By: Ken Hissner
Good things come in “small packages” and Philly’s Joey Intrieri! Started boxing around age 10 and ran in one of Stallone’s Rocky Movies with the actor. He was hooked in his early life!
“Joey Eye” with the big eye on the back of his vest has been in many corners as a cut man. He entered the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame in 2015.
Intrieri was falsely suspended by Pennsylvania Boxing Director Greg Sirb who finally dropped the suspension but only as a cut man not a promoter. He was filming a bare knuckle show for Showtime and that is all Sirb needed. Intrieri beat up Sirb in a “celebrity” match. Then not long before the suspension at a MMA match. The two rolled on the ground and up was the winner “Joey Eye!” Both are about the same height closer to 5 foot than 6 foot. What he didn’t know is that “revenge” would eventually catch up to him!
Intrieri is a very popular individual with the fight and movie people. The word “character” was meant for him! Though living in New Jersey he has run gyms in South Philly and operates out of that area.
The “Eye Man” agreed to do a Q&A with this writer.
KEN HISSNER: So what is it you like doing best the fight game or the movie business?
JOEY EYE: I definitely like the fight game much more. Cause it’s as real as it gets.
KEN HISSNER: So what movies have you been involved with of late?
JOEY EYE: I recently finished a film called “Without You”. I played a mobster called Bobby Pajamas.
KEN HISSNER: In your estimate how many fights have you saved for fighters?
JOEY EYE: I can only take an estimated guess and say close to over 100 fighters I have saved. But I don’t really keep track.
KEN HISSNER: How was it getting inducted into the PAB HOF?
JOEY EYE: Being inducted was such an honor. One of the best nights in my life in boxing along with going into the NJB HOF November 9, 2017! It’s so rewarding getting recognized for my hard work and dedication.
KEN HISSNER: Do you miss promoting at Harrah’s in Chester?
JOEY EYE: Yes most definitely. I am the first promoter to have promoted boxing in a casino in PA. No one can take that away from me.
KEN HISSNER: What do you think of the fight game today with the better fighters coming in from the European West?
JOEY EYE: I love watching these young and hungry, tough and skilled fighters from Europe today. I was Sergey Kovalev’s cut man early in his career.
KEN HISSNER: Who do you think is pound for pound the best today and who is your favorite fighter?
JOE EYE: Lomachenko is absolutely the best pound for pound fighter today. He is my favorite modern day fighter and Willie Pep my old school favorite fighter.
KEN HISSNER: Do you want to give a shout out to your many fans?
JOEY EYE: To all my fans out there I just want to say thanks for always coming out to the fights to support and without them it would mean so much less!! Keep on punchin! See ya at the fights!
One Eye & a Bag of Tricks That Was Philly’s “Gypsy” Joe Harris
By: Ken Hissner
In the 60’s the baddest gym in Philadelphia was the 23rd PAL on Colombia Avenue. Such boxers as “Bad” Bennie Briscoe, “Cyclone” Hart, “Sugar” Hart, “Classy” Al Massey, Jimmy Young, “Boogaloo” Watts, “Smokin” Joe Frazier and the one-eyed “Gypsy” Joe Harris trained there.
“I came to the 23rd PAL from the 39th PAL and was one of the few boxers. The others there liked to go to war. One day in order to see whowas the baddest guy in the gym insteps none other than “Bad” Bennie Briscoe and “Gypsy” Joe Harris into the ring. There was no referee or trainers involved. It was only for about a one when police officer Duke Dugent who ran the gym with an iron hand jumped in the ring pulling the two of them apart! Duke yelled at the two and said NEVER AGAIN! You’ve heard of Philly Gym Wars?
This was best of the best,” said Al Massey.
Briscoe was the AAU 147 champion and had a jab coming up from the floor like a sledge hammer always coming forward. Harris on the other hand was as slippery as you could get using angles (due to the eye) with arms wrapped around himself and weaving around hard to hit.
“He don’t make plans because he don’t know what he going to do until he do it,” said Willie Reddish (trainer). Born in Camden, NJ, word is Harris was “bag snatching” on Halloween and got hit in the right eye with a brick! He was a jokester so when he took eye exams he joked and got by them.
I was there the night Harris was fighting “Irish” Bobby Cassidy, a southpaw, who was holding Harris with his right hand on Harris’ left shoulder and he still couldn’t hit him! He had a bald head and could slip punch after punch.
Harris’ biggest win was over then welterweight champion Curtis Cokes in a non-title fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He would be asked afterwards “where’s the party?” He replied “ain’t no party here man, I’m from Philly!”
