Classic American West Coast Boxing

For discussions on the great and not so great fighters of the past.
bennie
Posts: 13476
Joined: 15 Nov 2002, 09:53

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby bennie » 22 Sep 2008, 10:44

kikibalt wrote:Image
Jackie Kid Berg


Kid Berg was a regular on the London fight scene for many, many years. Despite this pic, he was apparently a wow with the ladies in his fighting heyday.
"I can remember when you were a champion lover," Reg Gutteridge told him in later years.
"I'm paying for it now," cracked Jackie.
kikibalt
Posts: 13122
Joined: 24 Oct 2005, 18:39

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby kikibalt » 22 Sep 2008, 10:50

I email Hap Navarro inviting him to join us here, below is part of his response to me,
hopefully he will join us soon.


Kiki:

It would be a pleasure to join you and your buddies on the "Forum" but I would like to wait until there is something relevant to my days in the game to do so. It looks quite interesting to me.

I'm trying to remember some of the facts surrounding the career of California Jackie Wilson, one of the real gentlemen I ever met, and a heluva good fighter, too. In addition, Jackie became a standout artist, oil on canvas. I saw most of his coast fights, and still remember the Tommy Bell scraps, one of which was a real corker, Kiki.

You know, if Robinson had not been on top at the time, chances are either Bell or Wilson would have been welter champion. Jackie was in the army when he was thrown in with LaMotta and then Robinson in a 30 day period at the Garden., losing closely, even though LaMotta outweighed him by 15 pounds.

Take care, my friend

hap navarro
kikibalt
Posts: 13122
Joined: 24 Oct 2005, 18:39

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby kikibalt » 22 Sep 2008, 10:54

raylawpc wrote:
Rick Farris wrote:
kikibalt wrote:Image
Mushy Callaghan (R) and Young "Baby" Manuel


I had the opportunity to meet Mushy Callaghan in 1971, thru Suey Welch and George Parnassus in George's office at the Eks Club near MacArthur Park in L.A.

-Rick


That looks like Mushy Callahan, the former world junior welterweight champion. I don't think that's Mushy Callaghan, a Canadian who fought as a middleweight in the late 30s.


You're right, Tom. That is Mushy Callaghan, the former Jr. welterweight champion.
kikibalt
Posts: 13122
Joined: 24 Oct 2005, 18:39

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby kikibalt » 22 Sep 2008, 10:59

Chalky Wright

Image
"Chalky"

By Diego
raylawpc
Posts: 4871
Joined: 21 Mar 2008, 17:21

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby raylawpc » 22 Sep 2008, 11:02

kikibalt wrote:I email Hap Navarro inviting him to join us here, below is part of his response to me,
hopefully he will join us soon.


Kiki:

It would be a pleasure to join you and your buddies on the "Forum" but I would like to wait until there is something relevant to my days in the game to do so. It looks quite interesting to me.

I'm trying to remember some of the facts surrounding the career of California Jackie Wilson, one of the real gentlemen I ever met, and a heluva good fighter, too. In addition, Jackie became a standout artist, oil on canvas. I saw most of his coast fights, and still remember the Tommy Bell scraps, one of which was a real corker, Kiki.

You know, if Robinson had not been on top at the time, chances are either Bell or Wilson would have been welter champion. Jackie was in the army when he was thrown in with LaMotta and then Robinson in a 30 day period at the Garden., losing closely, even though LaMotta outweighed him by 15 pounds.

Take care, my friend

hap navarro


I hope Hap joins us.
Last edited by raylawpc on 22 Sep 2008, 13:29, edited 1 time in total.
bennie
Posts: 13476
Joined: 15 Nov 2002, 09:53

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby bennie » 22 Sep 2008, 11:06

bennie wrote:
Randyman wrote:
kikibalt wrote:Image

Nino LaRocca vs Filipe Canela

Image

Seeing these photos of Felipe Canela bring to mind the wisdom of Mel Epstein, and something I learned from him and applied after his death. Mel passed away in 1980. Sometime in 1980 and into 1981 I started training again at the Main Street Gym. It had been a few years for me. Larry Soto was my trainer now. Larry was Felipe's trainer. Felipe had turned pro earlier in the year and had about five or six fights by the time I met him.

Years before Mel would tell me how a fighter would come back to the gym after a long lay off. He would begin the long process of getting back in shape. On the first couple of days of sparring, his timing might be off, might be a little winded, might get hit a little more than usual, maybe a lot more. As the week wore on things might start picking up, the timing starts to come back, the wind is better and the fighter is not getting hit quite as much and his punches are landing with a little more snap, with a little more authority. Then with out realizing it everything starts to fall in place, the movement around the ring, the slipping punches, the timing, the feinting and the punches are now crisp and landing when and where you want them to and you are no longer getting winded. You are back in business.

This is what came to mind the first day Felipe and I sparred. He was pretty rough in the gym, as I would expect him to be. He had no qualms about using me as a punching bag, and he did. But I thought about what Mel had said and kept it at the forefront of my mind. I still remember the turn around. He threw several punches and most of them missed. I was slipping his punches now and countering with my own. I remember landing a several punch combination when he was on the ropes. It felt good. I got his attention and his respect. I was back in business, at least for the time being. Canela by the way was a true gentleman and he had a respectable career.


Nice post, Randy. Canela was a good fighter. The LaRocca fight proved to be a crossroads one but as I said earlier, LaRocca also beat a peak Kirkland Laing, the man who beat Duran.



I once saw a pic of LaRocca after he outscored Pete Ranzany in the early 1980s. They 'shot' Nino the next day with a big plaster across his nose and his right hand in a cast, and not looking very happy.
I remember thinking, Ranzany is a tough bastard.
bennie
Posts: 13476
Joined: 15 Nov 2002, 09:53

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby bennie » 22 Sep 2008, 11:26

kikibalt wrote:Image
Hector Camacho vs Howard Davis


When Howard Davis challenged Edwin Rosario for the WBC lightweight title in Puerto Rico in 1984, he copped a knockdown in the dying seconds and thus lost the final round 10-8.
Scores read:
117-113 (Rosario)
115-114 (Rosario)
114-113 (Davis)

Say no more.
Randyman
Posts: 3705
Joined: 20 Jul 2008, 20:19

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby Randyman » 22 Sep 2008, 11:33

Rick Farris wrote:
kikibalt wrote:Image
Mushy Callaghan (R) and Young "Baby" Manuel


I had the opportunity to meet Mushy Callaghan in 1971, thru Suey Welch and George Parnassus in George's office at the Eks Club near MacArthur Park in L.A.

