Every year's end is reserved for holiday celebrations that promote peace, good tidings, and tributes according to the religious belief’s one follows.
The New Year that ensues shortly afterwards begins with reflections of the years past and hopes for better ones to arrive in the future. This time of year is meant for people to think of others by showing them it is not what we have in a monetary sense but what is in our hearts that truly shows how much we care for them just as it lets us know how much we are cared for in the same manner.
What I have always found to be amusing about the holiday season is that it is only this time of year we seem to bring up our fondest memories to share with one another, almost as if they are locked away in a small little vault way in the back of our minds that relies on a time coded lock only opened from December 24th through January 1st and once relived they return into that vault for 12 more months.
Boxing is a sport that has no seasons, there are no limits on how many fights one can take part in, and if one is able the amount of championships that they can possess is almost limitless.
In short, boxing unlike our yearly reminisce amongst each other during the holidays of fond memories continues to produce moments that we as spectators will remember a lifetime all year long.
It takes more than just the champions to make our sport revolve; contenders, journeymen, promoters, referees, announcers and anyone in-between all play important roles in boxing. Each helps in one way or another to elevate our sport into something that surpasses everyday life allowing us the opportunity to share an extra memory or two with one another when the opportunity arises.
It why this time of year I make it a point to take one last moment to briefly mention those we lost in our boxing community over the years past before our new year begins, because according to our nature it may be a while before we relive amongst each other what those who sacrificed so much for during their careers left behind.
Some names you will know instantly others you may never have heard of but all the same each one played a role that can not be recreated.
In no particular order, the men and women who have taken the final ring walk in 2010.
Denny Moyer- Veteran of 180 bouts, in 1963 he held the light middleweight championship, held a win over Sugar Ray Robinson and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001. He was 70yrs old
Arthur Mercante Sr- Regarded by many as the best referee to ever work the sport, overseen 120 title fights, member of the Hall of Fame in the expanded category. He was 90yrs old.
Efren Torres- One time WBC flyweight champion, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, regarded as one of Mexico’s many greats. He was 66yrs old.
Edwin Valero- Former super featherweight and lightweight champion, held a perfect 27-0 record all by stoppage, was one of boxing's fastest rising stars at the time of his death. Valero was marked by personal turmoil in his life that caused him to take his own life at age 28.
Mauricio Ricardo Crucce- A part time club fighter who, despite his limited skill set, always tried his hardest, he was 35yrs old.
Mlungisi Dlamini- Former WBF lightweight title holder and was the current IBO lightweight champion at the time of his death. Mlungisi was thought to have a bright future ahead of him as he was undefeated in 21 pro bouts. He passed away in an automobile accident at the age of 27 near his home in South Africa.
Lew Lazar- Tough British middleweight journeyman who fought during the 1950’s, Lew was a participant of 60 bouts in less then 10 years. He was 79yrs old.
Ted Lowry- The man who held the moniker “Tiger” may have been the toughest heavyweight to never hold a title, Ted is most known for going the distance twice with Rocky Marciano, he is the one man many believe should hold a win over the “Rock” as in one bout all local newspapers had Ted ahead 6rds to 4! He was 90yrs old.
Bennie Briscoe- A man who stood for everything that has gained Philly fighters the reputation as being tough as nails, the longtime middleweight never became a world champion but did put a hurting on many of them either prior to or after their reigns. With a final record of 66-24-5 when he retired in 1982 Benny held wins over Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, George Benton and Charlie Scott. Bennie was voted one of the sports top 100 punchers by Ring Magazine. He was 67yrs old.
Anders Eklund- Former 2 time EBU heavyweight champion and Swedish amateur star that fought during the 1980’s. Anders was 52yrs old.
Jackie Turpin- Older brother of former middleweight champion Randy Turpin who fought as a journeyman in the 1940’s, veteran of over 120 bouts, Jack was 84yrs old.
Dolph Quijano- AKA Al Velez is the only man to hold both the Texas light heavyweight and heavyweight titles simultaneously. Al was a WW2 veteran who instructed boxing while in the Army, he was 89yrs old.
Tony Halme- Tony was certainly more known for his stint as a WWE wrestler then a boxer, during his time there he was known as Ludvig Borga, Tony was a former sparring partner of Michael Dokes his biggest win came in 1999 over Iran Barkley. Tony was 47yrs old.
Danny Kapilow- New York fighter out of the Bronx, known for his solid chin just fell short of beating Sammy Angott twice, the first bout many gave to Kapilow who lost due to a point deduction in rd one for a low blow. Danny also drew with another well known New York tough guy of the same era Rocky Graziano. He was 88yrs old.
Mac Foster- Tough heavyweight contender of the 1960’s and 1970’s, lost to Muhammad Ali by unanimous decision in 1972, held wins over Zora Folley, and Cleveland Williams twice. Mac donned the cover of Ring magazine in September 1970 with Jerry Quarry in a picture where both men seemed worse for the wear during their bout in June of that year that Mac lost by KO in round 6. What made Mac so impressive was his power; his 30-6 record had all 30 wins by way of stoppage during the heavyweight divisions golden era. Mac was 68yrs old.
