IBRO http://www.ibroresearch.com International Boxing Research Organization Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:27:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 86346599 BLACK INK http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/08/black-ink/ http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/08/black-ink/#respond Thu, 11 Aug 2016 20:21:57 +0000 http://www.ibroresearch.com/?p=11546 BLACK INK: A Story of Boxing, Betrayal, Homophobia,

and the First Latino Champion

By Jose Corpas

amazon frontBlack Ink is the long overdue biography of Panama Al Brown, a fighter so unpopular, fans stormed the ring and nearly killed him in an attack that might be considered a hate crime today. Outside the ring, he faced a boxing establishment so determined to deny him his championship status, they stripped him of his first title without explanation. Despite the efforts of some, nothing could keep Panama Al Brown from becoming boxing’s first Latino world champ.

This book covers it all, from Brown’s early struggles growing up in Panama as the son of a former American slave, to his final days as a forgotten and homeless ex-champion found unconscious and near death on a cold street in New York City.

The book has a foreword by Springs Toledo and is available now through online retailers and a select few stores.

Jose Corpas is the author of New City’s Greatest Boxers (Arcadia, 2006)

Product Details

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Win By KO Publications (August 1, 2016)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0990370380

ISBN-13: 978-0990370383

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2016 New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame awards dinner http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/08/2016-new-mexico-boxing-hall-of-fame-awards-dinner/ http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/08/2016-new-mexico-boxing-hall-of-fame-awards-dinner/#respond Sun, 07 Aug 2016 19:05:01 +0000 http://www.ibroresearch.com/?p=11566 by Colleen Aycock     – Photos by Dave Wallace

Neil Wallace-Bagpipes

Neil Wallace on bagpipes to open the hall of fame ceremony

The 2016 New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame awards dinner was held August 6 at the VFW Post 401, 2011 Girard in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Master of Ceremonies was Juan Nunez who fought under the name of Johnny Brito. Juan is the current Chairman of the Boxing Hall of Fame and will be next year’s president for the NM Golden Gloves.

Attendance was at 102, full capacity for the hall, with guests coming from as far away as Oklahoma, Texas, and Michigan. Special Las Cruces guests were HOF Boxer/Trainer Louie Burke and his mother Alba Burke, of the Sammy Burke family.

The night opened with the entrance of the bagpipes played by Neil Wallace, member of the award-winning High Desert Pipes & Drums and current medical student at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine. The Colors were posted by veterans John Van Sickler and Art Aragon, Jr., followed by the singing of the national anthem led by the multi- talented Art Aragon, Jr.

The dinner, gourmet by any standard, was provided by Juan Nunez’ son, Ernest Nunez, current manager of the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center, one of Albuquerque’s most popular attractions for food and culture.

John Van Sickler presented a special award to VFW Post 401 on its 50-year anniversary in Albuquerque and for its 50-year sponsorship of the New Mexico Golden Gloves. Juan Nunez presented a check for $400 to the NM Golden Gloves, followed by a special award to John Van Sickler for 50 years of outstanding service to the Golden Gloves.

 

Art Aragon, the Original Golden Boy

Art Aragon, Jr

Art Aragon, Jr. accepts his Father’s HOF plaque

The first Hall of Fame award was presented to Art Aragon, deceased (HOF 2015) whose son Art, Jr. was unable to accept the award for his father last year. This year Art, Jr. introduced his father with a touching story about his boxing coach, Henry Anaya, Sr. reuniting young Aragon with his father who was so pleased to learn that his son had become an international boxing champion.

Arthur Anthony Aragon was born in Belen, New Mexico and grew up in East Los Angeles to become a fixture in the boxing and entertainment business of Los Angeles.

A tall lightweight, orthodox fighter at 5’8,” Aragon entered the LA and Hollywood boxing rings wearing a golden robe and gold trunks. He was one of those renowned fighters who never won a title, but who could pack the Olympic Auditorium and Legion Stadium with his charismatic personality and exciting style.

Amazingly, Aragon was ranked in the Top 10 by The Ring magazine from 1949 – 1958. He had the whole package: he was a boxer-puncher, he was an excellent counter-puncher, and he used the ring as a complete dance floor. When other good fighters of his era averaged 60-70 total bouts, Aragon compiled a record of 90 wins, 20 losses, and 6 draws for a total of 116 bouts from 1944 to 1960.

Aragon had to fight during one of California’s most notorious scandal-ridden eras. He fought contender Tommy Campbell in 1950. Later Campbell testified that he was ordered by Olympic matchmaker Babe McCoy to lose to Aragon. McCoy was banned for life by the California Athletic Commission.

Aragon fought many ring notables during his illustrious career: Redtop Davis, World Lightweight Champion Jimmy Carter and Carmen Basilio.

Around Hollywood, he was the man to be seen with. He dated Mamie Van Doren and was friends with Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. He acted in the Audie Murphy pictures, To Hell and Back (1955) and World in my Corner (1956). His other credits include Off Limits (1953), a boxing comedy with Bob Hope, and John Huston’s Fat City (1972). He was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990 and the NMBHOF in 2015. He died at age 80 in Northridge, CA on March 25, 2008.

 

Elias “Neffie” Quintana

Neffie Quintana

Ellias Quintana reads poem that he had penned about Holly Holm.

Neffie Quintana was introduced by his son. Mr. Quintana, an Albuquerque lawyer, definitely inherited his father’s sense of humor. Both men kept the audience entertained.

Born March 18, 1927, Neffie Quintana is almost 90 years young and still actively serving New Mexico. He has been a boxer, coach, and referee, and has been a member the past 3 years of the New Mexico Athletic Commission. (He previously served on the Commission from 1983-1987.)

