San Francisco, CA- Having been introduced to Eddie Futch by fellow Hall of Fame inductee (writer) Jack Fiske, it was the mid 1970s. Eddie was still working with Joe Frazier and I had just graduated from high school. Futch was in town doing a press junket. At one time, San Francisco got all the pre-fight media meetings mainly because of Fiske, born Jacob Finkelstein in 1917, was as respected as a writer as Futch was as a trainer. With the third Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight being hyped up in a hotel ballroom here in town, Futch and Frazier were there, but for the life of me I can’t recall Ali being there. That may have had a lot to do with my watching Ali train so many times at Newman’s Gym on Leavenworth St., located in an area frequented by pimps, hoes, and junkies.
NEVER SAW EDDIE BRUSH ANYBODY OFF!
Both quiet and patient, Futch was about the most eloquent soft spoken trainer I think I ver interacted with. Even when the s*it was hitting the fan, Eddie remained cool and calm. As well spoken as Emanuel Steward is, once in a while the Kronk Gym Goldfather would blow a fuse like the night his charge Lennox Lewis fought Mike Tyson. But having watched Eddie work dozens of fights, I never saw him lose it. It was the same when he was in the gym, as bad as some of his guys would screw up, Eddie never raised his voice in my presence.
FUTCH’S ROOTS WERE IN THE SOUTH
Born in Hillsboro, Mississippi in 1910, Eddie was five when he moved to Motown AKA Detroit, MI. It was at the Brewster Recreation Center Gym, a facility utilized by future heavyweight great Joe Louis and located in the same neighborhood brought us Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Diana Ross, The Supremes of musical fame. Eddie told me that he had even sparred with the future World heavyweight champ. Winning a couple of Chicago Golden Glove titles, Futch would have turned professional had he not had a heart murmur. Realizing he couldn’t pursue life as a fighter, Futch turned to training fighters. From 1947 to 1950, Eddie trained the man who created Motown Records, none other than bantamweight (118 lbs) Berry Gordy. Realizing he wasn’t championship material, Berry went to work in the auto industry in Detroit after going 12-3-2, 5 KOs. It was on the assembly line at General Motors that Gordy got the idea to use that business mode when it came to making records. When Eddie died in 2001 at the age of 90, Gordy and I had a five-minute conversation that combined music and boxing.
Eva Futch & Berry Gordy
BEAT ALI TWICE OFFICIALLY
Some of the fighters he worked turned out to be Muhammad Ali’s greatest nemesis. There was Joe Frazier of course, with whom Futch was the chief second after the passing of Yank Durham, for the Thrilla’ In Manila, the third fight between the two men. His not allowing a nearly blind Frazier to come out for the 14th round, this when Ali was, in his words, “As close to death as I’ve ever been.” But Joe was taking a beating and his swollen eyes made him a sitting duck for Ali who was letting it all hang out in an attempt to stop Frazier. Their trilogy started in 1971 with Frazier winning a UD 15. Ali’s next loss was in 1972, suffered a broken jaw, courtesy of Ken Norton, who Futch handled. Two years after their first encounter, and after Frazier had lost the heavyweight championship to George Foreman, Ali would get revenge with UD 12 victory. With Joe in bad trouble towards the end of the second round, referee Tony Perez thought he heard the bell and stopped round two about 10-12 seconds early. When the round resumed, Joe had cleared his head enough to finish the stanza, something he may not have accomplished had Perez not gaffed.
IT WAS ALL ABOUT A HANDSHAKE & EDDIE’S WORD!
Some of the ring greats he worked with were light heavyweight champ Bob Foster, multi-division champ Mike McCallum, Alexis Argüello, a champion at 126, 130 & 135 lbs., as well as the first light heavyweight to win the heavyweight title Michael Spinks, welterweight king Marlon Starling, light heavyweight titleholder Montell Griffin, and last but not least, the under achieving World heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe. Not one of these fighters ever signed a contract with Eddie. Nor can I recall a fighter walking away from Eddie, but Futch did end relationships with prominent fighters, most notably Riddick Bowe. In his late 70s and early 80s, Futch, who at one time thought there was a possibility that Bowe could end up being the greatest heavyweight champion ever, walked out on Bowe because of a lack of discipline and his weight gain between fights.
