|Whatever Happened to 1976 Olympian Chuck Walker?
By Ken Hissner, DoghouseBoxing (Feb 23, 2009) Photo © Anthony Rowe
In 1975 Chuck Walker won the AAU light middleweight championship stopping DC’s Keith Broom over Wide World of Sports. Impressed by Walker’s footwork and punching power the ringside announcers asked “what do you do when you aren’t boxing?” Walker replied “I am a professional tap dancer.”
Later that year he would win a bronze medal at the Pan American Games in Mexico City. He would meet the 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist Teofilio Stevenson of Cuba. Walker was able to communicate with the Cuban
being that he learned Spanish from his dad, a teacher. They became fast friends.
At the Montreal Olympics in 1976 Chuck would represent the USA and lose a disputed decision in the first round to the Polish boxer who would go on to win the Gold medal. Cus D’Amato was at ringside with Walker’s dad and wanted to bring his son to New York to train him. Walker didn’t want to fight out of the D’Amato peek-aboo style with both hands in front of the face. The quickness of his hands would then be limited let alone his amazing footwork.
Walker would turn pro in 1977 and fight in his hometown of Mesa, Arizona until 1980 when he moved to the Houston area of Lake Conroe, Texas. He would resume his career until 1984 improving his record to 11-1-1 and ranked #4 in the world. On two different occasions in spite of having signed contracts to fight the world super middleweight champion Chong Pal Park of South Korea, the fights never materialized. Walker would then go on to his first love (besides his wife Karen) the entertainment business.
In talking to Walker recently he told me about his latest film he has produced called “The Man Who Came Back,” starring Eric Braeden (Victor Newman of the Young and the Restless), Armand Assante, George Kennedy, Billy Zane, Sean Young, Carol Alt, and former Heavyweight Champion, Ken Norton. “I know a lot of fighters are Eric Braeden fans and the movie is about reconstruction after the civil war. It centers around the second bloodiest labor strike in history wherein 300 sugar plantation workers were killed most of them black after striking for better working conditions and slightly higher pay,” said Walker. “If I do say so myself, it is a darn good movie, obviously pretty violent. In the first couple of weeks we were the number one non-theatrical rental in America and stayed in the top ten of download to own DVDs against all the BIG movies for a few weeks also. I don’t believe any sports related publication has done an article yet,” he added. The screenplay was written by Walker from his own story. The movie was released by Lionsgate.
I asked Walker if there would be another re-union with his 1976 teammates like they had in 2006 at New York. “We got together in 2001 in Washington, DC at Fight Night. Then, of course, Hall of Fame in 2006,” said Walker. No plans for the next meeting but lets hope it isn’t another 5 years putting it back to 2011.
I told Walker since I did his story “White Chocolate” I have met Charles Mooney (gave Chuck that name) and Louis Curtis from the team. I also saw Michael Spinks again last year and just can’t seem to pin him down for a story. I have talked with Howard Davis, Jr., Davey Armstrong and Leo Randolph along with Ace Miller who trained both John Tate and Clint Jackson from the team for his input on them since they are no longer available. Walker had told me he runs into “Sugar” Ray Leonard in California on occasions. Leon Spinks who is in Nebraska along with his brother Michael who is in nearby Delaware and Leonard are the three I still need to do stories on.
I asked Walker if he keeps up with the fight game at all. “I actually do not keep up with the fight game anymore. Still love it, but just busy and notable to give it a lot of attention,” said Walker. He is currently looking to release two movies by Lionsgate. Both westerns, “Return of the Outlaws” (starring Lorenzo Lamas) will come out on DVD on March 17, and “Blue Eyes” (not Sinatra) will be released in July. “I am also finishing a crazy little horror film entitled ‘The Sixth Soul’, in which I play the lead. I plays an ex-fighter (should be easy for him) turned private eye who is investigating the disappearance of a renowned scientist,” said Walker. Some footage will come from his previous fights.
I asked how his lovely wife Karen is doing. “Karen is doing very well. We have a female Greyhound named Copper that we rescued from the racetrack after her racing career, and we just can’t get enough of her. Love her like crazy,” said Walker.
I asked if he has seen his Uncle Max and dad in Oklahoma recently. Max’s late son Scott known as the “Pink Cat” was a very good boxer out of Arizona. Had a win over Alexis Arguello and fought Julio Cesar Chavez. “I see my uncle Mac and his family very often. They live near my mom and dad and I spend a few days visiting each month. We have always been a very close family,” said Walker. “My cousin, Scotty is missed every day. Just can’t believe he’s gone. He was one of the few fighters I have seen with sheer guts. Most of us, myself included, work up just enough guts to get in the ring, but pride and maybe ego take over from there. Scott had true courage,” added Walker.
People don’t always see the behind the scenes lives of boxers unless they read about it in the newspapers or on the air. I recently did an article on Cameron Dunkin who manages Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik among 20 others. I mentioned Walker’s name and here me met Chuck years ago when he was first starting out. It’s a small world!
e-mail Ken at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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