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Old 03-17-2010, 12:47 PM   #1
burt bienstock
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Default Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

What personal encounter you had in boxing that you find memorable today?...I'll give you my experience first...
In 1942 ,I as a youngster was in Stillmans Gym, NY.,watching the great fighters training...A few feet away from me ,was a young ,tough looking guy sitting on a cool radiator with his feet on the ring apron...Spitting on the floor constantly...A large heavyweight wanted to get past ,this tough spectator, who motioned the big 200pounder,to walk under his legs, which to my amazement he did walk under his legs...Watching all this I thought"wow this is a tough bastard".Well a few days later at St. Nicholas Arena, who do I see in a prelim bout was this same guy.His announced name was Rocky Graziano...And the amazing thing was at this time Graziano was AWOL, from Camp Dix,under his real name Barbella...Some balls Rocky Graziano had then...A real animal,and an authentic tough guy....And your experiences ?
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

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Originally Posted by burt bienstock View Post
What personal encounter you had in boxing that you find memorable today?...I'll give you my experience first...
In 1942 ,I as a youngster was in Stillmans Gym, NY.,watching the great fighters training...A few feet away from me ,was a young ,tough looking guy sitting on a cool radiator with his feet on the ring apron...Spitting on the floor constantly...A large heavyweight wanted to get past ,this tough spectator, who motioned the big 200pounder,to walk under his legs, which to my amazement he did walk under his legs...Watching all this I thought"wow this is a tough bastard".Well a few days later at St. Nicholas Arena, who do I see in a prelim bout was this same guy.His announced name was Rocky Graziano...And the amazing thing was at this time Graziano was AWOL, from Camp Dix,under his real name Barbella...Some balls Rocky Graziano had then...A real animal,and an authentic tough guy....And your experiences ?
Another nice story, Burt. I have to say that myself, living in the part of Florida that I do, I rarely get these types of boxing experiences. I have only been to two live boxing events, neither of which were legendary cards. I got to see Tim Witherspoon box an exhibition. I also saw Butterbean box an exhibition, but that is hardly worth mentioning.
But, one moment that stands out was on Dec. 25, 2004, when I got to meet Frankie Randall. I once lived in Morristown, Tennessee, which is not where he was born, but where he lived and fought out of. I actually lived there twice, but I am referring to the recent time that I lived there, which was from Dec. 2002, through Apr. 2004. The whole time that I lived there, I always wanted to meet him. I never got that chance. My uncle was once in jail with him. A lot of people that I talked to had met him, but most of those people actually spoke negatively about him.

A friend of mine who worked at a gas station met Frankie and started hanging out with him a little bit. I had moved back to Florida by this time. He would give Frankie a ride now and then. So my friend sent me an autograph from Frankie. Well, on Dec. 25, 2004, while I was up visiting family, I went to see my friend at the store where he worked. My friend said somethine like "Frankie just left. He might still be outside.", or something like that. So, I went outside and introduced myself. Frankie was as nice as can be. He even seemed suprised that a he had a fan at this point in his life. This was right after his third and final fight against Julio Cesar Chavez, hardly a good showing for Frankie. We talked for a little bit and he gave me his phone number. He mentioned something about getting me some tickets to his next fight, or something like that. It was really nice.

What was really great, was after I talked to Frankie, he actually went home and got his championship belt to bring back to the store for me to see. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware that he was doing this, so I wasn't there to see it. I think I will always remember that. Why my friend didn't call me while Frankie was there with the belt is a mystery. I guess he just didn't do it. I am pretty sure it was the WBC belt because I asked my friend if the belt was green and he said yes. Just to think that the former World Jr. Welterweight Champion brought his championship belt for me to see is very special to me. I hold that memory fondly in my mind. That was my best boxing experience in person.

Last edited by Abdullah; 03-17-2010 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

Did you stay in touch with him?

My best experiance was meeting the late Darren Sutherland whilst training down in London. Spent the day with a pro trainer who I talked too for hours about boxing, did some sparring with top class amatuers and met Sutherland and Brian Lawrence in a gym.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

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Originally Posted by burt bienstock View Post
What personal encounter you had in boxing that you find memorable today?...I'll give you my experience first...
In 1942 ,I as a youngster was in Stillmans Gym, NY.,watching the great fighters training...A few feet away from me ,was a young ,tough looking guy sitting on a cool radiator with his feet on the ring apron...Spitting on the floor constantly...A large heavyweight wanted to get past ,this tough spectator, who motioned the big 200pounder,to walk under his legs, which to my amazement he did walk under his legs...Watching all this I thought"wow this is a tough bastard".Well a few days later at St. Nicholas Arena, who do I see in a prelim bout was this same guy.His announced name was Rocky Graziano...And the amazing thing was at this time Graziano was AWOL, from Camp Dix,under his real name Barbella...Some balls Rocky Graziano had then...A real animal,and an authentic tough guy....And your experiences ?
Burt,

