Connect with us

Featured Articles

The Friends of Tony Veranis, Part Two

Ted Sares

Published

on

The-Friends-of-Tony-Veranis-Part-Two

The Friends of Tony Veranis, Part Two

During the period between 1966 and 1976, New England’s criminal underworld included many ex-boxers from the Boston area, many of whom were destined to die a violent death. Their intertwined histories would match those of George Higgins’s “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” except that here the common denominator is boxing.

Part One introduced many of the main characters including the notorious Joe “The Animal” Barboza. Next up is journeyman heavyweight George Holden who would meet his end along the banks of the Mystic River.

George Holden (1948-1973)

George, known as the “Medford Irisher,” fought mostly out of Portland, Maine as a heavyweight and chalked up a less-than-glorious record of 15-26-3. He went 9-3-3 in his first 15, but then the losses came in bunches and he would lose nine of his last 10. In his last bout against Jimmy McDermott (52-16-3), Holden disgraced himself by showing up drunk for which he was indefinitely suspended. He never fought again.

Like Rocco DiSiglio (introduced in Part One), little is known about Holden’s personal life except that he was a low-level operative in organized crime. Holden trained with the usual suspects and met a similar fate. On August 23, 1973, his body was found washed up along the mucky shoreline of the Mystic River in Charlestown, Mass. He had been executed gangland style with a gunshot to the head. George was 25 years old. His killers were never found. Holden’s murder was the 82nd homicide in the city of Boston in 1973.

Eddie Connors (1933-1975)

As a youth, Connors was a regular at the L Street Curley Gym and Bathhouse located in South Boston (i.e. Southie) where future gang leaders Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, James “Whitey” Bulger, and Frank “Cadillac Frank” Salemme hung out.

Eddie, nicknamed “Bulldog,” was a respected heavy-handed middleweight who fought like a bulldog during the ’50s and ran up a slate of 22-7-1 with 18 KOs against tough opposition. His last three fights — all losses by decision — were against Willie Green (27-4), Joe DeNucci (20-2 coming in), and former world champion Tony DeMarco (55-11-1). He also held the very capable George Monroe (37-13-3) to a draw. His brother James Connors (not to be confused with Jimmy Connors who fought out of New Bedford from 1957 to 1963 and who was trained by Clem Crowley) fought between 1959 and 1961 and retired with a 13-0-1 record.

Eddie would later use his boxing experience to handle drunk and disorderly customers in his notorious Bulldog Tavern in the edgy Savin Hill area of Dorchester –sometimes referred to as “Stab and Kill”— where he acted as both bartender and bouncer, and which he also used as his criminal headquarters for illegal gambling, drug dealing, loan sharking, and for planning armed robberies with his associates.

Later, because Connors was bragging too much about a murder he had helped orchestrate (of one James “Spike” O’Toole), the Bulldog had become a dangerous loose end. As such, he was set up for an ambush in The Dot. When Eddie arrived at a service station on Morrissey Blvd. on June 12, 1975, to make a pre-arranged phone call, a young Whitey Bulger, John “The Basin Street Butcher” Martorano, and Stephen Flemmi were waiting armed to the teeth. Connors was nearly cut in half in the phone booth by the hail of heavy artillery and the loose end was tied. Curiously, the deadly Martorano was the one who had machine gunned O’Toole in 1973.

Americo Sacramone (1937-1976)

When he finished his brief boxing career with a 5-1 record, Rico, from Everett, entered the rackets as member of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang. After being wounded in the hit on Buddy McLean in 1965, Rico went back to prison on a parole violation. In 1976, he was gunned down — this time for good — by parties unknown.

During his boxing days, Sacramone would often spar with the great Joe DeNucci (54-15-4), who later became the longstanding State Auditor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Tommy Tibbs (1934-1975)

While probably not a friend of Tony Veranis, Tommy (60-77-4) did fight George Monroe three times in 1953  — and just about everyone else including Willie Pep whom he beat in 1958 — and since Monroe fought to a draw against Eddie Connors in 1955, at least the possibility of a dotted line connection exists. Monroe was from Worcester and Tibbs made his residence in Boston. However, where Tommy warrants an honorable mention is the fact that he was shot and killed in a dispute in a Roxbury bar in 1975, one of the bloodiest years of living dangerously in Boston.