THE ROACH TOUTS EDDIE AS “THE GREATEST”
Freddie Roach, renowned trainer of Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan to name just two fighters in his stable, learned all that he knows from Futch who took Roach under his wing after his club fighting days were done. In addition to the the Pacman and Britain’s Khan, Roach also trains the overrated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
THE LAST YEARS WITH EDDIE FUTCH
While I was doing a weekly radio and TV show at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas, I would invite Futch and his wife Eva, who was many years younger than Eddie, to the IP for an interview, I’d offer them dinner in one of the hotel’s finer restaurants. Always gracious, I would call the eatery and tell them to put Mr. & Mrs. Eddie Futch on a “comp” list. Having offered Eddie this a few times, he only took me up on it once. When I saw him in a wheelchair circa 1999 at an outdoor event promoted just outside of Las Vegas by Dan Goossen, I was both saddened and curious.
FUTCH WAS HONEST UNTIL THE END
Being the nosy person that I am, I asked Eddie if he was hurting physically and he answered to the negative. This outdoor spa resort had a ring better than a 1/2 mile form the front door of the hotel, thus the wheelchair. “I’m starting to slip mentally, Pedro. My memory and recall fades at times.” With Eva by his side until the end, Eddie Futch, who besides being a great teacher of boxing was a fine man. Eddie left us on October 10, 2001. His services at Caesars Palace, if my memory serves me correctly, was a turn out of stars from both boxing and the cinema. In closing, like few other people I’ve been able to meet in my life, they threw away the mold that formed the great Eddie Futch!
San Francisco, CA- Nothing hurts more than knowing a close friend or relative that has fallen ill. To me, you know the emotional type, this affects me greatly. My incredible aunt Julie Lutz fell and broke her “other hip” as she broke the other one several years ago. She is the last of a generation of people my mother’s family, the matriarch of the Nyreneng family. The surgery was last week and now she is in rehab in Pacifica, CA. It’ll be tough for her to recover, but the lady is an incredible person and will persevere.
SPIDER BYNUM RESPECTED LIKE FEW OTHERS
The only people I’ve heard call “Spider” Bynum by his real name “Arlen” are his wife Charlsie and ring announcers back when he was judging big fights. For the record, Mr. Bynum was the first member of the RingTalk.com “Wall of Fame.” A former fighter who fought in all eight original weight classes from flyweight to heavyweight, Bynum retired after an illustrious career primarily as a lawyer in Texas while working as a world class judge who worked or supervised WBC title fights worldwide, some 18-months ago. Anyway, the bad news is the Spiderman suffered a stroke. He’s regained most of what wasn’t working fluidly and rehab is expecting to result in a near if not full recovery.
MIKE MCCALLUM: HISTORY’S MOST UNDERRATED CHAMP & VIDEO!
September 27th, 2012 By Pedro Fernandez
Mike McCallum @ 154 lbs.
BOXING PHD MIKE MCCALLUM ADDED TO RINGTALK.COM “WALL OF FAME”
ISan Francisco, CA- Having been around the block since the early Cassius Clay days, I’ve seen my share of fighters. There were the pretenders, the contenders, the overrated, the out right frauds, and then there are the fighters who come, do their thing and attain greatness and get little fanfare. Quite possibly the greatest fighter that fits that last criteria is a fighter born in Jamaica named Mike McCallum. Perhaps the game’s best body puncher in history, his moniker was “The Body Snatcher.”
BIG BOYS WANTED NO PART OF “THE BODY SNATCHER”
I remember hearing the name Mike McCallum back in the 70s when he was still an amateur. Great chin, big heart, the jab, right cross, a potent left hook, Mike had all that and superb timing as well. The late great Johnny Tocco, who ran the Ringside Gym on Charleston and Main in Las Vegas from 1952 until the mid to late 1990s, Tocco told me that Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran, yes even Marvin Hagler, none of them wanted any part of Mike McCallum.
WOULD FIGHT ANYBODY, ANYWHERE!
Fearless as they come, Mike was also a realist. He once told me as we were watching Mike Tyson spar with the late James Broad, “If I were a heavyweight I could beat Tyson.” Not the boastful type, McCallum broke down Tyson’s style and explained how he would exploit Tyson’s “squaring up” to opponents and go up the middle with both body and head shots. And when Tyson did the “peek a boo” style his trainer Cus D’Amato first developed for the not so-iron chinned former two-time heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson, Mike had an answer for that too. “When Tyson goes into that style, you need to fire up the middle, pivot and punch at him from different angles.” Easier said than done, but Mike McCallum was a man who quietly talked the talk before walking the walk and lowering the boom on foes!
FIRST TITLE WINNING EFFORT WASN’T SPECTACULAR
While his first title winning effort in 1984 against Sean Mannion went the then 15 round distance, Mike went into that WBA 154 lb. title fight was 21-0 with 19 short endings. He never lost again until 1988 when he faced Italian resident Sumbu Kalambay in Italy and that was only a one-point difference in favor of Sumbu, whom Mike would best in a rematch (more later).
