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The Ultimate Showdown of Boxer vs. Brawler: Fury vs. Wilder


By: Dylan Smith

The Battle of the Behemoth

Could this be it? The greatest pugilist Giants waging war to win the ultimate title of Super Heavyweight Champion of the world and could the victor be crowned as the GOAT?

Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder are the longest bodied out of the top ranked heavyweights in the world with a combined wingspan of over 5 meters and each stretching over 6 feet 7 inches tall. Tyson Fury is back in the ring and has proclaimed he wants to take back his titles, which he never lost in the ring and even go on to defend them to match the great Joe Luis’ record of number of defences. So far Fury has done what he set out to do by beating Vladimir Klitscho on his home turf against all the odds so why now, even after his 2 year lay off, should we doubt him? One of the reasons could be the climate of the heavyweight division has drastically changed with rough tough young competitors like Joseph Parker and hard hungry powerhouses like Dillian Whyte who pose massive threats to Tysons unbeaten record and dreams of a glory. The British public and the world however do love a comeback story and an underdog as they are dramatised in classic films such as Rocky. So has he got the minerals? Usually for such a large man you wouldn’t see this kind of movement however Tyson floats around the ring turning, slipping and ducking like a man half his size normally would. His technique is masterful and you can tell he has crafted his skill over a number of years, dedicated his life to boxing. Some say he doesn’t hit hard for a large heavyweight but even if he doesn’t hit like AJ or Wilder he more than makes up for it with precision, speed and timing with 19 ko’s out of 26 contests. Tyson Fury throws every punch in the book from every angle and has an awkward style where he can switch stances, fight long or up close, spoil and counter on the entry and exit from the clinch. He is used to going to the champions turf so will he be the man for the job and can he shock the world again and prove all the doubters wrong in becoming the

WBC heavyweight champion of the world?

Deontay wilder is an absolute knockout artist with a phenomenal record of 39 ko’s out of 40 contests in which he has knocked out every opponent he has ever faced as a professional in the squared circle, as in the rematch against Bermaine Stivern he managed to take him out in literally the last second of the first round. His name appropriately resonates his fighting style as he is famous for throwing wild hooks and hurtful haymakers. He started off more of a brawler and still is, however his skill set has massively improved over the years. He has honed in on his accuracy of shots and has a fantastic snappy jab, he also displays his improved boxing intelligence with the shot selections and combination punches he throws, displayed recently against Luis Ortiz where he annihilated him in the 10th round after being shook himself earlier in the fight. Still with all that skill he still loves to bang out that straight right hand and possesses that one punch knockout power that could shut anyones lights out if it touches them anywhere on the head. Wilder likes to brawl and bash his opponents, break them down and finish in fierce savage style. We can talk attributes: length; power; speed and both fighters tick all of the boxes, also both have unbeaten records. It will then be a case of who can make the other one fight their style. Fury will box and spoil and Wilder will shake him off and look for the overhand right as Tyson enters the clinch. Or will Wilder want to box long and display his pugilist skills and shock everyone like Fury did to Klitschko. The likelihood is however Fury will bob and weave and Wilder will get more and more desperate and keep firing the right hand until it finds a home on Fury’s head.

With the deal being reported by Frank Warren (Tyson Fury’s promoter) as nearly done for December we may see how it plays out. Are we going to be given an early Christmas present? Will we see these 2 colossals collide in the ultimate mammoth match of boxer versus brawler for the most prestigious title in Boxing? I hope so.

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Jesse Valdez from the 1972 Olympics Was a Special Boxer


By: Ken Hissner

It was the summer of 1972 when this writer was watching the Olympic boxing from Munich, Germany. Who would know that the USA team would only win a total of 4 medal’s one being a Gold and three Bronze medals?

The one boxer on this team I always wanted to talk to was a Bronze medal winner Jesse Valdez out of Houston, TX. I started writing ten years ago and during that time I tried making contact with him but never was able to. Finally a week or so ago I saw an article by Rick Wright a Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer in New Mexico entitled “Boxing star Valdez still counting his blessings”. I was able to contact him and he gave me Jesse’s phone number and I took it from there.

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“The Lord gave me a gift,” said Valdez. His first coach was Charles Cord.

