Category Archives: Ken Hissner Articles

Fred “Herk” Jenkins – Philly’s Most Underrated Trainer!

by Ken Hissner

“As a kid of 6, I jumped into the pool at 26th & Master’s not realizing it was well over my head when all of a sudden this hand reached in and pulled me out saving my life,” said Fred Jenkins. Adding, “I won my pro debut in November of 1974. In February of 1976 in my 2nd fight, who do you think is in the opposite corner?” “You got it. Tyrone Freeman (3-6-4), the guy who saved my life,” said Jenkins. Adding “how do I hit this guy?”

Two months after losing to Freeman by a 6 round decision Jenkins would defeat Archie Andrews (5-4) in 6 rounds. Welcome to the game of boxing! This is when Jenkins made the decision to learn the art of becoming a trainer from the best Philly had to offer. His trainer was Stan Williams and Al Bennett was the assistant.

“I was blessed to teach guys after learning the business from Milt Bailey (also one of top cut men in boxing), Quenzell McCall, Duke Dugent (trained Joe Frazier, Bennie Briscoe and “Gypsy” Joe Harris as amateurs), George James and Wesley Mouzon.

Fred started training fighters in 1973 and now runs the boxing gym at the ABC recreation center at 26th & Masters where he once jumped into their pool. Probably the most famous boxer among the many he has worked with was former Olympic gold medalist and world champion David Reid. “He thought he was invincible until several fights before beating the Cuban in Atlanta and even several fights into the pro’s,” said Jenkins. “I think they (Dan Goossen, promoter) rushed him,” said Jenkins. “He fought too many guys with good records (272-43 in 11 fights) right from the start,” added Jenkins.

Prior to winning the title in his 12th fight Reid beat two former world champions in Simon Brown 47-7 and Jorge Vaca 57-18-1 along with three unbeaten fighters in James Coker 19-0, Geoff Yalenezian 11-0 and Sam Calderon 10-0. “They took him to Denver instead of leaving him where he learned to fight,” said Jenkins. Mitchell was available and went with Reid. Today Reid is at the U.S. Olympic Education Center helping Jenkins former assistant trainer Al Mitchell on the Northern Michigan University campus. Most feel n putting him in with Felix Trinidad was the mistake that cost him his career.

“I had too many amateur fighters taken from me because I only taught a pro style and pro’s taken because I spent too much time with the amateurs,” said Jenkins. “You can’t have it both ways, but I always kept an open door for their return,” he added. “It all depended upon who was giving my fighters outside advice,” said Jenkins.

His first pro was Jerome “Silky” Jackson (11-5-1) who was unbeaten in Philly (8-0-1) rings. “He had one of the best jabs and was one of my best fighters but had too much street life,” said Jenkins. Several other Jackson’s he trained were Lonnie (3-0, 3 KO) who moved onto Joe Frazier’s gym and never had another pro fight but is back with Jenkins today.

His son Lonnie, Jr. is one of the better amateur boxers at the gym. Ernest (12-9-1) who is Jerome’s brother was 6-1-1 drawing with future IBF junior welterweight champion from Philly Gary Hinton. Then he was moved into a 10 round bout losing to Kevin Rooney (16-1) and 3 more losses after that. “”He turned pro too young. They would see the other guys turning pro and they wanted the same thing,” said Jenkins.

The other world champion out of Jenkins gym was Charlie “Choo Choo” Brown who won the newly created IBF lightweight title in 1984 defeating Melvin Paul (17-2). “He knew he had to defend his title within 90 days but not know against whom. When we finally did get our notice we only had 3 days to prepare for Harry Arroyo (23-0) and he wasn’t in the kind of shape he should have been in,” said Jenkins. Brown would lose in the 14th round. The following year Jenkins took Brown to Australia and defeated Pat Leglise (24-1-1), their light welterweight champion who was a top prospect. “I saw them in the corner motioning watch out for the left hook. I told Brown to throw the right hand,” said Jenkins. “That’s what happened,” said Brown. Then 3 months later when they were asked to come back, Jenkins could not make the trip. “He was never the same after he came back from there,” said Jenkins. Brown lost 11 straight fights and retired in 1993. Jenkins retired him after 3 of those losses in 1987. From 1988 to 1993 Brown fought without Jenkins in his corner.