Back to Tony (1938-1966)

Meanwhile, after beating Al Pepin in his pro debut, Veranis continued his attention-grabbing run as a professional. He was described as “one tough SOB; a Wildman who was courageous in the ring.” Others said he was well-trained and “a great prospect and that his boxing style was that of a slugger.”

In 1957, Tony fought an astonishing 26 times (the majority at the Rollway Arena in Revere). Tony’s best win may have been on December 3, 1957, when he stopped — and retired — the talented Bobby Murphy (19-3-1). Bobby, a former USA New England welterweight titleholder, had impressive wins over Vic Cardell (65-25-7), Fitzie Pruden (50-21), Rocky Sullivan (66-43-12) and Jackie O’Brien (65-17-8), as well as a draw with top contender Chico Vejar (63-5-1). A win over Murphy meant something.

Tony’s last fight in 1957 was against rugged Barry Allison on December 17 against whom he fought to an admirable draw. Allison (40-19-2) was at the center of New England boxing during the 1950s but was never able to reach world championship level though many think he should have gotten the nod against Johnny Saxton in 1958. As for Tony, he slaughtered Silby Ford in a bloody encounter in February 1958, one that had blood-splattered ringsiders aghast as Silby’s teeth and mouthpiece were knocked out. This moved Tony’s record to 25-0-2 before dropping back-to-back fights to Allison in a rematch for Allison’s USA New England middleweight title and to undefeated Joe Devlin at the Boston Garden.

Tony’s loss to Allison was one in which he took a terrible beating and one that undoubtedly rendered him damaged goods going into the Devlin bout — not taking anything away from the crafty Joe who would retire undefeated. These two fights occurred within a 16-day span in March 1958. After his brutal knockout defeat to Devlin in which he was decked in every round, he was taken to Boston City Hospital in bad shape and remained in a coma before recovering some three month later. But his boxing days were over.

After boxing, Tony reportedly suffered from severe migraine headaches, nausea, temporary mood swings, and blackouts — maladies that apparently were not treated and pointed to brain damage. When combined with heavy drinking and depression, this lethal mix could only spell major trouble for an ex-boxer. Tony was arrested for an unidentified crime on December 23, 1963, and sent to prison in Norfolk, Massachusetts.

While incarcerated he supposedly became an altar boy to serve at prison mass, prompting the prison chaplain Father John Fitzgerald to say, “He wanted to get straightened out, and I think he did. He was a wonderful boy who’d run with a bad crowd. He frequently stopped in to see me… after he got out, and everything seemed to be all right. He took me to the fights, and he was with respectable fellows.” Some portrayed him as a friendly and quiet guy who was the victim of circumstances beyond his control, but other saw him as a small-time hoodlum and mean drinker with a bad personality change who was more brawn than brain. Street lore and my own in-depth research clearly support the latter depiction.

Tony soon found himself in debt to South Boston loan sharks and being overdue to such types was hardly conducive to one’s well-being. Tommy DePrisco, a Barboza associate, attempted to collect from Tony in a South Boston bar but was embarrassed, maybe even punched, and forced to leave as this was Tony’s hangout. The following night, hitman John Martorano was at Billy O’s tavern in Dorchester when Veranis braced him and reportedly slurred, “I’m Tony Veranis, you know who I am. I just had a beef with your friend [DePrisco]. I kicked him outta Southie with his tail between his legs, f*** him and f*** you, too.”

As Tony allegedly reached for his gun, the taller “Butcher” beat him to the punch and fired down into Tony’s skull twice, blowing what was left of his already damaged brains all over the place. His body was dumped in the Blue Hills wooded area off Route 28 near where Milton and Dedham meet. He had $2.83 in his pocket. This was the end result when two former altar boys met up at the wrong time in the wrong place. One was 27, the other 26. Tony may have been tougher with his fists, but the Basin Street Butcher was faster with his gun.

John Martorano: Last Man Standing

“You Just Kill Them Before They Kill You” John Martorano

Many claimed credit for the hit on Tony Veranis and a few even suggested that Barboza was involved, but the most reliable accounting is that Martorano (known as “The Executioner,” among other aliases) was responsible. Early on, Martorano, who also was an altar boy, a good athlete, and well-educated in private schools, showed a marked proclivity for conflict resolution. He eventually became the chief enforcer for the Whitey Bulger gang, running up an astounding tally of 20 confirmed hits (all carried out in a cold, detached, so-called “professional” manner).