He has judged and refereed both amateur Golden Gloves and professional fights for 50 years. He refereed Tony Tubbs and judged Evander Holyfield’s last 15-round fight. He has judged 30 world title fights. He continued officiating boxing until 2004. As a boxer he had 9 amateur fights, one of which was with Willie Hall. He had one pro fight.

Mr. Quintana received his BA and MA in Physical Education and School Administration from the Univ. of New Mexico and was accepted as a doctoral candidate.  Most of his life was spent teaching and coaching in both high school and college. “Mr. Q,” as he was known, coached baseball and softball (40 years), basketball (45 years), football and boxing (50 years).

In addition to teaching, he was also an APD Policeman. Neffie is also a lifetime member of the VFW, having served in the United States Army from 1945-1951, during World War II and the Korean conflict. He worked in Los Alamos for the University of California handling classified material.

After retiring from APS in 1981, Mr. Quintana managed and sold Real Estate. Upon his wife’s death in 2008, he became active in missionary work. He has served 18 missions in several countries including the Philippines. His advice to others: “You don’t start living until you start giving.”

Neffie told the audience that now he wanted to write poetry; so he read us his poem that he had penned about Holly Holm. If that poem was any indication of talent, he has a future in writing.

 

Danny Romero, Sr.

Romero-Burke-Romero

Danny Romero, Sr., Elba Burke, Danny Romero, Jr.

Danny Romero, Sr. was introduced by his son, 3-Time World Champion and NM Boxing Hall of Fame (2012), Danny Romero, Jr.  Danny Sr. had trained many of the fighters present in the room Sat. night.

Danny Romero, Sr. is one of the all-time great amateur and professional boxing trainers of New Mexico, training beginners through champions for over 30 years. From 1979 to 1986 he coached boxing at the PAL gym in Albuquerque. In 1986 he started his own gym, the Hideout, where he trained state, regional and national amateur champions, as well as professionals.

Danny was a featured coach and administrator at all levels of the Golden Gloves organization. He served as Regional (4-state) Golden Gloves Coordinator in 1984, ‘85, ‘88, and ‘90. He trained National Golden Gloves Champion Ronnie Rentz in 1981, and both Rentz and Steve Hindi for the National PAL Championships in 1983. He took Ronnie Rentz and his son Danny Romero to the Olympic Trials. In 1986 he was head coach for the Olympic Sports Festival, coaching the East Team to victory.  As head coach in 1988, he took the National Junior Olympic Team to Canada. He was voted Team Coach by the Olympic Committee for USA international bouts in Ireland, England, and Tahiti from 1989-1991.

His professionals during the ‘80s and ‘90s included national title holders, world contenders and champions. He worked with Tony Tubbs, Jaime Garcia, Joe Mercanti, Johnny Tapia, Primo Ramos, Sam Houston, Ray Sanchez, and his own son Danny Romero, Jr.  In 1994 Danny Romero, Sr. was voted Trainer of the Year by ESPN and Top Rank.

Perhaps Danny Romero’s greatest testament and legacy to boxing is his own son. Beginning in 1994, he coached Danny, Jr. to the NABF championship and managed him through 3 world titles. But during the year Danny won his 3rd title, “Big Danny” was diagnosed with a crytogenic disease, a genetic blood disorder that attacks the body’s organs. At that point, Danny, Jr. became caregiver and took over his father’s training responsibilities. By 2005 Danny Sr. received a liver transplant and his daily life has been challenging. He has met those challenges with the same fighting spirit and dignity that he taught his young boxers.

His son Danny continues his father’s legacy at the Hideout Gym, a not-for-profit organization that takes kids off the streets, in a program that has as many as 600 students a year, and gives them a vision for their own future.

 

Colleen Aycock

Aycock_Colleen

Colleen Aycock telling her hard-boiled stories about her father’s travels to Mexico and New Orleans in search of fights.

Colleen Aycock was introduced by Dr. Pat Trainor, retired Assoc. Dean of the UNM Law School and the first female on the New Mexico Boxing and Wrestling Commission. Pat is also a sorority alumna sister (Alpha Delta Pi) with Colleen. Many of the sorority sisters were present at the event.

Colleen Aycock was born Nov. 7, 1951 in the Texas Rio Grande Valley of Edinburgh with boxing history flowing through her veins. Her father C.N. “Ike” “Wildcat” Aycock had been a Depression-era fighter out of Harlingen, Texas, telling her hard-boiled stories about his travels to Mexico and New Orleans in search of fights and San Francisco to spar with Heavyweight Champion Max Baer. She saw him devote hours in his later years training young boxers in San Antonio, Alice, and South Texas.

While most of the HOF honorees started their careers with boxing, her career culminated with boxing. She received her B.A. from Northern Arizona University, M.A. from California State, Dominguez Hills, and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. She taught writing at universities in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas.

She is married to Dave Wallace and has two grown sons, Jason (with wife Sara) and Neil both graduates of the University of New Mexico. Before moving to Albuquerque, the family lived outside the Beltway, Washington, D.C. where Colleen wrote biographies for the U.S. Capitol, Statuary Hall (during and post-911). While in Maryland, Colleen researched material in Baltimore on the life of Joe Gans, the first African-American world boxing champion.

She has written encyclopedia entrees; book reviews and articles on boxing for history, university, and sports magazines.  She has co-authored and co-edited four books on boxing with Texas writer Mark Scott.

She currently serves as Co-Editor for IBRO, the International Boxing Research Organization.

 

Rick Wright

Rick Wright

Rick Wright telling the audience the most exciting event he has covered was the fight between Freddie Roach and Tommy Cordova in July 1984 at the Showboat Hotel in Las Vegas.