One of those trainers mentioned earlier who helped develop Jenkins training ability was well respected George James. I talked to James about Jenkins recently. “Fred was a very good amateur fighter. He has always done a lot for kids. We used to do work out shows together,” said James.

Some of the other fighters in 1983 winning Pennsylvania Golden Glove titles were Marvin Garris who had also won in 1981. Garris (15-10-1) won his first 5 pro fights before losing a split decision in 8 rounds to future world champion Fred Pendleton, also from Philly. Then 3 fights later he won the Pennsylvania state lightweight title in 12 rounds over Victor Flores (14-5-1). After losing his next fight, Garris went with Brown to Australia losing to former IBF super featherweight champion Lester Ellis (17-1). Upon his return he would post a 7-7-1 record in his last 15 fights. “He was one of the best guys to follow instructions,” said Jenkins. “Working at the Rec Center I couldn’t just up and leave 3 months later to take him and Brown to Australia,” added Jenkins.

The other two fighters he had in 1983 were possible Olympic team boxers in Bryan “Boogaloo” Jones and Andre Sharp Richardson. One of the members of that 1983 Pennsylvania Golden Gloves champions was former title contender Vincent Boulware. “They were all very good, but Jones was a national champion and the best of them,’ said Boulware. Jones and Richardson would both lose their amateur status being accused of a crime and turn pro while fighting their accusers and fight on the same cards for their first 5 bouts, all wins. This was from March of 1984 thru July. Jones won his first 8 fights before losing to Philly’s Troy Fletcher (8-0-1) over 12 rounds for the state bantamweight title by one point on two of the scorecards. “I don’t like making excuses but he had the flu and refused not to fight,” said Jenkins. “He listened so well I gave him instructions to go to the Nationals and he won without me being there,” added Jenkins. He felt they both got a bad rap when being told by their attorney to plead guilty and they wouldn’t go to prison. That not being the case, Richardson got 6 years and Jones 8 years. Jones last fight was October of 1985 ending his career at 10-2. He would be released in 1993 but never fight again. Richardson ended his in September of 1985 unbeaten in 11 fights. Upon getting out early in 1989 he won 2 fights and retired with a 13-0 record. “The problem with Richardson was he didn’t like following orders from the promoters,” said Jenkins.

In 1983 Jenkins turned “Rockin” Rodney Moore as he turned pro. Winning state titles at lightweight and junior welterweight, Moore became known as “King of the Blue Horizon” by all fight fans. From August of 1987 to June of 1992 he posted an 18-0-2 record including 14-0-1 at the Blue until losing his only bout there in 1992. In an earlier interview I did on Moore he said “I had 29 fights at the Blue Horizon only losing once”.

He would also fight for 3 world titles against Charles Murray (28-1), Frankie Randall (50-3-1) and Felix Trinidad (27-0) all in losing efforts. “He was the most unpredictable. They underestimated him,” said Jenkins. I recently saw Moore at a Philly awards show and asked him about Jenkins. “I personally know that he is a really good and gifted boxing trainer (amateur/professional). I also feel that he does not get the national recognition he deserves,” said Moore. Moore is in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s hall of fame.

Current world middleweight contender Randy Griffin (24-2-3) was another who got his start with Jenkins. He was a state 1997 and 1999 champion and won the national championship in 1999. “One day the real Randy Griffin will stand up. He took the wrong direction several times,” said Jenkins. “Too many of these guys would listen to others telling them how good they could have it elsewhere,” said Jenkins. “They still come around and I still listen to them,” he added.