-Rick

I met Mushy Callahan in 1977. Mel Epstein introduced me to him. It was at Howie Steindler's funeral service. Callahan became involved in the movie industry as a boxing choreographer. He once said of Elvis Presly that, (and I'm paraphrasing) "of all the actors I've trained for the movies only Elvis could have been a real fighter". That's quite a compliment. It was an honor to meet him and shake his hand.
kikibalt
Posts: 13122
Joined: 24 Oct 2005, 18:39

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby kikibalt » 22 Sep 2008, 11:36

Kiki: On pager 311 of your forum posts, Rick Faris could not remember the beach bar that he had been in with Tommy Garland and stated that I knew who owned the place. He's rght: the bar was a popular waterfront hang out owned by former Venice lightweight Babe Brandelli.

hap navarro

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Babe Brandelli's record

Babe Brandelli

Alias Bad Boy
Country USA
Global Id 54483
Division Featherweight


Career Record © http://www.boxrec.com

Date Opponent Location Result
1943-08-02 Horace Jackson Ocean Park, USA W TKO 3
1941-08-20 Earl Turner Oakland, USA L KO 4
1941-06-16 Francois DeTombeaux Ocean Park, USA L PTS 6
1941-03-24 Pete Giacoma Ocean Park, USA W PTS 6
1941-03-10 Jimmy Garrison Ocean Park, USA L PTS 6
1941-02-19 Jimmy Garrison San Bernardino, USA L PTS 8
1941-01-27 Chief Evening Thunder San Bernardino, USA L TKO 5
1940-12-16 Elmer Lewis Ocean Park, USA L PTS 6
1940-11-25 Wesley Sellers Ocean Park, USA L PTS 6
1940-11-04 Luis Carranza Ocean Park, USA W PTS 6
1940-10-07 Bobby Castro Ocean Park, USA D PTS 6
1940-07-08 Mike Ketchell Ocean Park, USA W PTS 6
1940-06-24 Danny Saenz Ocean Park, USA L PTS 6
1940-05-13 Georgie Crouch Ocean Park, USA L KO 1
1940-04-15 Jimmy Lakes Ocean Park, USA W PTS 8
1940-03-18 Elmer Lewis Ocean Park, USA W PTS 8
1940-03-01 Irwin Kay Kaplan Los Angeles, USA L PTS 6
1940-01-29 Les Red Green Ocean Park, USA L PTS 8
1940-01-08 Bert Velasquez Ocean Park, USA W PTS 8
1939-12-04 Louis Flyer Ocean Park, USA W PTS 8
1939-11-20 Everett Simington Ocean Park, USA W PTS 8
1939-10-09 Georgie Hansford Ocean Park, USA L KO 10
1939-10-02 Jackie Carter Ocean Park, USA W PTS 8
1939-09-11 Georgie Hansford Ocean Park, USA W PTS 8
1939-08-21 Les Red Green Ocean Park, USA L PTS 8
1939-03-24 Everett Simington Hollywood, USA L PTS 6
1939-02-01 Bus Breese Ocean Park, USA D PTS 8
1938-12-30 Jimmy McCready Hollywood, USA L PTS 6
1938-11-01 Louis Flyer Los Angeles, USA L TKO 8
1938-09-06 California Jackie Wilson Los Angeles, USA L TKO 2
1938-08-09 Wally Hally Los Angeles, USA D PTS 10
1938-07-12 Georgie Crouch Los Angeles, USA L PTS 10
1938-06-14 Mickey Farber Los Angeles, USA W PTS 8
1938-05-31 Carl Red Guggino Los Angeles, USA L PTS 10
1938-05-10 Mickey Farber Los Angeles, USA L PTS 6
1938-04-29 Babe Nunez Hollywood, USA W PTS 4
1938-04-05 Louis Flyer Los Angeles, USA D TD 1
1938-03-22 Chico Romo Los Angeles, USA L TKO 3
1938-03-11 Elmer Lewis Hollywood, USA W PTS 4
1937-11-12 Chato Valencia Hollywood, USA W PTS 6
1937-10-08 Elmer Lewis Hollywood, USA W PTS 6
1937-09-24 Chato Valencia Hollywood, USA L TKO 3
1937-03-25 Carlos Miranda Hollywood, USA L PTS 6
1937-03-05 Chuey Solozano Hollywood, USA W PTS 4
1937-02-19 Icky Watanabe Hollywood, USA W TKO 1
1937-01-29 Carlos Miranda Hollywood, USA L KO 2

Record to Date
Won 18 (KOs 2) Lost 24 Drawn 4 Total 46
bennie
Posts: 13476
Joined: 15 Nov 2002, 09:53

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby bennie » 22 Sep 2008, 13:08

Where is Rob these days? "El Gato" doesn't post much today, either. His lawnmower story was a classic.
raylawpc
Posts: 4871
Joined: 21 Mar 2008, 17:21

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby raylawpc » 22 Sep 2008, 13:13

bennie wrote:
bennie wrote:
Randyman wrote:Seeing these photos of Felipe Canela bring to mind the wisdom of Mel Epstein, and something I learned from him and applied after his death. Mel passed away in 1980. Sometime in 1980 and into 1981 I started training again at the Main Street Gym. It had been a few years for me. Larry Soto was my trainer now. Larry was Felipe's trainer. Felipe had turned pro earlier in the year and had about five or six fights by the time I met him.

Years before Mel would tell me how a fighter would come back to the gym after a long lay off. He would begin the long process of getting back in shape. On the first couple of days of sparring, his timing might be off, might be a little winded, might get hit a little more than usual, maybe a lot more. As the week wore on things might start picking up, the timing starts to come back, the wind is better and the fighter is not getting hit quite as much and his punches are landing with a little more snap, with a little more authority. Then with out realizing it everything starts to fall in place, the movement around the ring, the slipping punches, the timing, the feinting and the punches are now crisp and landing when and where you want them to and you are no longer getting winded. You are back in business.