There was one Gold medal winner on the 1972 team and it was “Sugar” Ray Seales from the Tacoma Boy’s Club that Joe Clough was coach. Seales would go into the professional ranks and end up with a 57-8-3 record with 34 knockouts.

Also on the team gaining a Bronze medal was future two-time world light heavyweight champion Marvin Johnson, 43-6 (35).I contacted him and he said “why would you want to do a story on me?” I said “you were an Olympian and a two-time world champion”. He agreed to do a story. I love it when they are as humble as Marvin was.

Another Bronze medal winner was Ricardo Carreras, of NY, representing the Air Force. After failing to make the 1976 Olympic teamhe turned professional in 1978 and went 2-0 (2).

Three other team members of the eleven turned professional who were Duane Bobick, of the Navy, 48-4 (42) who I did a story on, Reggie Jones, 16-9-1 (8), of the Marines, Louis Self, 3-2 (2), of the Air Force and Davey Lee Armstrong, 24-3 (6) who was also a team member of the 1976 team that I did a story on him and teammates.

Not turning professional were Raymond Russell, of the Marines, Louis Busceme, Louis Self of the Air Force and Tim Dement. “I love Jesse Valdez,” said Dement. Getting back to the other boxer representing the Air Force was Valdez who was the one boxer that stood out to this writer. My two favorite Olympians of all time were him and Chuck Walker from the 1976 team.

Walker said of Valdez: I was one of those glued to the TV in 1972 watching boxing in the Olympics at Munich. Everybody knows Jesse was THE guy. He was the darling that year. I was 14 and just started boxing. He was one of my early heroes. Never noted at all for power but could that guy box, very slick, clever and effective. I believe he won the Bronze but should have won the Gold. I got to know Jesse well when he was the assistant coach at the 1975 Pan Am Games in Mexico City. We (team) trained in Durango, Colorado for several weeks, then got outfitted in Dallas and then onto MC. Jesse was a great pal and coach. He related well with the guys since he was more our age. I remember one time we were riding a taxi to the coliseum for the fights. I was fighting and Michael Dokes was fighting that night. Jesse was trying to find a radio station in English and finally happened on a song by Barbara Streisand. Dokes acted like that was pure anathema and went for the dial. Jesse slapped his hand away and said “Look man….we finally found something in English. Let it be. You’re not going to find any soul music in this city. Dokes said “I don’t know what’s worse….no music at all or Barbara Streisand!!!” Jesse and I used to walk around the Pan Am village together just out of boredom. We went to a few musical acts just outside the pavilion on the grounds. Often we had lunch together in the big cafeteria. Jesse was the one that took me to the USA medical building in the village when I got my lip split by Clinton Jackson in a freak accident in sparring. He looked out for us because he had been there and knew what it was like. He knew it was a tough business and he tried to make it less so.

Valdez was also instrumental in calming what could have been a horrible situation when Tommy Sullivan won 100 bucks from Michael Dokes betting on pinball in the game room. Tempers flared and the two almost went together for real, but Jesse talked them out of it. Later that night 100 bucks came up missing from Tommy’s locker. Jesse, along with “Sugar” Ray suggested to the other fighters that we all put in a few bucks to get Tommy paid back. And then again the situation was controlled. I haven’t talked to Jesse in probably 35 years but have thought of him often and I’m glad to hear he’s doing well. If you talk to him give him my best and tell him I’ve had Burton Gilliam (from Dallas, TX) in several of my movies. Burton and Jesse fought several times back in the amateurs.

Valdez said he had about 200 fights but never kept track of his record. It was in 1964 that the then 16 year old Houston native won the National AAU welterweight championship upsetting Olympic Bronze medalist Quincy Daniels of the 1960 Olympics. Valdez would qualify for the 1964 Olympic team as an alternate. In that same year he toured as a member of the US team in Africa.

In 1967 Valdez won a Bronze medal at the Pan-American Games and was also the Golden Gloves champion. In 1970 he won the National AAU light middleweight title. In 1972 he won the Golden Gloves again and qualified for the US national team by defeating future world light heavyweight champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. “He cold cocked me and dropped me to a knee in the first round. I would return the favor in either the first or second round,” said Valdez.