“I trained Vaughn Bean (45-6) when he came in from Chicago for about 10 fights,” said Jenkins. “During that period he only lost to Michael Moorer by majority decision for his IBF title. Then he fought Evander Holyfield,” he added. “Butch (Lewis) wouldn’t let us work the corner that night” said Jenkins. He added “how could you let someone train your fighter and then put in new people the night he was fighting for the championship?”

I told him Anthony “The Messenger” Thompson (23-3) said “if I ever hit the big time I will take care of Fred Jenkins. I owe him everything.” Jenkins was surprised to hear him say that. Thompson was a national champion in 2000. “He was another one who was invincible as an amateur. He sparred with the professionals when he was 14 or 15 and they couldn’t touch him,” said Jenkins. “He was the #132 novice champ and had enough ability to go open class. Since there wasn’t an open class champion, I sent him to the Nationals. It was 1998 and he was 16 years old and won 5 matches before losing to Ebo Elder,” added Jenkins.

“Zahir Raheem (29-3) was another invincible one,” said Jenkins. Raheem was a member of the 1996 Olympic team in Atlanta. “The last time I worked with him as a professional was in July of 2004 when he lost to Rocky Juarez in a featherweight title eliminator,” said Jenkins. It was one of the worst performances by a referee (Robert Gonzalez) being partial toward another fighter (Raheem). He would defeat Erik Morales (48-2) at lightweight looking great, but lose to Acelino Freitas (37-1) for the vacant WBO lightweight title in April of 2006. “He still comes around when he is in Philly (living in Oklahoma) though I haven’t seen him in a couple of years,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins had James “The House” Stanton who was the Pennsylvania 1991 Golden Gloves super heavyweight champion before turning pro that year winning his first 16 fights over a 4 year period before losing to Darroll Wilson (14-0-2) and former WBC champion Oliver McCall (27-6). He lost 4 of his next 5 fights ending his career at 17-6. I asked Jenkins what happened. “The streets,” said Jenkins. Michael Rhodes was the 1995 Pennsylvania Golden Gloves super heavyweight champion. “He weighed about 212 as an amateur,” said Jenkins. By the time he turned pro in 2004 he was 312. “I wanted to turn pro in 1995 but Fred made me go to school for my degree. I only turned pro to pay off my loans,” said Rhodes.

He was 3-0-3 before losing his last 3 fights with the last one in December 2008 at 345. It was the first time he was stopped. “He simply got too heavy,” said Jenkins. “I had Sidney Outlaw (10-10-1) who thought he could work 2 jobs and be a fighter. He could have been good if he only had one job, “said Jenkins. 10 of the 21 opponents had never lost a fight including future champion John David Jackson. He also lost a decision to future champion Reggie Johnson (11-1-1). “I had Kenny Butts, a flyweight and good amateur. He was unbeaten (5-0-1) in his first 6 fights. He fought Robert “Pop” Robinson twice for the Pennsylvania title. Robinson came in overweight in the second one but he beat him anyway for the title,” said Jenkins.

In 1998 Jenkins started assisting Sloan Anderson with Calvin “Strictly Business” Davis (22-1) a good lightweight prospect whose career ended 2 years after being arrested in a drug bust. “He turned his whole life around in those 2 years but didn’t have the money to continue fighting so they sentenced him ending his boxing career,” said Jenkins. The second fight Jenkins was with him was against Troy Fletcher who had beaten his fighter Bryan Jones. Davis stopped Fletcher in the 7th round. Davis would only lose once in those 10 fights and that was to Brian Adams (11-2-1), a house fighter, in Madison Square Garden.

The final fighter we talked about was unbeaten heavyweight Malik Scott (31-0). He was the National AAU champion in 1999 defeating Michael Bennett and Jason Estrada. In 2000 he defeated DaVarryl Williamson and Malcolm Tann but lost to Estrada at the trials and Bennett in the Olympic box-offs. He had a 70-3 amateur record. “Best heavyweight in the world but no one knows how to train him to fight but me,” said Jenkins. Scott was signed by Shelly Finkle as a pro and Jenkins never worked with him since.