Dave Gallardo- Fought during the 1950’s as a featherweight was stopped in a gallant effort in his bout against the great Sandy Saddler in December of 1955. After 88 bouts Dave retired in 1958. He was 81yrs old.
Jim Cooper- British fighter during the 1950’s and 1960’s most known for being the twin brother of Sir Henry Cooper. Jim was 75yrs old.
Johnny Colan- Middleweight who came up in the 1930’s and 1940’s, his biggest fight was his last against former middleweight champion Jake LaMotta it was a 10 round KO loss, he was 88yrs old.
Victor Nilo- Lightweight club fighter who fought strictly in his home country of Chile during the late 1970’s and 1980’s, he was 59yrs old.
Joseph Bessala- Welterweight out of Cameroon who fought from 1969-1978 with limited professional success had been a top caliber amateur fighter that won a silver medal in the 1968 Olympics at welterweight. He was 70yrs old.
Ernie Smith- With only 13 wins and 142 losses on his resume it is a wonder how Ernie even had a license to fight but regardless of his record the fact he stepped in the ring that many times shows a fighter comes from the inside. Ernie was just 31yrs old.
Henk Ruhling- Henk started as a promoter in the 1940’s then began to manage in the 1950’s his stable consisted mainly of Dutch fighters, with Luc Van Dam and Bep Van Klaveren being the only ones of prominence. Henk was 90yrs old.
Mick Leahy- Irish fighter who fought from the late 1950’s through mid 1960’s, was a one time holder of the BBBofC British middleweight title who held a win over Ray Robinson late in Ray's career. He was 74yrs old.
Valerio Nunez- The fighter from Argentina spent the largest part of his career fighting in Europe, while he never fought for a title he did retire with a respectable record of 56-18-4 amassed from 1954-1969. He was 72yrs old.
Franco Brondi- Former EBU lightweight champion during the mid 1960’s spent his entire career battling opponents at home in Italy. Brondi was 73yrs old.
Stephen Johnson- A part time fighter in the cruiserweight division from 1999-2007 Stephen only had 11 bouts on his resume; all 11 of his bouts were fought with the heart of a champion. Stephen was 37yrs old.
Nikolay Puchkov- A main stay on the Russian professional boxing scene Nikolay partook in over a 100 bouts from 2003-2010 as a referee and double that amount as a judge in the sport. He was 65yrs old.
Luis Federico Thompson- Argentinean welterweight whose career spanned from 1947-1963 retired with a career record of 150-14-15, fought Benny Paret to a draw in 1960 then later that year lost a decision to Benny at Madison Square Garden. He was 82yrs old.
Paul King- Welterweight born in Scotland, built a record of 33-19-7 from 1951-1959, he was 78yrs old.
Clarence Boone- As a pro, Boone was horrible, his record was 3-22 upon his retirement, as a trainer for the amateurs, he was a whole different breed, his prize pupil was an underrated fighter named Bruce Curry who held a version of the light welterweight championship in the 1980’s. Boone was the first black trainer to work the corner of a white fighter in Texas.
Temuzin Rambing- Head of Indonesian boxing promotion company TR Promotions Temuzin passed away from an unknown illness at the age of 30yrs.
Hector Velazquez- Former Chilean Olympian who participated at the 1972 Olympic Games as a light flyweight, his professional record was minimal as he only fought 21 times in 8 years. He was 58yrs old.
Anthony Andeh- Nigerian Olympic representative at the 1964 games as a featherweight actually won the Nigerian lightweight title in his pro debut, losing it in his next outing Anthony retired after just 1 more bout with a record of 2-1, he was 64yrs old.
Jeferson Luis Goncalo- Former Brazilian welterweight, light middleweight and WBA fedebol light middleweight champion, Jeferson never made it to the elite stage, but after a late start he did manage 36 bouts in less then 7 years. Jeferson passed away after complications from brain surgery due to injuries suffered in his last bout. He was 39yrs old.
Billy (Spider) Kelly- With a record of 56-24-4 the Irish fighter held both the BBBofC and Commonwealth featherweight title during the mid 1950’s. He was 78yrs old.
Khetag Kozaev- The young fighter had been the first ever resident of South Ossetian to turn professional. With a record of 10-0 with 9 knockouts his resume Khetag was thought to have a bright future ahead of him until he was murdered in a nightclub at the age of 19yrs.
Marco Antonio Hernandez- Former Mexican Super flyweight champion from 2008-2009 passed away from lung cancer at the young age of 24yrs.
Antoine Palatis- French heavyweight journeyman fought from 1992-2007 and penned the autobiography Victory Over Diabetes. Though retired he still liked to train to keep fit, he was found passed away outside his home in Chamoux while attempting to return after taking a jog. He was 39yrs old.