WHOLE FAMILY WAS IN CAESARS SPORTS PAVILION!
In 1987, July to be exact, Mike was a 2 1/2 to 1 underdog to ascending welterweight champ Donald Curry. One year earlier, Curry who was trained by the late Dave Gorman in Texas, was a “pound for pound” guy before Lloyd Honeyghan stopped a weight drained welterweight (147 lbs) Curry in eight frames. As a side-note, Gorman trained Curry, Gene Hatcher, Stevie Cruz and Robin Blake. I am of the opinion that Gorman “burned out” these world class fighters by pushing them too hard, too long in the Texas heat. Seeing the McCallum-Curry fight was the last time my entire family was together in Las Vegas, this occasion was made even more special when I dropped $250 on McCallum, again a 2 1//2 to 1 underdog. The left hook that put Curry out was one of beauty.
THE MCCALLUM HOOK THAT ENDED CURRY’S CAREER!
Even though he had lost to Honeyghan, some pundits still called Donald Curry the “next Ray Leonard.” They were not saying this after Mike McCallum clocked him with a perfectly timed left hook. Some critics that was too wide of a punch, many, they like their hooks tighter. That’s the kind of crap Mike put up with his entire career that went from 1981 to 1997. Curry would fight 11 more times, go 7-4, three being KO losses before retiring (24-6, 27 KOs) in 1997, this after a 1991-1996 hiatus from boxing.
BEAT UNDEFEATED STEVE COLLINS
After striking gold in a Sumbu Kalambay rematch, “MM” was World WBA middleweight (160) champion. From the times I watched Mccallum, I thought he was at his best at 154 lbs. where he had six defenses, and having never lost a fight. Once at middle, did I mention his defeating the 41-1 Herol Graham, beat then once defeated Michael Watson (22-1) via KO. But throughout this Hall of Fame run, McCallum got little press. Diehards who had witnessed a Boxing PHD as McCallum taught a lesson to every opponent in his prime and at his best weight. When you talk about the history of the 154 lb. class, you have to rate McCallum near or at the top.
JAMES TONEY DECISIONS HURT MIKE THE MOST!
Based on history, the James Toney decisions hurt Mike the most. The first he told me he thought was a draw in 1991. Winning the second fight, Toney would end up making a lot and spending more money than he had. McCallum claims fight #1 was indeed a draw, but that he got “jobbed” in the 1992 rematch. While McCallum never made zillions, from what I’m told he has a few bucks on ice if need be as McCallum saved a good portion of his earnings. His overall record was 49-5-1, 36 KOs and had never been dropped. Mike McCallum is enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame and today we would like to honor McCallum by adding him to the RingTalk.com “Wall of Fame.” A true Boxing PHD.
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
Debbie Kaplan & Lorraine
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.
Lorraine & Don Circa 1960's
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
Lorraine circa 2008
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.”
Las Vegas, NV-When somebody in the boxing community passes, I always try and make note of it, be it here, or on the radio. When referee Davey Pearl passed away a few months ago, I had my own health woes, and thus didn’t give this fine gentleman the attention his death warranted. It all started one day some months after the Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns fight, of which Pearl was the referee, Im walking through the only Las Vegas hotel that fight fans knew at the time, Caesars Palace.
PEARL A LAS VEGAS ICON OF SORTS
Knowing Pearl from his 14th round stoppage of the Leonard-Hearns fight that took place in September 1981, I pondered what I should do. Should I just walk up to this man, introduce myself, and then run off a couple of questions. Feeling bold, as soon as the people that were talking to Pearl began to inhale, in stepped Pedro. I heard you were the last manager of Sonny Liston, can you tell me how you think he died? Well, surely he didnt overdose himself, said Pearl.
DIDNT RECOIL FROM QUESTIONS ABOUT SONNY
Not looking to brush me off, Pearl, a Las Vegas tavern owner who came to Las Vegas and worked as a hotel bellman almost 50 years ago before running a 24-hour bar, Daveys Locker, as well as a Travel Agency. It seems I had struck a nerve, as Pearl was emotional in his defense of Liston. Ali made him a monster, and he didnt deserve being portrayed as a bad guy. Years later he would tell me, Sonny was murdered.
DARK CLOUD FINALLY LIFTED IN MARCH
When he died on March 12 at the age of 88, it was a merciful passing for Davey had been stricken with Alzheimers disease. In the end, a life cursed by Alzheimers or Dementia, is not a life. I talked to him on occasion up until about two and a half years ago. Appearing on Ring Talk Radio, as pleasant as he was, Davey wasnt afraid to say something if asked. Like in 1990, after Buster Douglas floundered against Evander Holyfield, it was Davey that told me that the bouts referee, Mills Lane, thought Douglas took a dive, and that caused a rile within the Nevada Athletic Commission.
