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Springs Toledo’s “The Ringside Belle,” Part 3

Springs Toledo

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Jungle Fever 

In 1927, William “Gorilla” Jones, 20, was invited to fight in Akron, Ohio by promoter Suey Welch. Jones accepted the offer, toyed with his more experienced opponent, collected his purse, and then went and blew every dime in a dice game. He approached Welch, hat in hand, and asked for an advance on his next purse. He took that and the fever took him. Off he went looking for “dem bones,” expecting to double back and square up early. Needless to say, he doubled back with his hat in his hand again. It became a routine until Welch let the dice fly himself and signed him. Jones became as much an indentured servant as a fighter under the new banner. During daylight hours, he was at the Welch Athletic Club on South Main Street; by night he was whooping it up in the red-light district. Welch’s father, Akron’s police chief, lent a hand and put out an APB to the gambling dens in the city—“Don’t let Gorilla Jones through the door!”

Jones spent a few years fighting in and around Ohio. He was a defensive specialist who often loafed his way to a decision win but was more than able to send the crowd home early. It depended on the other guy’s ambitions; if those ambitions were too aggressive, Jones would knock him silly. It also depended on Jones’s social calendar; if Jones happened to have an engagement to attend, he would plant his feet, so to speak, to get to the dance on time. Late one night before a fight, Welch heard unfamiliar snoring coming from Jones’s room and opened the door to find a double in Jones’s bed. Jones was you-know-where doing you-know-what.

Late in 1928, Mae West accompanied gangster Owney Madden to the fights at Madison Square Garden. Jones was on the undercard and doing all right. Later, the fighter spotted the movie star and her well-tailored escort in a bar and sent over a round of drinks. West liked his moxie and invited him to see her at the theatre. After the show, West found that she liked his heroic musculature too and invited him to her dressing room.

Maybe the walls caved in. Whatever happened, it must have been stupendous because West began bankrolling Jones’s career and his luck turned for keeps. He filed taxes on his 1929 earnings totaling $85,000 (that’d be $1,158,430 in 2014), drove a shiny new Lincoln Coupe, sported over 90 suits with sharp cuts and side vents, and developed a taste for diamonds that matched that of his new patroness.

By the time West was writing her lines for her Hollywood debut in Night After Night, the man winked at in one of those lines (“Hey Ga-rilla! C’mere!”) —was middleweight champion of the world.

It was 1932. Jones made one defense before losing his crown later that year to a Frenchman who looked like something from The Hills Have Eyes. He soon followed the woman he affectionately called “The Lady” to Los Angeles. Manager Suey Welch went with him and both were put on salary. By 1934, Welch was supervising fight scenes in a Mae West movie and Jones was earning $750 a week. Welch got out of the fight racket for a while and bought a string of theatres. Jones retired in 1940, and as far as the mainstream press knew, got hired as West’s chauffeur, though a chauffeur wasn’t often seen walking a diamond-collared lion on a leash along Central Avenue or fondling his blonde employer in after-hours joints near the Dunbar Hotel. Central Avenue was then predominantly a black community and the residents there knew what blue-eyed gossip columnists could only guess—Jones and Mae West were lovers.

Sometimes word leaked out. There’s a story where some bum made a rude comment about the star and Jones decked him but good. West scolded him for it. “Let ‘em talk,” she said. “I made four million because people were saying nasty things about me and you shouldn’t get in a fight to change that opinion.” There’s another story where the manager of the Ravenswood wouldn’t allow Jones past the lobby to visit West and it was West’s turn to fume —She bought the building.

West’s generosity to Jones was extended to his mother. Daisy Jones, a retired Memphis school principal, was hired on as a wardrobe assistant and travelling companion and stayed on for eighteen years. She adored West. “She is very kind and I like working for her very much,” she told the New York Age.

In the Fifties, Jones taught boxing classes at the Boys’ Club in Watts until his vision began to fail as a result of adult diabetes. In 1957, his almond eyes were obscured behind horn-rimmed glasses and his total annual income was “zero” according to Jet magazine. But West wouldn’t let him live any less than comfortably. She had wisely invested much of his ring earnings into a trust fund, purchased property for him, and paid his bills.

He loved her right back. When a motion-picture company offered him a quarter-million dollars for his story, he turned them down flat because they tried to make him admit he was one of West’s lovers. The Lady always insisted on keeping her private life private and lying to those outside her world was considered loyalty. Jones’s loyalty had no price. “All the money in the world would be no good without friends,” he said in 1974. “I would never betray a friend who has done everything to keep me on top and let me live the life I wanted to live.”

