Re: California Boxing
Keeny Teran I first met around 1949 at the Teamsters Gym. Working out at the same time, we became good gym friends. Keeny was a great prospect as a very young teenager. He was so good that he was forced to turn pro just after his seventeenth birthday. His true age was discovered about two months before he turned eighteen and he was forced to sit out those two months.
Keeny was on a roll with some good wins and only a draw with cross-town Gil Cadilli to mar his record when he got KO’d by Tommy Umeda at the Olympic Auditorium. We at the arena couldn’t believe what we had just witnessed. The following week the news broke that Keeny was a drug addict. We learned through the newspapers that he had being using heroin since he was about twelve years old. Some Hollywood money backers sent him and his wife Sally to the mountains to try and clean up. Months later he came back to fight some good fights, most of which he won, against fighters like Pappy Gault, Hugh Riley, Johnny Ortega, and Billy Pea****. He also defeated Tommy Uemda in a rematch. Keeny’s last fight was a KO loss to Memo Diaz in 1955. We later found out that he had taken a shot of heroin the afternoon of the fight.
I didn’t see Keeny again till the late 1970s when he showed up one night at the Olympic Auditorium to see my son Frankie fight. We sat for a while and reminisced about the old days at the Teamsters Gym. After that he would show up every time Frankie or Tony were fighting, and we would sit and reminisce some more.
Keeny Teran was one of the most memorable fighters I've ever seen. As a boxer, Keeny Teran mostly battled his own demons, denying himself a chance to fight for the world title. Whatever else can be said, he was a good men.
Keeny Teran died from cancer in 1995