Rick Wright was introduced by Austin Killeen, a NM Hall of Famer (2015). Austin humorously commented on Rick’s elementary playground pugilistic (or lack thereof) skills which caused Rick to pursue writing instead. Austin also distributed samples of some of Rick’s excellent columns.

Rick Wright was born on Dec. 9, 1947, in Albuquerque. He never boxed, having learned early in life on the playground that he had no talent for the pugilistic arts. But his first sports hero was Floyd Patterson, and Rick has never lost his respect for the Sweet Science and his admiration for those who pursue it.

Rick attended Sandia Base and Mark Twain Elementary schools and is a graduate of Monroe Junior High, Manzano High School and the University of New Mexico. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies in 1969, then served three years in the U.S. Army.

While stationed in Germany, Rick picked up a little German. Later, he briefly studied French. As a result, he is able to say “Where is my dog” in six different languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, German, French). Unfortunately, he is not fluent in any of the foreign tongues, and some of his readers have even questioned his fluency in English.

Rick began his journalism career in 1975 after earning a second bachelor’s degree from UNM. He worked as a sports intern at the Albuquerque Journal, then as the sports editor at the Alamogordo Daily News and the Los Alamos Monitor. He was hired full time by the Journal in 1977. Though he’s been fortunate enough to cover eight Super Bowls and three Olympic Games, he’ll tell you the most exciting event he has covered was the fight between Freddie Roach and Albuquerque’s Tommy Cordova in July 1984 at the Showboat Hotel in Las Vegas.

That’s also the year he met and married his wonderful wife. He and Barbara have no kids but love Ginger, their 12-year-old Shetland Sheepdog.

Rick is deeply honored to be inducted into the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame.

 

Steve “The Tiger” Hindi

Steve Hindi

Steve Hindi recalls many postponed Thanksgiving meals because of PAL tournaments.

Steve Hindi was introduced by John Van Sickler and Juan Nunez (Johnny Brito), both speaking to Steve’s amazing amateur record in New Mexico and some of his specific fights. Sadly, if America had not boycotted the 1980 Olympics (protesting Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan) as John recalled, Steve Hindi would have undoubtedly been an Olympian.

According to Jim Boggio, New Mexico boxing historian, Steve Hindi holds the most amateur titles in the history of New Mexico. Hindi’s boxing career spanned 20 years, with an amateur of 172 – 52 and a 4-year professional career of 13 – 2. He turned pro in 1991.

Hindi was born July 31, 1962 and recalls, “Every year we would watch for the billboard on the north side of I-40 just before we got to I-25 (before the Big I) announcing ‘The Gloves are Coming.’ And we would go to the boxing matches.” When Steve was 14, he said, “I think I could do that.” He asked his Mom to check with the Police Athletic League (PAL) to see what he needed to do, and as they say, “the rest is history.” For the next 20 years his life became: go to the gym, run, train, watch what he ate, and run some more. (He still does that.) He was always watching his diet so he could make weight and stay in shape. Weekends were taken up at boxing matches, either in Albuquerque or in one of many cities, big or small, around New Mexico, and then later, around the country. He would eventually travel to Finland, Denmark, and Yugoslavia.

Steve recalls many postponed Thanksgiving meals because the PAL tournament was always held during Thanksgiving’s long weekend. John Van Sickler recalls one of Steve’s fights in Hobbs when his coach, Danny Romero, Sr. couldn’t attend because he was coaching a USA team out of the country, so John had to corner him. John had Steve’s towel stuffed in his mouth so he wouldn’t yell from the corner. What a sight!

Steve is now retired after being a police officer for 33 years. He stays busy raising his 12-year-old daughter Sasha and spending time with family, friends, and traveling.

There are lots of stories and 20 years’ worth of great memories. Steve earning this award is going to be another great memory.

Steve Hindi’s Amateur Record

  • State and Regional Golden Gloves: 1979,’ 80, ‘81, ‘82, ‘83, ‘84, ‘85, ‘86, ‘87, and ‘90.
  • Junior Olympics: 1979-1980
  • AAU: 1980
  • State and Regional PAL: 1980, ’81,’82, and ‘84
  • Sugar Ray Leonard 4-State Invitational: 1980
  • Olympic Trials: 1980 Bronze Medal
  • State and Regional ABF: 1981, ’82,’84,’85,’ and ‘87
  • PAL Sports Festival: 1985
  • Police Olympics: August 1986
  • World Police and Fire Olympics: 1987
  • John Anthony Lopez Sportsmanship Award: two years consecutively

 

Henry “Riley” Anaya, Jr.

Anaya

Riley Anaya thanked his mother and father for all of their support.

Riley Anaya was introduced by his son and ring announcer Zack Anaya. Zack said he had always wanted to announce his father’s name, and the audience was completely enthralled with his slow deep, anticipatory announcement…”and Now, moving out of the white corner, weighing a little more than he did a few years ago…”

Considered a legend in New Mexico, Henry Anaya, Jr., born March 19, 1965 in Albuquerque, was one of the finest boxers to come out of the state. Tonight he joins his father, Henry Anaya, Sr. in the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame.

Henry’s nickname “Riley” originated from the early TV show “The Life of Riley,” and was given to him by his father because of his gentle easy-going demeanor—except in the ring. As an amateur he fought 293 with 250 wins, was a teammate of Johnny Tapia and Mike Tyson, and traveled to and won as a U.S. boxer in Finland and Ireland.

After an amazing amateur career lasting 17 years, he turned professional on February 7, 1987.  His professional record was 17 – 4, 11 by knockout, 52% KOs.  He fought 15 – 1 before losing his right middle finger in an accident.