SAVED TOMMY & WORKED SPINKS-ALI!
As a referee, Pearl worked 70 world title fights. Besides rescuing Hearns, who didnt utter a word of protest, in the 14th round, Davey was the third man when Leon Spinks beat Muhammad Ali. I asked if he thought Ali had tanked it, had he lost to Leon on purpose? I just think he was way out of shape. And Ali was old. That, and the fact Spinks was throwing and landing lots of punches. Ali was overwhelmed. Ive heard people say before that they thought Ali lost just so he could win the title a third time. I didnt think so then, and I dont now.
IVE ALREADY GIVEN YOU YOUR INSTRUCTIONS
Being the first referee to give the two fighters their pre-fight instructions in the dressing room, Pearl started a tradition that continues today. When you hear a referee say, Ive given you your instructions in the dressing room, that move was a Davey Pearl original!
PROUD OF 1997 HALL OF FAME INDUCTION
Pearl did a lot for Las Vegas. It was Davey, then UNLV Assistant Athletic Director, in 1973 that talked Californias Jerry Tarkanian into coaching the UNLV Rebels. Along with his living twin brother, Lou Pearl, Davey, Art Lurie, Thalia Dondero, Jack Kogan, Paul Endy, and Joe Delaney were the founding members of the Old Time Reunion, an event that started as a breakfast in the mid 1990s, and has now blossomed into a gala event at the Stardust Hotel & Casino. In 1997 Pearl was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Having been present that night is how I got the Davey Pearl poker chip that you see in this article.
THANKS GO TO FELLOW OFFICIAL TOBY GIBSON
At first, Pearl had good days and bad. In other words, sometimes he instantly recognized you, and sometimes he didnt. Through the tough times, and believe me nothing is more gut wrenching than watching someone you care about lose their grip on reality. When it came to Daveys decline, referee Toby Gibson is the one that cared for this fine man through the toughest of times.
THIS GIANT OF MEN STOOD ABOUT 5 8!
While this is about my buddy Davey, one needs to recognize that it was Toby Gibson, and not anybody else, who was aiding Davey as the Grim Reaperslowly went through his ten count. The good news, Davey is no longer suffering. As for Toby Gibson, if only more people had friends that were as true as Toby this world would truly be a different place! Take it from me fight fans, Davey Pearl, was the kind of man youd be proud to have known. I know I am!
Note: Mr. Fernandez is an award-winning writer, talk show host, TV commentator, former San Francisco Policeman, and four-time Golden Gloves champion. Comments regarding the above can be left below.
San Francisco, CA- Sho Box’s blow by blow announcer Nick Charles was one of CNN’s first stars. With a million dollar smile and two heads of hair, Nick has always been held in high regards by fans and peers alike.
AWARDS INCLUDED CABLE’S EMMY THE “ACE”
Last year Charles won the Sam Taub award for outstanding broadcasting in 2008, and was twice awarded Cable’s Ace award for his work with CNN. Earlier in 2009, he was diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of Cancer. A classy guy from hair to toe, it is with great honor that we hereby induct Nick Charles into the Ring Talk’s “Wall of Fame.” We thank Nick for his contributions to boxing and broadcasting alike, and we wish him and his family the very best!
San Francisco, CA- Former boxing judge Arlen “Spider” Bynum is the first inductee to be feted at Ring Talk’s “Wall of Fame.” Like the late comedian Jack Benny, Spider turned 39 on his 30 most recent birthdays. He is a Dallas based Attorney at Law, a boxing judge who worked some of the biggest fights in history from the 70s to the early 90s. Spider judged Larry Holmes, Salvador Sanchez, Julio Cesar Chavez, the list could go on forever. In addition to being an official, Spider boxed as an amateur in every division from flyweight (112 lbs) to heavyweight.
We honor the Spiderman for being a “man among men,” besides his being a proud Grandpa, Arlen Bynum is a class act. The only one in his family with more class is his wife of nearly 40 years, Charlsie Bynum. It is with great pride that we induct Arlen “Spider” Bynum to Ring Talk’s “Wall of Fame” as we truly admire and respect him!
RINGTALK.COM PRESENTS: THE WALL OF FAME AND SHAME!
August 24th, 2009 By RingTalk
OFFICIAL RINGTALK.COM WALL OF FAME & SHAME!
Here you will read about all the greats and the scum in not only today’s boxing world, but through out history! These are the ficghters that prevailed and some that just flat out failed! Comments are always welcomed as always!