Lowell Darling is a conceptual artist, two-time gubernatorial candidate in California, and president in perpetuity of the Society for the Preservation of Lowell Darling. In the Seventies, he “fell in with hams and muscle heads” at the Cauliflower Alley Club in Hollywood where, he said, old fighters “regrouped en masse to form a constellation of faint stars.” Gorilla Jones was among them. He was damn-near blind by then and wore a wig that might have been found at the end of a push broom at dd’s Discounts the day after Halloween. Jones’s friends at the club knew the truth about the ageless star and the champ, but weren’t broadcasting it. “Let’s just say,” said one of them, “that Mae always had a soft spot in her heart for Gorilla.”

Jones was doing all right. He was living rent-free in a small white frame house in Echo Park, the one with the little figurine of a gorilla straddling the lattice fence at the front. His neighbors knew him as a “gentlemanly fellow who would hastily button his shirt if a lady approached the porch where he sat on warm days.” Inside the house was a makeshift shrine to his glory years. Darling was one of the few invited inside to see it. One day the phone rang. “That must be The Lady,” said Jones as he groped for the receiver.

“Hello Ga-rilla?”

“I have a present I want to give you,” Jones told her.

“How much will it cost me, Ga-rilla?”

“—I want to give you a telephone for your car so we can talk anytime,   24-hours a day.”

They spoke to each other, said Darling, “like lovesick kids.” Sometimes she sent a car to bring him to the Ravenswood for more than talk. By then, Jones (and millions more) had been in love with the star for over half-a-century.

In 1980, 86-year-old Mae West suffered a stroke and that purring lilt went silent. When she was brought home from the hospital, she would lie in bed watching her old movies, transfixed by a character as fascinating to her as it is to us.

Early on the morning of November 22, 1980 she went to sleep, peacefully, and took her last breath. I imagine a shimmer of sunlight reaching into her bedroom like a finger to touch her cheek.

The African-American press remembered her as a friend and a heroine. Headlines trumpeted her disregard of contrived color lines. “Mae West: Snow White Sex Queen Who Drifted” read Jet. “Mae West Had Her Black Friends” read the Call and Post. Columnist Bill Lane wrote that she had “something within that transcended clear skin and sexy hips. She had a humanness that broad-jumped unpretentiously over whiteness and blackness.”

Her funeral service in the Hollywood Hills wasn’t big and flamboyant like she was when the cameras rolled, like we thought she was. It was an intimate gathering of trusted friends, which is what she cherished most in this world. Gorilla Jones, 74, stood weeping without shame by the casket. Every now and then he’d honk his nose and the wig perched on his head would slip.

West’s body was transported back home to Brooklyn to be buried alongside her mother and Battlin’ Jack.

Jones was left behind.

He stopped going to boxing shows and the Braille Institute. He stopped going to the store. “After she passed on,” said a next-door neighbor, “he just went down.” He began passing-up rides to the Cauliflower Alley Club; and eventually wouldn’t leave the house, wouldn’t eat. His once-heroic musculature wasted away to 102 lbs.

On January 4, 1982 they found his body surrounded by his boxing memorabilia, old newspaper clippings, and framed images of The Lady, her bedroom eyes locked on him.

Her bedroom eyes

spotting someone in the distance, she puts the brakes on her strut and a hand on her hip— “Hey Ga-rilla!” she calls out. “C’mere!”  

 

 

 

 

 


Special thanks to Lowell Darling, Bruce Kielty, Alice Martin, and Alister Scott Ottesen.