This is what came to mind the first day Felipe and I sparred. He was pretty rough in the gym, as I would expect him to be. He had no qualms about using me as a punching bag, and he did. But I thought about what Mel had said and kept it at the forefront of my mind. I still remember the turn around. He threw several punches and most of them missed. I was slipping his punches now and countering with my own. I remember landing a several punch combination when he was on the ropes. It felt good. I got his attention and his respect. I was back in business, at least for the time being. Canela by the way was a true gentleman and he had a respectable career.


Nice post, Randy. Canela was a good fighter. The LaRocca fight proved to be a crossroads one but as I said earlier, LaRocca also beat a peak Kirkland Laing, the man who beat Duran.



I once saw a pic of LaRocca after he outscored Pete Ranzany in the early 1980s. They 'shot' Nino the next day with a big plaster across his nose and his right hand in a cast, and not looking very happy.
I remember thinking, Ranzany is a tough bastard.


Yes, he was. Its pretty amazing to watch Pipino Cuevas take a tough guy like him apart in just two rounds back in 1978. I think only two other guys turned the trick - Mando Muniz and Ray Leonard. But Cuevas just disassembled the guy.
bennie
Posts: 13476
Joined: 15 Nov 2002, 09:53

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby bennie » 22 Sep 2008, 13:33

Just read an article on Ranzany and he picked up an eye injury against Sean O'Grady but stuck around for a couple more fights and quit after LaRocca. A punishing fight for both men.

Image

Pete as he looks today. He works as a prison officer.


Image

Pete gets champion billing against Leonard.
bennie
Posts: 13476
Joined: 15 Nov 2002, 09:53

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby bennie » 22 Sep 2008, 13:43

Robert Mladinich

In the late seventies, before the Sacramento Kings joined the National Basketball Association, and before television networks like HBO and Showtime were in the business of creating superstars, welterweight Pete Ranzany was that city’s sole sports entity. Campaigning from 1973-83, Ranzany was a perennial contender who fought 57 of his 69 bouts in Sacramento, 55 of them at the Memorial Auditorium. In compiling a record of 59-8-2 (38 KOS), he never embarrassed himself or his hometown, even against the likes of such legendary champions as Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfred Benitez and Pipino Cuevas. Ranzany was all action all the time, and his local popularity was akin to the esteem in which middleweight John Duddy is held today in his adopted hometown of New York.

"I loved fighting in Sacramento," said Ranzany, now 54 and an 18-year correctional peace officer (prison guard) at the maximum security California State Prison at Sacramento, which was formerly known as Folsom Prison. "It was my town. The fans were really good to me. When I won, the whole city won. When I lost, I felt like I let the whole city down."

Before more than 17,000 fans in September 1978, Ranzany challenged Cuevas for the WBA title in Hughes Stadium. His trainers, Joey Lopes and Herman Carter, had devised an intricate battle plan where the usually offensive-minded Ranzany would take Cuevas into the later rounds before going for the knockout. All went well in the first round, when Ranzany boxed the ears off the square-jawed, murderous-punching Mexican champion.

“Cuevas was a great, great puncher, but he couldn’t box a lick,” explained Ranzany. “I couldn’t do anything wrong in the first round. After I buckled his knees I went back to my corner and told Herman Carter, ‘I’m gonna be champ. I’m gonna punish him the next round.’”

“Boy, do what you trained to,” implored Carter. “And as he was telling me this I’m listening to all these thousands of people screaming ‘Pete, Pete, Pete.’ The next thing I remember is asking what happened. I later learned that he knocked me down twice, and the fight was stopped in the second round.”

Ranzany didn’t lick his wounds for long. He rebounded with five consecutive victories, and even won the NABF title from Clyde Gray of Canada. However, in his first defense of that title, he was stopped by Leonard in the fourth round after getting hit with nearly 30 unanswered punches. Even his career high $75,000 purse did little to offset his disappointment. “Leonard was just awesome,” said Ranzany. “I had already lost a close decision to him in the amateurs, so I thought I knew what to expect. But he had gotten so much better.”

Immediately after the fight, Ranzany was still groggy but remembered how touched he was when one of his previous opponents, Rudy Barro, came to his dressing room cradling his infant son to congratulate him on his knockout victory. When Ranzany attempted to congratulate Leonard, the new champion’s dressing room door was slammed in his face. Minutes later, Ranzany was being hustled to the post-fight press conference when his girlfriend Rose, who is now his wife, halted the procession. “Being the puppy dog that I was, I’m on my way,” recalled Ranzany. “But Rose stepped in and said, ‘Oh, no. No interviews.’”

Rose insisted he be taken to the hospital. While no physical injuries were incurred, Ranzany was emotionally devastated. “Nobody ever stressed me out like Leonard,” explained Ranzany. “He knocked the crap out of me, and he scared the crap out of me.” Leonard later told him that he would have let him last longer if he wasn’t trying so hard to win.

Again the resilient Ranzany rebounded with five wins and a draw, before losing a 10-round decision to Wilfred Benitez in Sacramento. “Benitez was the best pure boxer I ever faced,” said Ranzany. “It was like he had radar. Cuevas was the best puncher by far, and Leonard was the best all-around fighter. He could do it all.”

It is unfair to only remember Ranzany for his high-profile losses to three Hall of Fame champions. He did beat former lightweight champion Sean O’Grady, top contender Randy Shields (with whom he also fought a draw), and previously undefeated prospects Adolfo Viruet and Bruce Finch. The Viruet fight was so exciting, fans threw more than $300 in coins into the ring.

Ranzany, who still lives in Sacramento, grew up poor in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods. His father, who was of Italian descent, deserted the family early on, forcing his mother Theda, who was of German and Irish stock, to clean houses to support her five children. Ranzany was extremely sensitive and had no propensity for fighting, but was in awe of the attention a local amateur sensation named “Sweet” Pete Peterson was garnering. Four months after he began training at Tommy O’Leary’s Gym, Ranzany engaged in his first bout.

“I fought an [American] Indian kid who threw a lot of wild punches before I knocked him cold,” recalled Ranzany. “All the fighters were sharing the same dressing room, and I saw him crying with his father after the fight. I was devastated, and said this is not for me. I was ready to quit, but then I walked outside and all these people started asking for my autograph. From that moment on, I was hooked.”