Coming up through the professional ranks, Anaya was a popular fighter in Las Vegas, Nevada, with a winning record of 16 – 1, with 10 Kos. His only loss in those three and a half years was to Joe Hernandez (on the undercard of Thomas Hearns and Iran Barkley). That loss was avenged in a rematch that Anaya won with a swift first-round KO. His winning record earned Anaya a spot to fight for the vacant NABF Welterweight title. On August 20, 1990 against former World    Champion “Lightning” Lonnie Smith (25-2-1, 12 KOs) Henry was stopped in the 10th round. His final professional bout occurred on June 10, 1991 against former World Champion Mark Breland (28-2-1, 21 KOs) at the Meadowlands, Secaucus, NJ. (Because of the injury to his hand, it has been said that “he fought those guys one-handed.” Riley told me that before his finger was amputated, he had to fight with excruciating pain in his left hand, an impediment that would be career-ending today. )

Before retiring, he was ranked #4 in North America and #12 with the WBC.

During his ring tenure he trained many boxers, including Johnny Tapia.

Now an entrepreneur, he owns KO Construction, and on occasion, helps his Dad, Henry Anaya, Sr. (also a New Mexico Boxing Hall of Famer) at the gym.

He thanked his mother and father for all of their support.

We especially want to thank the SPONSORS of the 2016 New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame.

Please visit them at their physical or internet locations and remember to thank them, because these programs and the donations made to the Golden Gloves would not be possible without them.

Arthur Aragon, Jr., Honoring his father Art “Golden Boy” Aragon, 2015

Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Honoring Colleen Aycock, 2016, and Pat Trainor

K & I Diner, Open 7 Days a Week, 7am-3pm, 2500 Broadway Blvd., SE

Austin Killeen, 2015, Boxing News, www.KilleensKorner.com

Knock Out Sheds, KO Construction, Inc., www.knockoutsheds.com

MRG, Marketing, 2501 Alamo Ave SE, (505) 246-0125

McFarland Publishers (see a full line of boxing books at) www.McFarlandBooks.com

The Wallace family

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Jose Becerra: The Guadalajara Cobra http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/08/jose-becerra-the-guadalajara-assassin/ http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/08/jose-becerra-the-guadalajara-assassin/#respond Sun, 07 Aug 2016 17:39:38 +0000 http://www.ibroresearch.com/?p=11584 Jose Becerra: The Guadalajara Cobra

by Dan Cuoco

becerrajose7590Jose Becerra was born on April 15, 1936 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He was the second oldest of five children (two brothers and two sisters). Jose became interested in boxing through a friend. He started in the Mexican Golden Gloves and had thirty amateur fights, winning all but two. Coming from a poor background, he decided to turn professional to earn a few pesos to help feed the family. At the time he turned professional, he had no thoughts of big purses or titles. Boxing was just a means to earn a meager living.

Young Jose came under the tutelage of Pancho Rosales, who for over thirty years had been Mexico’s leading developer of ring talent. On August 30, 1953, 17-year-old Jose Becerra made his professional debut with a fourth round knockout victory over Ray Gomez in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Jose quickly established himself as a comer by winning his first eighteen fights (all six rounders) over credible opposition. Most of his fights took place in Guadalajara, and he was quickly becoming a favorite because of his damaging punch. Nine of his eighteen opponents were knockout victims.

Jose tasted defeat for the first time when the more experienced Luis Ibarra outpointed him in six rounds on October 3, 1954. Fifteen days later Jose started another winning streak that saw him go undefeated in thirteen fights, with only a ten round draw with featherweight Danny Bedolla marring the streak. Eight of his victories were by knockout. Claudio Martinez put a temporary halt to Jose’s rise when he outpointed the 19 year-older on February 18, 1956 in Guadalajara.

Less than a month later Jose locked horns with another 19-year-old up and coming bantamweight named German Ohm. Trailing on points, Jose was able to cut Ohm’s eyebrows and escape with a sixth round technical knockout. The fight was the toughest of Jose’s career. Jose won five more fights before being matched with Ohm again. This time he wasn’t so lucky. Since their last fight, Ohm had knocked out Baby Ruiz in one round and was rated ninth in the world ratings. The rematch took place on October 18, 1956 before a packed arena. Ohm was better than Jose that night and gave him a boxing lesson en route to a unanimous ten round decision.

In 1957 Jose hit his stride as a big timer. Early that year he ended the winning streak of the veteran Cuban bantamweight Manuel Armenteros, who for many years had been among the top men in the division. At the time Jose defeated him, Armenteros was a big favorite in Mexico, successfully touring from city to city. He followed this victory with two easy ten round decision victories over another up and coming Mexican bantam named Jose Medel, who was one month shy of his 19th birthday, had turned pro at 17, and had already met and held his own with most of Mexico’s toughest flyweights and bantamweights. He entered the ring with Becerra sporting a record of 20-4-3, with 14 kayos.

His victories over Armenteros and Medel moved him into the world ratings on April 17, 1957. He entered as the number ten bantam in the world. Ahead of him in the ratings from Mexico were his idol Raul Macias at number one and German Ohm at number five.

After going undefeated in twelve fights since his loss to Ohm, Jose came to Los Angeles to fight Dwight Hawkins. The date was November 16, 1957. It was going to be a big night because Mexican ring idol Raul (Raton) Macias holder of the NBA bantamweight title was meeting Alphonse Halimi for the undisputed world title. All of Mexico was worked up over the fight. Thousands of Mexican fight fans made the trek from Mexico and joined those already living in LA in making a Mexican holiday of the event.

Even Jose got caught up by the occasion. He found it hard to keep his mind on his own fight that night, even though he knew Hawkins was a dangerous, murderous puncher. Macias lost a decisive fifteen round decision to Halimi – and all Mexico mourned. Because of television scheduling, Jose’s fight came on after the championship fight and Becerra too was in mourning. He later said, “I was so upset by Macias’ loss I didn’t care.” An unmotivated Becerra was stopped in the fourth round.