“Fred is a very good trainer and he knows how to work with kids very well,” said Wade Hinnant. Hinnant had trained with Fred as an amateur fighter.

I asked Jenkins about Tyrone Brunson (19-0-1, 19 KO) whom he had in the amateurs. “I raised him from a kid since he was 12. He has great potential if you can get it out of him. He had about 20-25 amateur fights,” said Jenkins. After Don Elbaum put him in his first pro bout in April of 2005 at the legendary Blue Horizon, he hasn’t been seen in these parts since. Don King signed him last June and he has had one fight (draw) since. “I have always had a good relationship with Fred. He’s a good guy who has honored every deal we’ve done barring injuries,” said Elbaum.

While interviewing Jenkins, Jerome McIntyre walked in. He was in the 1992 Olympic trials losing in the semi finals to “Rambo” Patterson from the Kronk gym. “Eric Griffin who would win the trials wanted to fight me because he beat everyone but me,” said McIntyre. “Earlier I was the first Philly fighter to go to Northern Michigan in August of 1990. I fought Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson in 1989 along with his brother James Harris. Then later before the 1996 Olympics I fought Floyd Mayweather. I blew my arm out before the trials ending my career,” McIntyre said.

Before I left, Bryant Jennings was called into the office. He is 24 and 230 pounds getting ready for his first amateur bout. “I played football at Ben Franklin High School and have been coming here since I was 12. I asked if I could box and Fred said alright,” added Jennings. “I am going to take it slow with him because I don’t believe in just throwing these guys in the ring without being able to know what they are doing,” said Jenkins. It’s too bad some other trainers don’t feel that way. Its sink or swim with many of them.”

Jenkins is one of the most well liked people in the business. You can see he knows how to relate to these young men and people in general. Over the years he has worked with and now for on fight nights for local promoter J. Russell Peltz. “Few people have got to know Peltz like I do. There is another side of him that he rarely reveals. He’s a good guy,” said Jenkins. The 26th & Masters gym is in a rough area of North Philly and it is easy to see how some of the tougher kids in the city would walk through those doors into the gym. In regards to Jenkins being able to fight he said “I was also a good street fighter. You had to be in that neighborhood.” Jenkins has had two world champions in Reid and Brown. You just never know when the next one is going to walk in.

Remember, the door is always open per Fred “Herk” Jenkins!

Comments/disputes/questions?
e-mail Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

 

Sweet 16 of Philly Boxing Prospects for 2009

Ken Hissner checks in with the “Sweet 16 of Philly Boxing Prospects. This features 16 of the young and hungry with less than 16 pro fights. There are some very notable names, decorated amateurs, a few surprises and a couple of omissions. Check out the complete list here. http://www.phillykeith.com/phillysweet16.htm

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can email Philly Keith at keith@phillykeith.com

Go to www.phillykeith.com for up to the minute info on the Philly boxing scene

The Vinny Burgese Story

written by Ken Hissner:

“In 1979 I was about 13, with about 3 months in the gym when I was sparring with Kenny Bogner, who was older (18).  I was doing fine for 3 rounds, but in the 4th I was dead tired when his father yelled out, 30 seconds, open up,” said Vinnie Burgese.  “He broke my nose.  I was more embarrassed than anything crying outside the ring,” he added.  “About a year later I got a call from Eddie Aliano (Philly’s finest cut man) on a Friday asking if I wanted to spar with Bogner Saturday,” said Burgese.  “I got to bed early that night,” he added.  “Next day in the gym, I beat the shit out of him,” said Burgese.  “He started crying while he was skipping rope afterwards, and as I was walking passed him I said, good work out Ken,” he added.  Bogner’s pro record was 25-2-1.

photo courtesy of phillyboxinghistory.com

Burgese was one of the hottest amateurs in the country in 1982.   He was a junior Olympic champion that year along with Mike Tyson.  One of his wins was over future world champion Michael Moorer.  He had lost the previous year for the first time in the semi-finals of the Sports Festival to Tony Smith and got a bronze medal.