Ranzany went on to have a stellar amateur career, and even represented the U.S. Army from 1970-73. He beat future professional champion Carlos Palomino at the 1972 Olympic Trials, but lost to eventual gold medalist Sugar Ray Seales in the finals.

He remembers getting a real education into boxing nuances while competing in the national AAU championships in Boston.

“After I won my first fight, people in Boston made such a big deal about me being Italian,” he recalled. “I was even getting pats on the back from the wagon vendors who were selling calzones on the street. In Sacramento you were white, black or Mexican, so I never thought much of being Italian. But it was sure a big deal there. Then some Italian guys beat up a black guy who came into their neighborhood, and I didn’t feel comfortable separating myself from other people anymore.”

When discharged from the Army, Ranzany debated whether to turn pro in Los Angeles or attend college to study social work in Sacramento. The late Victor Swezey, a reporter for the Sacramento Bee, convinced him to stay at home and do both. While attending college, where he eventually earned an associate’s degree in social science, 10 businessmen used the first three letters of Ranzany’s name and his hometown to form Ransac, a corporation that sponsored his career. “It was like owning a piece of a horse,” jokes Ranzany.

Ranzany never won a world title, but is remembered fondly by all who had the pleasure of attending any of his fights. “I was never much of a boxing fan, but even I got caught up in the excitement and went to many of Pete’s fights,” said Richard Schiveley, a lifelong resident of Sacramento. “Back then we had no professional sports teams in town. He was it. And boy, was he popular. Every one of his fights was a major event.”

While beating O’Grady in October 1982, Ranzany suffered a serious eye injury caused by an accidental thumb. He was wise enough to retire two fights later, after losing a decision in Italy to local hero Nino LaRocca, who was 54-0 at the time. Several years later, Sal Lopez, a onetime opponent and brother of former champion Tony “The Tiger” Lopez, also of Sacramento, convinced Ranzany to become a prison guard. Ranzany had thought about becoming a social worker, but was disturbed by tales of abused and molested children. He also considered the California Highway Patrol, but didn’t like the idea of having to tell people a family member had been killed in a car crash.

When first assigned to Folsom Prison, he guarded Angelo Buono who, along with his cousin Kenny Bianchi, were known as the Hillside Stranglers. Buono used his Italian surname to ingratiate himself with Ranzany, and constantly told him how he was railroaded by the criminal justice system. Ranzany took it all in stride, but was shocked when Buono approached him after seeing him talking, in a professional capacity, to a female medical technician.

“He got this crazy look on his face and started calling women all sorts of names, and telling me you couldn’t trust them,” said Ranzany. “It was a real eye-opener. He couldn’t help but show his true colors. That made things very clear to me.”

Ranzany also ran the prison’s then-lauded boxing program, but soon grew disgruntled by the lethargy of the participants. “Most of them didn’t like the discipline,” he explained. “[When] I made them spar once a week, I went from 50 fighters to 16 overnight. In the movies, inmates are usually really tough. But after working with the team for a year, I bet my sister could have beaten many of the fighters if they didn’t have a knife or a gun.”

Ranzany couldn’t help but recall the words of advice he had once received from a close friend, former Sacramento police chief Jack Hearns. “He said if you work with losers all the time, you’ll start to feel like a loser,” said Ranzany. “He said a prison guard’s job was actually much harder than a cop’s job. Both are dealing with negativity all the time, but cops are not fighting crime every minute. Prison guards are dealing with criminals everyday. And cops get a chance to see positive results once in a while. Prison guards don’t.”

Thankfully, Ranzany never gave into the negativism that is so pervasive in such a challenging vocation. He has immense loyalty to his colleagues, and loves the camaraderie they share because of the inherent dangers of the job. Although Ranzany never became a world champion, the way he sees it he still came out on top.

“I think I always did everything for the right reasons,” he explained. “I never fought for money, I fought to be champ. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I quit. For years people tried to lure me out of retirement with all sorts of offers, but I knew what was best for me. I walked away, and have never looked back.”
Rick Farris
Posts: 7200
Joined: 15 Feb 2008, 16:04

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby Rick Farris » 22 Sep 2008, 14:16

Hap Navarro & The Blue Palm Bar . . .

The best stories l've heard about the legendary Hollywood Legion Stadium came from Hap Navarro, and some related to his favorite watering hole, "The Blue Palm," which still exists today on Hollywood Blvd. right across the back alley of what was once the Legion Stadium. Today the old Hollywood Legion Stadium is a Balleys Fitness Club, but the Blue Palm is perhaps more popular and trendy than ever. Hap's tales of his old hooch bar and the boxing legends that drank there are fascinating. In due course, I'll share what I have proposed to the WBHOF relating to this former boxing hang out, but maybe Hap will bring a smile to our faces with a couple Jackie McCoy or Speedy Dado memories from the Blue Palm.

Hap told me that he'd walk across the alley from his office and enter thru the back door of the Blue Palm. A number of boxing personalities would be sitting at the bar and the moment Hap walked in, one ex-pug in particlular would announce the Legion matchmaker's presence . . . "Hap Navarro, I can knock you out in 42 rounds!" The pug making the announcement was former champ, Speedy Dado. This was Hap's que to buy a round.

Of course, such stories would be much better coming from the guy who was there, a guy I wish would join us here, a guy I truly miss, one who I have always held in the highest regard. I know better than to push, Hap. But damn, I really miss you. And to those who haven't read what Hap has written, well, if he comes, it will be a God send, and we can all just take a back seat and enjoy what we'll have been blessed with. We think we know boxing, and we do, however, Hap takes things to another level! I won't say another word, but Hap, this is your kinda place.

We cannot start to post much about your era Hap, just what Frank can put together for us (and he does a helluva job) because we weren't there, and even Frank was a kid. You have no clue what I have learned from you, what ideas and thoughts that have evolved from the info you so kindly shared once on the CBZ. I won't disrespect that great CBZ thread by saying this one is better, becasue when it was rolling strong, that CBZ thread was the best. But today that thread no longer exists, and this one does, and it has everything and more than that one did, except the most important element . . . HAP NAVARRO.