Mae West: Goodness Had Nothing to Do With it (1959); Life (4/18/69); Henry Armstrong’s interviewinPeterHeller’s In This Corner…! 42 World Champions Tell Their Stories (DeCapo, 1973); Mae West: The Lies, the Legend, The Truth by George Eells and Stanley Musgrove (1984), p. 143; Jet “Snow White Sex Queen Who Drifted by Robert E. Johnson (7/25/1974); Private detective’s statements in Mae West: Empress of Sex (HarperCollins 1991); Milton Berle: B.S. I Love You (McGraw-Hill, 1987); UP (Jack Cuddy, 6/4/1937 and 9/27/1944); INS 12/6/1933, Los Angeles Herald and Express (1/16/1934); Jim Murray’s opinion in Los Angeles Times (4/25/1961); AP 8/21/1957. Details regarding Chalky Wright found in Baltimore Afro-American (12/24/1960), Milwaukee Sentinel (12/2/1946); UP 8/24/1957, Los Angeles Sentinel (8/15/1957), Baltimore Afro-American (8/31/1957), and Los Angeles Times (August 1957); Mickey Cohen, in My Own Words: The Autobiography of Michael Mickey Cohen As Told to John Peer Nugent (Prentice-Hall, 1975); Alice Martin told this writer that she believed that West paid for Chalky’s funeral. Archived autopsy report performed by Dr. Gerald K. Ridge, M.D., Deputy Medical Examiner on Albert G. Wright, August 13, 1957 at 1:45pm (rec’d 10/2/2014 from Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, County of Los Angeles). Details regarding Gorilla Jones found in “Local History: Akron’s King of Rings” by Mark J. Price (Beacon Journal, 6/8/2009); “Lady Luck’s Frown Starts Jones Upward” by Carl Crammer, AP 2/26/1932; MilwaukeeSentinel, (11/22/1931); Jet (7/16/1953, 4/3/1958 and 1/28/1982); Pittsburgh Press (6/13/1934); Lowell Darling (unpublished manuscript; emails to author); Los Angeles Times, 1/6/1982.   

 

Springs Toledo is the author of The Gods of War: Boxing Essays (Tora, 2014, $25).He can be reached at scalinatella@hotmail.com

 

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Pacman vs. Thurman: The Last of the Gen X Champions vs The Millennials

David A. Avila

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BEVERLY HILLS-Rain and grey skies filled the Southern California landscape on Wednesday as Manny Pacquiao and fellow warriors met the media.

Now 40 years old, Pacquiao entered the Beverly Hills Hotel with his usual entourage of family, fans and carry-on luggage of media followers. The eight division world champion has been running through this routine since arriving in 1999.

Will this be the last time?

Pacquiao remains the last of the Generation X fighters on a TGB Promotions boxing card that features millennial world champions and contenders. One of those millennial champions contends it will be the Filipino’s last.

“He’s got T-Rex arms. I’m not going to lose to someone with T-Rex arms,” said Keith Thurman the WBA welterweight world titlist. “All Manny does is hop around in the ring. I’m not going to lose to someone with T-Rex arms.”

Both Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) and Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) each have versions of the WBA welterweight belt and the winner of their fight emerges as the true belt holder.

Senator Pacquiao has an extensive history over the last decades of battles with some of the best prizefighters to ever lace up boxing gloves. When asked to name some of the most skilled of his former foes he quickly rattled off Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, and Timothy Bradley.

All of those Generation X fighters are gone now via retirement. Two are currently boxing promoters and one a television analyst. Pacquiao remains the last of his generation competing at the highest level. He is a phenomenon.

As Thurman eloquently spouted the reasons why he will dominate when they meet in the ring at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas on July 20, the always reserved Pacquiao sat quietly amused with a subtle grin. He’s heard all of these taunts and degradations before.

“I’m thankful for what he’s been saying, because it’s giving me motivation to prove that at 40-years-old, I feel 29,” said Pacquiao. “I’ve heard that many times before and I beat them all.”

Thurman corrected Pacman.

“Last time I looked he had seven losses,” said Thurman. “He had a hard time fighting Jeff Horn.”

There’s no Millennial respect for the last of the Generation Xers.

More Millennials

IBF super middleweight titlist Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (18-0, 10 KOs) makes his first world title defense against Chicago’s Mike Lee (21-0, 11 KOs) in a battle between undefeated millennials on the same MGM card.

These millennials have no respect for anyone including each other.

“Mike Lee is in uncharted territory. I’m curious on how he plans on beating me. Does he plan on roughing me up and trying to knock me out like my last opponent? Can he do that better than Jose Uzcategui?,” said Plant of his next foe.

Lee doesn’t understand the disrespect.

“I respect Caleb Plant. He’s the champion for a reason and I respect any fighter who can step into that ring. You have to be a different kind of animal to do that in front of all those people, and I am that animal,” said Lee. “I came into this event very respectful. He (Plant) had to come out with another line of disrespect. I don’t understand it. So be it.”