At the Olympics in 1972 Valdez defeated KolmanKalipe (Togo) 5-0, Carlos Burga (Peru) 4-1 which I thought was a tougher fight than with the Cuban but Valdez disagreed, David Jackson (Uganda) 4-1, Anatoly Khohlov (Soviet Union) 5-0, before losing in the semi-finals to Emilio Correa (Cuba) 3-2. This writer thought Valdez won without any doubt.Correra also won the 1971 Pan-American Games and participated in the 1976 Olympics.

Valdez was in the Air Force never turning professional but even fought until 1980 at age 32 as an amateur. Junior Robles had him box on an amateur show against a Marine who outweighed Valdez by 40 pounds. “When I saw how big he was I moved and boxed him,” said Valdez. Robles also had him compete for the CA state amateur title in Sacramento where Valdez came out victorious.

“He gives boxing a good name because he was so kind hearted yet capable of destroying his opponents while staying calmly in control. Good manners are special and Jesse is someone worth writing about. Many years after the 1972 Olympics Jesse told me something to the effect that, I made an impression on him seeing me reading my Bible when we were teammates. What a great guy my brother Jesse is….he loves our Lord,” said Tim Dement. (1972 Olympian at 112)

“I heard about him before I met him. He was like a legend. Everybody talked about Jesse. In 1967 or 1968 I saw him fight Joe Cokes, brother of world champion Curtis Cokes whom he out boxed.He was a gentleman, smart and a classy fighter. I was in the Air Force five years and knew him for about three years. Jesse touched a lot of boxers lives in a very positive way. He is a good friend, mentor and was an inspiration to me. I was proud to be his teammate. When he boxed he was sweet, hard to hit and he could punch…..hard. Jesse coached all the 1972 USAF boxing team in the National AAU,” said Nick Wells.

Valdez was asked to go to Poland on the USA team by Robles whose father had a gym that Valdez was helping with the kids. “The Holy Spirit said why do you need to go. Also veteran USA team official Bob Surkant who was a father figure to me advised me not to go. So I told Robles I wasn’t making the trip. I almost fought Robles at the 1964 Olympic Trials,” said Valdez. Other boxers who claimed to be asked but didn’t make the trip were Jimmy Clark, Marvis Frazier, Bobby Czyz, Robert Hines and Davey Armstrong. The plane went down in Warsaw, Poland, killing all 87 aboard which included Robles.

“My wife Jackie and I got down on our knees and prayed thanking God that I didn’t go. My whole life changed after that, my faith became my way of living,” said Valdez When he told me they were living in San Diego I told him we had a Calvary Chapelchurch there (Harvest Christian Fellowship) where Mike MacIntoshwas the pastor. Valdez couldn’t believe it for he attended that same church. Pastor Chuck Smith was the founder of Calvary Chapel. I’ve attended three of their churches on a week-end in 1989 after starting in Philadelphia. He and his wife Jackie (originally from Buffalo, NY) now attend a Calvary Chapel church in Albuquerque where Skip Heitzig is the pastor. They have two sons James (42) and Jeremy (40).

“My oldest brother (Steve) was on the Air Force team with Jesse and we met at numerous tournaments and went overseas together. He was the greatest amateur of all-time. He could beat you many different ways. I was in awe of him. We were roommates at the Olympics. He met my family. He was like a brother and really humble. He came back from Italy and gave a picture of him and the Pope to my father. He was someone you looked up to and wanted to be like. He was a real role model,” said Tim Dement. (1972 Olympian)

Valdez told me “in 1972 I would spar with 156 pound team member Reggie Jones and I felt he stayed that heavy to avoid meeting me in the Olympic trials,” said Valdez.He said he worked with the Spinks brothers in 1976 and almost had to bring them home.

After leaving the Air Force, Valdez became a TV cameraman, first in Houston and then to San Diego. I told him I had notes that in 1974 he worked on the prison siege at the Huntsville, TX, State Prison. “I was sent to Huntsville where 5 prisoners were holding 5 guards as hostages,with (now well-known writer) Cal Thomas who was the reporter,” said Valdez. In 1976 Valdez working with the Spinks brothers and almost had to take them home.

