In the 70’s When Philly Middleweights Were at Their Best!  

By Ken Hissner

Philly is known for their gym wars in the 60‘s and 70’s in both the   amateur and professional ranks. The 23rd PAL in 1969 had some of the   best amateurs turning professional like Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, 38-  7-1 (6), Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, 30-9-1 (28). Willie “The Worm” Monroe, 39-10-1 (26), was out of “Smokin” Joe Frazier’s Gym.

These three Philly boxers would join the likes of “Bad” Bennie Briscoe,   66-24-5 (53) and Stanley “Kitten” Hayward, 32-12-4 (18) who were already professionals.

Gypsy Joe HarrisIn 1968 “Gypsy Joe” Harris, 24-1 (9), was forced  into retirement when it was discovered he was blind in one eye.

Harris had a win over Hayward and won a non-title fight over Curtis Cokes but was never able to get a title fight finalized. Both Briscoe   and Harris were out of the 23rd PAL.  Philly’s Percy Manning, 17-7-1 (11) lost by knockout to Briscoe in their third meeting in May of 1969 and passed away in October at the age of 37. Briscoe had stopped him in 8 and Manning won the re-match by  decision.

Former top middleweight contender George Benton was  defeating Juarez de Lima in 1969 but in 1970 after another pair of wins ended his career losing to de Lima in a re-match. Benton had lost   to Briscoe in 1966 and would start training Briscoe after retiring in   1970.

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Frank Santos De Alba Defeats Jesus Lule at 2300 Arena

Article by Ken Hissner
Photography by Ray Bailey / 

On November 20, 2015,  Marshall Kauffman’s King Promotions put on a dynamite show at the 2300 Arena for the locals with about 30 union members mostly at ringside. 

In the main event, Super featherweight southpaw Frank Santos DeAlba, 17-1-2 (6), of Allentown, PA, won a 6 round decision over game Jesus Lule, 7-15-1 (1) of Ft. Myers, FL. He hasn’t lost since his debut loss.

Each round was like the one before it with Lule chasing and DeAlba countering with many hard punches to body and head. Lule kept coming with the heart of a lion. On occasion he got in a good punch but couldn’t overcome the odds of the favorite.

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Somebody tell me more about Yank Durham

I cracked open one of the magazines from my previous post while eating lunch and found a short story on Philly trainer Yank Durham.

Yank Durham article

It was a good read but it left me wanting to know more about his work as a trainer. This article says he guided Joe Frazier from the amateurs to press time which was the lead up to the fight Ali fight.

Did the two finish their careers together? Who else did Yank train during his career besides Smokin’ Joe?

I’ve heard about the man – but again – he is way before my day.

Somebody give me the word! — with Mickey Berry, Yancey Yank Durham and Smokin’ Joe Frazier.

Six Philly & Area Super Feather & Lightweights to Keep an Eye On

By Ken Hissner

They come from Camden, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, and Reading, PA, and all six can fight. They have a combined record of 79-7-8, with 32 knockouts.

Jason Sosa 2015JASON SOSA, 18-1-3 (14) of Camden, NJ, has a Dec. 19 date with Nicholas Walters, 26-0 (21), of Montego Bay, Jamaica, the former WBA Featherweight Champion.  They collide over 10 rounds—or less—at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY.   Heavyweights Bryant “By By” Jennings, of Philadelphia, and Luis Ortiz, of Havana, Cuba, meet in the main event.

Ranked No. 8 by the IBF and No. 13 in the WBO, Sosa faces his biggest test against Walters, who lost his title in June when he failed to make the 126-pound featherweight limit.  Walters has fought over the featherweight limit in 10 of his 26 fights.

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R.I.P Smokin’ Joe Frazier who passed 4 years ago today

Shout out to the memory of Smokin’ Joe Frazier. This all-time Philly great knew how to fight, dress and have a good time! R.I.P. Champ…

Take a minute to vote for the recipient of the 2016 Smokin’ Joe Frazier Memorial Spirit Award at the next Salute to Philly Boxers Banquet.

Keenan Smith wins his ShoBox debut

Last night, live on Showtime Boxing – Philly’s Keenan “Killa” Smith (9-0, 3 ko’s) showed that he is ready for the next level of Welterweight competition by winning an 8 round unanimous decision over a game Benjamin Whitaker (10-2, 2 ko’s) at the D Las Vegas.

Smith started the fight boxing from long-range, moving around the ring and landing some clean shots on his thicker opponent. Midway though the bout, Whitaker battled his way inside – and once he got close – things got physical. There was one stretch of action that included a back body drop, a reverse leg whip and an old-fashioned noogie.

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Seriously – Creed was a good movie.

This past weekend I was invited to watch a private viewing of “Creed”  at the Riverview Plaza on Delaware Avenue courtesy during a cast and international media only event hosted by our friends at Warner Brothers. 

Creeed 1As most know, Creed is the latest in the Rocky series – this time featuring Michael B. Jordan (aka Wallace from The Wire) who plays the son of Apollo Creed.

In the movie – the young Creed, who goes by the name of Adonis Johnson, leaves a well-to-do life in Los Angeles in hopes of following the footsteps of a father he never had a chance to meet.

Continue reading Seriously – Creed was a good movie.

“Killa” Keenan Smith vs. Benjamin Whitaker on ShoBox

Tonight on Showtime Boxing, Philadelphia’s “Killa” Keenan Smith (8-0, 3 ko) puts his undefeated record on the line when he takes on Benjamin Whitaker(10-1, 2 ko’s) of San Antonio in a 8 round  bout in Las Vegas. Both are making their major network TV debut.

This signifies a decent step up in competition for Smith, whose best career win to date comes against a fighter with 3-3 record. He weighed in at 141.8 lbs.

The 31-year-old Whitaker is on a three fight win streak since being stopped by a good Russian prospect in California. The combined record of his last three victims is 27-5-1.

Whitaker weighted in at 146.2 lbs. Lots of questions to be answered. Smith had a good amateur career – but some extended pro layoffs – do you think he will translate into a “next level” fighter? Is Whitaker more than a down south opponent despite his solid record?

A big spot for two hopefuls. Tune in tonight for a 4 fight card starting at 10 pm EST.

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