By Scoop Malinowski
Status: Boxing trainer.
DOB: June 1, 1927 In: Sumter, South Carolina.
Childhood Heroes: “Naturally, my parents and immediate family. But as I ventured out into life, role models were there as heroes. The ones that keep in your heart and mind…naturally, Joe Louis, Ray Robinson, Max Schmeling. Fighting is one thing, that once it hits you, once you get involved with it, it’ll be there forever.”
Favorite Movies: “Cowboy movies are always exciting. We used to go to the movies when it was 11 cents. I’ve seen a lot of good boxing movies. But I don’t watch war movies, people getting blown up, hydrogen bombs and all that stuff.”
Early Boxing Memory: “Back in the Ray Robinson era, guys were fighting 3-4 times a month. Today, they fight every 2-3 months. It’s because yesterday’s fighters conditioned themselves so well. They did everything right without all the modern day equipment. Or the good mouthpieces. Back then, mouthpieces were made of cotton! They didn’t have all the fancy handwraps, medical. It was from the heart, the muscles. And from the mind. Like people say, you can go in a trance. Just believe this is going to happen. This is what I can do. You can’t stop me from doing what I want to do. And I can do it, if at all possible. We used to sit in the gym and talk boxing for hours and hours. Sometimes we’d be in the gym till three o’clock in the morning! We’d be like children, students, sitting around all day and night. They’d talk about boxing stories till you could actually see it. They’d be talking and you’d believe that you were actually there. You could see what they were talking about. See, I’m doing today what was told to me 45-50 years ago. Taking care of fighters. That’s something that today’s trainers fail at. They don’t know how to take care of fighters, what they should do after a fight. They don’t realize that TV camera and that after-party hoopla is all gonna be there later. Take care of the fighter. It was told to me it takes at least 45 minutes after every fight, to take care of your fighter. To make certain there’s no hidden injuries, make Certain of everything.”
Greatest Sports Moment: “It would have to be in a direction that I choose not to talk about now (Bernard Hopkins KO over Felix Trinidad). But I have some other great moments. I was able to witness the last six fights of the great Sugar Ray Robinson’s career. And the last three were unbearable. But out of the hundreds he had, the last six stick out in my mind. I will never forget them. The greatest moment had to be when I was able to witness him being awarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time. In Madison Square Garden. And they had five of his hardest opponents – Randy Turpin, Gene Fullmer, Jake LaMotta, Rocky Graziano – each of those men were there. I was there. It was painful to see him go through the last three fights of his career. But you try to push it on the side and think of the other 150 fights. This guy won 91 straight fights, then had a draw, then he won 40 more.”
Most Painful Moment: “When you see any of your fighters lose. You figure, I may have made a mistake here or there. I don’t like to lose. I don’t want to lose. I refuse to lose. If I lose, I want to see why I lost. If it happens, you live with it, you eat it, you sleep it, you dream it and you try to correct whatever that mistake was. That’s painful. You have a lot of setbacks. Like about a certain fighter I care not to speak about at this particular time. Not a big thing. ‘Cause I’m still moving. I’m 75. I could leave right now. But I want to leave something here. I want to leave something that people will say, ‘I knew that guy.’ I don’t consider myself as a great. I consider myself what I am…a student of boxing. And you never, ever learn boxing. Because there’s so much there. How can you learn it all?”
Hardest Punchers: “Joe Louis was a knockout artist. If he hit you with one or two shots, you wer out of there. OUT OF THERE! Earnie Shavers was a one-punch guy. He could knock your brains out with one shot. Archie Moore could do it. He had more KO’s than anybody. 55-years-old. Strong mentally. And body conditioned.”
Funny Boxing Memory: “Sleeping in the car the night before a (Bernard Hopkins) fight. Going to the fight, four of us in the car sometimes. Then, the next night, stopped the guy in the first or second round. In New York it happened. In New Jersey too. We once went to France for a fight. Our record was 12-1. They put is in a fleabag motel, with rooms the size of a picnic table. Me and (Bernard), we couldn’t stay there. So this is where you use your strength, and power and your smartness. We called the guy and told him we either have to go back to the airport and wait for our flight back to Philadelphia or we move to another hotel. 15 minutes later the car was at the front door and took us to the Hilton in downtown Paris. Five-star hotel, that’s where we stayed for five days. And there was something to be learned from that. So after we scored the victory, they gave us an after-party, given in our honor. We were invited to sit at the mayor’s table.”
Favorite Meal: “Home-cooked food by anyone who knows how to cook.”
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Is the two rivals – vanilla chocolate [laughs].”
Favorite Fights: “To see Joe Louis knock out Billy Conn in the 13th round. Conn was winning. No way he could lose. (Hopkins)-Trindad.”
People Most Admired: “I’m sitting with them right now. I’m sitting with the quality of people I most enjoy. Because they’re for real. I just enjoy myself, enjoy my life, telling the truth.”
Ali Memory: “One of my great moments in boxing was sitting in Ali’s yard in Cherry Hill, NJ. A couple of days after the first fight with Joe Frazier (’71). With 500 cars lined up on the street, for autographs. Ali’s only sign of being in a fight was a lump on his jaw. Frazier was in the hospital for 10-12 days. Ali walked around with a light jacket, signing autographs. I was lucky enough to know people close enough to be on the inside. That was a great moment, sitting in his home. I can remember sitting in his yard, on the patio, sipping iced tea. Talking with his mother, father and beautiful wife. That’s something that’ll never be forgotten.”
Family: Wife, eight children. (“One of my greatest joys in life is that each of my children and grandchildren finished high school and went to college.”)
Residence: Philadelphia, PA
By Scoop Malinowski Status: Boxing media, TV show host Knock Out TV, New Jersey Boxing ...