Enough said . . .

-Rick Farris
Last edited by Rick Farris on 23 Sep 2008, 01:42, edited 4 times in total.
raylawpc
Posts: 4871
Joined: 21 Mar 2008, 17:21

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby raylawpc » 22 Sep 2008, 14:58

bennie wrote:Robert Mladinich

In the late seventies, before the Sacramento Kings joined the National Basketball Association, and before television networks like HBO and Showtime were in the business of creating superstars, welterweight Pete Ranzany was that city’s sole sports entity. Campaigning from 1973-83, Ranzany was a perennial contender who fought 57 of his 69 bouts in Sacramento, 55 of them at the Memorial Auditorium. In compiling a record of 59-8-2 (38 KOS), he never embarrassed himself or his hometown, even against the likes of such legendary champions as Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfred Benitez and Pipino Cuevas. Ranzany was all action all the time, and his local popularity was akin to the esteem in which middleweight John Duddy is held today in his adopted hometown of New York.

"I loved fighting in Sacramento," said Ranzany, now 54 and an 18-year correctional peace officer (prison guard) at the maximum security California State Prison at Sacramento, which was formerly known as Folsom Prison. "It was my town. The fans were really good to me. When I won, the whole city won. When I lost, I felt like I let the whole city down."

Before more than 17,000 fans in September 1978, Ranzany challenged Cuevas for the WBA title in Hughes Stadium. His trainers, Joey Lopes and Herman Carter, had devised an intricate battle plan where the usually offensive-minded Ranzany would take Cuevas into the later rounds before going for the knockout. All went well in the first round, when Ranzany boxed the ears off the square-jawed, murderous-punching Mexican champion.

“Cuevas was a great, great puncher, but he couldn’t box a lick,” explained Ranzany. “I couldn’t do anything wrong in the first round. After I buckled his knees I went back to my corner and told Herman Carter, ‘I’m gonna be champ. I’m gonna punish him the next round.’”

“Boy, do what you trained to,” implored Carter. “And as he was telling me this I’m listening to all these thousands of people screaming ‘Pete, Pete, Pete.’ The next thing I remember is asking what happened. I later learned that he knocked me down twice, and the fight was stopped in the second round.”

Ranzany didn’t lick his wounds for long. He rebounded with five consecutive victories, and even won the NABF title from Clyde Gray of Canada. However, in his first defense of that title, he was stopped by Leonard in the fourth round after getting hit with nearly 30 unanswered punches. Even his career high $75,000 purse did little to offset his disappointment. “Leonard was just awesome,” said Ranzany. “I had already lost a close decision to him in the amateurs, so I thought I knew what to expect. But he had gotten so much better.”

Immediately after the fight, Ranzany was still groggy but remembered how touched he was when one of his previous opponents, Rudy Barro, came to his dressing room cradling his infant son to congratulate him on his knockout victory. When Ranzany attempted to congratulate Leonard, the new champion’s dressing room door was slammed in his face. Minutes later, Ranzany was being hustled to the post-fight press conference when his girlfriend Rose, who is now his wife, halted the procession. “Being the puppy dog that I was, I’m on my way,” recalled Ranzany. “But Rose stepped in and said, ‘Oh, no. No interviews.’”

Rose insisted he be taken to the hospital. While no physical injuries were incurred, Ranzany was emotionally devastated. “Nobody ever stressed me out like Leonard,” explained Ranzany. “He knocked the crap out of me, and he scared the crap out of me.” Leonard later told him that he would have let him last longer if he wasn’t trying so hard to win.

Again the resilient Ranzany rebounded with five wins and a draw, before losing a 10-round decision to Wilfred Benitez in Sacramento. “Benitez was the best pure boxer I ever faced,” said Ranzany. “It was like he had radar. Cuevas was the best puncher by far, and Leonard was the best all-around fighter. He could do it all.”

It is unfair to only remember Ranzany for his high-profile losses to three Hall of Fame champions. He did beat former lightweight champion Sean O’Grady, top contender Randy Shields (with whom he also fought a draw), and previously undefeated prospects Adolfo Viruet and Bruce Finch. The Viruet fight was so exciting, fans threw more than $300 in coins into the ring.

Ranzany, who still lives in Sacramento, grew up poor in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods. His father, who was of Italian descent, deserted the family early on, forcing his mother Theda, who was of German and Irish stock, to clean houses to support her five children. Ranzany was extremely sensitive and had no propensity for fighting, but was in awe of the attention a local amateur sensation named “Sweet” Pete Peterson was garnering. Four months after he began training at Tommy O’Leary’s Gym, Ranzany engaged in his first bout.

“I fought an [American] Indian kid who threw a lot of wild punches before I knocked him cold,” recalled Ranzany. “All the fighters were sharing the same dressing room, and I saw him crying with his father after the fight. I was devastated, and said this is not for me. I was ready to quit, but then I walked outside and all these people started asking for my autograph. From that moment on, I was hooked.”

Ranzany went on to have a stellar amateur career, and even represented the U.S. Army from 1970-73. He beat future professional champion Carlos Palomino at the 1972 Olympic Trials, but lost to eventual gold medalist Sugar Ray Seales in the finals.

He remembers getting a real education into boxing nuances while competing in the national AAU championships in Boston.

“After I won my first fight, people in Boston made such a big deal about me being Italian,” he recalled. “I was even getting pats on the back from the wagon vendors who were selling calzones on the street. In Sacramento you were white, black or Mexican, so I never thought much of being Italian. But it was sure a big deal there. Then some Italian guys beat up a black guy who came into their neighborhood, and I didn’t feel comfortable separating myself from other people anymore.”

When discharged from the Army, Ranzany debated whether to turn pro in Los Angeles or attend college to study social work in Sacramento. The late Victor Swezey, a reporter for the Sacramento Bee, convinced him to stay at home and do both. While attending college, where he eventually earned an associate’s degree in social science, 10 businessmen used the first three letters of Ranzany’s name and his hometown to form Ransac, a corporation that sponsored his career. “It was like owning a piece of a horse,” jokes Ranzany.

Ranzany never won a world title, but is remembered fondly by all who had the pleasure of attending any of his fights. “I was never much of a boxing fan, but even I got caught up in the excitement and went to many of Pete’s fights,” said Richard Schiveley, a lifelong resident of Sacramento. “Back then we had no professional sports teams in town. He was it. And boy, was he popular. Every one of his fights was a major event.”

