John DiSanto who is Chairman of the PA HOF has released the nanes of the 10 who will be inducted at a VBA Ring One banquet on Sunday May 18th at 4pm.
Philadelphia Daily News writer Stan Hochman headed the class of Non-Boxers in 2014. Earl “The Pearl” Hargrove a knockout artist who took out 28 of his 36 via the short route headed the list of Living Boxers. Cut Man Leon Tabbs who does both boxing and MMA and did some training in his day was a familiar being inducted.
Deceased boxers Percy Manning who split with champion Luis Rodriguez and won 1 of 3 from “Bad” Bennie Briscoe along with Gunboat “Gunner” Smith a veteran of some 91 fights dating back to 1909 were the two from that category.
Legendary trainer Mitch Allen who runs the gym named after him topped the list of trainers. When you enter the Shepard Rec Center at 57th & Haverford in W. Philly and go down the stairs you will know who is in charge right away.
Allen is as old school as old school gets. “I started boxing at 15 at the South Side BC under Tony Morgano. I had about a dozen fights before turning professional under Tiger Johnson and Jake Stanley while training on the top floor of what became known as the Blue Horizon, the Chris Perry Gym,” said Allen.
When asked about his bout with future world middleweight champion Joey Giardello (L6) Allen laughed and said “he’s my man”! He went on to say “I was offered $100 to lose the fight and felt I could beat him and refused the offer. If you were lucky in those days beating “one of those connected” you might get a draw. After losing the decision Joey said I was younger than him so he took it easy on me,” said Allen.
Guess here is Allen is about 83. “My toughest opponent was Speedy Lawrence (L a pair of decisions),” said Allen. He went on to say he trained Wesley Mouzon who after a good boxing career became one of Philly’s finest trainers. He also trained Marvin Mack who fought in South Korea for a super middle title and Hugh “Buttons” Kearney at the start of his career.
Asked about how it felt and he replied “I think it’s a milestone. You fight and might not make a lot of money but the people you meet on the way up were wonderful. I would never give up what I experienced in boxing. The Lord has been good to me,” said Allen. He was working with young kids when I left the gym along with his grandson unbeaten Damon Allen, 5-0. He always has his eye’s on the boxers in a gym full of them.
Naazim Richardson who trains former 2-time champ Steve “USS” Cunningham joined Allen. Boxers Mike Picciotti, 31-4-3 out of the Upper Darby PAL, Jimmy Tygh, a veteran of 70 fights, 2 with “Sugar” Ray Robinson and Jacquai “Sister Smoke” Frazier-Lyde, 13-1 whose only loss was a disputed majority decision to Laila Ali brought up the rear of Living Boxers.
Officer John Gallagher can be reached for tickets at 215-920-8791.