Eddie “Flame” Mustafa Muhammad – WBA Light Heavyweight Champ and Top Trainer
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Aug 5, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
Eddie “Flame” Mustafa Muhammad – WBA Light Heavyweight Champ & Top Trainer

By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing. - It is rare to see a fighter who could box and have dynamite in his hands. That is the combination that Eddie Gregory AKA Eddie Mustafa Muhammad brought to the ring out of Brooklyn, NY. He made his “name” coming to Philadelphia with a 5-0 record. He stopped his opponent in the first round. He would win 7 out of 8 fights in the city of Brotherly Love only losing a disputed decision to “Bad” Bennie Briscoe.

Muhammad had won the NY GG in 1971 and 72 at 147. His trainer was Howard Houser. “I was the 1972 Olympic alternate to Jesse Valdez,” said Muhammad. This writer informed him Valdez was one of my all time favorite amateurs.

In just his fifth fight he defeated Syracuse’s Willie Wilson, 19-2-2. Muhammad was 7-0 when he lost to Radames Cabrera, 15-1, in the Felt Forum in NY. Cabrera didn’t fight again for 13 months and was stopped by Eugene “Cyclone” Hart in that fight. Muhammad defeated Willie Classen, 6-1-1, and ventured to France the next month to take on their former champ Max Cohen, 32-9-8. Being he was awarded a draw in France it would be considered a win in the US.

In Muhammad’s return to the US he stopped Philly’s Eugene “Cyclone” Hart in 4 rounds in August of 1974 in New York. “He was a great puncher,” said Muhammad. “Cyclone was knocked out at the end of the third. They took him back to his corner to revive him since the commission said it happened just after the bell. He came out in the fourth and was knocked out again,” said J Russell Peltz. In his next fight he came off the canvas twice to come back to knockout Mario Rosa, 15-4, in the eighth round at the Felt Forum. “It was my toughest fight,” said Muhammad.

Muhammad would return to Philadelphia and stop Don Cobbs, 23-14-1, who had defeated Philly’s Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts. Several months later in the same city he stopped Lenny Harden, 14-4, in the tenth and final round. This would bring up his meeting with Briscoe, 51-14-2, losing a split decision. “I out boxed him easily. You have to go side to side on Bennie,” said Muhammad.

From the loss to Briscoe, Muhammad would win 7 straight with the last win as a light heavyweight defeating Johnny Wilburn, 9-1. Next up would be a return to Philadelphia in March of 1977 winning a split decision over future champ Matthew Saad Muhammad, 13-2-2, over 10 rounds. Mustapha Muhammad was down in the first round. “I came back to hurt him in the fourth,” said Muhammad. It was also the night his trunks split and he had to make a change in the ring.

In November of 1977 Muhammad would get his first title shot in Italy for Victor Galindez’s, 47-6-4, WBA light heavyweight title. It was broadcast back to the states for all to see. “He was a rough, tough brawler,” said Muhammad. He hurt Galindez with a body shot and was following up when he got knocked down in the fifth. This may have caused Muhammad to be more cautious than he should have been after that. He came back with a good eighth round and cut Galindez in the ninth round. Galindez was not as aggressive after getting cut.

In the thirteenth round Galindez landed a low blow which was happening throughout the fight. He complained to the referee who told him to continue and stop complaining. Later in the round Muhammad landed a light punch on the thigh of Galindez and the referee, Louis Sulbaran, a Venezuelan, took away not 1 but 2 points from him which cost him the fight. After 15 rounds all 3 judges had it for Galindez 147-146. Sulbaran would have his license taken away in 1980 by the IL commission. There was no way Galindez deserved to keep his title in his ninth defense. Galindez became a race car driver after retiring from boxing. He felt it was a lot safer. While waiting in the pit for his car to be serviced he was struck by a race car and killed.

Muhammad won 13 out of 14 fights after Galindez, only losing to James Scott, 12-0-1, at Rahway State Prison, in NJ. “It was an all out war for 45 minutes. He beat me fair and square,” said Muhammad.

Muhammad’s first opponent after the Galindez fight was Jesse Burnett, 17-4-1, in February of 1978 stopping him in the tenth and final round. “He was a great boxer,” said Muhammad. “I thought Jesse was winning every round until after the ninth he told me he could hardly move due to a hip problem he never told me about. He didn’t get knocked out in the final round but he did get stopped. Eddie was a very good puncher,” said Jesse Reid (Burnett’s trainer). In March he traveled to Bamako, Mali, he took on the ABU champ, Ba Sounkalo, 20-8-2. “I beat him up and knocked him down 4 times,” said Muhammad. He would earn the decision.

Muhammad won the WBA light heavyweight title stopping Marvin Johnson, 24-3, in 11 rounds. “We were roommates in 1972 on a National amateur team. A real nice guy,” said Muhammad. He had a cut over his left eye but a right uppercut in the ninth hurt Johnson. In the tenth he came back again with another right uppercut to the midsection. In the eleventh a left-right combination had Johnson out on his feet when the referee stopped declaring Muhammad the new IBF champion. “Marvin had a late pasta meal that night and it cost him. Eddie was such a good puncher and when he went to the belly late it was all over,” said Hank Johnson (brother and trainer of Marvin).

In July of 1980 Muhammad made his first defense against Philly’s Jerry “The Bull” Martin, 19-1, who had defeated Scott at Rahway. “He came to me and made it easy,” said Muhammad. Martin had won 13 straight. The referee finally stopped it in the tenth round. Muhammad was ahead by majority decision at the time with scores in his favor at 88-82 and 87-83.

In November Muhammad would travel to L.A. to defeat the Netherlands Rudi Koopmans, 34-0-2, who retired in the third round. It was the ninth straight win for Muhammad. It would be 6 months later when he came in at a career high 201 and took on heavyweight Renaldo Snipes, 20-0, in Atlantic City, losing a 10 round decision. “He wouldn’t stand in front of me,” said Muhammad.

Just 2 months later he would defend his title against 1976 Olympic champion Michael Spinks, 16-0, In Las Vegas. “I hurt my back and spent 3 days in the hospital plus had to drop 25 pounds from my previous fight to make weight. He had a very awkward style,” said Muhammad. Spinks had stopped Johnson in his previous fight to earn this shot. The decision and the title would go to Spinks.

Scoring wins over Pablo Paul Ramos, 19-3-1, in Philadelphia and British Empire champion Lottie Mwale, 24-1, by knockout got Muhammad back on track. “Mwale was the WBA No. 1 contender and I was the WBC No. 1 contender,” said Muhammad. He would defeat Jerry Celestine, 26-8-1, in January of 1983.

Muhammad would win 10 straight since the loss to Spinks. Included was a win over Tyrone Booze, recently inducted into the FL HOF, and former IBF cruiser champ Ricky Parkey, 16-3, in Atlantic City. “It was like a track meet trying to catch Parkey,” said Muhammad. It was a 4 year period but he got another title fight.

This time it was for the vacant IBF light heavyweight title, again in Italy, against Slobodian Kacar, 20-0, the former 1980 Olympic Gold medalist representing Yugoslavia. He posted a 241-9 amateur record. “I beat him so bad he didn’t fight again for 9 months,” said Muhammad. In spite of the obvious beating it was a return to the same country where he was unjustly defeated by Galindez. The US judge had it 145-143, only to be outvoted 144-141 and 145-143 by the 2 Italian judges. Kacar would lose to Bobby Czyz in his first defense.

When Muhammad came back from a 26 month absence from the ring he was 196 scoring a knockout and the following month a decision win. In October of that year in 1988 he faced MI state champ Arthel Lawhorne, 19-13-2, of Detroit, in Newark, NJ, and got dropped in the third round. “I was up at 3 and all right when referee Larry Hazzard stopped the fight,” said Muhammad. He was 36 and had said “if I ever get stopped it’ll be my last fight.” And it was. He would spend time living in Monte Carlo for a couple of years and went to Africa. He has appeared in moves “Raging Bull and “Body & Soul”.

Muhammad started JAB (Joint Association of Boxers) so that when boxers signed up they automatically became teamsters. In May of 2011 he became Vice President of Boxing Operations with Greg Cohen Promotions along with Hasim Rahman as a partner in the company.

Today Muhammad is a trainer out of the “Hitch Hit Factory” in Las Vegas, NV. He has worked with such fighters as Iran Barkley, Chad Dawson, Michael Bentt, Zolt Erdei, Zab Judah, Tyrone Brunson, Ishe Smith, Hasim Rahman, Michael Grant and Bowie Tupou. If he can transfer his skills like he fought onto others he will be a trainer of Champions!

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