Lorenzo Donato Beneventano- Argentinean fighter from 1972-1975 in the super featherweight division, he was 61yrs old.
Darius Watson- An all around athlete had his career stopped almost before it began, after just 8 bouts it was discovered he had a serious heart condition. Darius worked with the amateur boxing program near his home in Los Angeles, he passed away due to heart complications, he was 38yrs old.
Cesar Alberto Leiva- With mixed success and a record of 40-11 Cesar mainly fought in his home country of Argentina, from 1995 until his death in 2010. Cesar was murdered at the age of 39.
Roy Van Putten- WBC vice president from 1985 until his death and founder of the Caribbean Boxing Federation., Roy passed away in February of 2010.
Hirokazu Yamaki- Japanese journeyman who competed in the flyweight division suffered a subdural hematoma brought on by his knockout loss to Toshimasa Ouchi, he was 26yrs old.
Alejandro Marcelo Pallotta- Former cruiserweight from 2003-2005, was murdered after being stabbed over 30 times, he was 27yrs old.
Mike Dietrich- Heavyweight prospect who had compiled a record of 12-0 before his death in March of 2010, he was 26yrs old.
Domenico Baccheschi- In 1958 he held the Italian light heavyweight title briefly after defeating Rocco Mazzola, he was 78yrs old.
Roberto Murillo- Panamanian journeyman from 1955-1962 in the featherweight division, he was 75yrs old.
Joe Murphy- Scottish fighter who fought from 1948-1956 he was 82yrs old.
Brian Sargent- Though his record was 16-16 when he retired in 2005 those losses came to the division’s top names such as Vitali Klitschko, Frans Botha, Joe Mesi, Tony Tubbs and Hasim Rahman. Brian was 44yrs old.
Jimmy Fairweather- Jamaican born welterweight who resided in Battersea, London during his career that spanned from 1970-1974, he was 62yrs old.
Enzo Farinelli- Italian based featherweight who fought from 1967-1976, he was 67yrs old.
Eric Boone- Featherweight from Ghana that won the African boxing union bantamweight and West African featherweight title in his first 2 outings, then retired in his third bout after a point’s loss to George Ayeh. He was 51yrs old.
Harlow Irwin- Minnesota lightweight who fought from 1958-1961, he was 76yrs old.
Amanda Skelton- Female fighter from 1998-1999, highest profile fight was a loss to Mia St John, she was 36yrs old.
Ernesto Pumarejo- Puerto Rican featherweight from 1954-1955, passed away in May of 2010.
Giampiero Pinna- Former Italian flyweight champion in the late 1980’s, he was 51yrs old.
Tony Maglione- Welterweight who partook briefly in 1939, he was 90 yrs old.
Kenji Kato- Japanese flyweight champion during the late 1970’s, retired after 47 bouts, he was 60yrs old.
Obie English- Philly based heavyweight during the 1970’s, he passed away on May 22 of 2010.
Gladstone Mahlo- South African fighter who went by the moniker “Homicide Hank” who fought as a lightweight from 1948-1954, regardless of the nickname his career was that not even close to the real “Homicide Hank” Henry Armstrong. He was 85yrs old.
Des Gargano- A journeyman super featherweight who fought out of Brighton, Sussex, United Kingdom was the veteran of 122 bouts in just over 12yrs, he passed away after a battle with lung cancer, he was 49yrs old.
Stan Cullis- Former BBBofC Southern Area light heavyweight champion during the 1960’s, he was 70yrs old.
Ronald Burns- A welterweight journeyman out of New Jersey during the 1940’s, Ronald became a referee and New Jersey prize fight reporter for Ring Magazine after his retirement, he was 82yrs old.
Ki-Suk Bae- Super flyweight from Korea passed away from injuries suffered in the ring, he was 23yrs old.
Renato Tontini- Light heavyweight from Italy during the mid 1940’s -1950’s, he was 85yrs old.
Peter Morrison- British super featherweight fought over 35 bouts in his 4 year career that spanned from 1949-1953, he was 81yrs old.
Wayne Parsons- Light welterweight from Australia passed away after having just 1 bout, he was 27yrs old.
Jay Larkin- Promoter responsible for making Showtime championship and ShoBox pay per view successes, he was 60yrs old.
Ubaldo Francisco Sacco- Argentinian middleweight fought over 95 bouts from 1954-1961, though he never ventured far from home or had worldwide success he was one of boxing's busiest fighters of the era, he was 78yrs old.
Armand Olevano- Light heavyweight prospect from 1945-1947, he was 88yrs old.
Cristian Oscar Sanders- Middleweight from Argentina who fought in 1999, he was 34yrs old.
This year our list of those who passed away was an extensive one, it is a list that hopefully in 2011 will have shortened immensely. Each name on the list all had the courage to either lace up the gloves as fighters, help promote the sport or referee the action that took place in the ring.
In that sense, there is nothing to say but “Thank You” for all you contributed during your time with us. The final bell has rung and you have all left us as champions in your own rights. You will be sorely missed.
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