A year later he beat Smith for the Gold in the finals.  “In 1984 I was in the Olympic trials and lost to Henry Hughes from Ohio.  I thought I won but they said he lost a close fight the previous year and this probably made up for it,” said Burgese.   “I remember Tyson had lost too and we shared a cab together.  Years later on the Atlantic City boardwalk I hear, hey Vinnie, and it was Tyson.   He was always a regular guy with me,” added Burgese.

After the 1984 trials were over, Burgese lost to future world champion Frankie Randall 3-2 in a tournament getting knocked down in the 2nd.  He won the 1985 Pennsylvania Golden Gloves and would turn pro in February of 1986 at age 21.  He had compiled an 89-6 record.  He was fighting for Russell Peltz (Peltz Boxing) at the Blue Horizon and Ron Katz (HBA East) in Atlantic City.  “After I won my 5th straight by knockout my dad (and Pat Duff were managers) was approached by Duva and Top Rank, too.

Of the 4 he signed me with HBA with a 13k signing bonus.  If I lost the contract was over,” said Burgese.   “I fought Rasheed Ali, 5-1-2, in my 8th fight.  At the weigh-in he was saying, you might think I’m crazy, but I’m going to stop Burgese,” said Burgese.   “I’m walking past him at dinner and I told him, better enjoy your meal its going to be your last one,  Black guys always got up for me,” added Burgese.

After winning the decision in 8 rounds he scored a pair of knockouts.  In June of 1987, he fought Victor Davis, 11-5, whom he had beaten in the amateurs.   He won a split decision in 8 rounds in Atlantic City.   “We are still friends.  There were only 2 fighters I fought I didn’t like,” said Burgese.

Burgese would have 4 bus loads heading to Atlantic City to see him fight.  Locally, at the Blue Horizon he would pack them in.  He fought 22 times in Atlantic City and 5 times in Philly.  Two months after the Davis fight, he was matched with Eddie Van Kirk, 14-4, who had won 10 of his last 11 fights.  Burgese scored a knockdown in the 5th round.  “He kept coming, no matter how hard I hit him,” said Burgese.  He won the decision in 10, upping his record to 12-0, with 8 knockouts.

“I fought D.J. Turner (had won 4 of his last 5 fights) after that and he was a tough guy,” said Burgese.   He won 8 out of the 10 rounds in this one, but suffered a flash knockdown in the 6th, first time as a pro.  Then he fought back to back fights with John Rafuse, 15-7.

“I don’t know why we were matched up again 3 months later (Rafuse had 2 knockout wins in between that time), but I had hurt my nose and thought it was broken,” said Burgese.  Katz had told him not to worry about it he would never pass his physical anyway.  “The doctor hardly touched my nose, though they usually check it out more thoroughly.   His head hit my nose in the 1st round and I never quite recovered from that,” he added.  Rafuse would win by technical stoppage in the 6th round.

This would break his contract with HBA, and Katz was moving on to join Top Rank.  “Even though I didn’t have a contract with them, I wanted to fight for Katz and did,” said Burgese.

Burgese was off for 6 months until the end of 1988 winning a shutout over David Silva over 10 rounds.  In early 1989 he would meet Billy Young, 27-2-1, from Michigan.  “This was one of the few guys I didn’t like.  He talked too much,” said Burgese.   He would stop Young in the 8th round.  “Jimmy Arthur took over as trainer and I felt bad because Wesley (Mouzon) did all the work up to the fight and didn’t make anything,” said Burgese.  Next he would be matched with former IBF lightweight champion Vinny Pazienza.  “I came in at 138 and he was 141.

Vinny would tell me sometime later he was about 165 at fight time.  You could dry out the night before and put on a lot of water weight.  He was just too big for me and the hardest puncher I ever fought,” said Burgese.  He would come off the canvas 4 times before it was stopped in the 10th and final round.