Plant captured the title with a riveting performance against Jose Uzcategui that saw him floor the Venezuelan twice before holding off a late rally against the hard-hitting former champion. It showcased Plant’s speed, skill and grit.

“Nobody from 160 to 175 can beat me,” said Plant, hinting that perhaps he plans a quick move into the light heavyweight division soon.

Lee, a former walk-on Notre Dame football player, has been slowly moving up the prizefighting ladder with pure determination and grit since his pro debut nine years ago.

“I’ve chased this since I was eight-years-old and I’m thankful for this chance to go after a dream that others thought I couldn’t reach,” said Lee. “The beauty of this sport is that it’s only going to be me and Caleb in there.”

Gen X

In the heat of July, the millennials will have their say. And what about the last of the Generation X generation?

“This is a big fight as far as the stage goes, but it’s a big fight against a little guy. He’s a veteran and I’ve dismantled veterans in the past. I believe I would have destroyed Manny Pacquiao five years ago,” said Thurman, 30. “I’ve always been ready for this fight. He’s never fought someone like me with this kind of lateral movement, speed and power. I’m coming for him.”

Pacman, the last of a retiring breed, smiles at the words.

“My experience will be very important for this fight. It’s going to be useful against an undefeated fighter. I’m going to give him the experience of losing for the first time,” said Pacquiao. “I am excited for this fight.”

Will the last of the Gen X champions continue on his journey? Or will the Millennials close that chapter for good?

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Lou Savarese: Houston’s Humble Heavyweight Champ

Kelsey McCarson

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Savarese

Lou Savarese could hardly contain himself.

There he was, just four years after his last professional boxing match, a Bronx-born, boxing behemoth bursting into the room to tell his family about finally getting a speaking part as an actor on HBO’s hit TV series “The Sopranos”.

“Ma! Ma! I got a speaking part!” Savarese roared.

“That’s great,” muttered Ma as she went on with her business and his brother strolled by just in time to add a joke.

“Yeah, but are there going to be subtitles?”

Thus cued the laugh track for this scene, one that seems straight out of a Savarese family inspired sitcom. There was love. There were laughs. There were fights. They all had accents.

All these years later, the 53-year-old ex-boxer credits his success, both inside the ring and out, largely due to his family of origin.

“I was so lucky,” said Savarese. “Boxing is a very unstable sport, so it was good to have that kind of stability when I went home. They would keep me humble.”

Savarese’s humble attitude helped him parlay his excellent boxing career, one that stretched 18 years and included bouts against heavyweight greats Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Evander Holyfield, into becoming one of Houston’s most successful and popular local boxing figures.

Local in the sense that Savarese has become synonymous with the phrase “Houston’s heavyweight champion” as he is so often labeled by local newspaper and magazine writers tasked with covering his various business exploits. This has happened repeatedly over the years despite Savarese not actually being from Houston (he’s from White Plains, New York) and never technically becoming the heavyweight champion of the world unless one counts the fringe title he won when he knocked out Buster Douglas in the opening round.

Still, Savarese did fight a who’s who of heavyweight greats, and his performances in at least some of the fights lend themselves to the idea that Savarese-the-almost-champ might have become a legitimate heavyweight titleholder in just about any other era had he gotten the chance.

Savarese was a heavyweight contender during one of the division’s best eras. Typically, the 1990s, led by Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe, are considered by historians to be deeper and better than most other eras except for probably the 1970s when Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and a young George Foreman plied their trades.

Savarese, who considers himself a boxing historian, said there was no doubt in his mind which of the two eras was best.

“I think the 1970s was definitely the best because even the [secondary level] heavyweights back then were really good,” said Savarese. “You had guys like George Chuvalo, Oscar Bonavena and Bob Foster around. There were so many great guys back then.”

Still, Savarese, the historian, knew the era he fought in was also considered elite.

“Our era–we had some really good guys in it, too.”

It was interesting to get the boxer’s input on all the great heavyweights Savarese faced during his career, especially when it came to the question about which one he thought was the best overall.

“Believe it or not, probably Riddick Bowe,” said Savarese. “I fought him in the amateurs. He should have been the greatest heavyweight ever. He was amazing. He had everything. He had such heavy hands. He could punch. He could fight inside. He could fight outside. Not many guys could do all that. In the history of big guys, he was probably the best inside fighter. He had the whole package. He should have been the greatest fighter ever.”

Savarese said he admired Holyfield greatly, the first undisputed cruiserweight champion who went on to do the same at heavyweight.