One of John’s familial Old World core values was that of loyalty, and when he later learned that Bulger and Flemmi were FBI informants who leaked useful information, some of it even accusatory against John, he became enraged. The fact is, he flipped out and then proceeded to flip on the flippers, becoming a key government witness and in the process exposing the links between the Bulger gang and the FBI’s Boston office. In return for his “cooperation” and confession to 20 murders, he served only 12 years and received $20,000 gate money upon his release. Said U.S. Attorney Donald Stern, “The only thing worse than this deal was not doing this deal.”

martorano

martorano

Regarding his hits, Martorano incredibly and calmly said, “I always felt like I was doing the right thing. Even if it was wrong, I always tried to do the right thing.”

Strictly business? Hardly. These sociopaths were close to being serial killers and they loved it.

Today, while the mother of all rats, Whitey Bulger, was recently beaten to death in prison, John Martorano and Kevin Weeks (another deadly Bulger enforcer and righteous snitch who wrote the compelling “Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger’s Irish Mob,” are free to walk the streets of Quincy, Dorchester, and South Boston having done their time and having made their deals. Maybe they take strolls on Carson Beach.

Unlike Barboza, they don’t need any witness protection because there is no one left from whom to be protected. Moreover, there IS something to be said for ratting out a rat.

John “Red” Shea (standup guy)

You don’t tell on anybody, you accept your responsibility, even if the other person can’t. You’re to be a man and keep your mouth shut. Period. There’s no gray area.” –Red Shea

There was another ex-boxer, but he chose another, more difficult path. His name was John “Red” Shea and he traded an exceptionally promising boxing career for a more lucrative life as an important operative and enforcer for the Bulger gang. But the thing about Red was that when he was finally caught, he didn’t flip, but held fast to the Irish code of silence. The 47-year-old Red served out his 12 years in prison without ratting out and is now considered a rare man of honor in the Boston area. He went on to write the hot selling “Rat Bastards: The Life and Times of South Boston’s Most Honorable Irish Mobster.” Red is now enjoying his freedom and the secrets of his life of crime most likely will be taken to the grave with him. His second book, “A Kid from Southie” was published to solid reviews.

Famous defense attorney Anthony Cardinale, a close friend of Red, once said, “He’s not big, but was very violent and very tough, and people are, to this day, scared to death of him…If, God forbid, I ever needed somebody next to me and I needed backup he’d be one of the first guys that I would ever go to.”

Joe DeNucci and Clem Crowley went on to live honorable and even celebrated lives before they passed, as did Joe Devlin, New Bedford’s Jimmy Connors, and Barry Allison. However, Eddie Connors, Rocky DiSiglio, Rico Sacramone, Joe Barboza, George Holden, and Tommy Sullivan — all fighters in the Boston area who were connected to one another in one way or another — were each murdered at a young age. I still meet with Jimmy Connors on a monthly basis in Dorchester and never tire of his stories from the past.

As an aside, I interviewed Joe Devlin about his fight with Tony at a lunch meeting at the Florian Hall in Dorchester. Among other things, Joe said that Tony’s brains were like “scrambled eggs.” Sadly, the affable Joe died of a heart attack on the very next day.

“Boxing got me out of a lot of trouble. It does that for a lot of kids.” – Tony Veranis

Pictured: Tony Veranis and Bob Murphy. The full photo has Pat MCarthy on the far left and Jimmy Connors on the far right.

 Ted Sares can be reached at tedsares@roadrunner.com

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in The Sweet Science CLICK HERE

Featured Articles

Fast Results from London: Massive Heavyweight Joe Joyce Keeps on Rolling

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Fast-Results-from-London-Massive-Heavyweight-Joe-Joyce-Keeps-on-Rolling

Ponderous but formidable Joe Joyce moved one step closer to a title fight tonight at the Wembley Arena with a sixth-round stoppage of Carlos Takam. Carrying 264 pounds on a six-foot-six frame, the 2014 Olympic silver medalist was simply too big for his 40-year-old French-Cameroonian adversary.

In his previous bout, Joyce methodically dismantled favored Daniel Dubois with a steady dose of his thudding right jab. Dubois quit in the 10th round with a busted eye socket. Tonight’s fight followed a somewhat similar pattern.

Takam landed some good shots in the first two rounds as Joyce was slow to find his rhythm, but Joyce stuck to his game plan which was to wear him down and Takam’s punches gradually lost steam in the face of Joyce’s constant pressure.