After a 6 month lay-off he came back to fight Owen McGeachy, 14-3, who had a 7 fight win streak on the line.  “This was a friend and former sparring partner of mine, and I may have taken it too lightly,” said Burgese.  The bout ended in a 10 round draw.  “I fought Willie Ford, from South Philly after that one and was knocked down in the 2nd round.  I came back to my corner and asked if I was really knocked down because I knew he was a light puncher,” added Burgese.  He stopped Ford in the 7th round.  This was the first time since 1986 he had fought at the Blue Horizon, some 4 years ago.  Within a month he stopped Juan Torres in 4 at the same Blue Horizon.

In June of 1990 he was back in Atlantic City scoring another knockout before being matched in August with Franco DiOrio, 21-2-1, who was unbeaten in his last 11 fights.  “This was the other guy I didn’t like.  Vinny (Pazienza) called me and said I better be in good shape, because this was his sparring partner and he could really punch.  I thought I won easily but it ended up a majority decision win for me,” said Burgese.  “I never got enough time off between fights to give my body a break.  Even the sparring was tough in Philly,” he added.

Just 3 months later in November, he was in with Chuck Sturm, 22-2-1, who had won 17 straight.  “This was a tough kid.  I should have taken some time off after this fight,” said Burgese.  He won the decision and was matched with Ildemar Jose Paisan, 26-11-2, the champion of Venezuela, who had lost a 12 round decision to Roger Mayweather in his last bout.  This fight was for the vacant IBC Light Welterweight title the end of December of 1990.   “I felt I had this fight won going into the 12th and last round.  I got hurt and was begging the referee (Steve Smoger) not to stop it,” said Burgese.

Burgese was back in Philly 6 months later in an 8 round bout with Roland Commings, 16-5-2, and won a split decision.   “Why I was re-matched with Commings 4 months later I don’t know.  It makes no sense if you already beat someone.  I had been having whip lash problems with my neck and it happened again in this fight, in Atlantic City.  Commings won the decision in 10.  This was October of 1991 and Burgese would not fight for until October of 1992, having torn in his rotor cuff.

He fought New Jersey’s Paul Denard, at the Cedar Gardens, in Hamilton Township, New Jersey.  It would be the first time Burgese was fighting in the state outside of Atlantic City.  He was down twice in the opening round and once in the 5th round, losing by technical stoppage in the 6th round.  It would be his last fight ending his career with a 22-5-1 record, with 12 knockouts.   He had been ranked as high as 7th.

“I still didn’t think my career was over until I ran into two former world champions, one being Joey Giardello, and shortly after, the other former champion, Meldrick Taylor.  I couldn’t understand a thing they were saying.  I thought it’s time to hang it up.  I was only 26, but had a body of an older person after all those Philly gym wars,” said Burgese.  He had been trained by Monty Carter through most of the amateurs until Mouzon took over.  “He (Mouzon) was the best,” said Burgese.  I told him how Anthony Boyle, had said the same thing after having about a half dozen different trainers.  “Anthony and I grew up together and were in Colorado for the 1982 nationals.  Many times we would be the only white fighter(s) on a team.  They made you fight harder to gain their respect and I think I did,” said Burgese.  That he did.

Burgese was known for his toughness fighting for 14 years before retiring, and one of the most popular fighters to come out of South Philly.   He was with his 2 sons the day I saw him at Joe Hand’s Gym in South Philly.  He was teaching them how to box.  “I trained Vince Calio, and told him the 2 times I didn’t get butterflies, I lost,” said Burgese.  “I promoted at what is now the New Alhambra.  Then it was called the Viking Hall, here in South Philly, with Diane Fischer (now of Dee Lee promotions, Inc.).   “Today, boxing is not the same.  There is much more control.  They don’t have the gym wars we went through that shortened our careers,” said Burgese.  “Every time I went into someone’s gym it was a war,” he added.   We ended our conversation both saying “I’ll see you at the fights Friday!”   Boy, do I miss the days when Vinnie was fighting!     

