Hamilton’s Believe it or Not of Boxing

Hamilton’s Believe it or Not of Boxing Edition #1 of 2012

By 1982 there had not been a white Heavyweight champion of the world for over 20 years. Gerry Cooney had by

Gerry Cooney

Gerry Cooney brought the hype. Photo courtesy TIME Magazine.

then amassed an unbeaten record of 25-0 when he was deemed a worthy challenger to the similarly unbeaten (39-0) Larry Holmes. This was perhaps Don King’s most blatantly racially tinged promotion of them all.

White supremacists had made it known they would have individuals on hand to shoot at Larry Holmes as he made his ring entrance. Militant African-American groups responded to this public threat saying they would have armed operatives on hand ready to respond should the champion be attacked as he made his way to the ring.

Police snipers were positioned on the roofs of every major Las Vegas hotel surrounding the Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino. The fight was staged in the hotel’s parking lot. Anyone foolish enough to act on their prior threats would have been taken out by police snipers.

Larry Holmes vs Gerry Cooney

…But Larry Holmes brought the pain. Photo courtesy of Boxrec.com.

They were no takers & the fight when ahead without incident as Larry Holmes retained his heavyweight championship in a fight remembered largely for its caustic pre-fight promotion.

Roberto Durán had five of his world championship belts (won at four different weight divisions) stolen from his Panama home in 1993 in a robbery allegedly staged by his brother-in-law. It is claimed the belts were then given to memorabilia dealer Luis González Báez.

Luis González Báez allegedly tried to sell the belts to undercover FBI agents. Báez claims Durán agreed to sell the belts to him whilst undergoing financial troubles. On September 23, 2003, a federal judge in the American state of Florida ordered the belts returned to the Panamanian great.

Roberto Duran is an avid & licence carrying ultralight pilot. He has held a license to fly ultralight planes in Panama since way back in April of 1985.

Durán was on his way to Argentina where he was due to promote a salsa music CD that he had just released. Whilst in the country, he was involved in a motor vehicle accident that led to him needing life-saving medical surgery. It was only after this brush with death that he announced his retirement from the sport of boxing – at the age of 50!

Burt Randolph Sugar is a man of many talents – if only the one hat. He once worked in advertising in New York

Bert Randolph Sugar

Bert Randolph Sugar was a once successful Jingle writer. Photo Courtesy NY Daily News.

City. During this time, he wrote the well-known jingle for Nestle chocolate – “N-E-S-T-L-E-S. Nestle’s makes the very best.”

When Jack Johnson finally lost his world title to Jess Willard in 1915 it was against an opponent who apart from being a working cowboy; had only laced up boxing gloves for the very first time when he was fully twenty-seven years old.

In front of 25,000 spectators in Havana, Cuba, Johnson was knocked out in the 26th of a fight scheduled to go 45 rounds. Johnson had won almost every round to that point but began to tire after the 20th round (as you would). Johnson is claimed to have himself spread rumours that he took a dive, though Willard is widely accepted as having won the title legitimately. Willard would later chirp, “If he was going to throw the fight, I wish he’d done it sooner. It was hotter than hell out there.”

There have been a plethora of calls down the years to posthumously grant Jack Johnson a full presidential pardon. A bill asking President Bush to pardon Jack Johnson in 2008 was passed in the House of Representatives, but then failed to get through the Senate.

In April 2009, Former Republican Presidential Candidate & Arizona Senator John McCain, together with Representative Peter King, filmmaker Ken Burns and Jack Johnson’s great-niece, Linda Haywood, again made a request for a full presidential pardon to President Barack Obama.

In July of 2009, the US Congress passed a resolution calling on President Obama to issue a pardon. That Johnson wouldn’t personally benefit from the pardon is considered beside the point, according to another of Johnson’s great-great nieces. “This is about righting a wrong,” Constance Hines is quoted as saying.

Rapper Chuck D, a member of the pardon committee organized by John McCain & others, said he thinks a pardon is possible, if not imminent. “I think President Obama’s pardon for something a hundred years ago will be at the tail end of his presidential run,” says Chuck D.

Hamilton’s Parting Shot:

“Ignorance & inaction are the real Public Enemy.”


Matt Hamilton, for ESNews Reporting!

Matt Hamilton

Matt Hamilton – Reporting!

Matt Hamilton
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