While beating O’Grady in October 1982, Ranzany suffered a serious eye injury caused by an accidental thumb. He was wise enough to retire two fights later, after losing a decision in Italy to local hero Nino LaRocca, who was 54-0 at the time. Several years later, Sal Lopez, a onetime opponent and brother of former champion Tony “The Tiger” Lopez, also of Sacramento, convinced Ranzany to become a prison guard. Ranzany had thought about becoming a social worker, but was disturbed by tales of abused and molested children. He also considered the California Highway Patrol, but didn’t like the idea of having to tell people a family member had been killed in a car crash.

When first assigned to Folsom Prison, he guarded Angelo Buono who, along with his cousin Kenny Bianchi, were known as the Hillside Stranglers. Buono used his Italian surname to ingratiate himself with Ranzany, and constantly told him how he was railroaded by the criminal justice system. Ranzany took it all in stride, but was shocked when Buono approached him after seeing him talking, in a professional capacity, to a female medical technician.

“He got this crazy look on his face and started calling women all sorts of names, and telling me you couldn’t trust them,” said Ranzany. “It was a real eye-opener. He couldn’t help but show his true colors. That made things very clear to me.”

Ranzany also ran the prison’s then-lauded boxing program, but soon grew disgruntled by the lethargy of the participants. “Most of them didn’t like the discipline,” he explained. “[When] I made them spar once a week, I went from 50 fighters to 16 overnight. In the movies, inmates are usually really tough. But after working with the team for a year, I bet my sister could have beaten many of the fighters if they didn’t have a knife or a gun.”

Ranzany couldn’t help but recall the words of advice he had once received from a close friend, former Sacramento police chief Jack Hearns. “He said if you work with losers all the time, you’ll start to feel like a loser,” said Ranzany. “He said a prison guard’s job was actually much harder than a cop’s job. Both are dealing with negativity all the time, but cops are not fighting crime every minute. Prison guards are dealing with criminals everyday. And cops get a chance to see positive results once in a while. Prison guards don’t.”

Thankfully, Ranzany never gave into the negativism that is so pervasive in such a challenging vocation. He has immense loyalty to his colleagues, and loves the camaraderie they share because of the inherent dangers of the job. Although Ranzany never became a world champion, the way he sees it he still came out on top.

“I think I always did everything for the right reasons,” he explained. “I never fought for money, I fought to be champ. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I quit. For years people tried to lure me out of retirement with all sorts of offers, but I knew what was best for me. I walked away, and have never looked back.”


My recollection of the Cuevas fight is different than Ranzany's. As a TV spectator, it appeared to me that Cuevas found his range about half way through the first, and was reaching Pete pretty good by the end of the round. I recall that Cuevas shook Ranzany at the end of the round, not vice versa. Cuevas just took him apart in the second round.

But, that said, I always thought Ranzany was a good fighter, and he always gave a good account of himself.
kikibalt
Posts: 13122
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Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby kikibalt » 22 Sep 2008, 15:55

Bob Foster

Image
"Foster"

By Diego
Randyman
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Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby Randyman » 22 Sep 2008, 18:24

bennie wrote:Just read an article on Ranzany and he picked up an eye injury against Sean O'Grady but stuck around for a couple more fights and quit after LaRocca. A punishing fight for both men.

Image

Pete as he looks today. He works as a prison officer.


Image

Pete gets champion billing against Leonard.

We were talking a few days ago about fighters that would have your back. Ranzany strikes me as the type of guy that would stick around if there was trouble. I don't have a clue about Leonard but I don't get the same vibe from him.
Rick Farris
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Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby Rick Farris » 22 Sep 2008, 19:34

Randyman wrote:
bennie wrote:Just read an article on Ranzany and he picked up an eye injury against Sean O'Grady but stuck around for a couple more fights and quit after LaRocca. A punishing fight for both men. Image Pete as he looks today. He works as a prison officer. Image Pete gets champion billing against Leonard.
We were talking a few days ago about fighters that would have your back. Ranzany strikes me as the type of guy that would stick around if there was trouble. I don't have a clue about Leonard but I don't get the same vibe from him.
I think your right about Ranzany, Randy. Leonard??? From what I hear he only cares about himself. Leonard was a good little boxer for his era, but an alltime great, no way. This is a guy who had all the edges in every match and still was a burn out after three dozen fights. In tougher eras he'd have been a main eventer, nothing more. My opinion but facts support it. -Rick
Expug
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Location: Chicago Il.

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby Expug » 22 Sep 2008, 19:56

Rick Farris wrote:
Randyman wrote:
bennie wrote:Just read an article on Ranzany and he picked up an eye injury against Sean O'Grady but stuck around for a couple more fights and quit after LaRocca. A punishing fight for both men. Image Pete as he looks today. He works as a prison officer. Image Pete gets champion billing against Leonard.
We were talking a few days ago about fighters that would have your back. Ranzany strikes me as the type of guy that would stick around if there was trouble. I don't have a clue about Leonard but I don't get the same vibe from him.
I think your right about Ranzany, Randy. Leonard??? From what I hear he only cares about himself. Leonard was a good little boxer for his era, but an alltime great, no way. This is a guy who had all the edges in every match and still was a burn out after three dozen fights. In tougher eras he'd have been a main eventer, nothing more. My opinion but facts support it. -Rick

Im with you guys .
Ranzany seems like a tough guy who would "answer the bell" in any tough situation.
In the ring or out.
Leonard, I dont see him that way.I was never a fan of "Sugar Ray".He had what I saw as prima donna ways.
I rooted against him in every damn fight he fought.Hell, I wanted Willie "Fireball"Rodriguez to knock his ass out.I think Ray got 40k for that fight too.
I dont know , maybe I just like those Blue collar Lunchpail type of fighters.
Leonard wasnt that type.
He was talented though. I gotta give him that.
dagosd2000
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Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby dagosd2000 » 23 Sep 2008, 00:09

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL ISN't WHAT IT's CRACKED UP TO BE.