Jose stayed out of the ring for three months and came back a much more dedicated fighter. During the next year and a half he ran off fifteen consecutive victories, thirteen by knockout, to find himself the mandatory challenger for Alphonse Halimi’s bantamweight crown. Among his kayo victims were Dwight Hawkins (ko 9), Willie Parker (ko 2), Little Cezar (ko 4), Jose Luis Mora (ko 3), Ross Padilla (ko 1), Mario D’Agata (tko 10), and Billy Peacock (ko 1). His most impressive victory was when he fought Mario D’Agata, former world bantamweight champion in Los Angeles on February 5, 1959. D’Agata proudly boasted that he had never been floored in his life. D’Agata, like Jake LaMotta before him when he fought Ray Robinson, could continue that boast after the fight. But Becerra pounded him so relentlessly D’Agata was forced to call it quits in ten rounds. The stoppage was the only time the ex-champion failed to finish a fight in a career that spanned twelve years and 67 fights.

During this eighteen-month stretch, Jose had demonstrated an overwhelming persistency to cause all his opponents to fight his kind of fight. With a damaging right hand and a powerful sneak left hook, opponents were becoming wary because they knew that Becerra could capitalize on any mistake and take them out with one punch. It had been a long time since the bantamweight division had seen such a force as this devastating 23-year-old knockout artist.

On July 8, 1959 Jose prepared to enter the ring for the biggest fight of his life. In the opposite corner was bantamweight champion Alphonse Halimi, who had beaten his idol Raul (Raton) Macias 21 months earlier. Becerra had a lot of pressure on him. He wasn’t just fighting for himself—he was fighting for Mexico. To add to his pressure, in a meeting with Mexico’s President Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Jose had promised that he would bring the title to Mexico.

The title fight was held in the new Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. On hand to witness an unforgettable brawl were 15,110 spectators. The fight was action packed every second of the way.

Halimi got off to a good start by taking the first two rounds with his superior boxing skills. In round three Becerra picked up the pace and tore into Halimi relentlessly. He backed the champion into the ropes where he whaled away with both hands. But Halimi wasn’t champion for nothing. He stood his ground and met Becerra punch for punch. The fight turned into a see-saw battle without let-up. The pace was terrific. Every now and then one or the other would land a hard punch that would bring the already hysterical crowd to its feet. Hopes rose and fell, but champion and challenger remained upright. It was obvious, however, that the fight was not going to go the full 15 rounds.

halimibecerra9129The end came in the eighth round. After a minute and a half of give-and-take, Halimi hurt Becerra with a hard right to the head. But instead of backing off, Becerra came forward and exploded a left hook, followed by a right hand to the head of Halimi, sending him to the canvas. Halimi was on his feet at the count of four. He instinctively tried to protect himself. But Becerra was not to be denied. He attacked recklessly and scored with hard body punches which sapped the last remaining strength in Halimi’s body. Becerra then switched to the head and landed a beautiful left hook followed by a right hand that dropped him on his face for the full count. He didn’t move a muscle as the referee counted him out.

Bill Miller of Ring magazine aptly summed up the emotions of the moment after the knockout when he reported: “That was when the grandfather of all demonstrations took place. Pandemonium broke loose. Frenzied fans screamed hysterically. It was contagious. Even this hardened veteran of ring activity found himself cheering. Later a friend of mine, sports-writer of a Spanish daily published in Los Angeles, told me that he had a wire from Guadalajara, Becerra’s home town – a city of 400,000 – that the city had gone stark mad. Thousands of people crowded around radios and when they heard about the first knockdown, people started to embrace each other and weep for joy. When the end came – well, try to picture it: You’ve seen Mexican fans!”

Similar excitement took place in Mexico City, where a few days later Jose received a hero’s welcome.

beccera_ingramTragedy struck Jose on October 24, 1959 in his hometown of Guadalajara. Jose was making his first start as champion in a non-title fight against Walt Ingram. Jose was battering the gallant and brave Ingram so badly that the referee stopped the carnage in the ninth round. While the fans were acclaiming Jose’s victory, the unfortunate Ingram suddenly collapsed. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to the injuries.

On December 12, 1959 Jose had his first fight since the tragic fight with Ingram and won a ten round decision over Frankie Duran in Nogales, Mexico. He wasn’t nearly as aggressive as his previous fights and appeared to hold back after maneuvering Duran in position to land one of his thunderous shots. Still he won rather handily. With a title rematch set for February against former champion Halimi, his handlers knew he would have to show a lot more intensity than he displayed in the Duran fight if he hoped to retain his title.

The Becerra-Halimi rematch took place on February 4, 1960 at the Los Angeles Coliseum before a crowd of 31,830. The fight was shifted from its original local when it became apparent that the arena would not hold the thousands who applied for tickets. Becerra was now the most popular fighter to ever come out of Mexico. Halimi came out for the first round intent on boxing from long range where he had the advantage. He clearly took the round with his clever boxing. The second round was following the pattern of the first round when Alphonse caught Jose with a body punch and floored him for a one count. After the second round, Jose, as was the case in their first match, started to successfully trap the challenger along the ropes. But Halimi had learned from his first encounter with Becerra. Whenever Jose tried to get inside, Alphonse either used his speed to get out of harm’s way or tied the champion up until the referee ordered them to break. The fight turned into another tense and exciting affair but through the first six rounds Halimi clearly had the edge. He was out boxing Jose in every round and also able to successfully trade punches with him when pinned on the ropes.