Early in round six, Joyce rocked Takam with a big right hand and didn’t let him off the hook. Takam protested when the referee indicated that he had seen enough and the stoppage did strike many as premature, but the handwriting was on the wall for the veteran who declined to 39-6-1. The official time was 0:49.

Joyce is of Scotch-Irish and Nigerian descent. College educated with a degree in fine arts, he acknowledges that he has no great passion for the sport of boxing and is in it for the financial rewards, not the glory. At age 35, he isn’t going to get any better, but he appears to have a rock-solid chin and his nickname, Juggernaut, is quite fitting.

Joyce entered the bout ranked #2 by the WBO, a notch below Oleksandr Usyk who challenges title-holder Anthony Joshua on Sept. 25.

Other Bouts of Note

Ekow Essuman, a 32-year-old Nottingham man, born in Botswana, unseated British and Commonwealth welterweight champion Chris Jenkins, winning on an eighth-round stoppage. A hard right hook followed by a flurry of punches forced the referee to waive it off. The official time was 0:53.

Essuman, who was favored in the 3/1 range, improved to 15-0 with his sixth win inside the distance. A Welshman, Jenkins (22-4-3) was making the fourth defense of his domestic title.

London super welterweight Hamzah Sheeraz, who has been training at the Ten Goose Gym in Van Nuys, California, improved to 13-0 (9 KOs) with a fifth-round stoppage of Spain’s Ezequiel Gurria (15-2). Gurria was down twice in the fifth round before the bout was halted at the 2:23 mark.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Steen, Bocachica, and Martino Jules Stay Unbeaten in Cornhuskerland

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Steen-Bocachica-and-Martino-Jules-Stay-Unbeaten-in-Cornhuskerland

The long-running Showtime series ShoBox:The New Generation was at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island, Nebraska last night. Super middleweight Isaiah Steen and welterweight Janelson Figueroa Bocachica, both of whom are managed by 2020 BWAA Manager of the Year David McWater, were featured in the main bouts.

Cleveland’s Steen, the half-brother of 2016 U.S. Olympian Charles Conwell, improved to 16-0 (12) with a 10-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Kalvin Henderson (14-1-1). Steen started slow and slowed down again in the final two rounds, but dominated the middle rounds and won by scores of 96-94 and 97-93 twice. Henderson, a part-time schoolteacher in Fayetteville, Arkansas who earned a degree in music from the University of Arkansas, was hampered by a pulled muscle in his right shoulder which he believes happened in the fourth round.

Steen hopes to land a spot on the big show coming up in Cleveland in five weeks. Charles Conwell is already booked. He will oppose Massachusetts veteran Mark DeLuca in a supporting bout to the freak fight between Jake Paul and Tyrone Woodley.

Janelson Figueroa Bocachica, a Detroit native of Puerto Rican ancestry, kept his undefeated record intact, but just barely. He was held to a draw by Shinard Bunch who appeared to have done enough to edge it.

Bunch, whose middle name is Showtime (no fooling) fights out of Trenton, New Jersey and is trained by Chino Reyes who guided Jason Sosa and Tevin Farmer to world titles. He entered the bout with a 15-1 (13) record but was moving up in class in his first scheduled 10-rounder. Only six of his wins had come against opponents with winning records.

Bocachica (17-0-1) performed below expectations for the second straight fight, having been hard-pressed to turn away Mark Reyes Jr. in his previous go. One of the judges scored it for him (96-94) but the others had it 97-93 Bunch and 95-95.

The TV opener was an 8-round featherweight contest between Martino Jules, a 24-year-old southpaw from Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Aram Avagyan, a 30-year-old Armenian who began his pro career in Russia and is currently domiciled in California.

Although neither were big punchers, the Armenian had the odds in his favor. A 2016 Olympian, he had fought the tougher schedule and was the bigger man, coming in two pounds over the featherweight limit (which reportedly cost him $2000). But his performance was sloppy – he was repeatedly warned for leading with his head – and the decision was a foregone conclusion when Jules was credited with scoring a knockdown late in the final round.

In his biggest win to date, Martino Jules improved to 11-0. It was the first pro loss for the 30-year-old Avagyan who declined to 10-1-2.