In 1979 I was in Philadelphia at the Joe Frazier Gym where “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Marvin Stinson (1976 Olympic Alternate) and Leonard’s cousin O’Dell would be fighting in Philadelphia. The name Valdez came up and one of them informed me he was the one who started the bowing to the four corners prior to his fight. “I think I saluted but Correa did bow after that to the four corners. I would also go to my opponent’s corner after the fight before then returning to my corner,” said Valdez.

“Jesse Valdez, David Martinez and Mark Tessman were (boxers) who I wanted to be like,” said Termite Watkins. I got an email from him due to contacting the Texan boxers I had articles with and all Christians. Termite was 61-5-2 (42), and from Houston who fought for the WBC super lightweight title. He has a book called “Termite” about his experiences in Iraq as a pest control exterminator which is well worth reading. He’s a great friend and one of the most genuine and humble boxers I ever met. I’m honored to call him my friend today. We keep in touch on the phone. He may be the greatest amateur fighter I ever saw.

Valdez was kind enough to answer some questions.

KEN HISSNER: The first time I saw you was in the 1972 Olympics and was immediately impressed with your style of boxing. Was your coach Charles Cord responsible for that?

JESSE VALDEZ: In the long run I would say yes. I had him as my coach at a younger age.

KEN HISSNER: You winning the National AAU championship at 16 in 1964 defeating Quincey Daniels who was on the 1960 team did that qualify you as an alternate for that Olympic team?

JESSE VALDEZ: I lost to Maurice Trilot of the Marines and was an alternate.

KEN HISSNER: Did you get involved with making the 1968 Olympic team?

JESSE VALDEZ: I lost to Armando Muniz in the finals.

KEN HISSNER: What period of time were you in the Air Force?

JESSE VALDEZ: 1969-1972

KEN HISSNER: In 1972 you defeated Eddie Gregory (Eddie Mustafa Muhammad later) to qualify for the Olympic team. Was defeating him and Daniels two of your biggest wins prior to going to the Olympics?

JESSE VALDEZ: If I win I win but never think of who I fought.

KEN HISSNER: Were you still pretty active from 1972 to 1980 between your coaching at the 1975 Pan Am Games and still having some fights?

JESSE VALDEZ: I was an assistant at the 1975 Pan Am Games.

KEN HISSNER: Do you still stay in touch with any of your 1972 team members or have any re-unions?

JESSE VALDEZ: I don’t really except “Sugar” Ray Seales.

KEN HISSNER: Getting ripped off in the 1972 Olympics against the Cuban was that a deciding factor in not turning professional?

JESSE VALDEZ: I had two offers. One was to stay in Air Force as the boxing coach and from Bill Daniels owner of the Denver Rockets.

KEN HISSNER: How did the terrorist attack at the Olympics in Munich affect you and your teammates?

JESSE VALDEZ: We heard the gunfire. It was quite alarming.

KEN HISSNER: Not going to Poland in 1980 when their plane went down killing all aboard did that end your boxing career?

JESSE VALDEZ: It totally did. I was 35 at the time and figured at that age I was too old. Junior Robles convinced me to go but I changed my mind. He was among those killed on the airplane.

KEN HISSNER: I know you go back to Houston for some of the Golden Gloves tourneys. Are you completely out of training boxers now?

JESSE VALDEZ: Unless you’ve been in the ring it is hard to teach someone to box.

KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer questions and I have to tell you it is so rewarding to finally catch up to you.

JESSE VALDEZ: It was nice going back in time with you.

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Golovkin Ready to Show Who the Better Boxer Is


By: Francisco Martinez

September 16th Gennady Golovkin is set to meet Saul Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile arena. A fight 2 years in the making. A fight announced right after Canelo’s shutout of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. a masterful performance not enjoyed to long by Canelo as his next opponent was brought to the ring there and then. To the surprise of many the fight we’ve all been asking for finally materialized. Canelo vs Golovkin is suppose to be the fight that proves what Canelo truly is capable of and the fight that proves is Golovkin the bogey man they make him out to be.

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With a combined record of 86 victories and 67 knockouts Canelo & Golovkin is almost a certain knockout ending. How do both fighters feel in regards to those expectations “It’s going to be a tough fight, a fight with a lot of action but I’ll make it clear as to who is the better man” expresses Canelo a conservative prediction as does Golovkin “I’m a professional athlete and for me it’s very interesting to see who’s better. Not special but who’s the better athlete, who’s the better boxer” states Golovkin.