In the seventh round Halimi was starting to show signs of fatigue for the first time from the torrid pace. Although he was still clearly out boxing the champion he did take a number of punishing left hooks to the head. In the eighth round Halimi missed a long left and before he could get set again, Becerra caught him with two beautiful left hooks that nearly dropped him. At the end of the eighth round Halimi’s corner pleaded with him not to mix it up with the champion. They implored him to box and keep the fight at long range. But Halimi didn’t listen to his corner. He was winning the fight with his combination boxing and slugging and apparently had no intention of changing tactics. Becerra’s handlers were telling him that he was behind in the scoring and that he needed to step it up or he was in danger of losing his title.

becerra-Halimi Fight 2-editedBecerra rushed from his corner to start the ninth. Halimi tried to catch Becerra with a right hand but missed. Becerra countered with a terrific right to the heart that caused Halimi to wince and followed with a left hook with full leverage that caught Halimi on the chin and dropped him flat on his back for the full count. Nat Fleischer, editor of Ring, reported from ringside. ”Mexico has furnished many top ringmen to the fistic world but none more popular than Jose Becerra, world bantamweight champion. Striking with the deadliness of a cobra, the Guadalajara fighter, in a dramatic finish, retained his world crown by stopping challenger Alphonse Halimi, in 48 seconds of the ninth round. One well placed left hook that crashed against the jaw of the challenger stiffened Halimi’s neck and dropped him like a log on the canvas where he was counted out. Ahead on points on the score cards of all officials and most of the writers, Halimi was well on the road to regain his throne. Then suddenly like a flash, one thunderous smash that came as a shock to the Frenchman’s many rooters, crashed Halimi’s margin and ended a contest that was replete with thrilling fighting and a dramatic ending. Becerra’s single punch momentarily held the crowd, consisting of more than half Mexican rooters, spellbound. Then with a sudden explosion came a roar of ‘Viva Becerra,’ a rush for ringside, the overturning of chairs, and sombreros tossed in the air as the Mexican fans gave vent to their enthusiasm. Pandemonium enveloped the stadium as the Becerra supporters rushed pell-mell all over the arena. It was a sight to behold!”

Jose engaged in two non-title fights before defending his title for the second time on May 23, 1960 in Tokyo, Japan against Kenji Yonekura. Jose retained his title by a close split decision. The fight resembled a track meet as Yonekura kept retreating, slipping punches and occasionally lashing out snappy lefts to the champion’s face. Becerra was the aggressor throughout and kept the pressure on for the full 15 rounds. Many of his punches were short of the mark, but he landed enough to sway two of the three officials.

On August 12, 1960 Jose knocked out veteran Chuy Rodriquez in four rounds of a non-title fight in Tampico, Mexico. Eighteen days later on August 30, 1960 Eloy Sanchez shocked the world as well as Jose when he kayoed the champion in the eighth round of their non-title fight in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Jose retired immediately after the fight.

There was much speculation about Jose’s abrupt retirement from the ring. Some believed he quit because of his loss to Sanchez. Others believed that Jose lost much of his fire after he killed Walt Ingram. They pointed to the fact that his vaunted left hook had been coming across with less assurance since the Ingram fight. And then there were rumors that he retired because of eye problems. The rumors were never substantiated, and Jose was too much a man to retire over a knockout loss. The feeling here is that Becerra retired because he just lost the fire in his belly for fighting after the Ingram tragedy. Jose was a humble man who came from a deeply religious family and never sought the adulation of the crowds that most fighters miss when their fighting days were over.

So like his idol Raul (Raton) Macias he, too, walked away from the ring at the age of 24. Although he remained retired, he did return for one fight on a special benefit show in Guadalajara, Mexico on October 13, 1962, outpointing Alberto Martinez in a six rounder. The win brought his final ring record to 70-5-2, with 42 kayos.

Becerra_Jose -Getty Images

Jose Holding up Ring Championship Belt – Getty Images

After boxing, Jose opened an electronic repair shop in Guadalajara, Mexico. He also invested his money in restaurants and apartment buildings, but eventually lost them to mismanagement. As he entered in his seventies he suffered from an assortment of physical ailments, but kept his mental faculties.  His health issues were eased by a grant from the Telemex-Tercel Foundation, Mexico’s leading philanthropic organization. On August 4, 2016 his health situation worsened and he finally passed away on August 6, 2016 at his home in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He was eighty years old.

He was elected to the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996, but has been shunned to date by the voters for the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Original article written in September 2000- updated August 7, 2016.

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Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016 http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/07/nevada-boxing-hall-of-fames-class-of-2016/ http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/07/nevada-boxing-hall-of-fames-class-of-2016/#respond Sun, 31 Jul 2016 17:02:00 +0000 http://www.ibroresearch.com/?p=11526 The Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame inducted its Class of 2016 on July 30, 2016 at Caesars Palace. Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, Ricardo “El Finito” Lopez, Christy Martin and Freddie Little were the fighters inducted. The hall also recognized trainers Kenny Adams and Thell Torrence, late gym owner and trainer Johnny Tocco, longtime boxing writer Tim Dahlberg, and TV and radio personality James “Smitty” Smith. Christy Martin  is the hall’s first woman inductee.

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STARS IN THE RING: JEWISH CHAMPIONS IN THE GOLDEN AGE OF BOXING http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/07/stars-in-the-ring-jewish-champions-in-the-golden-age-of-boxing/ Mon, 11 Jul 2016 15:30:08 +0000 http://www.ibroresearch.com/?p=11244 PRESS RELEASE

Mike Silver does it again! Another fistic literary knockout!

STARS IN THE RING: JEWISH CHAMPIONS IN THE GOLDEN AGE OF BOXING        

A Photographic History

      By Mike Silver

 Stars in The Ring Cover

By the author of the critically acclaimed “The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science”, here is the definitive history of the Jewish boxing experience. Eminent boxing historian Mike Silver presents this vibrant and colorful history in the first illustrated encyclopedic compendium of its kind. Included are biographies of 166 prominent Jewish boxers, numerous anecdotes, sidebars and over 200 photos.  An extensive appendix section rates the top Jewish boxers in 13 different categories and includes every championship fight and Madison Square Garden main involving a Jewish boxer.

