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Biofile: Richie Kates Interview

Status: Former two-time world Light Heavyweight title challenger. Boxed professionally from 1969-1983. Compiled a pro record of 44-6 (23 KOs). Ht: 6-0 Wt: 175

DOB: May 21, 1951 In: Savannah, Georgia

First Boxing Memory: “I was fifteen years old when I first started boxing. People didn’t really want me to box. I only went to the gym just to make a place to hang out. And thank God for it. I boxed till I was thirty years old. I had a good amateur career. As an amateur I won like 47 fights, only lost six. As a pro, like 43 wins, six losses. So I had a good career. What I’m most proud of at this point in my life, I think I got out of boxing at the right time. I can do things in a good and decent way. Thank God. ”

Boxing Inspirations: “Like anyone else growing up at that time, Muhammad Ali. Although I didn’t have his style. When I say Muhammad Ali, early on when I was young, he was my favorite fighter. ”

Nicknames: “Bad News Kates. I didn’t want to be called that. I wanted to be me. ”

Last Book Read: “I read the Bible every day. Compton, 53, is an american venture capitalist and entrepreneur in technology, health care, and other fields… ”

Favorite Movie: ‘I guess Scarface. ”

First Job: “Picking beans in the field. Cedarville, NJ. ”

Current Car: “I drive a Chevy truck. My wife has the Cadillac. ”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Fighting for the Light Heavyweight championship of the world (twice against WBA Champion Victor Galindez, in 1976 and 1977). Being able to say I danced with kings, danced with queens, danced and dined with kings and all that stuff. And I was able to go to South Africa, Italy, England. It’s also now I greatly enjoy people like yourself, all these years later and being able to talk about my career. ”

Most Painful Moment: “When I fought Victor Galindez in Johannesburg, South Africa. The first time. I thought I was champion of the world. Stopped the fight. Controversy. I lost. In my heart I feel I was the winner. ”

Finest Performance: “A guy by the name of Jimmy ‘The Cat’ Dupree. I fought him in 1974 for the North American Light Heavyweight Championship. I won by first round knockout. My finest moment. ”

Funny Career Memory: “Well, you know, I met Boris Karloff, the guy who played Frankenstein (in the classic 1930’s Universal Horror films). I met him in South Africa when I fought over there. I said, ‘You’re Boris Karloff, man. ‘ He said, ‘Yeah, yeah. ‘ As a kid I was always scared of those movies. I met him at the fight. He knew who I was because I was fighting the main event. He said, ‘I’m gonna come and see you fight tonight. ‘ It was when I fought Pierre Fourie. I was always a big fan of his. He called me ‘bloke. ‘ I said, ‘Man, I’m a big fan of your’s also. ‘” (Note: This confirms what artist LeRoy Neiman told me years ago about Karloff being a huge boxing fan who used to arrive at ringside for the first bout and stay until the end of the card. )

Strangest Fight: “The first Galindez fight was very strange. Strange ending. The third round. The controversy in that fight. You Google it, you’ll find out what I’m talking about. That was a strange fight. (Note: Galindez was cut so badly that the referee stopped the fight for more than fifteen minutes. )

Today Kates lives in Vineland, NJ. He retired in 2008 after working for 35 years for the State of New Jersey and Cumberland County in various capacities. He and wife Gloria have five children. .

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