If we look back into this fight and dig a little more we’ll find that Canelo & Golovkin have shared the ring before as both careers took off. In a sparring session that took place about 6 years ago or so at the Summit Boxing gym in Big Bear, California owned by Golovkin’s trainer, 2015 BWAA Trainer Of The Year, Abel Sanchez. The man responsible for Golovkin’s Mexican Style inside the ring. As for the sparring session a lot has circulated around the media and gym talk as to what actually happened but both fighters had this to say about their now legendary sparring session

“That happened about 6 years ago more or less. He has advanced, I have advanced. It can help a little bit but I won’t focus on it as we’ve both have totally advanced and sparring can’t influence a fight it’s way too different. It’ll be a good fight a fight the people have been wanting. It’ll be a good fight. We’ll be ready” says Canelo of the 6 year old sparring session. Gennady Golovkin had this to say about the past sparring session

“It was 6 years ago it’s a different time right now. It was sparring and it’s different. Sparring and fighting. It’s sparring not fighting” says Gennady Golovkin with a similar tone as Canelo to the past sparring between both. Canelo was just making his transition into 154lbs class and Golovkin was already a full fledged 160lbs fighter so the sparring can be taken with a grain of salt aside from what rumors might say took place within the sparring at the time.

About 21 days before Canelo & Gennady Golovkin are set to face each other another big fight will take place. The return of Floyd Mayweather in the same place and venue. A fight some critics think might affect Canelo & Golovkin’s revenue and possibly a strategic move by Mayweather. Arguably the best boxer ever, surely the best of our time and also known as one of the best business minds in boxing as well.

Golden Boy promotion’s Oscar De La Hoya is not concerned with Mayweather & McGregor taking place a couple of weeks prior to Canelo & Golovkin neither is K2 promotion’s Tom Loeffler “I figured they would make the fight I wasn’t sure when they would do it. It surprised us they would go before on August. You know August people are in still in vacation and you know that’s two big names that they have so they probably figured they can go when they wanted to and were gonna focus on our end to promote ours the best that we can and I’m sure that Floyd and Conor are gonna promote their event and I think that’s one of those fights that the build up would be more exciting than the fight itself but we’re gonna do the best we can on our end”

Floyd Mayweather gave his prediction to Canelo vs Golovkin late last year and he predicted Canelo would knockout Golovkin also went as far as to say he would beat Golovkin. Gennady had this to say about Mayweather’s recent comments “He talks too much. I think he’s not a promoter, he’s not Canelo’s promoter. I don’t know why? Ask him why?” Replied Golovkin to Mayweather’s comments.

Two mega fights that will take place withing a month of each other can only benefit boxing although some would disagree others would say it’s what boxing needs at this point in time in a year that has been one to remember boxing wise. This September 16th Supremacy in the middleweight division is what we’ll get once Canelo & Gennady Golovkin step into the ring in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena live on HBO PPV.

So don’t miss it and follow the conversation and converage leading up to fight night via #CaneloGGG

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When Will A Losing Record Boxer Know When He Should Retire?


When Will A Losing Record Boxer Know When He Should Retire?
By: Ken Hissner

The UK’s 36 year old Kristian Laight is now 12-248-8 but only stopped 5 times. He is third on this writers 100 Club losers list in total defeats only behind Reggie Strickland 66-276-17 and Peter Buckley 32-256-12 but both are retired. Matt Seawright of the UK is 5-146-5 stopped 22 times and still fighting.

Matt Scriven of the UK is 14-91-1 stopped 20 times. Dan Carr of the UK is 3-85-2 but only stopped once. Kalman Vagyocki of Hungary has a “perfect record” of 0-45 stopped 34 times. Then there is Marius Sorin of Romania 0-42-2 stopped 27 times.

