Originally Posted by Makingweight
Born Maxwell Antonio Loach he was given the name Matthew Franklin in his formative years and early fight career before converting to islam using a third name Matthew Saad Muhammad.His life never straightforward from the get go it's fair to say his fight career mirrored that fact.
With a ring record of 48w-16d-3 draws younger fans would be suprised to learn he was an inductee in the boxing hall of fame.You got it all with him highlight reel ko victories and also defeats the Ring magazine at that time had him at 24 in their top 100 punchers the overhand right like a sledgehammer it got him out of trouble in many a fight.
In 1979 he defended his title against the uk's John Conteh in a classic boxer v brawler light heavyweight title fight.It was in Atlantic City,New Jersey a past his peak Conteh still only in his late 20's but hindered by hand injuries & a weakness for women had trained hard refocused.He had reunited with George Francis as his trainer,they had split a while back Francis was also his manager money issues had been buried.Conteh after leaving Francis originally lured by the promises & legally binding Don King contract found the grass was certainly not greener under DKP nor the most important green of all money.
MSM was a real fighter of his time at one point he had an entourage of 60 who they were he said he didn't know half of them or what they did.He had no idea how much he earned in his career $2-4m he thought his management took care of his money of that fact he didn't dispute as he never knew the figures.Let alone bank it.
He was a fighter who always just got on with his work never questioned anything except only once before the Conteh fight.His manager Nick Belfiore wanted to use a different cutman but this one time MSM put his foot down & insisted Adolf Ritacco & his box of tricks stayed in employment for this fight.
The fight under the old 15 round championship distance got off to a very fast start for Conteh rolling back the years to the mid 70's he peppered MSM face with jabs making him miss then punishing him.He opens up a cut in the 5th in the 6th it totally splits.
The fight almost becomes Ritacco v Conteh as his box of tricks seem to be working a massive cut he has managed to stem the bleeding.The fight turns & going back to his corner Conteh complains that he cannot see properly his eyes are stinging at the end of 9th Francis is going crazy at the ringside officials & cry foul play.
Between rounds Ritacco's work is being monitored how did this man stem a cut that you could tell was almost down to the bone long,deep open & thick?
MSM gets on top in the championship rounds clubbing overhand rights into Conteh who physically can't keep him off through tiredness & blurred vision.Conteh battered to the floor in the 14th bravely gets up at 9 sees the fight out on the cards & loses on a UD.
The complaints of Conteh's corner are investigated afterwards.MSM corner had been found to have used a high level mixture of adrenaline chloride & tea leaves Ritacco helped the champ to keep his title to fight another day & a rematch ordered.
MSM makes no mistake second time out a 4th round TKO the young gun brutally takes Conteh apart no need to use Ritacco's tricks & you certainly didn't need to read the tea leaves to find out the result.You can always count on a clever cutman in this game.
M, keep 'em comin', great piece always looking forward to your next.