Photo credit: Esther Lin / SHOWTIME

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Les Bonano, Mr. Boxing in New Orleans, Enters the NOLA Sports Hall of Fame

Bernard Fernandez

Published

on

Les-Bonano-Mr-Boxing-in-New-Orleans-Enters-the-NOLA-Sports-Hall-of-Fame

He is perhaps the final ruler of what remains of a fraying and depleted boxing kingdom in the formerly great fight town of New Orleans. For 50-plus years Les Bonano has fought the good fight, both when things were going well or not so much in a unique American city familiar with pronounced pendulum swings not necessarily linked to his favorite sport.

Now, at 78, the boxing lifer who accepted the baton in a relay race of sorts whose previous carriers included such similarly distinctive local legends as Whitey Esneault, Allen “Black Cat” Lacombe and “Leapin’” Louie Messina, all of whom have taken their earthly 10-count, gets the championship turn none of his fighters were quite able to present him when he is inducted Saturday night into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame at the Hilton Riverside.

Bonano thus will become the 13th person affiliated with boxing to be enshrined in the GNOSHOF – hey, 13 is a number “Black Cat” Lacombe (who, like Messina, is not an inductee) would surely love, were he still around – but it might be a long time before No. 14, if there ever is one, gets the next call to the hall. All 12 of the previous pugilistic honorees are deceased, and those potential candidates who might have a case for being recognized have to date drawn scant support from a selection committee whose members are not seemingly disposed to acknowledge their places in the city’s once-rich boxing history. Before it was the “Big Easy,” New Orleans was known as “the city that care forgot.”  In terms of boxing in the here and now, 21st century NOLA might be more aptly described as “the city that forgot to care.”

But any woulda, coulda, shoulda arguments that have been waged or will continue to be on that front can’t detract from Les Bonano’s five-decade march to a level of recognition in his hometown that few boxing figures have attained. In boxing parlance, he will have gone the distance, arguably a longer trek and arguably a more improbable one than any of his predecessors.

“There is such a tremendous honor. I’ve won some awards, but this will be the greatest in my life,” he said when informed that he had finally gained entry into the exclusive boxing wing of the GNOSHOF. “It means so much to me, it’s hard for me to explain. I can’t put it into words.”

It is the fickle finger of fate that touches boxing’s peripheral presences – promoters, trainers, cut men, etc. – to either bask in the glow of their involvement with elite fighters, or be shrouded in the shadows along with their charges who never quite make it all the way to the top of the mountain. Angelo Dundee is a global legend, an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, in no small part because he trained, among others, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Carmen Basilio. The same can be said of Emanuel Steward, Eddie Futch, Freddie Roach and any number of other chief seconds who were fortunate to bring their knowledge and expertise to the corners of fighters who were world-class talents and commanded the spotlight. Instantly identifiable promoters such as Don King, Bob Arum, Tex Rickard and others have plaques hanging in Canastota, N.Y., because they handled the big acts.

Bonano began his boxing journey, as so many do, as a jack of all trades. He is primarily known as a promoter of fight cards in New Orleans and its environs these days, but he also has served as a trainer, cut man and doer of all things that are necessary in a trade where general handiness can be rewarding.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of good people in boxing,” he recalled. “And I was a sponge. I wanted to know everything. I learned from everyone that I could. Vincent Arnona (also not a GNOSHOF inductee) was a great New Orleans trainer and a legendary cut man who taught me everything he knew. I think I had success because I incorporated methods from all the different people that I met and worked with.”

Among Bonano’s guides along the way were Lacombe, a boxing and thoroughbred racing handicapper whose N’Awlins accent was as thick as Bonano’s, and Messina, a promoter who staged shows involving world-rated welterweights Percy Pugh and Jerry Pellegrini. Home-grown main-eventers, Pugh (black) and Pellegrini (white) regularly drew full houses before loud, enthusiastic audiences in Municipal Auditorium in the 1960s and early ‘70s. And when they squared off for the Southern 147-pound championship on March 3, 1968, the joint was filled to overflowing. The slick-boxing Pugh won a 15-round unanimous decision over the harder-hitting Pellegrini, a virtual replay of the 10-round UD Pugh scored in their first meeting on Sept. 21, 1967.

“So many people were there, or wanted to be there and couldn’t get in,” Bonano, who later employed Pugh as a trainer of some of his fighters, said of those standing-room-only turnouts promoted by Messina in the 5,000-seat arena. “It’s something I’ll never forget. The place was packed, man.”

