Carl Starling

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Carl Starling

Name: Carl Starling
Alias: Captain Carl
Born: 1944-11-07
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, USA
Died: 2016-02-22 (Age:71)
Hometown: Miami, Florida, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 10½″   /   179cm
Boxing Record: click


Carl Starling was born in Miami, Florida on November 7, 1944. He was raised in the Bahamas, and was a high school football star; playing full-back at Miami Jackson Senior High School in Miami, Florida. Starling's football nickname was "Darling" Starling because his rugged good looks, nuscular build, and blonde hair, attracted a large following of female fans to his games.

On a lark, Starling went down to the famed 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach, Florida and with no amateur background, decided to become a professional boxer. Trained by the famed Angelo Dundee and Sol Bunotta, and managed by Blackie Bethel, the 5' 10", lean and muscular Starling made his professional boxing debut on July 18, 1963, and knocked out Jim Rogers with one punch in the first round. The blonde-haired Starling, whose straight-ahead style of getting inside and throwing hooks to the body and head, soon developed into a fan favorite, and he was a look-alike for film star Guy Madison. Starling also worked as a sparring partner for world champions Muhammad Ali,Jimmy Ellis and Willie Pastrano.

According to the 1964 Ring Record Book, from July 1963 to November 1963 Starling won seven straight bouts, four by knockout. Yet, newspaper reports in the Miami area credited Starling with a 13-0 record with 10 knockouts during this same period. By December 1963, The Ring Magazine writer Tom Ephrem wrote in his column, "Under Southern Skies," "On the good side of the ledger, we have a coming-up middleweight from Miami whose five wins, four by kayoes, is catching on with boxing folks. The fighter is quite a puncher. His name is Carl Starling. If he continues at this fine pace, other fine prospects like Tony Mamarelli and Joey Cam better look to their laurels for what Miami craves best is a sure enough home-town grown product. Starling can be their answer".

According to an article in the Miami News on August 8, 1963, Starling knocked out Jackie Coolbrooke in 37 seconds of the 4th round in the Little River Aud. Also, the paper reported that Starling had matches scheduled with Willie Thomas and Eddie Hoppe, but results of these matches are currently unknown.

His best victory was a knockout over hard-punching Ernie Burns in three rounds at the Little River Auditorium on an October 3, 1963 Dick Lee promotion.

Starling's promising boxing career was side-tracked when he was drafted by the United States Army. After completing basic training, he went on to earn his jump-wings, and served with the famed 82nd Airborne Division.

Upon his discharge, Starling, now weighing a muscular 195lbs., tried his hand at semi-pro football. After playing on a few local teams, he decided to launch a comeback in the ring. Starling dropped 30 pounds, and returned to fight Miami club-fighter Willie Taylor on April 21, 1965. Taylor came on strong in the final rounds to capture an upset decision and snap Starling's unbeaten record. Starling rebounded with victories over Charlie Jordan (they also fought to a draw) and Leo "Ed" Barnett twice. A few months later Starling lost yet another upset decision to Linnes Johnson in Freeport, British West Indies, on November 12, 1965.

In a story published in the Miami News on August 15, 1968, Starling returned to the ring after a 3-year retirement in which he compiled a 15-2 record, to meet Jimmy Ellis in a 6 round exhibition at the Brownsville Neighborhood Center in Brownsville, Florida. Former world lightweight champion Beau Jack acted as the referee.

Frustrated by the Johnson loss, Starling left boxing and went on to college. He earned not only a Master's Degree, but also became a certified boat Captain. Careers as a model and boat captain followed. He became one of the few people to survive a bull-shark attack, and years later was featured in a Miami Herald newspaper article about the recent rash of shark attacks off the Florida coast.

In the early 1970s, Starling, now living in Marsh Harbor in the Bahamas,and working as an English teacher and a track coach for the Bahamas National Track Team, got the comeback bug and decided to return to the ring. In his first comeback fight, Starling was knocked out for the first time in his career by Rennie Pinder in three rounds. His second comeback match saw him knocked out in three rounds by future world light middleweight champion Elisha Obed. Starling retired following the Obed defeat.

Since his retirement from professional boxing, Starling has lead a colorful life. First, he was a swim-suit model. Next, he won the 1983 Spearfishing Nationals. Also, in 1991, he ran unsuccessfully for city commissioner in Miami-Dade County. Starling continued as a charter boat Captain. His 34-foot crusader sportfisherman-"Prince of Tides"- appeared in the Robert Redford motion picture Up Close and Personal, which was filmed around Miami, Florida. Carl also had a few uncredited bit parts in locally filmed South Florida movies.

Carl Starling and Sherman Bergman in 2004

Starling continued training and sparring after his ring career ended. In 2004, Starling considered returning to ring competition at age 59. Starling and local South Florida kickboxer, Sherman Bergman were slated for a boxer vs kickboxer charity match, but the bout never took place.

In 2011,Starling retired after a 20-year teaching/counciling career with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Starling worked at the same school with Sherman Bergman-noted for knocking down Jean-Claude Van Damme in a kickboxing match.

As of 2013, Starling has been married four times, and has two sons (Ryan and Drake),a daughter (Elena),a grandchild,and two step-children. Still fit and trim, Starling wakes up to do 200 sit-ups and push-ups, then runs three miles and bikes eight miles each day.

On Tuesday, February 12, 2013 on CBS News Television in Miami, Florida, Channel 4, Carl Starling was profiled as an Extreme Diving Daredevil. Starling, 68, along with 4 other local Miamians can hold their breath underwater for up to 4 minutes at a time. Diving Daredevils plunge deep for thrills and Starling takes part in this extreme sport.

A follow-up story on Saturday, February 16, 2013, highlighted Starling and other South Floridians who participated in the Extreme Sport of "Extreme Diving Daredevils" on the 11:00p.m. news on CBS Channel 4 in Miami-Dade County.

Also in 2013, the Miami New Times newspaper voted Carl Starling "The Best Charter Boat Captain" in the South Florida area.

Carl Starling lost his battle with cancer and died in Coral Gables, Florida on Monday, February 22, 2016 at age 71.


  • Miami New Times:
  • CBS Evening News (Miami) Channel 4: February 16, 2013: Extreme Sports: Diving Daredevils.
  • CBS News Miami Channel 4: February 12, 2013, Extreme Diving Daredevils.
  • Internet Movie Database.
  • The Ring Magazine, December 1963, page 57: UNDER SOUTHERN SKIES, by Tom Ephrem.
  • The Ring Magazine, October 1965, page 50: BOXING NEWS FROM MIAMI, by Hank Kaplan.
  • Miami Herald, October 28, 1991, Local, page 2B: POLITICS IS JAWS II FOR MIAMI CANDIDATE.
  • Miami Herald, April 10, 1992: Sports, page 1D: DIVERS DELIGHT.
  • Miami Herald, January 12, 1997, Neighbors, page 22: NAME CONFUSION HAS CHARTER CLIENTS MISSING THE BOAT.
  • Miami Herald, July 27, 1997, Section B, page 1: NIGHT SHIFT ENGLISH.
  • Biscayne Bay Tribune, June 24-July 23, 2002, page 4: POSITIVE PEOPLE AROUND BISCAYNE BAY, CARL STARLING, by David Pines.
  • Miami Herald, June 29, 2005: BULL SHARKS EVEN SCARIER THAN JAWS.