August 9th, 2012 By Pedro Fernandez
TOUGH TWO WEEKS TO WRITE & KNOW PEOPLE
AVOIDED INTERNET MOST OF THE DAY BEFORE KEN NORTON NEWS
If you were to ask me what former WBC heavyweight titleholder Ken Norton and I had in common, it was being screwed by ex-Felon and boxing promoter Harold Smith AKA Ross Fields. While I did see Kenny in San Francisco when his namesake Ken Jr. played linebacker for the NFL’s San Francisco 49′ers, the last time I saw in regards to boxing was when they were trying to charge him for his stay at a South Miami Beach Hotel that Smith, a no good bastard if there ever was born Ross Fields, had assured Ken would be taken care of.
KENNY WARNED ME AND I DIDN’T LISTEN
Norton saw the writing on the wall and went home after a couple of days after Smith/Fields, once on the FBI’s Top Ten Wanted List, failed to give him his promised up-front appearance money prior to an event we were all supposed to be working. As Norton was awaiting the Super Shuttle, the former Marine who broke Muhammad Ali’s jaw in 1972, told me, “You need to get the **** out of here right now,” as he was sure Harold was going to **** me too! Eventually the despicable Smith would financially sodomize me, but not on that trip as it was 15 or so years later when Harold stranded me after he cashed in my “return” plane ticket from Dubai to San Francisco. In addition, he went into my wallet while I was asleep and charged roughly $7,000 on my debit card.
COMPUTER HAS BEEN NOTHING BUT BAD NEWS TODAY!
One woman I know was diagnosed with Cancer, another was jilted by an attorney to the tune of $880,000 and she has no recourse. One of my favorite guys in referee Elmo Adolph died in his sleep and was found dead in bed this morning. Then I turn on the computer at 9:30 PM PT hoping to see some news regarding my friend, the embattled and duly elected San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Instead I get an email stating Ken Norton, 68 years of age, had suffered a Stroke today. It was one of those days where I just wish I could have slept all through this beautiful day weather wise.
MINI-STROKE IS THE DIAGNOSIS
My uncle has suffered a series of these so-called “Mini-Strokes” that have led to his being incapacitated. That being fact, a Stroke of any kind, unless it’s a form of self gratification, or Tower of Power’s tune “The Oakland Stroke,” is bad news. So with a day that had nothing in it for me but stress and strife, just before bed I learn of Norton’s medical condition.
ALI TOLD NORTON THIS RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!
“That last fight champ, I think you got the better of me,” those were Muhammad Ali’s exact words right in front of me in Sacramento, CA during a dinner honoring Ali, Norton, George Foreman. While some people have told me that Joe Frazier was there as well, I don’t remember “Smokin’ Joe” at the event. Of course Ali was referring to the 1976 bout in New York’s Yankee Stadium, one that a good number of people thought he had lost. As a professional from 1967 to 1981, Norton went 42-7-1, 33 KOs.
HARD GUY TO READ WAS NORTON
While his medical status is said to be stable, my memories of being around Ken was that he was either in a good mood or pissed off about something. There was seemingly no median when it came to his moodiness. Norton was seriously injured in the 1980s after a car accident, and from that point forward speaking was an effort, thus the reason he gave few interviews afterwards. That being said, Happy Birthday Ken and I think you were the happiest when Ali let you know that he thought you won their third encounter. For the record, Ken won the first, Ali the second, and the finale in Yankee Stadium is a fight that can ignite arguments between fight fans that were around back then still today.