Some of the Greatest Boxers
There are moments in our lives that we treasure until we’re called home: the day we get married, the birth of our children, or our successes in life. For me, I’ve added meeting some of the greatest boxers of all time. There may be some great ones to come, but these gentlemen come from an era that will never be duplicated.
Applewood House of Pancakes played host to a fundraiser for the Boxing Hall of Fame. I don’t know many sports players, if they’re NBA, NFL, or MLB, but you drop the names of these greats and I know exactly who they are: James “Bonecrusher” Smith, Fred Whitaker, Michael Spinks, and Earnie Shavers.
I even had the esteem pleasure of meeting (the late) Joe Fraizer’s daughter Jacqui Fraizer-Lyde. She’s a beautiful young woman who was present to help endorse this fundraiser on behalf of her father.
My love for boxing began with Muhammad Ali in 1974. You may remember the fight with he and George Foreman called, The Rumble in the Jungle. For me, it was love at first fight. I got to watch Ali and Fraizer, too. It was their last of three fights together in 1975.
Joe Fraizer was the first man to ever beat Muhammad Ali in 1971, but, again, it was the 1975 fight I got to see. After which my father deemed boxing too violent and I wasn’t allowed to watch it anymore.
Earnie Shavers was another fighter who fought Ali. I never got to see him fight, but I do remember his picture. He had the big mustache (look at this man’s biceps in comparison to Muhammad Ali – holy mother of boxing gloves! He was HUGE). He fought Larry Holmes in 1979, after he fought Ali.
There’s a rumor that Earnie Shavers threw the hardest punch in boxing. I even found a quote by Randall Cobb who said, “Earnie Shavers could punch you in the neck and break your ankles.”
Fred Whitaker fought between the mid 80s to the early 90s. He’s not to be confused with Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker who passed away some years ago. Fred was a boxing champion in his own right.
Of all of the men I met, Fred was probably the smaller of them in height and weight (now), but I am more than positive that does not negate his hard hitting punches required to be a world champion boxer.
In spite of the fact that I wasn’t allowed to watch boxing anymore, that didn’t stop me from sneaking in and seeing a little bit of a fight Michael Spinks (Leon Spinks’ younger brother) was in, either 77 or 78. I laughingly told Michael he was a bad influence on me. Michael Spinks defeated Larry Holms in ‘85 and has been the world champion in two classes. My father would know which classes, too, because he was a big “Spinks the Jinx” brothers fan.
James “Bonecrusher” Smith is a big man. I found a picture of he and Mike Tyson from 1987 and Mike looks like a little fella next to him. Bonecrusher started his career in 1981 and retired in 1999. He won the title when he beat Frank Bruno and then later lost to Larry Holmes.
Gosh, Larry Holmes was getting into all these fights. Now I feel bad for him. I’m confident that Holmes was a good fighter, as well, even though I wasn’t allowed to see him fight. I don’t think Ali fought Holmes, though.
I returned to my love of boxing when Mike Tyson appeared on the canvas. Yes, I love Iron Mike. We briefly mentioned the Evander Holyfield vs Mike Tyson fight where Tyson apparently in need of a snack, bit Holyfield’s ear.
“There’s more to that,” Jacqui said to me. “People don’t know what Evander did to Mike. Ask Mike… Spinks, he knows.”
I asked him, but he just flashed a grin at me and shook his head. Alas, a boxing secret that will remain a boxing secret.
I cannot express enough how much this day meant to me. I loved meeting these gentleman and taking pictures with them. I didn’t get one with Bonecrusher as he was busy talking to another fan. Nonetheless, I will treasure this day until the day I die.
I do wish they would come to Georgetown (about 30 miles south of Litchfield). As a personal note to Jacqui, Fred, and the rest… Hit me up if you’re interested. You can reach me through my blog site or GABNews and again, thank you so much for the memories (Be sure to check out my photo albums for the pictures of some of the greatest boxers).