“Holyfield, to me, was the guy who did the most with his ability,” said Savarese. “He just had so much heart. I probably hit him harder than I ever hit anybody and he didn’t go down. And he came back and knocked me down. That kinda sucked. He was just too strong and had a lot of heart.”

And while Tyson scored a first-round knockout over Savarese during their encounter in 2000, Savarese admitted after some prodding that he didn’t really agree with the quick stoppage.

“I didn’t get it. I mean everything happens for a reason and hindsight is 20/20. I had been hurt way worse than that. I had been down and come back before. Lance Whitaker hit me with like 18 unanswered punches and I came back to win that fight.”

Admittedly, having never seen the fight before I was to meet Savarese later that day, I was also surprised to see it had been halted so quickly. Boxing is a funny sport. What appears a blowout loss on BoxRec can sometimes look so different when you actually watch the action.

“I would have liked to keep fighting,” said Savarese. “I think the referee kind of got overwhelmed because Tyson clipped him. In our corner, we thought they had stopped the fight because of that. We thought they had disqualified him. We had no idea they were stopping the fight. I got up pretty quickly. He’s a great finisher, though, so who knows? Maybe he would have stopped me, but I would have liked the chance to keep going.”

Savarese really does seem like a champion in the truest sense of the word. In fact, Savarese is exactly the person people probably picture in their heads when they imagine meeting a heavyweight boxing champion. He’s humble. He’s honest. He’s kind. He’s 6-foot-5 and looks like he can punch a hole through a brick wall.

He’s basically Rocky Balboa.

Besides, Savarese boxed well enough against Foreman in 1997 to have one of the judges total a scorecard in his favor in the split-decision loss. That fight was for Foreman’s lineal heavyweight championship, the same title Foreman had won three fights prior by knocking out Michael Moorer in the tenth round.

Had things gone just a little differently for Savarese that night, perhaps he would have had his hand raised as the heavyweight champion of the world.

“It was a close fight,” said Savarese. “I mean, I might be biased because it’s me.”

But perhaps most impressively of all, Savarese is genuine in the way that only ex-boxers seem to pull off with any sort of regularity. It’s a funny thing that boxing, a sport deemed crude and crass by some, can at the same time produce such delightful human beings.

All things considered, Savarese enjoyed a tremendous career. Since the very first day he started boxing, Savarese has known what he wanted to do with his life. More importantly, he made the decision to go out and do it.

“I love it,” said Savarese. “I always wondered why I liked it so much, and it sounds crazy, but it’s just the simplicity of it. I love training. Even when I lost, I could always just come back and train harder.”

That, of course, technically ended when Savarese retired following his 2007 unanimous decision loss to Holyfield. But Savarese’s shirts still hang off of him like he just finished doing a thousand pushups, and he’s still heavily involved in the sport in multiple ways.

Savarese is the most successful local boxing promoter of the last decade and part owner of both the Main Street Boxing & Muay Thai gym in downtown Houston as well as a new gym, Savarese Fight Fit West U, on Bellaire Blvd.

While boxing fans know Main Street as one of Houston’s oldest and most successful local fight gyms, Savarese’s new endeavor, which opened about eight months ago, caters to a different sort of crowd.

Here people from all walks of life, including oil and gas executives, attorneys, rabbis and even moms in yoga pants, take a giant leap into the world of boxing together, and for many of them, it’s their very first exposure to the sport. Where some of these kinds of people do exist in more traditional gyms like Main Street, Savarese Fight Fit West U practically screams for them to come and check things out.

It’s posh, clean and branded to sell to a certain kind of crowd.

Even the heavy bags are upgraded from traditional fare. Equipped with electronic sensors that measure how many times someone hits the bag and with what force, it’s the kind of gym just about any person could walk into and want to try things out.

“Everyone gets really competitive about it. It also helps with accountability. Because sometimes when people train, they get to talking to each other and lose track of what they’re doing.”

That Savarese would be part of such a successful looking new venture shouldn’t really be all that surprising. After all, beyond Savarese’s ring exploits and even after his various stints on TV and in movies, he just seems to be a special person who knows this life is for him and so goes about doing his best to live it.

Savarese is the person maybe every professional fighter should someday grow up to be. While his brother might have been mostly wrong about people needing subtitles to understand him when he speaks, there remains something homey and comfortable about Savarese that invites people to be warm-hearted and jovial toward him. Perhaps that alone is what has brought Savarese such good fortune, or maybe, like he said, it really can be traced back his family.