Today Cokes would have been stripped of his title for he was “nowhere to be found” when Harris showed up in Dallas for the rematch this time for the title! There was no ring in the hotel lobby and Cokes was “out fishing” per the local newspaper with picture in a row boat! Harris would move up to middleweight never to get close to a title fight again.
Harris turned professional in November of 1964 in Worcester, MASS, stopping Fred Walker in 3 rounds. In 1965 he went 9-0. In 1966 he defeated C.L. Lewis over 6 rounds in a bout filled with bad blood between the two of them. In May of 1966 he took on fellow Philly fighter Johnny Knight, 14-4-1 improving to 13-0 with the last 12 fights all in Philadelphia.
In October of 1966 Harris took on fellow Philadelphian Stanley “Kitten” Hayward, 22-2-1, stopping him in 6 rounds though coming off the floor in the third round. Next up was Cuban Jose Stable, 27-8-2, defeating Sidney “Sweet Pea” Adams and C.L. Lewis in NY. Then he defeated Cokes, Philly’s Charley Scott and Hayward in NY before coming to Philly to defeat Dick Turner, 19-0-1. In 1965 he lost in a title fight to Emile Griffith before returning to Philly losing to Percy Manning. He would lose to Harris in 1966.
Harris would go onto stop Knight in a rematch in 1967. Then he had the non-title win over Cokes weighing 151 improving to 18-0 at MSG before returning to Philly weighing 160 defeating Teddy Wright, 46-15-10.He would return to Dallas in the co-feature to Cokes defending against France’s Francois Pavilla. Harris posted a win but was at 158 ½ while 3 months later down to 152 in a war against Miguel Barreto, 15-1, winning a close one. Then coming off the canvas in the ninth to defeat Cassidy and win a rematch with Barreto. In February of 1968 he beat Dick DiVeronica, 38-8, just 6 months to his career ending fight against former world champion Emile Griffith, 55-9 in Philly.
Just before the Griffith fight Harris would marry a bar maid in Atlantic City and disappear showing up at the 23rd PAL Gym. “I only had a week to get him back in shape for Griffith,” said Duke Dugent (ran the gym). He was up to 160 losing to Griffith over 12 rounds. His offense was not there but his defense was. His 24 bout win streak was stopped. This fight set an indoor attendance record in Philly.
Getting back into the ring with Manny Gonsalves was to be his comeback fight when it was finally discovered at the examination he had no sight in an eye. The charade and career for Harris was over. It was blamed on a gym war with C.L. Lewis who thumbed him and Harris hit him in return in the “family jewels!” With a blood filled eye it brought the attention of the physician.
This writer made an attempt to get Harris to either Puerto Rico or Canada where he would possibly be able to fight. I was with him at the 23rd PAL with Dugent and we went to his family doctor to get the records to prove he had been blind fighting for some time but the doctor was not there. I never saw Harris again and he never fought again! Harris was one of the most “colorful” boxers out of Philadelphia in their history! He was only 22 and lived another 22 years before dying from a heart ailment at age 44! He is still talked about in Philly gyms this day.
More Boxing History
Is this the end of the road for Kell Brook?
By: Kirk Jackson
Errol Spence 22-0 (19 KO’s) emerged victorious as the newly crowned IBF welterweight champion over the weekend, dethroning Kell Brook 36-2 (25 KO’s) and solidifying his claim as one of the top fighters in the stacked welterweight division.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 27, 2017
While “Strap season” is in full-effect as the future appears bright for Spence, many wonder what’s next for Brook?
The first issue to address is the eye injury and path to recovery.
In the fight with Spence, Brook says the injury occurred in the seventh round and continued to get worse as the contest wore on.
“I got caught on the left eye in the seventh and it felt really bad,” Brook said. “It was the one the worst feelings I ever had. Kind of like when Triple G [Gennady Golovkin] hit me and fractured my orbital bone. It was devastating. I just couldn’t see.”
Brook continued, “It was a competitive fight. He got some rounds, I won some rounds too. I felt I was winning, but my eye didn’t allow me to continue. I just couldn’t see. You can’t fight if you can’t see.”
“I got put down, and I got up because I’m warrior. I got up and kept on fighting, but on the eleven I just couldn’t see. I had to take the knee.”
Golovkin destroyed Brook’s right eye in their encounter last September, fracturing his orbital bone. After surgery, titanium infused plates and rehabilitation, Brook returned to form prior to taking his match with Spence.
Against Spence however, Brook suffered injury to his left eye; having that side of his orbital fractured (courtesy of right jabs from Spence).
Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn mentioned the possibility of Brook moving up to junior middleweight (154 lbs) prior to his fight against Spence.
The question beckons if Brook is sustaining serious eye injuries in consecutive fights, will this continue to be an issue in subsequent fights?
Will this force the star from Sheffield to consider retirement?
Brook more than held his own against Spence, in a highly competitive, back and forth bout for the first six rounds.
And prior to taking a knee and essentially ending the fight, Brook fought valiantly in brief stretches during the championship rounds.
But as early as the first round, Spence deposited hard, thrashing punches to the body and comprehensively broke Brook’s frame, face and spirit.
Brook looked gassed after six rounds and the young American arguably delivered a greater beat-down in comparison to Golovkin’s performance.
Back to back physically debilitating defeats in such a demanding sport can be hard to recover from.
Let’s say theoretically, Brook recovers from injury and decides to move up in weight and campaign at junior middleweight.
He will have issues competing in that weight class if he decides to fight the best opposition available.
The elite fighters at 154 lbs; WBA Super junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara 24-2-2 (14 KO’s), WBA Regular junior middleweight champion
Demetrius Andrade 24-0 (16 KO’s), IBF junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd 20-0 (14 KO’s), WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo 29-0 (14 KO’s) and contenders in position for belts Austin Trout, Erickson Lubin and Julian Williams.
Not only is the competition stiff at junior middleweight, but they are sharks in the water and Brook is looking like fresh bait.
In regards to competition in the eyes of the public, Brook proved himself and has high stock. It now may be time to cash out before calling it a career.
It can be suggested Brook already attempted to cash out; going on suicide missions fighting a powerful punching middleweight Golovkin and defending his IBF title against one of the division’s most potent and technical welterweights in back to back, high profile fights.
Brook may now have a few tune-ups en route to a large, block buster event. Cue in Khan.
Hearn mentioned the possibility of matching Brook with long-time rival Amir Khan; a match-up he tried to make many times in the past.
I got beat in the war I had with Canelo, Brook showed no respect! but I wish him and his family all best and hope he has no serious injury
— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) May 27, 2017
The likely move, somewhere between 147 and 154 lbs is Khan. After a long recovery period, Brook and Khan will more than likely have tune-up fights in preparation for their long-awaited duel sometime in 2018.
Brook may have a few more fights before he make
Kell Brook Is Neither A Wimp, Nor A Coward
By: Sean Crose
It was inevitable, I suppose. After getting severely hurt by Gennady Golovkin last fall, then getting severely hurt again by Errol Spence Jr on Saturday, British welterweight Kell Brook is receiving heat for going down on one knee and taking a ten count. Heaven forbid. When he went up two weight classes to face Golovkin last year, Brook had his right orbital bone damaged in a fight where he performed gamely. His corner wisely threw in the towel. This past Saturday, in front of his home town of Sheffield, England, Brook had his left orbital bone damaged in his welterweight title defense against Spence in another bout where he had been performing gamely. This time, however, Brook’s corner didn’t throw in the towel, so the beaten man went on one knee and took a dignified ten count.
And for this grave offense, we’re told by some that Brook is a wimp and/or a coward. Never mind the fact that during a time when Floyd Mayweather may face the mother of all cherry picks in Conor McGregor, Brook has faced not one, but two of the most feared fighters in all of boxing – in a row, no less. If that weren’t enough, people should keep in mind that Brook could easily have avoided fighting both Golovkin and Spence. Perhaps Brook himself is actually wondering if he should have taken on such adversaries, since he’s now essentially being knocked for traveling the less than easy road. Here’s a question, though: What kind of message does all of this give talented young fighters who may want to avoid the low-risk/high reward deathtrap that, until very recently, has completely stagnated the sport of boxing? Are we now demanding these fighters not only face the best consistently, but then “take it like a man” and absorb perhaps permanent damage when they’re being beaten senseless? Let’s hope not.
I wrote about this nonsense on Twitter this weekend and was surprised by the response. Most who responded clearly agreed that Brook deserved credit. Those of another train of thought than my own, though, basically brought up two points. First, that Spence wasn’t all THAT menacing, and, second, that Brook was very well paid for the beatings he took. The truth is that I can’t respond to either of those points, since I haven’t fought Errol Spence, nor do I have any idea what kind of money Kell Brook has made over the past twelve months or so. What I do know, however, is that the guy stepped up and fought two people he was predicted to lose against when he didn’t have to. I also saw him give it his all and clearly take visible damage in the process.
How many other modern, top-name fighters have you seen step up like Brook has – on more than one occasion, no less?