The Chargers played tonight and my sisters asked me over. Pete the Cop and his wife Ana were also invited. So I went. Before leaving Maria made sausage and peppers so that I'd stay satisfied in the hunger department. I'm not that interested in pro ball anymore. I'd rather seen what you guys were up to on the thread.

Before I get carried away I want to say to Hap Navarro that he should join us at our table. Hap you said something about you wanted to add something important. You've forgotten more about boxing than most of uo, with maybe the exception of Frank. I hope,Hap,that you reconsider and give us youngsters something we can go home and talk about.

OK on with the Monday night game. I 'm stuffed full of sausage and peppers when I get to my sisters and of course they have a layout of sausage and peppers on the counter. Like a dope fiend I had to have plenty of there rendition of the Italian delicacy.

The game is one sided. The Chargers are runnin' away with it and I have a stomach ache. I also feel like I've betrayed myself by going off my diet. Pete the Cop is from Jersey and he's Italian. Like me he's got a Mexican wife who's very pretty.Like my wife. She supports him in his interests of sports and going to Las Vegas. She also tries to keep up with him on the drinking end. But she's gabbing away with my sisters about pruning fruit trees while me and Pete had the game in hand.

That Kornheiser dude was beginng to annoy me with his announcing and after the score was beyond reach of the Jets ,I left. I got home. My wife was watching her novelas and eating her homemade soup. I'm on the thread now. Everyone went to bed or is still sleeping.

To sum it up in a nutshell,the night was kind of a wash. I hope the Chargers don't have anymore Monday Night games.
Expug
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Location: Chicago Il.

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby Expug » 23 Sep 2008, 00:42

Rog, its funny you mention Monday night football and that Kornheiser dudes announcing.
I watched a little bit of the game and I realized, that I couldnt understand what the fu.. these announcers were even talking about half the time.
It was like they were mumbling, stuttering ,goofs. It was like they were talking in some type of lazy jargon. It was real annoying.
My wife is right, she asks me sometimes why I even watch this stuff. She says the announcers are always saying the same trite nonsense. Tonight they made NO sense.
Zelley
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Contact:

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby Zelley » 23 Sep 2008, 05:57

bennie wrote:
scartissue wrote:
Zelley wrote:Great topic. Over the years there has been some great boxing on the West Coast
from California to British Columbia. (Amateur & Professional).

My amateur boxing was primarily in British Columbia, but enjoyed competition in Tacoma, Seattle and Portland.

Also, enjoyed watching pro boxing from LA on TV.

So many great champions and contenders.


Hey Zelley, this name is like a blast from the past and I gotta ask you, dude. When I first started reading boxing mags around '73 there was this one dude named Brian Zelley, also from B.C. who was always writing into International and World Boxing at the time. As I recall he was a huge Jose Napoles fan. Am I conversing with the same fan?

Scartissue


Jesus, is Dan really Columbo?


"Err, there's just one more thing."


To Scartissue:

Yes, you are correct, but my ealiest piece was a contribution
in the old "Ring Magazine" In Rings Around The World" it was in the Sixties
and it was only reporting on a junior novice boxing tournament in Vancouver, go figure!

In 1972, while meeting Manuel Gonzalez, at the near end of his boxing years.
I cobbled together a few lines that were printed in the Nanaimo Daily Free Press.

In Lee Kerr's "Boxing Illustrated" column, I did a piece on the yardsticks for
measuring greatness. :bow: Also, in one column, he had nicknames for boxers
published. My entry was for Dick Tiger "The Biafran Banger".

The Sound Off days in World and International Boxing in the Seventies
were quite interesting. Often the arguments focused on Jerry Quarry and Muhammed Ali.

Funny thing about Quarry, it may have been at the 1968 Seattle Golden Gloves
because Boone Kirkman was from nearby Renton and attended the fights. Well he happened to be staying on the same floor as the B. C. team. Our light-heavyweight, was jogging down the hall, as Jerry ( and i think Dave Centi) were leaving a room, and he ran into Quarry. He said it was like running into a brick wall. Anyway, he wasn't one of our team winners.

For those that care about such things, I have updated the thread
BOXING: CHAMPIONS & CONTENDERS (1950 - 1959).
The theme is rock and roll, but all about boxing in the Fifties. :idea:
bennie
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Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby bennie » 23 Sep 2008, 06:12

I was never much of a Leonard fan myself. He had great ability and developed some real power (he couldn't break an egg in his early years) but, yes, he wanted an edge in every fight and never fought outside of north America as a pro.
Leonard lost twice overseas as an amateur.
kikibalt
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Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby kikibalt » 23 Sep 2008, 09:34

Pitalua vs. Valero: Another Meza-Garza?
By Ted Sares

Antonio Pitalua, a Colombian who lives in and does all of his fighting out of Mexico City has a record of 46 (KO 40)-3 and a lofty KO percentage of 81.63. Twenty-nine of his stoppage wins have come in three rounds or less. He has stopped his last fourteen opponents in a row including the highly regarded Jose Armando Santa Cruz just this past weekend. Pitalua, 38 years old, won the interim version of the WBC lightweight title with an impressive sixth round upset win over the much younger Santa Cruz.

In 2001, he lost a SD to tough Arnulfo “Chico” Castillo, 33-1-3 coming in, and in 2000, he dropped a close twelve round decision in Germany to Artur Grigorian, 30-0 at the time. At stake was the WBO lightweight title. One of his early victories came against Cosme Rivera who gave Andre Berto all he could handle. Another came against Saul “Baby” Duran, but mostly his opposition has been less than stellar. Still, an 82% KO percentage is nothing to sneeze at. Make no mistake, Pitalua can throw bricks..

Now, according to WBC president Don Jose Sulaiman, Pitalua will be matched to fight another KO artist, Edwin Valero for the WBC lightweight championship.

Meza-Garza

If this fight is, in fact, made, the potential for another Juan “Kid“ Meza-Jaime Garza classic presents itself. As aficionados will recall, Garza, was 40-0, with 38 knockouts (13 in the first round). "Kid" Meza, from Los Angeles, by way of Mexicali, was 49-9, with 37 KO’s. When they met back in 1984, most experts felt the heavy handed Garza would do the trick. But it was not to be. After being put on the canvas for the very first time in his 47-fight career early in the first round, “The Kid” came back and positioned himself to hook with the hooker. His got there first and that was that. Meza had beaten Garza to the punch with shocking effect. The icing was named 1984’s Knockout of the Year by KO Magazine.

