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,”
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,”
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
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
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
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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