We Rate Riddick Bowe?By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

Hopefully the one time heavyweight champion of the world Riddick Bowe will never fight again. His post career problems have been well documented.

The question now is, where does Bowe rank among the great heavyweights of all time? How would he have fared against Louis, Marciano, Frazier or even dream fights in his own time against Lewis or Tyson? Here is a boxer who may have never realized his full potential. When he was near it his career declined due to his own self-indulgence.

After Lennox Lewis stopped Riddick in the 1988 Olympics, Bowe was considered a risky project. Rock Newman took the risk of managing Bowe and convinced the skeptical but astute Eddie Futch to undertake the task of molding Riddick. The rest is history. Bowe progressed nicely thru the ranks, turning pro in 1989 by halting future contender Lionel Butler in two rounds. In 1990 he stopped faded ex-champion Pinklon Thomas in nine. He also destroyed Bert Cooper in two.

In 1991 he kayoed Tyrell Biggs in eight and outscored ex-champ Tony Tubbs. He later kayoed future titleholder Bruce Seldon in one round. In 1992 he cemented a shot at the title by halting South African Pierre Coetzer in seven rounds.

Finally Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe was in the ring facing heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield. The well-schooled and well-conditioned Bowe won a hard fought but convincing decision and the crown. Was this the turning point of his career? Was it the beginning of the end? The night Bowe won the title from Holyfield he could have arguably competed with any heavyweight who ever lived. He was that good.

So where did it all go wrong? Did Riddick believe he was unbeatable? Easy defenses against ex-champ Michael Dokes and shopworn journeyman Jesse Ferguson did little to sharpen his skills. His weight as well as his ego began to swell. By the time he met Holyfield in their rematch he had become a different fighter. So had Evander who had totally dedicated himself in training. Their second bout is mainly remembered for the “Fan Man” incident but in reality it was a highly entertaining fight. Even at the height of his skills against an ill prepared Bowe, Evander had all he could do to win the decision and regain the title. Without the championship, Riddick had become an enigma to himself. Would he rededicate himself or let the talent he had slip through his fists.

Riddick began his march toward reclaiming his crown. He would beat once highly regarded Herbie Hide and knock out overrated Jorge Luis Gonzalez who had beaten Riddick in the amateurs. He would again meet a now ex-champion Holyfield in a rubber match. He would pick himself off the canvas to knock out Evander and it appeared Riddick was still a prime player in the heavyweight sweepstakes. All that came crashing down following two brutal and highly controversial bouts against Andrew Golota.
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jerry quarry book

BOOK REVIEW ~ By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

jerry quarry book BOOK REVIEW ~ By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer Hard Luck: The Triumph And Tragedy Of “Irish” Jerry Quarry
AUTHORS – Steve Springer and Blake Chavez
FOREWORD by George Foreman

I have always been a big fan of Jerry Quarry. He was a mainstay in the talent laden heavyweight division during the late 1960s and into the 70’s. His multitude of fans shared in his triumphs and his disappointments throughout his roller coaster career. Whenever you counted Jerry out he would win a major fight to propel himself back to the heavyweight forefront. His victories over Floyd Patterson,Thad Spencer,Buster Mathis Sr.,Mac Foster,Ron Lyle and Earnie Shavers always kept him in the thick of the heavyweight title picture. Then there were the losses to Ali and Frazier who both defeated Jerry twice. There were the losses to Jimmy Ellis, George Chuvalo and later in his career to Kenny Norton.

Much has been documented on Jerry’s career and his battle later in life with Dementia Pugilistica. A battle that would take his life in 1999. The authors of this book do a tremendous job of detailing Jerry’s life and career from the beginning to the bitter end. It brought back a lot of memories both good and bad but it also reminded me of why I was such a fan of Quarry and that era of heavyweight boxing.

This is more than a book on Jerry Quarry. It was like reading and reliving that historic time frame in fistic history. Other then Muhammad Ali himself,no one stirred the pot of controversy better then Quarry during that time frame. Along with his great boxing ability Jerry had something else. Loads of charisma that most of today’s heavyweights lack.

I highly recommend this book to all boxing fans. It is a great read. If you are a Jerry Quarry fan…Well what are you waiting for ???