This is not just a great boxing book; it is an important work of social history dealing with a significant aspect of American immigrant history from the late 1890s to the 1950s. “Stars in the Ring” will give you a ringside seat to a time when boxing was infused into the popular culture and rivaled baseball in popularity.

Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing: A Photographic History (Lyons Press, hardcover, 366 pages) is now available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Silver is a member of the International Boxing Research Organization. He is the author of The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science (McFarland Publishers, 2008).

 

 

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Springs Toledo’s IN THE CHEAP SEATS http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/07/springs-toledos-in-the-cheap-seats/ Sun, 10 Jul 2016 17:39:11 +0000 http://www.ibroresearch.com/?p=11238 Springs Toledo’s

IN THE CHEAP SEATS

Book Cover In The Cheap SeatsIn his latest collection of award-winning boxing essays, Springs Toledo takes a hard look at the hardest game from a seat next to yours. Where the widely-acclaimed The Gods of War (Tora, 2014) zoomed in at the greatness of the golden era, In the Cheap Seats zooms out for a panoramic view of the wild world of boxing: the true champions and contenders, the stumblebums trying to make a buck inside of six rounds, the fans who swear by it and sometimes swear at it, and the rich assortment of characters large and small that inevitably gather around the ring. Whether you’re a purist or a critic, a casual fan or a toe dipper, Toledo proves to be the perfect companion at the fights.

About the Author: Springs Toledo is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, International Boxing Research Organization, International Boxing Hall of Fame Committee, Ring 4 Veteran Boxers’ Association, and a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. His work has earned over twenty BWAA writing awards since 2010 and has been featured on NPR’s “Here & Now.”

Springs Toledo’s In The Cheap Seats (Tora, hardcover, $24.99, 320 pages) is now available at Amazon.com

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Ingemar Johansson Swedish Heavyweight Boxing Champion http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/07/ingemar-johansson-swedish-heavyweight-boxing-champion/ Sat, 09 Jul 2016 21:28:19 +0000 http://www.ibroresearch.com/?p=11132 Johansson CoverDESCRIPTION

Ingemar Johansson’s right hand–dubbed “The Hammer of Thor”–was the most fearsome in boxing, and Johansson’s three fights with Floyd Patterson rank among the sport’s classic rivalries. Yet most fans know little about the Swedish playboy who won the world heavyweight championship with a shocking third round knockout of Patterson and held it for six days short of a year (1959-1960).

During his reign, the raffish “Ingo” hit fashionable nightspots on two continents, romanced Elizabeth Taylor, and refused to kowtow to the mobsters who controlled boxing.

This first-ever biography of Johansson chronicles his fistic triumphs as a Goteborg teen prodigy, his humiliating disqualification for “cowardice” at the 1952 Olympics, his storybook romances with Birgit Lundgren and Edna Alsterlund and his post-career life and tragic early dementia.

AUTHOR

Ken Brooks is a freelance writer, educator and member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO). He lives in Panama City, Florida.

 

The full-length biography “Ingemar Johansson” has just been published by McFarland Publishing.  It is now available on Amazon in either softcover or an ebook. 

Link to Amazon

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Muhammad Ali dies at 74 http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/06/muhammad-ali-dies-at-74/ Sat, 04 Jun 2016 12:39:22 +0000 http://www.ibroresearch.com/?p=11445 Muhammad Ali dies at 74

Matt Schudel, Bart Barnes

THE WASHINGTON POST – June 4, 2016

 

Muhammad Ali, the charismatic three-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world and Olympic gold medalist who transcended the world of sports to become a symbol of the antiwar movement of the 1960s and ultimately a global ambassador for cross-cultural understanding, died Friday night at a hospital in Phoenix, where he was living. He was 74.

The Associated Press and other news outlets confirmed the death. The boxer had been hospitalized with respiratory problems related to Parkinson’s disease, which had been diagnosed in the 1980s.

Mr. Ali dominated boxing in the 1960s and 1970s and held the heavyweight title three times. His fights were among the most memorable and spectacular in history, but he quickly became at least as well known for his colorful personality, his showy antics in the ring and his standing as the country’s most visible member of the Nation of Islam.

When he claimed the heavyweight championship in 1964, with a surprising upset of the formidable Sonny Liston, Mr. Ali was known by his name at birth, Cassius Clay. The next day, he announced that he was a member of the Nation of Islam, a move considered shocking at the time, especially for an athlete. He soon changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be,” he said at the time, signaling his intent to define his career on his own terms. “I’m free to be what I want.”

Mr. Ali came to represent a new kind of athlete, someone who created his own style in defiance of the traditions of the past. Glib, handsome and unpredictable, he was perfectly suited to television, and he became a fixture on talk shows as well as sports programs.

He often spoke in rhyme, using it to belittle his opponents and embellish his own abilities. “This is the legend of Cassius Clay, the most beautiful fighter in the world today,” he said before his 1964 title bout. “The brash young boxer is something to see, and the heavyweight championship is his destiny.”

One of his assistants, Drew “Bundini” Brown, captured his lithe, graceful presence in the ring, saying Mr. Ali would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” The description entered the popular lexicon.

A funeral for Mr. Ali will be held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, according to The Associated Press. City officials scheduled a memorial service Saturday.

Mr. Ali appealed to people of every race, religion and background, but during the turbulent, divisive 1960s, he was particularly seen as a champion of African Americans and young people. Malcolm X, who recruited Mr. Ali to the Nation of Islam, once anointed him “the black man’s hero.”

