September 19th, 2010 By Pedro Fernandez
WEB GLITCH FIXED: DRAGON LADY HAS HER PLACE ON WALL OF FAME
“DRAGON LADY” WAS ALSO “FIRST LADY” OF BOXING
San Francisco, CA- Having been a fixture in the boxing world since 1960 when she married Don Chargin, Lorraine Chargin began working at the Olympic Auditorium for promoter Eileen Eaton in 1968. Don was then the matchmaker for the famed Los Angeles fight and wrestling venue. The pair would go on to have a storybook type of marriage that would last 49 years and five months!
LORRAINE HAD HER STERN SIDE
Although she had the tenacity of a hungry prizefighter at times, even though Lorraine’s work involved boxing, a lot of her friends were not from the boxing cloth. Some people you get to know over a period of years and your first contact with them begins to fade in memory. Not Lorraine, as I’ve said before, my watching grown men show both fear and respect for her at a December 1982 boxing match that saw Bobby Chacon rally to beat Bazooka Limon over 15 rounds was an eye opener.
EVEN ADMITTED BEING BROKE ONCE
There were some times in the mid to late 1980s when things were not going well for Don and Lorraine, AKA the “Dragon Lady.” The weekly cards at the Olympic Auditorium were no more. The dilapidated building would continue to host an occasional fight card, but it had been turned into a Luche Libra (Mexican pro wrestling) arena. Years later the Olympic was remodeled. But as Lorraine predicted, times had changed and the revamped building did little to bring back boxing in Los Angeles.
Although “Chargin” as Lorraine so lovingly referred to Don time and again, would probably never cop to it, but she told me in the mid 90s that at one point before Tony Lopez won the IBF title from Rocky Lockridge in 1988, that she “had less than $1,000 in my checking account. If Tony hadn’t won, I might have had to get a real job,” she chuckled.
“DRAGON LADY” KEPT “WHEELS ON THE CAR”
Having been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Los Angeles, as was Don previously, Lorraine sat proudly as Don was brought into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY. Having been a promoter and involved in boxing since he put on a Santa Clara, CA show in 1951, Don Chargin’s three-man operation in the late 80s consisted of Don, Lorraine, and the late, great Sacramento bookmaker Sid Tenner. Of the three, nobody will ever say that Lorraine didn’t do most of the work.
WORKED HARD EVEN WHEN WORK WAS HARD
Even when her health wasn’t stellar at times, Lorraine Chargin would push forward like a locomotive in the cold. The “Dragon Lady” wasn’t the kind of person the name seems to typify. She would get emotional a few times in front of me, and not in a bad way. You see, when you went outside of the ring with Lorraine she was deep, so deep smarts wise that she was so far ahead of a lot of the people she came in contact with, that she had to get lonesome!
MOVE TO CAMBRIA A DREAM OF LORRAINE’S
When her and Don moved to Cambria, CA a little less than a decade ago, they left behind the City of Angels, where they had worked and lived for 35 years. Don told me that he and Lorraine “found Cambria” one day while driving the California coast after a fight in Sacramento. “We missed our friends and relatives, but we never looked back or second guessed moving out of LA,” said the “Dragon Lady.”
LIKE JOHN WAYNE, HAD KICKED CANCER’S ASS!
At one point in the 90s Lorraine was obviously sick. She had dropped weight, had thin hair, and you knew she was ill. But Lorraine was a rare bird in that she didn’t want anybody’s pity, she was the “Dragon Lady” of boxing, a woman who had survived the wrath and uncertainty of a professional life in boxing and beat that. She wasn’t about to succumb to Cancer. Within a year, Lorraine now in her 60s, had her hair and weight back.
CANCER CAME BACK IN LATE 2009
Late last year, at a time when her and “Chargin” were not doing a lot of work outside of Don’s helping with Golden Boy Promotions, the Cancer came back. Truth be told, Lorraine put up a gallant fight against an opponent she could not beat in what would be a deadly rematch. On April 6, at a hospital near Cambria, CA, Lorraine Chargin died, she was 79. Her funeral services at her favorite restaurant in Cambria drew a few hundred people.
HAD DONE A LOT OF ME PERIOD
When I was raising my daughter Jacqueline in the early-90s, Lorraine would invite us to stay at the Radisson Inn in Sacramento and use the swimming pool, etc. She wrote sponsorship checks for my then fledgling show at a time I would later find out that she and Don weren’t doing too well. Loraine took me on trips with her and Chargin, got me TV gigs, introduced me to Lenny Fresquez, a brilliant businessman out of Albuquerque, NM, with whom I would work for a couple of years. I can’t say enough!
TOUGH LADY WITH COMPASSION
In closing, Lorraine was rarely wrong and often right. She will always be missed, never forgotten, and believe me when I say this because it took a long time to sink in, to gather up the wherewithal to pen this, because even though I had said it, it took a long time to come to grips with the fact the “Dragon Lady of Boxing” had indeed left the building. It is with great honor that we enshrine the great Lorraine Chargin on the RingTalk.com “Wall Of Fame.”