 

Frankie Duarte

FRANKIE DUARTE ~ TOUGH AS NAILS

Frankie Duarte FRANKIE DUARTE ~ TOUGH AS NAILSBy Jim Amato

( Senior Boxing Writer )

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.
Duarte was born in 1954 in Santa Monica,California. He joined the punch for pay ranks in 1973 and quickly became a fan favorite. He won his first 16 bouts but then lost a decision in 1974 to rugged Joe Guevara. In 1975 he split a pair of decisions with Tarcisco Gomez.Frankie would then reel off 11 straight leading to a bout with the talented Alberto Davila. This was a WBC title eliminator bout and on this night the scappy Davila halted Frankie in round five.

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Mike Weaver

MIKE WEAVER : AN UNLIKELY CHAMPION

Mike Weaver 1 MIKE WEAVER : AN UNLIKELY CHAMPION

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

If I was to tell you there was once a heavyweight who lost his first professional fight by knockout. Also this heavyweight would actually lose half of his first dozen fights. If I told you he would go on to win a piece of the heavyweight crown and be a major player in the division for well over a decade. Would you believe me ?

Well this is a true Cinderella story. It is the career of former WBA heavyweight titleholder Mike “Hercules” Weaver. Who in my opinion for nearly a five year period he was the second best heavyweight in the world.

Mike turned pro in 1972 and he was matched tough from the very beginning. He lost his debut by knockout to future contender Howard “Kayo” Smith. He would then lose a five round decision to Smith in a rematch. Undefeated Billy Ryan would halt him in two rounds and four fights later unbeaten Larry Frazier would stop Mike in the second. In 1974 Weaver would drop a ten round duke to the much bigger Rodney Bobick. Then Mike would be taken out in seven by the streaking Olympian prospect Duane Bobick.

At this point the future of Mike Weaver looked very bleak. Over the next three and a half years though Weaver would put together a fairly impressive eight fight win streak. Among his victims were Tony Doyle,Jody Ballard,Dwain Bonds and hard hitting Pedro Lovell. This put Mike into a fight with the talented Stan Ward for the California heavyweight title. Ward outweighed Weaver by forty pounds and took a twelve round verdict. Seven months later Weaver was matched with Big Leroy Jones for the vacant North American Boxing Federation heavyweight title. Jones outweighed Mike by a whopping sixty six pounds ! Jones boxed his way to a twelve round decision over Weaver to capture the crown.

The determined Weaver with resurge his career by reeling off five straight wins in impressive fashion. He took out the very dangerous Bernardo Mercado in five rounds. He then met Stan Ward in a rematch. The vacant United States Boxing Association heavyweight title was on the line. This time Mike took care of Ward in the ninth round and put himself in a position for a shot at the world’s heavyweight title.
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RODRIGO VALDEZ

valdez rodrigo 771 RODRIGO VALDEZ  By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

 

With all the recent hoopla for the respected Bernard Hopkins and his adding to the legacy of great Philly fighters…

Well here goes… The great city of Philadelphia has produced an array of world class middleweights over the years. Hopkins has brought great pride to the long line of Philly middlewights who came before him. Tough guys like Stanley ” Kitten ” Hayward, Eugene ” Cyclone ” Hart, Bobby ” Boogaloo ” Watts, Willie ” The Worm ” Monroe and possibly he toughest of them all, ” Bad ” Bennie Briscoe.

When people talk of Hopkins now they compare him to Stanley Ketchel, Harry Greb, Sugar Ray Robinson and his more recent contemporaries, Carlos Monzon and Marvin Hagler. Did someone forget a classy and fine middleweight named Rodrigo Valdez ?

Valdez was a world class fighter who suffered from the ” De Jesus ” syndrome. That is like the outstanding Esteban DeJesus was overshadowed in his career by the skill of Roberto Duran. So too was Rodrigo Valdez overshadowed by Monzon . Take Duran And Monzon out of the picture and DeJesus and Valdez mght be in the Hall Of Fame. Continue reading

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CURTIS COKES

cokes curtis 11 197x300 CURTIS COKES
By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

He may have been the best fighter in the welterweight division during the decade but he never had a chance to prove it against Emile Griffith. Instead he labored in the back round, fighting and beating all comers. Only after Griffith moved up to middleweight and allowed him to capture the vacated title did Curtis Cokes gain some long over due recognition.