Go to www.phillykeith.com for up to the minute info on the Philly boxing scene

Robert “Bam Bam” Hines Interview – 2008

By Ken Hissner 

Robert “Bam Bam” Hines was 8 when he started boxing. I first saw him in 1978 when he was the 106 pound State Golden Gloves champion. He told me recently that he only weighed 90 pounds at the time while representing Moylan Recreation Center, 25th and Diamond, in Philadelphia.

Overall, Bam Bam complied an amateur record of  178-11. His next door neighbor was Bernard Hopkins, whom he beat in a 1977 amateur bout. He would later spar with Hopkins as a pro and still “kick his ass” as Hines put it. Hopkins remarked on HBO prior to the Tarver fight “the two toughest southpaw’s I ever fought were #2 John David Jackson (WBO light middleweight and WBA middleweight champion), #1 Rob ‘Bam Bam’ Hines. Basketball great Hank Gathers and current Temple University women’s coach Dawn Staley also grew up in the neighborhood.

Hines had fought 1972 and 1976 Olympian Davey Armstrong three times losing all three in close fights. He also fought former WBA junior welterweight champion Johnny Bumphus in the amateurs.

In March 16, 1980 14 members of an Olympic boxing team fell to their death on a US flight to Warsaw, Poland. Little did they know there would not be an Olympics for the United States due to President Carter’s boycott. Philadelphia’s Lonnie Young was one of the victims. Bobby Czyz, Marvis Frazier, Alex Ramos, Jimmy Clark, Lee Roy Murphy and Rob Hines were scheduled to be on that flight. That same year Hines dad died. It was a bad time in his life. He lost to future NABF champion Tyrone “Butterfly” Crawley that year in the National A.A.U. tournament and thought it best to take time off before he turned pro in March of 1981.

As a pro he was 25-3-1 (17) over a ten year period. He retired at the age of 29. He won the IBF light middleweight title in November of 1988. I had a chance to talk to Rob and discuss his good but short career.

Ken Hissner: You turn pro winning your first 17 fights. I notice you have a win over Rocky Balboa in your 4th fight in Las Vegas. That is not who I think it is, is it?

Robert “Bam Bam” Hines: (Both laughing) No.

KH: Who trained and managed you?

RH: Al Fennell was always my trainer from the time I started. Sam Ingerman was my only manager. He also had Charles Singleton and Roger Stafford.

KH: In June of 1984 you suffer your first loss to Ricardo Bryant (11-5, 8 KOs) in A.C. by 7th round tko. What happened?

RH: My head was getting too big for me. I hurt my left hand, but that had nothing to do with my loss. Bryant was very strong.

Continue reading Robert “Bam Bam” Hines Interview – 2008

Baker Upsets Stewart in Delaware

Baker Upsets Stewart in Delaware Ken Hissner – kenhissner@yahoo.com

Dave Tiberi’s TNT Boxing Promotions had a main event that sent the fans home buzzing! New Castle Delaware’s Richie Stewart (14-5-2, 8 KOs) used a vicious body assault on Orrum, North Carolina’s Tony Baker (6-8, 3 KOs) who countered with numerous power punches and pulled off the upset in an eight round light heavyweight thriller at the PAL Center in Hockessin, Delaware Saturday night.

Stewart found himself on the canvas in the first round from a straight right hand punch he would later say “I never saw it coming.” Stewart got up facing his own corner and referee Steve Smoger instead of counting got Stewart by the shoulders and turned him around to face his opponent. Baker’s record is very deceiving. He later said “I took this fight on a week’s notice. I got robbed by split decision in North Carolina in my last fight so I didn’t know how the judges would rule this one.”

The first round knockdown was the difference on two of the judge’s scorecards. Joe Pasquale and Steve Weisfeld both had it 76-75 while Dewey LaRosa seemed off with a 78-73 score all for Baker. Boxing Tribune had it a draw.

Stewart said “I just found out a couple of days ago that there was a change in opponents.” When asked why he came in so light he said “my original opponent was a light heavy but I was told to come in at 170 for this opponent.”

