By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer
Cleveland’s Bivins Battled The Best.
Although he was born in Dry Branch, Georgia it was from Cleveland, Ohio that Jimmy Bivins made history. He was a major player in putting Cleveland on the boxing map during the 1940’s and 50’s. He may well have been the best heavyweight and light heavyweight to ever come out of this great boxing town.
Jimmy Bivins was born on December 6, 1919. His professional career began as a middleweight in Cleveland on January 15, 1940. In his sixth pro fight he beat a solid veteran in Nate Bolden. On September 3rd Jimmy was good enough to outpoint the highly respected Charley Burley. This has to be considered an outstanding feat at this stage of Jimmy’s budding career. Bivins closed 1940 by splitting a pair of tough bouts in Cleveland with Anton Christoforidis. The loss in the second bout to Anton was the first of his career.
The year 1941 saw Jimmy lose a few bouts but he was really in with top shelf opposition. He beat Teddy Yarosz and Curtis “Hatchetman” Shepperd. He lost decisions to Lem Franklin and Tony Musto. He defeated Nate Bolden again but lost to Melio Bettina. Jimmy was a full fledged light heavyweight by now. In some fights he was coming in as a heavyweight.
Jimmy started 1942 with a bang as he outscored Billy Soose and Gus Lesnevich. Bivins then lost to the smooth boxing Bob Pastor. On June 6th at Cleveland Municipal Stadium to of the greatest boxers in Cleveland’s history met. Jimmy squeaked a split decision over the crafty Joey Maxim.
Then Jimmy went on a rampage. In this order he defeated Joe Muscato, Tami Mauriello, Bob Pastor in a rematch. Then he beat Lee Savold to close 1942. He opened 1943 beating Ezzard Charles and winning a rubber match with Christoforidis. He defeated Mauriello again and then beat Watson Jones, Pat Valentino, Lloyd Marshall, Herbert Marshall and Bettina in a return engagement. The year ended with a win over Lee Q. Murray.
By David Martinez / Boxing Historian
On June 4, 2012, at the age of 87, Enrique Bolanos, top contender, passed away. I never saw him fight, but had the pleasure to meet him and his lovely wife Ruby at various boxing venues. According to people I know that saw him fight, he was a magnificent boxer that packed southland arenas and stadiums in the Los Angeles area like no other in the golden era of boxing (the 40’s and 50’s). Continue reading
I am saddened by the recent passing of Johnny Tapia, who won world championships in three weight divisions; super flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight. He was a colorful fighter in the ring, with a troubled life outside the ring. As an amateur he won over 100 bouts, winning five New Mexico Golden Glove titles and two national Golden Glove championships. As a professional, his ring record was 59 wins, 5 losses, 2 draws, with 30 knockouts. He was 45 years of age. Johnny will be missed. May his soul rest in heaven with the Lord.
On May 20, 2012, former WBA featherweight champion Raul Rojas passed away. In the sixties, Raul was one of the top fighters from the Los Angeles area. On May 7, 1965, in his first bid for a world title, he went 15 rounds before losing by knockout to Mexican great Vicente Saldivar. As a professional, his ring record was 38-7-2 (24 by KO), with four of his losses coming at the end of his career while fighting in a higher weight division against bigger opponents. Funeral services for Raul are being held on Friday, June 1, 2012 at All Souls Mortuary, 4400 Cherry Ave, Long Beach, California at 10am. My prayers are with he and his family. Raul was 70 years old.
By David Martinez
As the month of April now comes around … besides taxes being on my mind … there is something else more important to me. On April 7, 2009, Frankie Rivas peacefully passed away.
I have many friends in life, but Frankie Rivas was the one that stood out because of his genuine love and care for people. Each time I would see him, I didn’t get a hand shake, a pat on the back, or a high five – I got a true genuine hug!