Curtis who never had an amateur fight began his professional career in Midland, Texas on March 24, 1958 outscoring Manuel Gonzalez over six rounds. Curtis and Manuel would get to know each other a lot better in years to come. Curtis was born on June 15, 1937 in Dallas, Texas. He would go on to win his next ten fights including an eight rounder over Gonzalez. Finally in April of 1959, one year after turning pro Curtis suffered his first career loss to none other then Manuel Gonzalez. A no contest in a match with the talented Rip Randall set up a rematch. Curtis took out Randall in the first round. Later in the year Curtis would drop a six round duke to Frankie Davis.

Cokes won four fights in 1960. In 1961 he moved up the ladder with big wins over Joe Miceli and Charley ” Tombstone ” Smith. Cokes then dropped a decision in Mexico to Hilario Morales. He then fought a draw with the clever Kenny Lane in Dallas. Back in Dallas two months later Curtis scored a huge win with a split decision over the highly respected Luis Rodriguez. Cokes would then meet and again decision Manny Gonzalez but would lose points call to Rodriguez in a return match.

Curtis would bounce back in 1962 with five straight wins including knockouts over Hilario Morales and the rugged Rudolph Bent. Another trip to Mexico cost him another defeat. This times a decision to Manuel Sixto Alvarez. Four more wins led to a 1963 clash at the Sunnyside Garden in New York against contender Jose Stable. Curtis lost a very close decision. Cokes would then outpoint the very tough Stan Harrington. On May 1, 1964 Curtis travelled to the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia to meet the dangerous Stan ” Kitten ” Hayward. He would suffer a major set back as Hayward stopped Cokes in round four.

It was back to the drawing board for Curtis. Two decision wins over Al Andrews got him back on track but he dropped a ten rounder to the slick Eddie Pace. On December 13, 1965 Curtis won the Southern Welterweight title with a twelve round decision over Billy Collins. On July 6, 1966 Cokes stopped Luis Rodriguez one minute in to the fifteenth and final round of an eliminination bout for the welterweight title vacated by Emile Griffith.

Seven weeks after his win over Rodriguez, Cokes met old rival Manuel Gonzalez for the WBA version of the welterweight title. The battle took place in New Orleans. Curtis floored Gonzalez on his way to a lopsided decision and a world’s championship. In November Cokes outclassed Frenchman Jean Josselin to win universal recognition as welterweight champion. Still many felt that Cokes was the champ only because Griffith had vacated the division. Curtis would go on to prove himself a worthy champion.

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JACK “The Giant” O’HALLORAN

Jack0001 crop JACK The Giant OHALLORAN
THE FORGOTTEN WHITE HOPE
By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

As Muhammad Ali ruled the heavyweight division in the mid 60’s, white hope contenders came and went. Henry Cooper, George Chuvalo and Karl Mildenberger all were vanquished by the “Greatest”. When Ali was forced to relinquish his crown in 1967, the best of the white contenders was probably Jerry Quarry. By 1969 a huge brute of a man named Jack O’Halloran had compiled an impressive 16-1-1 record. Standing at around 6′ 6″ and weighing in the vicinity of 240lbs., Jack struck fear into opponents by his mere bulk. In 1969 he upgraded his opposition with mixed results. He dropped decisions to Joe “King” Roman, Joe Bugner and Tony Doyle. On August 19th he was halted by rugged “Florida” Al Jones. In turn he outscored Carl Gizzi and stopped Mexican contender Manuel Ramos in seven rounds.

On January 26th, 1970 in New York Jack was kayoed by George Foreman in five rounds. On April 9th he was destroyed in one round by Mac Foster. Jack lost a rematch with Roman but he did manage to outpoint Britisher Danny McAliden. 1971 was a dismal year for Jack as he lost to Jack Bodell, John Griffin, Ron Stander and Ron Lyle. Jack did decision Cleveland Williams and he kayoed Terry Daniels.
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BOOK REVIEW

book BOOK REVIEW

By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

What a way to start out the year 2011. I just finished reading an excellent book by an author I have great respect for. Steve Maguire is a top shelf boxing historian. In his recent book”Boxing’s Top Tens”, Steve gives his opinions and insights on some of the greatest boxers and historical boxing events of all time. He does this in a style which really opens up room for agreement or debate by the reader. Agree or disagree,Steve makes a solid case for his choices. This author did his homework!
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