Valero

Edwin “Dinamita” Valero is a Venezuelan, but like the Columbian born Pitalua, does much of his fighting out of another country--in his case Tokyo. His KO percentage is a perfect 100 having stopped all 24 of his opponents, some 19 in the first round. And like Pitalua, his level of opposition has been less than compelling. More importantly, he has only fought 49 rounds or an average of 2.04 per fight. Against a veteran like Antonio (who has 221 rounds under his belt), this could prove very troublesome.

Both fighters have been decked in their career. Valero was knocked down in the third round against Panamanian Vicente “El Loco” Mosquera, 24-1-1, before stopping Mosquera in the tenth round in a savage 2006 brawl (Valero‘s toughest fight to date). Valero’s wide punches also leave him open to short counters. In this regard, Pitalua should study the films of Valero’s fight against Genaro Trazancos (also in 2006) where many of his vulnerabilities were in evidence even though he won in two less than compelling rounds.

As for Pitalua, he was stopped by Jesus Rodriquez back in 1995 in a fight for the WBC Continental Americas lightweight title, but that was thirteen years ago.

So hopefully the stage is set. A 38 year old veteran with very heavy hands coming off a stunning KO victory over Santa Cruz vs. a heavy handed world champion who has yet to taste defeat. A fight tha features two lightweight bombers who can end a fight at any time, usually in the early rounds.

If this fight is made, it should be called “Don’t blink,” because if you do, you may well miss the ending. Neither fighter will add many rounds to his record in this one; bet on it!
kikibalt
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Joined: 24 Oct 2005, 18:39

Re: Classic American West Coast Boxing

Postby kikibalt » 23 Sep 2008, 10:34

Frank,
Attached below is an article I ran across that talks about Yankee Stadium and it's boxing history particularly Joe Louis. I don't know if you have seen it but I thought I would send it to you knowing what a Louis fan you are, as I am too. Anyhow its a pretty good article but may not be enough tie in to the West Coast thread to post there, I'll let you make that decision.
Hope your health is getting better every day.
Bruce
Bobbin & Weavin


Credit Joe Louis with biggest save in Yankee Stadium history
Tim Dahlberg, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The greatest save in Yankee Stadium history came on a night when there wasn't a ballplayer on the field.

Joe Louis collected it on behalf of millions of Americans so grateful for what he did that they put aside their racial prejudices for a night and cheered for a black man to beat a white.
"Kill that Nazi, Joe. Kill him," one shouted from ringside as the bell was about to ring for Louis' heavyweight title defence against Germany's Max Schmeling.
It was 70 years ago on a cloudy June night in the Bronx, and all Louis wanted was revenge for a beating Schmeling had given him two years earlier in the same ring. But a lot more was at stake than the heavyweight title at a time when the world was growing increasingly anxious over the actions of a German dictator intent on spreading his message of Aryan superiority.
This was good versus evil, democracy against Fascism. If Louis couldn't beat Schmeling, whom the Nazis trumpeted as one of the finest specimens of their race, what chance did the rest of the world have against Adolf Hitler?

A crowd of 66,277 paid to watch a spectacle that had long since transcended the humble sport of boxing. Sixty million other Americans gathered in living rooms, restaurants and taverns across the nation to hang on through every word coming through the static of their radios.
Louis didn't leave them hanging long. He drove a quick right to Schmeling's ribs that brought a yelp of pain from the German and knocked him down three times before a towel signalling surrender came floating into the ring at 2:04 of the first round.
The shockingly swift ending touched off wild celebrations across the nation, particularly among blacks in Harlem and in other major cities. It would be years before one of their own would be allowed to play major league baseball in Yankee Stadium, but the more progressive politics of boxing meant Louis could fight there.

White Americans celebrated too, claiming Louis on this night as one of their own. In just a few minutes in the ring he had destroyed the myth being perpetuated by Hitler, and the country would remember when it was time to go to war.
Across the ocean, the reaction was quite different. Schmeling had never really embraced the Nazi party, but the Nazis and his countrymen had embraced him as their warrior.
"A terrible defeat," Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary. "Our newspapers had reckoned too much on victory. Now the whole nation is depressed."
Louis fought nine times in The House That Ruth Built, including his 11th round knockout of Jersey Joe Walcott in his 25th, and final, championship defence in 1948. The stadium was built for baseball, but there was something about the ring set up under temporary lights over second base that was magical for boxing.

The same year the stadium opened, Benny Leonard defended his lightweight title with a decision over Lou Tendler in a fight that drew 58,519 fans, and four years later Jack Dempsey knocked out Jack Sharkey in the same ring. Tony Zale stopped Rocky Graziano in a bloody brawl in 1946 that was one of the greatest middleweight title fights ever, and the same year the heavyweight title fight between Louis and Billy Conn set a record for the first US$100 ringside seat.
The great Sugar Ray Robinson fought there four times, including a 1952 light heavyweight title bout against Joey Maxim held in such searing heat that the referee collapsed and had to be replaced after the 10th round. Robinson was easily winning the fight but became exhausted and couldn't come out for the 14th round, a loss he would blame on the 40-degree Celsius heat.
"What, do you think I had, air conditioning?" Maxim said.

The big fights, though, eventually went elsewhere after the 1950s. It took Muhammad Ali to bring boxing back one last time to the Bronx, and he did so at the urging of Robinson, who told him that he couldn't be considered the greatest unless he fought there.
Ali wasn't so great on this night in September 1976, but he was just good enough to win a disputed decision over Ken Norton before a crowd of just 30,298. If the fight was ugly, it was even uglier inside the stadium and on the dark streets around it as New York police used the event to stage a job action and looked the other way as muggers and pickpockets roamed about.
The stadium had changed by then and so had boxing. Even the biggest fights couldn't draw enough to fill baseball stadiums anymore, and they moved to casino parking lots and arenas in Las Vegas.

Still, as Ali recuperated that night at the Essex House in New York with his parents and business manager, Gene Kilroy, he marvelled at the experience.
"Never did I think I'd be so big that I would fight at Yankee Stadium," he said. "Isn't it something?"

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