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Memorable Fan Encounters With Boxing Stars

It’s always an exciting and special pleasure to meet a boxing star. Here are some tales from boxing fans who tell about their own personal encounters with stars from the world of boxing…

Marc Mandell: “We saw Don King at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut in 1999 or 2000, walking through the original restaurant area at Mohegan Sun on a weekday afternoon when things were slow. I spotted Don King sitting in the Chef’s Deli with some of his fighters having beers and having a boisterous conversation. I walked into the restaurant and told Mr. King that I had gone to college in Cleveland and then said, ‘You’ll be forever famous for giving Chuck Wepner a shot at the title.’ Mr. King burst out laughing, a huge belly laugh, and he slapped me on the back and said, ‘You’ve got a good memory.’ One of his fighters, who was musclebound and bursting out of a beautiful business suit, looked up from the table and said, ‘Chuck Wepner?’ And then King and his fighters had a good chuckle. And then in his charming way about him, Mr. King asked me some questions about where I had lived in Cleveland and what school I attended and he made me feel like the most important person in the world. It was just impossible not to like the guy and I was aware of his rather controversial life in and out of boxing. So after a few minutes, he shook hands warmly and clapped me on the back and said, ‘Now go lose some money.”

Henry Hascup: “I was being honored several years ago in New Jersey, I gave a speech. Most people said I was being honored because of my sports knowledge, being president of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame. being a boxing/sports historian. But I got up there and said the most important thing I’ve ever done has nothing to do with sport. It has something to do with raising my four kids as a single parent. Then I went into the story of raising my four kids – one was only 10, and I had an 8 and 5 and 3-year-old. For eight years I raised them on my own. And I went on about that being the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Then, eight years later I married my wife who also had four kids and a Siberian husky, just like me. So we put us all together. A lot of people say it was like The Brady Bunch. We say Eight Is Enough [smiles]. Then, we even took in two kids. That made 10. And when I got done with my speech, I was ready to walk off. Bernard Hopkins was sitting right at the podium and he grabbed my arm. He said, Henry, that was beautiful.”

Teddy Atlas: “When I was still young I got to meet Muhammad Ali and actually got to go to his training camp in Deer Lake. And he started shadowboxing with me [smiles]. That was pretty special [laughs]. And I took it real serious. I got in my stance and started throwing punches at him. (What did Ali say?) Oh I’m not ready for that or something like that, he sort of made a joke about it.”
Boxing fan named Will: “I went to the Freitas-Raheem fight at Foxwoods. Knowing Lennox Lewis was going to be at ringside, I brought one of my old Ring magazines with him on the cover, with hopes of getting an autograph by him. So after the fight I went ringside. But a lot of other people had the same idea as me. And Lennox wasn’t really signing any autographs. So then Lennox left ringside and a mob of people followed him. Having been to many fights at Foxwoods, I knew where he was going, so I made a bee line out of the Bingo hall and I waited at the door I thought he’d be coming through. I was the only one there, so I knew I might get lucky. Sure enough, the door opens and Lennox comes through with a mob of people behind him. I held up my magazine and said, Excuse me Lennox, you think I can get an autograph? He grabbed the magazine from me, looked at it and said, This is a nice magazine. I’m going to keep this. And kept right on walking. Not even thinking, I started chasing him. What the hell! That’s my magazine! To which he replied, My picture is on the cover, so it’s mine. Now I’m thinking, Man, this guy is a real jerk. Then he asked me for a pen and autographed it and we both had a good laugh. He’s a class act, made my night, and gave me a great story to tell.”

T.J. Moses: “I remember one summer about six, seven years ago, Tyson rolled up. He used to ride his Harley around Brooklyn. And he was riding around. And some of me and my people were outside, on Crown St. And a couple of me and my boys was slap boxing, just playin’ around. Tyson rolled up. By himself. And everybody looked. They were wondering if that was Tyson or not. So he just rolls up and he say, Yo. I’ll give whoever knocks the other one out, I’ll give you $100 right now. So that just got people hyped. Word! Word! So they just started rumblin’, rumblin’, rumblin’. Next thing you know my boy just catches him with two lefts and a right – boop, boop…Boop – and he just dropped. Boop. Tyson said, Good shit. Gave him $100, got on his bike and left. I said, Oooohh shit. I say, Yo, that’s too much power for one man to have. It was like straight out of a movie scene. Because we just chillin’. He just comes out of nowhere.”

Michael Pinto: “I was driving down the Garden State Parkway to the Jersey shore in the early 80’s. And a car passed us on the left. The car stood out because it was a new Buick and it had special New York Yankee pinstripes. Me and my friend could see that it was Alex Ramos driving. At the time Alex Ramos was famous because he was undefeated and being touted by NBC as one of the top young American boxers. We blew the horn and waved to him, gave him thumbs up. And he smiled back at us. Even though we didn’t get to meet him or talk, we communicated non-verbally and he was very nice to us and showed us that big smile.” (I later confirmed the story with Alex Ramos himself who said the special car was a gift from the New York Yankees baseball team to him for his achievements as a Bronx resident.)

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