Memorable Boxing Moments in July
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Memorable Boxing Moments in July
By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr., Doghouse Boxing (July 18, 2014)

Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield's ear
Suspended and fined in July '97
Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield's ear
The summer time, what a time to make everlasting memories! It's the month America celebrates their Independence; a period where many gather with friends and family at the lakes, throwing cook outs, swimming in the pool, getting sunburned to a crisp.

I myself have a lot of memorable moments this time of year. Although the month was actually June, it was around this time ten years ago when I began writing for Doghouse Boxing. July 20th 1975, my parents gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, me. In 1986 during a grand ole time popping fireworks with the family a roman candle blew up in my face ruining the night, my older brother beat me up for closing out the festivities. July 22nd 1990, I learned to never drink and drive again, when my brother and I ran his 1982 T-Top Trans AM into a mesquite tree and rolled into an open field. The 31st of this month back in 1997, I was blessed with my first child. Man, I could go on. But, enough about me, let’s talk boxing, because the month of July has produced a lot of memorable months.

July 4th, 1912, the first African American heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson retained his title with a 9th round TKO over “Fireman” Jim Flynn. Johnson was making the sixth defense of his world heavyweight title. Flynn was trying to earn a strap for the second time. The fight only lasted six rounds, it was reported the sheriff stepped in and stopped the bout due to continuous head butts from Flynn.

July 4th, 1923, the great Jack Dempsey made bank by earning a fifteen round decision over Tommy Gibbons to retain the heavyweight title. $300,000 was the purse for Jack, it was reported that Gibbons never received his purse, and the oil town of Shelby, Montana went bankrupt due to the fiasco.

July 7th, 1914, apparently Mike Tyson was not the only ear biter in boxing. It was reported, lightweight boxing champion Freddie Welsh bit off a portion of his managers ear for not getting his guaranteed purse.

July 9th, 1997, another ear biting incident, former heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson was suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission and fined $3 million for biting Evander Holyfield’s not once, but twice in a heavyweight match-up the month before.

July 9th, 1998, talk about beating the system. Promoter Don King, who several years earlier was convicted of murder, was acquitted in his second trial for insurance fraud by a Federal jury.

July 11th, 1996, I myself remember telling my wife, if the overhand right of Riddick Bowe lands on Andrew Golota’s chin, it would be an early night. Instead, Golota put this whipping on not just Bowe, but his balls as well. Getting disqualified in the seventh round, which erupted in a riot at Madison Square Garden.

July 12th, 1997, let’s talk about DQ’s! In what was an ugly, I repeat ugly fight, Henry Akinwande got himself ousted of the fifth round in a terrible attempt to defeat Lennox Lewis for his WBC heavyweight title.

July 12th, 1986. Who could forget the all-out fifteen round war in between future hall of famer, Evander Holyfield and Dwight Qawi, which earned Holyfield the WBA Cruiserweight title.

July 17th, 2001, it is a day that boxer turned promoter, Oscar De La Hoya would like to forget, when he settled out of court (settlement unknown) for allegedly raping a women (who was 15 at the time) in 1996.

July 18th, 1951, in his fifth try, thirty-seven year old Jersey Joe Walcott earned a heavyweight strap by defeating Ezzard Charles in seven rounds. Three fights later Walcott would lose his title to Rocky Marciano.

July 21st, 1927, Jack Dempsey stopped Jack Sharkey in seven rounds. This is the funny part... When asked why he struck Sharkey (with the knockout blow) while Sharkey was complaining to the referee, Dempsey replied, “What was I supposed to do, write him a letter?”

July 22nd, 1963, once again heavyweight champion Sonny Liston defeats the great Floyd Patterson via knockout.

July 22nd, 1999, also that day, one of the most promising heavyweight in that era, heavyweight contender Ike Ibeabuchi was arrested for sexual assault of a woman. Two and a half years later Ike was sentenced to prison for the crime, he still resides behind bars.

July 26th 1928, in his final fight of his career, heavyweight champion Gene Tunny retained his title with an eleventh round knockout over Tom Heeney.

I would have to say, the most memorable moment in boxing for me, came on July 11th, 2009. I cannot remember if I made the call, but, if I remember correctly, I received a phone call from boxing scribe and my late best friend, Bob Carroll. Telling me that he heard the news that former champion Arturo Gatti was found dead. Later it was reported that Gatti was murdered by his wife. Then later, the Brazilian police, released Gatti’s Brazilian wife ruling the death a suicide. In August of 2011, private investigators concluded that his death was in fact a homicide. We may never know the truth. One thing for certain, Gatti had one of the biggest hearts in boxing, and his death, although five years later, still remains a mystery, and still is heartbreaking to his family and friends.

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