“I just enjoy life and try to do my own thing,” said Savarese. “I’ve been really lucky.”

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Jim Gray, To His Discredit, is Too Often ‘The Story’

Ted Sares

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Jim Gray

Showtime’s widely-connected Jim Gray is the ultimate networker, insider, and friend to the stars (from Jack Nicholson to Kobe Bryant to LeBron James to Tom Brady and everyone in between—or almost everyone). He has won more awards than Carter has pills, a list that includes 12 National Emmy Awards, and he even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was named as one of the 50 Greatest Sports Broadcasters of All-Time by David Halberstam and last year he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

For an interesting read about Jim and his complex but important interconnections, see “The Zelig of Sports,” by Bryan Curtiss, dated June 24, 2016. https://www.theringer.com/2016/6/24/16043100/jim-gray-is-looking-for-his-next-exclusive-fc23ceb544e

However, as noted by “Sports Media Watch” writer and editor Paulsen (no first name) and others, Gray has become The Story on too many occasions and that’s a no-no in his line of work.

In boxing, Gray’s condescending and confrontational style was on display as far back as 2001 when he interviewed Kostya Tszyu in the ring following Tszyu’s defeat of Oktay Urkal at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. As Gray was beginning his routine, the “Thunder From Down Under” grabbed the mic and quickly told Gray “Do not be rude to me.”

Many years later, after Juan Manuel Lopez had just been knocked silly by Orlando “Siri” Salido, a bizarre post-fight interview ensued during which Lopez accused referee Roberto Ramirez and his son Roberto Ramirez Jr (who was the third man for the first Salido-Lopez fight) of having gambling problems.

Lopez was arguably still on Queer Street, but that didn’t stop Gray. Eager to catch someone off guard, as is his wont, Gray managed to get “Juanma” to say more than enough to get himself suspended while Gray went on to induction into the IBHOF

There have been many other incidents including James Toney dominating Gray in an interview after the Holyfield-Toney fight. Jim never had a chance. “Don’t come up here and try to give me no badass questions,” James warned Gray before knocking the mic out of Gray’s hands..

The fact is Gray had built up a litany of edgy if not downright embarrassing moments. His most infamous came in 1999 during game two of the World Series.

During the game, Pete Rose, barred from baseball but still a fan favorite, was introduced as a member of the Major League All-Century Team as the crowd went wild. Then the ever-opportunistic Gray launched a series of questions regarding allegations that Rose’s had gambled on major league baseball games.

Gray was unrelenting. Finally, Pete cut it off, saying, “This is a prosecutor’s brief, not an interview, and I’m very surprised at you. I am, really.” Later on, New York Yankee outfielder Chad Curtis, who won Game 3 with a walk off homer, refused Gray’s request for an interview as a show of unity with Rose. (Jim Gray’s complete interview with Pete Rose can be found in Gray’s Wikipedia entry. Gray was somewhat vindicated in 2004 when Rose came clean and admitted that he had bet on baseball.)

Fast Forward

After the scintillating Wilder-Breazeale fight this past week in Brooklyn’s Barclay Center, Luis Ortiz bounded into the ring during the post-fight interviews and Gray shoved the mic in his face without so much as a hello and shouted “when do you want to fight Wilder?” Ortiz wanted to focus on what had just occurred in the ring, but he never had a chance. Gray continued to badger him about future fights and thus the fans did not get to hear what Ortiz had to say about the fight.

But what was far worse was when Dominic Breazeale waved Gray away as the commentator walked towards the badly beaten fighter. Gray was stopped by a member of Breazeale’s camp and he quickly got the message that he was persona non grata in the Breazeale corner. Previously, and within Dominic’s earshot, Gray had said to Wilder “the public does not want to see you fight people like Breazeale, the public does not want to see Joshua fight Ruiz, the public does not want to see whoever this guy is fighting Tyson Fury.”

There may be truth in what Jim said, but there was a better way to say it and a better place to say it. The man just got knocked senseless in front of his family and friends, Jim, show him some respect!

Photo credit: Tom Casino / SHOWTIME

Ted Sares is a member of Ring 8, a lifetime member of Ring 10, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He is an active power lifter and Strongman competitor in the Grand Master class and is competing in 2019.

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