Neither Pugh nor Pellegrini ever got the chance to fight for a world title, however, which is a distinction several of the more prominent members of Bonano’s promotional stable were able to accomplish. Light heavyweight Jerry Celestine, an ex-con who came out of the Orleans Parish Prison boxing program instituted by Bonano when Les served in the OPP sheriff’s department, upset third-ranked Vonzell Johnson and later challenged WBA champ Michael Spinks, losing on an eighth-round stoppage. Melvin Paul floored Charlie “Choo Choo” Brown in the 15th round when they squared off for the vacant IBF lightweight title, but Brown beat the count and won a close and controversial (in Bonano’s opinion) split decision. And John “Super D” Duplessis got a shot at WBC/IBF super lightweight kingpin Julio Cesar Chavez, but, predictably, he had no chance against an all-time great and was whacked out in four rounds.

It is Paul’s narrow loss on points to Brown, a Philadelphian fighting in nearby Atlantic City, N.J., that has been most irksome to Bonano, who referred to the outcome as a “hometown” decision.

“Melvin thought he had the fight won,” Bonano said. “He ran to the side of the ring and was calling out to his wife and celebrating on the ropes. The (pro-Brown) crowd was going crazy, but Brown somehow was standing up. I was screaming at Melvin to knock him out, but he couldn’t hear me. Brown wobbled on his feet for about 30 seconds and was saved by the bell. Melvin was robbed.”

Although denied his own world titlist, Bonano had ample opportunity to be involved with indisputably great fighters – Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr., Roberto Duran and Larry Holmes, among others — when he worked in conjunction with bigger-name promoters Bob Arum and Lou DiBella to bring fights to Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Miss., within easy driving distance of New Orleans.

When Esneault, the legendary New Orleans trainer whose own list of fighters included world champions Willie Pastrano, Ralph Dupas and Freddie Little, as well as title challengers Bernard Docusen and Tony Licata, was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016 (I served as his presenter), it reminded me of what New Orleans fight writer Waddell Summers wrote about “Mr. Whitey” when he passed away on Jan. 20, 1968, at the age of 76.

“When Whitey Esneault died, the Golden Age of boxing in New Orleans was laid to rest in St. Rich No. 2 cemetery,” Summers predicted. But that gloomy pronouncement might not have been absolutely accurate, even if Esneault was a World War I veteran whose life experiences dated back to the 19th century. New Orleans was once one of boxing’s hottest of hotbeds, the site of the Sept. 7, 1892, megafight, fought under the still-new Marquess of Queensberry Rules, in which “Gentleman” Jim Corbett dethroned John L. Sullivan, the “Boston Strongboy,” on a 21st-round knockout. The city’s deep roots in boxing date back further than that, to the 1870 pairing of Jem Mace and Tom Allen in what was considered the first legitimate heavyweight prizefight.

In later and more flush times, the Louisiana Superdome was the site of Muhammad Ali’s reclaiming of the heavyweight championship (for a record third time) on a 15-round UD over Leon Spinks on Sept. 15, 1978, a Mardi Gras-level event witnessed by an announced crowd of 63,350, and Roberto Duran’s “No Mas” surrender to Sugar Ray Leonard on Nov. 25, 1980, which drew a turnout of about 30,000. On a somewhat smaller scale, Roy Jones Jr. defended his WBA, WBC and The Ring light heavyweight belts on a 10th-round RTD over 30-1 underdog Eric Harding on Sept. 9, 2000, in the New Orleans Arena (now Smoothie King Center), now the home of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.

Bonano doesn’t want to be New Orleans’ last inclusion in the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame; he is a staunch proponent of Pugh getting the recognition he believes is long overdue, and he also figures the committee that approved him might want to take a look at Licata and Messina. But of perhaps greater importance is the need to rebuild upon traditions that are on the verge of going permanently fallow, unless a new face in an old place steps forward to accept the baton from Bonano.

Can New Orleans boxing be revived to a reasonable facsimile of what it once was?

“First of all, you gotta have somebody local that can develop into a world-class fighter, to draw attention to the game,” Bonano said. “Once that happens, you’d see a lot of young guys get involved in boxing, a lot of spectators coming back to see fights. But there has to be a lead person to draw that attention.”

And is there a possible successor to himself that might be ready to embark onto his own long journey toward the GNOSHOF?

“I got a good friend of mind named Toby Wattigney, who loves boxing,” Bonano offered. “He’s a trainer. I think that Toby will wind up taking over as a promoter. He’s great and I really believe he will carry on the tradition I’m leaving behind.”