In 1967, after Mr. Ali had been heavyweight champion for three years, he refused to be inducted into the Army during the Vietnam War. Despite the seeming contradiction of a boxer advocating nonviolence, he gave up his title in deference to the religious principle of pacifism.

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam,” Mr. Ali said in 1967, “while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”

His title was immediately taken away, and he was banned from his sport for more than three years. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but a prolonged appeals process kept him from serving time.

Mr. Ali’s decision outraged the old guard, including many sportswriters and middle Americans, who considered the boxer arrogant and unpatriotic. But as the cultures of youth and black America were surging to the fore in the late 1960s, Mr. Ali was gradually transformed, through his sheer magnetism and sense of moral purpose, into one of the most revered figures of his time.

A casual statement he made in 1966 — “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong” — distilled the antiwar views of a generation.

“Ali, along with Robert Kennedy and the Beatles in the persona of John Lennon, captured the ’60s to perfection,” writer Jack Newfield told Thomas Hauser, the author of a 1991 oral biography, “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times.”

“In a rapidly changing world,” Newfield added, “he underwent profound personal change and influenced rather than simply reflected his times.”

Later, as Mr. Ali’s boxing career receded into the past, and as neurological infirmities left him increasingly slowed and silenced, he became a symbol of unity and brotherhood, someone whose very presence and image acquired an aura of the spiritual. He was greeted by thousands whenever he toured the world.

He “evolved from a feared warrior,” Hauser wrote, “to a benevolent monarch and ultimately to a benign venerated figure.”

In 1996, Mr. Ali stood at the top of a podium during the opening ceremonies of the Summer Games in Atlanta in what became one of the most indelible moments in Olympic history. Shakily holding the torch as an estimated 3 billion people watched on television, Mr. Ali lit the Olympic flame, marking the official beginning of the Games. He stood alone before the world, a fragile, yet still indomitable demigod.

 

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Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2016 http://www.ibroresearch.com/2016/06/minnesota-boxing-hall-of-fame-class-of-2013/ Thu, 02 Jun 2016 15:49:59 +0000 http://www.ibroresearch.com/?p=7589 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2016

The Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame is proud to announce its class for 2016, and will induct these new members at its annual banquet, scheduled for Oct 14 at Mystic Lake Casino.

2016 Inductees

 Rodney Bobick – Jim Hegerle – Larry LaCoursiere – Fred Lenhart –  My Sullivan –  George Blair – Leo  Ryan –  Earl Kaehn –  Pat Killen

Special Recognition

Rob Brant

The banquet is the seventh and includes several individuals closely identified with Minnesota  boxing over the years. Rodney Bobick of Bowlus, Jim Hegerle of St. Paul and Larry LaCoursiere of Hastings were chosen in the modern category. Fred Lenhart and My Sullivan, both St. Paulites, were named in the Old Timer category. George Blair, Leo Ryan and Earl Kaehn complete the list of individuals in the Expanded category. Pat Killen, a native of Philadelphia who later moved to St. Paul, represents the Pioneer Category.

Rodney Bobick lived in the shadow of his more famous brother Duane, but was a talented boxer in his own right with power, hand speed and chin to back it up. His tragic death in a car accident cut short a career that included fights against Scott LeDoux, Ron Stander and Larry Holmes among others. He was stopped only once in 44 fights, by Holmes, the eventual heavyweight champion.

Hegerle was a hard-hitting middleweight from West Seventh Street in St. Paul. Regarded for his punching power, with either hand, he had four tough fights against fellow Minnesotan Joe Schmolze. He fought several world champions or top-ranked contenders and won 35 of his 44 professional bouts with 20 knockouts.

LaCoursiere of Hastings was one of the top welterweights in Minnesota history. His record of 26-9-1 included fights against top-rated opponents, including Hector Camacho Jr., Julio Casear Chavez, Winky Wright and Tony Lopez. LaCoursiere defeated fellow Minnesota Hall of Famer Mike Evgen for the state welterweight title.

Lenhart was born in the Czech Republic and raised in Washington, but he became a Minnesotan and owned a saloon in White Bear Lake. Fighting as a light heavyweight, he compiled a 101-22- 13 record with 32 knockouts, a compilation that included two victories by decision over fellow Hall of Fame inductee Jack Gibbons.

Sullivan, a native of St. Paul, compiled a 34-12-3 record with 25 KOs and was 18-6-1 in newspaper decisions during a career that ran from 1925 to 1942. He was a talented fighter with a left hook that played a role in his substantial list of knockouts. He had a distaste for training or his record likely would have been even better. Nonetheless, he defeated former champion Vince Dundee after losing to him the first time.

Ryan is regarded as one of the top fight trainers in state history. He trained Jackie Graves during the first 30 fights of his career and was the corner man for most of Minnesota’s top fighters for three decades, Del Flanagan, My Sullivan and Jackie Burke among them.

Earl Kaehn was a trainer and manager who started the careers of Glen and Del Flanagan, charter members of the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame. Kaehn also trained Jackie Sharkey and Everett Rightmire. He breaks new ground as the father of charter Hall of Fame inductee Bill Kaehn, the only such father-son team to be so honored.

Killen was a native of Haddington, Pa., but later called St. Paul home. A heavyweight, he compiled a remarkable 55-2-3 record that included 52 knockouts. He was knocked out by Joe McAuliffe and disqualified in the only two losses of his career.

Blair is the pre-eminent historian of the state’s boxing history, contributing articles to Ring Magazine over six decades. Blair has logged the history, the fights and background, of all of Minnesota’s professional boxers from the first to the last on that list.

Brant is an unbeaten middleweight from St. Paul. He is 20-0 with 13 kayos. Born on October 2, 1990, Brant is a two-time Upper Midwest Golden Gloves champion.

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