In August Baker had scored a first round knockout over Philly’s then unbeaten Tommie Speller (4-2, 3 KOs) at the National Armory. Three of his losses were to current WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, former WBC/WBO middleweight champion Jermain Taylor and Peter Manfredo, Jr. of The Contender fame.

After taking the first two rounds Baker was hit after the bell by Stewart and retaliated with a punch of his own. Both fighters seemed to show a lot of respect for each other during this fight. Stewart’s nature reminds one of Tex Cobb inside the ropes. It looks like he is just having a good old time in there. Baker would state after the fight “he’s the kind of guy I would like to hang out together with after the fight.” Stewart used a good body attack in the third and fourth round’s before Baker came back to take the fifth round. Stewart was always on the attack but took some hard shots from Baker throughout the fight.

He seemed to come back and take the sixth and seventh rounds. The last round had the fight up for grabs with both fighters swapping punches at the bell.

The semi-six round junior middleweight match had former Contender show’s Aaron Torres (16-6, 6 KOs) getting knocked off balance with his right glove touching the canvas in the first round by Youngstown, Ohio’s Jesse Williams (4-5-1, 2 KOs) forcing referee Vic deWysocki to give him an eight count. Torres would out hustle Williams the rest of the way. For some reason Williams fought southpaw for two rounds and switched to orthodox the rest of the way. Even Torres was overheard in the ring afterwards telling him he had more trouble with him boxing southpaw.

Youngstown southpaw Josh “The Juice” Harris (1-0, 1 KO) made his debut and looked very impressive dropping New Castle, Delaware southpaw Luis Santiago (0-4) twice in the first round. Both fighters were just over the cruiser weight limit. In the second round Harris landed a right uppercut that may have broken Santiago’s nose. The referee deWysocki stopped the fight shortly afterwards at 1:27 of the round with blood covering Santiago’s face. The twenty-five year old Harris looks like a prospect to watch.

In a four round cruiserweight match-up Hockessin’s Dan “Bada Bing” Biddle (2-1, 2 KOs) looked like he should head back to the tough man circuit while Philadelphia’s Zeferino Albino (3-3, 1 KO) countered while ducking the wild swinging Biddle. Judges Pasquale and Weisfeld both scored it 39-37 while LaRosa had it 40-36 all for Albino who at times joined in adding some comic relief for the fans.

47 year old middleweight Bernard “Road Dog” Miller (1-1-1) entered the ring with an entourage carrying a giant stuffed dog and a picture frame of what looked like a little girl.

Little did they know New Castle’s Mighty Mike Tiberi (3-0, 1KO) was not be intimidated by this. Miller was quite stiff legged and was jabbed off balance by Tiberi who would follow up with straight right hands in this four rounder. Only when Miller would hold and hit inside was Tiberi at risk. I was informed he had a deal with the commission allowing Miller to fight until he lost. Tiberi just put him into retirement!

Opening the show was a very talented former amateur star from Philadelphia Teon Kennedy (7-0, 4 KOs) in a four round featherweight match with Lancaster’s Arthur Parker (1-5, 1KO). Kennedy put a hurting on Parker whenever he wanted. His jab alone was a power punch. In the second round Kennedy hit Parker on the back of the head with a left hook as Parker was pulling away. A right uppercut put Parker on the canvas.

This little southpaw has a heart as big as a lion but belongs in a lower weight class but there are too few opponents around for him. Both Judges Weisfeld and LaRosa had it 40-35 while out in left field Pasquale scored it 39-36 all for Kennedy.

TNT Boxing’s next promotion will be February 8th at Dover Downs, Delaware. This will be their third different site. There are plenty of fans in Delaware and it’s a matter of finding the right place for them to gather in order to pay the bills. Dave Tiberi is a man of integrity who puts on competitive fights. Tonight’s show and main event proved that!

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can email Philly Keith at keith@phillykeith.com

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