Here’s hoping Wattigney can fill the large footsteps of New Orleans’ last (for now) link to what was. But, hey, miracles can and sometimes do happen. After all, the New Orleans Saints did win Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010.

In addition to Bonano, other inductees into the GNOSHOF (*for those now deceased, **for those also enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame), listed alphabetically with the year in which they are enshrined, are:

*Referee Elmo Adolph (2000)

**Former lightweight champion Joe “Old Bones” Brown (1970)

*Fighter and promoter Marty Burke (1978)

**Three-division former world champion Tony Canzoneri (1984)

*Former welterweight contender Bernard Docusen (1976)

*Former WBA/WBC super welterweight champion Ralph Dupas (1978)

**Trainer Ernest “Whitey” Esneault (2016)

*Dr. Eddie Flynn, a gold medalist at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics (1981)

*Harry Gamble, a multiple-sport athlete, including boxing, at Tulane University (1983)

**Former bantamweight champion Pete Herman (1971)

**Former unified light heavyweight champion Willie Pastrano (1973)

*Former world-rated featherweight Jimmy Perrin (1979)

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Pac-Man-Touches-Down-in-LA-Leaving-Behind-a-Political-Firestorm
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Pacquiao Touches Down in L.A., Leaving Behind a Political Firestorm

A-Closer-Look-at-Top-Rank's-Newest-Signee-Nico-Ali-Walsh
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

A Closer Look at Top Rank’s Newest Signee Nico Ali Walsh

Is-Gervonta-Davis-Boxing's-New-Money-Man
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Is Gervonta Davis Boxing’s New “Money” Man?

Loma-and-Teofimo-A-Sudden-Reversal-of-Fortune
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Loma and Teofimo: A Stunning Reversal of Fortune?

Avila-Perspective-Chap-144-Charlo-&-Castano-Battle-for-Undisputed-Status-and-More
Featured Articles1 week ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 144: Charlo & Castano Battle for Undisputed! and More

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Notes-on-Canelo-GGG-III-and-Oregon's-White-Delight
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: Notes on Canelo – GGG III and Oregon’s ‘White Delight’

Charlo-and-Castano-Battle-to-a-Draw-in-a-San-Antonio-Firefight
Featured Articles1 week ago

Charlo and Castano Battle to a Draw in a San Antonio Firefight

Chris-Colbert-Beats-Nyambayar-and-Rivera-KOs-Fernandez-in-Carson
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Chris Colbert Beats Nyambayar and Rivera KOs Fernandez in Carson

The-Latest-News-on-the-Fury-Wilder-III-Blunder
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Latest News on the Fury – Wilder III Blunder

Tank-Davis-KOs-Mario-Barrios-for-WBA-Title
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

‘Tank’ Davis KOs Mario Barrios for WBA Title

Tim-Tszyu-Continues-His-Wave-of-Destruction-Blasts-Out-Late-Sub-Steve-Spark
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Tim Tszyu Continues His Wave of Destruction; Blasts out Late Sub Steve Spark

The-International-Olympic-Committee-Sets-The-Gold-Standard-for-Scandal
Featured Articles1 week ago

The International Olympic Committee Sets the Gold Standard for Scandal

Fast-Results-from-Las-Vegas-Lomachenko-returns-to-his-Winning-Ways-and-More
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Fast Results from Las Vegas: Lomachenko Returns to his Winning Ways and More

Boxing-Referees-Were-Tough-in-Bygone-Days-and-Jere-Dunn-Was-Toughest-of-Them-All
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Boxing Referees Were Tough in Bygone Days and Jere Dunn Was Toughest of Them All

Avila-Perspective-Chap-140-Colbert-vs-Nyambayar-and-Other-LA-Fights
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 140: Colbert vs Nyambayar and Other L.A. Fights

Literary-Notes-George-Dixon-by-Jason-Winders
Book Review2 weeks ago

Literary Notes: “George Dixon” by Jason Winders

Renowned-Sportswriter-Dave-Kindred-Reflects-on-a-Life-Well-Lived
Featured Articles1 week ago

Renowned Sportswriter Dave Kindred Reflects on a Life Well Lived

Loma-Batters-Nakatani-Even-If-It-Was-Teofimo's-Face-He-Was-Seeing
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Loma Batters Nakatani Even If it Was Teofimo’s Face He Was Seeing

Getting-to-Know-Jared-Anderson-Boxing's-Next-Big-Thing
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Getting to Know Jared Anderson, Boxing’s ‘Next Big Thing’

