Matthew Saad Muhammad’s Funeral Attended by Boxing Greats
---Doghouse Boxing
Doghouse Boxing's Homepage Visit The Dog Pound - Message Board Doghouse Boxing Interviews icheehuahua's Boxing News Wire Archives Contact and Advertise on Doghouse Boxing Information page
Matthew Saad Muhammad’s Funeral Attended by Boxing Greats
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (June 9, 2014)

Matthew Saad Muhammad
Matthew Saad Muhammad
It was like a Who’s Who at the Enon (West) Tabernacle Church on Coulter Street in the Germantown section of Philadelphia Thursday morning for the funeral of former world light heavyweight champion Matthew Saad Muhammad, formerly Matthew Franklin, age 59. The former WBC light heavyweight champion had 8 title defenses and was known for all the great fights he was in. Record of 49-16-3 (35).

There were former world champions “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon, Mike “The Jewish Bomber” Rossman, Buster Drayton and Nate “Mr.” Miller. Philly boxers or those who fought in Philly like Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, Earl “The Pearl” Hargrove, Curtis Parker, Richie Kates, Kevin Howard, Buddy Osborn, Tyrone “Butterfly” Crawley, Myron Taylor, Stevie Traitz, Mark Goodwin, Joey Traitz (sparred with Saad at Montgomery County Boy’s Club), Dr. Richie Mendel (from FL), Kevin “Special K” Kelley, Tony Green, Sterling Quick, Greg Hackett, Mike Everett, Bruce Blair, Joe Mathis and Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde.

Other non-boxers like Joey Eye, J Russell Peltz, Charlie Sgrillo (Pres. VBA), Leon Tabbs, James Gibbs, Nino Del Buono, Hassan Hamed-El, Larry Hazzard, Jr., Zac and Nick Pamilio, Steve Fleisher, Nicole Ross and this writer. All the way from Russia was James Ali Bashir who has worked with the Klitschko brothers for years. He talked about a possible Wladimir Klitschko and Bermane Stiverne (New WBC champ) fight. On he discusses this prior to the Stiverne-Arreola title fight.

BUT, the man who got the most attention among the visitors came in from Stockton, CA, named Yaqui “Indian” Lopez, who fought a pair of terrific battles with Saad Muhammad in 1978 and 1980. The latter gained “Fight of the Year” by Ring Magazine.

When Rossman arrived he was walking right for the church door when I got his attention and said “hey Mike Yaqui Lopez is here”. His face lit up and he walked right to Lopez who was getting interviewed by Philly’s Channel 6. Rossman was beat by Lopez in 1978 at New York’s Felt Forum. You would have thought they were long lost brothers. Lopez fought Saad Muhammad first at the Philly Spectrum and then in Atlantic City. Others he fought in AC were Michael Spinks and Johnny Davis. He ventured to Rahway Prison to take on James Scott. He fought for 5 world titles in his 76 fights (61-15).

Sgrillo gave what the VBA (Ring One) called the “10 count” inside the church in front of Saad Muhammad’s casket ringing the bell 10 times. For a second I got the feeling Muhammad might arise from the casket. He took 20 unanswered punches from Lopez only to come back and win. He was dropped face first by Kates only to get up and win.

At the service the senior pastor Dr. Alyn E. Waller asked two boxing people to speak. First was former light heavyweight contender Tony Green who was a former Saad Muhammad sparring partner who had a pair of boxing Gloves signed by Muhammad. The other was Buddy Osborn who heads the Rock Ministry Gym in the Kensington section of Philly. Waller later said “the Muslims say Saad was Muslim and the Baptist members say he was Christian. The pastor said in layman’s words from me “he will be judged by God”!

In December of 2009 this writer interviewed Saad at the Front Street Gym during an amateur show. My final question was “are you still a Muslim?” To that he said, “no, I found the Lord”. I asked when he was going to change his name back and he said “when I get some money”. Just 5 months later I heard he was in a shelter in Philly. I reached out to Steve Traitz, Sr. who got Saad a job with Roofer Local 30 same as he did Rossman and numerous other fighters. He said “we are already working on it.” I understand there was a viewing at a local Muslim Mosque. Germantown is a heavily populated Muslim area in Philly.

The comradery among all in attendance outside the church after viewing the casket was unbelievable with interviews and camera’s going off was a sight to be seen. I hope he doesn’t read this but no one is louder or friendlier than Buster Drayton with that million dollar smile of his. Prior to the service viewed on a large screen were numerous pictures of Saad with such people as “Smokin” Joe Frazier, ring announcer Larry Tornambe (moved to Phoenix, AZ, Friday), Joey Traitz with Nick Belfiore (Saad’s mgr), Muhammad Ali, his fight with Yaqui Lopez, and too numerous to remember.

Just as “Bad” Bennie Briscoe was a fixture for being a Philadelphia “killer” Matthew Saad Muhammad was known as a Philadelphia warrior!

Please send all questions and comments to Ken Hissner at:

Ken Hissner responds to all his emails at:

© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing Inc. 1998-2014