How about Dmitrijs Avsijenkovs of Latvia who is 0-29 stopped all 29 times? Petr Jasukievic of CZ is 0-27 stopped 25 times. The Dominican Republic is known for some really losing boxers like Dionisio Rodriguez 0-42 stopped 29 times. Alexis Castillo 0-35 stopped 31 times. Miguel Tavarez 0-32 stopped 25 times. Gregory Esteves 0-34 stopped 18 times. Jose Guzman 0-28 stopped 22 times. Jose Ramon Tejada 0-19 stopped all 19 times and Junior Rodriguez 0-19 but “only” stopped 12 times. Juan Ramon Santos is 0-18 stopped 17 times. Marcos Martinez is 0-18 stopped 15 times. Zuleidiy Diaz Meja 0-18 stopped 17 times. Modesto Felix 0-18-2 stopped 11 times.

Poland has Slawomir Latopolski 0-18 stopped 17 times. Ukraine has Vitaliy Charkin 0-18 stopped 16 times who fought this past weekend. Also fighting this past weekend was Milan Ruso of CZ 1-46 stopped 41 times.

Jose Amaral of Brazil 1-69 stopped 41 times. Lajos Orsos of Hungary 1-54-2 stopped 21 times. Cristian Nicolae of Romania 2-76 stopped 16 times finally retired. Rudolf Murko of CZ is 3-80-2 stopped 40 times. Qasim Hussain of the UK is 4-76-2 but only stopped once. Moses Matovu of the UK from UG is 5-64-4 stopped 7 times. Stefan Stanko of Slovokia is 6-67-1 stopped 59 times. Dan Blackwell of the UK is 7-63 but only stopped once.
Looking at a boxer from Mexico that seems to win “every other fight” you have Roberto Valenzuela 69-75-2 stopped 40 times.

Other active boxers who qualified for the 100+ loss club are Kevin McCauley a Hungarian out of CZ 13-142-11 stopped 11 times. Ibar Rivas an Albanian out of the UK is 34-119-4 only stopped 3 times. Jozef Kubovaky of Slovokia is 13-109-14 stopped 36 times. William Warburton of the UK is 23-114-9 stopped only 3 times. Elemir Rafael also from Slovokia is 34-106-4 stopped 34 times. Finally Yousef Al Hamidi of the UK 14-109-3 stopped only 3 times.

The bottom line is “when will a losing record boxer know when it’s time to retire?” How about the commissions in the UK and DR?

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Once 48-0 Lee Sala of Donora, PA, Inducted Into PA BHOF!


Once 48-0 Lee Sala of Donora, PA, Inducted Into PA BHOF!
By: Ken Hissner

Donora, PA, home of one of the greatest baseball players in the history of the game was Stan “The Man” Musial who played from 1941 to 1963. He would overshadow another Donora resident who would become a professional boxer in 1946.

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In 1944 Donora’s Lee Sala served two years in the US Navy on the battleship Iowa during World War II and would turn professional in the sport of boxing in 1946. He won his first 48 fights taking a 48-0 record into the ring in February of 1949 against Tony DeMicco, 46-24-5, of Schenectady, NY, in Buffalo, whom he defeated in October of 1948, losing this time for the first time by majority decision. Just 13 days later they had a rematch in Pittsburgh, PA, and Sala took a 10 round decision win in the rubber match.

Sala was 61-1, in August of 1950 when he took on deaf mute Gene “Silent” Hairston, 36-6-2, in Scranton, PA, losing a 10 round decision. He won 6 in a row after this then facing Joey DeJohn whom he knocked out in August of 1950 and was 67-2 when in September of 1951 he lost to DeJohn, 67-8-2, of Syracuse by knockout in 2 in Syracuse. Then 4 wins later at 71-3 he would lose in 10 rounds to Billy Kilgore, 21-11-3, of Delan, FL, in May of 1952 in Miami, FL. He would go onto win 3 more when at 74-4 facingthe future middleweight champion in November of 1952 Carl“BoBo” Olson, 53-6, in San Francisco, CA, getting knocked out in 2 rounds. A pair of wins later he would end his career with a pair of losses in September of 1953 and retire with a record of 76-7 with 48 knockouts at the age of 26. Some of his highlight wins had been over Sonny Horne 71-16, Georgie Small 35-4 and in their first meeting Joey DeJohn 61-4-2.
After retiring from boxing Sala and his wife Adeline would move to Tampa, FL. He would become a referee. In December of 2012 at the age of 85 Sala would pass away.

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