Arthur-and-Parker-and-McCann-and-Sharp-Stay-Unbeaten-at-Prince-Albert-Hall
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Arthur and Parker and McCann and Sharp Stay Unbeaten at Prince Albert Hall

Fast-Results-from-London-Massive-Heavyweight-Joe-Joyce-Keeps-on-Rolling
Featured Articles1 day ago

Fast Results from London: Massive Heavyweight Joe Joyce Keeps on Rolling

Steen-Bocachica-and-Martino-Jules-Stay-Unbeaten-in-Cornhuskerland
Featured Articles2 days ago

Steen, Bocachica, and Martino Jules Stay Unbeaten in Cornhuskerland

Les-Bonano-Mr-Boxing-in-New-Orleans-Enters-the-NOLA-Sports-Hall-of-Fame
Featured Articles2 days ago

Les Bonano, Mr. Boxing in New Orleans, Enters the NOLA Sports Hall of Fame

Avila-Perspective-Chap-145-Olympics-Women's-Boxing-Hall-of-Fame-and-More
Featured Articles3 days ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 145: Olympics, Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame and More

The-Gold-Medal-Drought-for-the-US-Olympic-Boxing-Team-is-Expected-to-Continue
Featured Articles4 days ago

The Gold Medal Drought for the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team is Expected to Continue

A-Dissenting-Opinion-Jeffrey-Freeman's-Round-by-Round-Breakdown-of-the-Charlo-Castano-Fight
Featured Articles5 days ago

A Dissenting Opinion: Jeffrey Freeman’s Round by Round Breakdown of the Charlo-Castano Fight

Excitement-was-the-Name-of-the-Little-Bird's-Game
Featured Articles5 days ago

Excitement was the Name of ‘The Little Bird’s’ Game

When-Betting-on-Boxing-It's-Buyer-Beware-as-Connor-McGregor-Reminded-Us
Featured Articles6 days ago

When Betting on Boxing, it’s ‘Buyer Beware’ as Conor McGregor Reminded Us

Renowned-Sportswriter-Dave-Kindred-Reflects-on-a-Life-Well-Lived
Featured Articles1 week ago

Renowned Sportswriter Dave Kindred Reflects on a Life Well Lived

Charlo-and-Castano-Battle-to-a-Draw-in-a-San-Antonio-Firefight
Featured Articles1 week ago

Charlo and Castano Battle to a Draw in a San Antonio Firefight

Every-Joe-Gans-Lightweight-Title-Fight-Part-8-Willie-Fitzgerald
Featured Articles1 week ago

Every Joe Gans Lightweight Title Fight – Part 8: Willie Fitzgerald

The-International-Olympic-Committee-Sets-The-Gold-Standard-for-Scandal
Featured Articles1 week ago

The International Olympic Committee Sets the Gold Standard for Scandal

Remembering-the-Late-Craig-Gator-Bodzianowski-Boxing's-One-Legged-Wonder
Featured Articles1 week ago

Remembering the late Craig ‘Gator’ Bodzianowski, Boxing’s One-Legged Wonder

Avila-Perspective-Chap-144-Charlo-&-Castano-Battle-for-Undisputed-Status-and-More
Featured Articles1 week ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 144: Charlo & Castano Battle for Undisputed! and More

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Notes-on-Canelo-GGG-III-and-Oregon's-White-Delight
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: Notes on Canelo – GGG III and Oregon’s ‘White Delight’

Getting-to-Know-Jared-Anderson-Boxing's-Next-Big-Thing
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Getting to Know Jared Anderson, Boxing’s ‘Next Big Thing’

Literary-Notes-George-Dixon-by-Jason-Winders
Book Review2 weeks ago

Literary Notes: “George Dixon” by Jason Winders

Arthur-and-Parker-and-McCann-and-Sharp-Stay-Unbeaten-at-Prince-Albert-Hall
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Arthur and Parker and McCann and Sharp Stay Unbeaten at Prince Albert Hall

Zurdo-Ramirez-TKOs-Sullivan-Barrera-and-more-on-a-Sweltering-Night-in-LA
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

‘Zurdo’ Ramirez TKOs Sullivan Barrera (and more) on a Sweltering Night in L.A.

The-Latest-News-on-the-Fury-Wilder-III-Blunder
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Latest News on the Fury – Wilder III Blunder

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement