Philly’s Fab Five Are All Unbeaten!
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Oct 19, 2009)    
In the mid 70’s Philly had an era that has not been seen since up until now. There was “Boogaloo” (Bobby Watts), “Bad Bennie” (Bennie Briscoe),” Kitten” (Stanley Hayward), “Cyclone” (Eugene Hart), and the “Worm” (Willie Monroe). They went to war fighting each other in the ring and in the gyms. The promoter’s like J. Russell Peltz, Herman Taylor and Lou Lucchesse had a field day of success but only two of the fighters got title bouts, but neither won a title. From upstate Pennsylvania (Leesport) Lucchesse was the most popular of the promoters and was able to get Hayward a title fight. Briscoe had three shots under Peltz. That era is gone but a new wave of fighters has arrived with five unbeaten fighters all with out of state promoters. Let’s start with the past era.

Watts, was unattached, defeated Hart and Monroe, but couldn’t get a fight with Briscoe. He stopped another Philly fighter in Perry “Lil Abner” Abney. Watts was most known for being the first to defeat Marvelous Marvin Hagler, but would lose the rematch. He never fought for any kind of title. He was 21-1 in Philly losing only to Don Cobbs, whom he beat in a rematch. Today he trains Rogers Mtagwa who just fought for a world title. He fought from 1969 to 1983. He was managed by Mrs. Booker. He fought out of the 23rd PAL as an amateur and brought his friend “Cyclone” Hart there. Briscoe was already training there. He fought in the 1968 Olympic trials. Watts ended up 38-7-1 (20). Watts is a member of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame.

Briscoe was promoted by Peltz. Briscoe defeated Hayward while drawing and stopping Hart in a rematch. He defeated Philly’s George Benton, Percy Manning, twice, Charley Scott and C.L. Lewis. He was 51-8-2 with 1 no-contest in Philly. He drew with Carlos Monzon in a non-title bout in Argentina in 1967 and lost in a title bout there in 1972. He lost to Rodrigo Valdez in Italy and Monaco in title bouts. He split with Vicente Rondon, Joe Shaw and Juarez DeLima. He defeated Jose Gonzalez, Billy Douglas, Tony Mundine, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and Jimmy Lester. He lost to Luis Rodriguez, David Love, Emile Griffith and Hagler. He trained out of the 23rd PAL under Duke Dugent as an amateur. He fought from 1962-1982 and his final record was 66-24-5 (53). His last public appearance was in 2007 when he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame. Bad Bennie fought them all!

Hayward, was promoted by Lucchesse who got him a vacant WBC/WBA light middleweight title bout though losing to Freddie Little in Las Vegas. Hayward was 26-5-2 in Philly. He won his first 9 fights before losing to Philly’s Bruce Gibson, whom he defeated in his next fight. He stopped Philly’s Percy Manning, 12-1, and won a controversial decision over Philly’s Dick Turner, 19-1-1, who would retire after the bout. He would win a split decision over Briscoe and be stopped by Gypsy Joe Harris, 14-0, in his next fight. Hayward defeated Curtis Cokes, and drew with Jean Josselin. He also lost to Emile Griffith twice. He stopped Philly’s Abney. His last appearance was at the “Briscoe Awards” in October. He ended up with 32-12-4 (18). He fought from 1959 to 1977. Hayward is a member of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame.

Hart, drew with Briscoe, stopped in a rematch, defeated Hayward and lost to Watts and Monroe. He was 28-7-1 in Philly. He won his first 19 fights by knockout. He defeated Don Fullmer, Sugar Ray Seales and had a no-contest with Denny Moyer. He never fought for any kind of title. Hart ended up 30-9-1 (28). Today, he helped train his son, Jesse, who is now attending Northern Michigan University and one of the top amateurs in the country. He started training out of the 23rd PAL on Columbia Avenue in North Philly. Peltz and Herman Taylor were among his promoters. Hart trained his son Jesse, who is now at Northern Michigan University. Hart is a member of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame.
Monroe, won his first 20 bouts, 16 by knockout. He defeated Jose Gonzalez, Billy Douglas, Carlos Marks (2), Marvin Hagler, but lost to him twice later. In one of those losses he fought for something called the North American Title. It would be his only so called title bout. He was 39-8-1 when he defeated Philly’s Curtis Parker who was 12-0 at the time. Monroe trained at Joe Frazier’s Gym in North Philly. He was 29-4 in Philly. Monroe’s final record was 40-10-1 (26). Monroe is a member of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame.

The combined record of these five Philly legends is 200-52-12 (145). While none won a world title, Philly was a starting ground for out of town future champions Marvin Hagler (5x), Marvin Johnson (6x) and Eddie Mustapha Muhammad (6x). Even today, two former champions like Bernard Hopkins (GB) and Steve Cunningham (DKP) have outside promoters. Same goes for contenders Eddie Chambers (Goosen), Chazz Witherspoon and Yusaf Mack (DiBella). Only Mike Jones is with a Philly promoter (PB).

Now there are five fighters who are all unbeaten. All had good amateur records and none have fought each other as professionals or they wouldn’t be unbeaten. Rock Allen and Danny Garcia signed with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. Ray Serrano and the “New” Ray Robinson signed with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing. “Hammerin” Hank Lundy signed with Jimmy Burchfield’s CES. Locally he fights for Bionic Bull Promotions. They have decided to take a different approach to a world title fight.

ROCK ALLEN: 15-0 (7), this 28 year old in 2002 was the US National and Golden Gloves champion as well as a member of the 2004 Olympic team. He signed with Golden Boy through GB’s Bernard Hopkins whose trainer is Nazeem Richardson, father of Allen. Allen turned pro in August of 2005. His lone Philly fight was a win over Arthur Brambila in March of 2006. He fought in Reading, PA, in December of 2008 where he showcased his good boxing skills. He is scheduled to fight at Liacorous Center (Temple U) December 2nd on show promoted by Golden Boy. He comes from a fighting family with brothers Tiger Allen and Bear Richardson as well as his cousin, Karl Dargan. Brother Nazeem does not want to see Fab Five fight each other. He has seen too much of what happened in the 70’s. He trains out of the James Shuler Gym in West Philly.

DANNY GARCIA: 14-0 (9), this 21 year old has impressed everybody but Teddy Atlas. He is trained by his father, Angel, and his brother Erik. He signed with Golden Boy after they saw him in the trials and offered him a contract. His amateur record was 107-13. He won the under-19 National title in 2005 and the US National title in 2006. He won a bronze at the US National’s in 2007. He was the 2008 Olympic trials runner-up. He trains at the Harrowgate Club, in North Philly. He is managed by Shelly Finkel. “Swift” will also appear on the December 2nd show at the Liacorous Center (Temple U) in Philly. He has fought twice in Atlantic City, but never in Philly. In his October of 2008 bout with Deon Nash he showed his fast combinations in scoring a knockout. His last fight was in August defeating Oscar Leon, 28-9, in Houston.

RAY SERRANO: (*1st Photo from Top) 10-0 (6), this 20 year old was busy with six fights last year. He has bouts scheduled with Star Boxing in New York October 21st and then come back to the Philly area in Aston November 13th. He is trained by Danny Davis, who was a former amateur champion. Serrano was the International Junior Olympic champion in 2005 and the PA Golden Gloves champ in 2006, winning over 100 amateur fights. “My dad (Ramon) and I agreed to sign with Star Boxing because fighting in Philly takes too long to advance. Plus the money is not as good. Joe DeGuardia and I get along well and he is fair.” He signed with Star in his third fight after appearing at Philly’s Wachovia in his debut and Reading in his second fight. In his seventh fight he returned to Philly in August of 2008 scoring a 1st round knockout over Jimmy LeBlanc at the New Alhambra on a Peltz Boxing show. His biggest win was over Jay Krupp, 12-1, in March of 2009. He trains at the 5th and Allegheny Recreation Center in North Philly.

RAY ROBINSON: (*2nd Photo from Top) 11-0 (4), “New” signed with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and debuted in December of 2006. He is trained by Howard “Moses” Mosely and managed by Roger Levitt. He trains at the Front Street Gym in North Philly. This southpaw attended Northern Michigan University. He won a bronze at the 2005 US Nationals. He was 65-10 in amateurs. He would fight his lone Philly fight at the National Guard Armory in April of 2008 on a Power Promotions show. His biggest win was stopping Darnell Jiles, Jr., 8-0-1, in February of 2009. His most recent fight was in July. “Our team decided it was a good offer from Star Boxing”.

HANK LUNDY: (*3rd Photo from Top) 15-0-1 (9), “Hammerin Hank” is with Jimmy Burchfield’s CES Boxing out of Rhode Island. He will be fighting October 31st in Connecticut and November 20th in Rhode Island. He recently headlined in Philly for Bionic Bull Promotions and stopped Justo Sanchez. He is managed by Ivan Cohen and trained by Sloan Harrison. He was the PA Golden Gloves champ in 2005. He had a 65-5 amateur record fighting out of the Marion Anderson Rec Center. He debuted in July of 2006. In his fourth fight he scored a knockout at the Philly National Guard Armory. His six fights in Philly are more than any of the other prospects. His lone draw was with Darnell Jiles, Jr., 8-0, while defeating Esteban Almaraz, 7-0, and Jason Cintron, 10-0. “Hammerin Hank is an unsolved problem with no solution.” He trains at the Grays Ferry Boxing Club, 28th and Dickinson in South Philly.

These top five prospects fight from 140-147 generally speaking. Lundy could make 135 if it warranted it. Though the fans are missing out unless they are on cable or Atlantic City, the fighters themselves will have a longer career. By not fighting each other in working their way to the top they have remained unbeaten and beaten up. On occasions some have sparred with the other.

By the end of 2010 all should be world rated. They should not meet each other inside the ring unless a title(s) is on the line. Whether they are better than those of the 70’s may be in question, but they sure are smarter! Their combined record is 65-0-1 (35). Remember the names Rock Allen, Danny “Swift” Garcia, Ray Serrano, the “New” Ray Robinson and “Hammerin” Hank Lundy! Philly’s Fab Five!

Ken at:

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