You have some great first hand knowledge of one of the golden ages of boxing, was you around Stillmans around the same time as our other resident 'old timer' John Garfield
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:12 PM   #5
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Another nice story, Burt. I have to say that myself, living in the part of Florida that I do, I rarely get these type of boxing experiences. I have only been to two live boxing events, neither of which were legendary cards. I got to see Tim Witherspoon box an exhibition. I also saw Butterbean box an exhibition, but that is hardly worth mentioning.
But, one moment that stands out was on Dec. 25, 2004, I got to meet Frankie Randall. I once lived in Morristown, Tennessee, which is not where he was born, but where he lived and fought out of. I actually lived there twice, but I am referring to the recent time that I lived there, which was from Dec. 2002, through Apr. 2004. The whole time that I lived there, I always wanted to meet him. I never got that chance. My uncle was once in jail with him. A lot of people that I talked to had met him. Most of those people actually spoke negatively about him.

A friend of mine who worked at a gas station met Frankie and started hanging out with him a little bit. I had moved back to Florida by this time. He would give Frankie a ride now and then. So my friend sent me an autograph from Frankie. Well, on Dec. 25, 2004, while I was up visiting family, I went to see my friend at the store where he worked. My friend said somethine like "Frankie just left. He might still be outside.", or something like that. So, I went outside and introduced myself. Frankie was as nice as can be. He even seemed suprised that a he had a fan at this point in his life. This was right after his third and final fight against Julio Cesar Chavez, hardly a good showing for Frankie. We talked for a little bit and he gave me his phone number. He mentioned something about getting me some tickets to his next fight, or something like that. It was really nice.

What was really great, was after I talked to Frankie, he actually went home and got his championship belt to bring back to the store for me to see. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware that he was doing this, so I wasn't there to see it. I think I will always remember that. Why my friend didn't call me while Frankie was there is a mystery. I guess he just didn't do it. I am pretty sure it was the WBC belt because I asked my friend if the belt was green and he said yes. Just to think that the former World Jr. Welterweight Champion brought his championship belt for me to see is very special to me. I hold that memory fondly in my mind. That was my best boxing experience in person.
Ive met a lot of fighters, but I think Frankie is one of the nicest of all of them.
BTW whereabouts in Florida? South FLorida is th mecca of boxers. Hopkins is down here now.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

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Ive met a lot of fighters, but I think Frankie is one of the nicest of all of them.
BTW whereabouts in Florida? South FLorida is th mecca of boxers. Hopkins is down here now.
I live in the Florida panhandle. Usually I live in Panama City, Fl, but now I live on the outskirts. Same county. So, you met Frankie too? Yes, he is nice. Those hillbillies in Morristown made him out to be an *sshole.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:44 PM   #7
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Did you stay in touch with him?

My best experiance was meeting the late Darren Sutherland whilst training down in London. Spent the day with a pro trainer who I talked too for hours about boxing, did some sparring with top class amatuers and met Sutherland and Brian Lawrence in a gym.
No, I didn't. I tried to call him late that night, but he was probably asleep. I dont remember if I ever called again.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

i got 2

1) Evander Holyfield
It was 2000, and i was at the Sydney Olympics Boxing Finals, and i was seated right at the back, with my Father,uncle and 2 younger brothers, we were early so it was pretty much empty, Then a woman from the TV crew aproached us and said "While your Sitting here you may not be able to see , because we will be setting up camera right infront of your view, But we do have some seats available" So we followed her, and with every second we got more excited , Because we were getting closer and closer to the ring, Eventually We stopped....IN THE FRONT ROW, NEAR THE RED CORNOR!. We couldnt beleave it, As the Crowd grew suddenly a HUGE Cheer filled the arena, We looked over and there was Holyfield, We approuched his seat...6 feet away from us. it was Amazing, we got photos and autographs , was something i wont forget.


2) Not a Big name Fighter - Bob Mirovic, But he was a Australian HW Champion and fought for the HW title against the BIG Giant Russian =P.

He contacted me by Email about my youtube channel, he said he loved my Videos, and thanked me for the one i did on him.Anyway a few weeks went by and he called my phone and said "im coming over your place, i got some DVDs" he came over with about 15 of his fights, we talked for awhile too, it was incredible, Never thought my youtube channel would bring a champion to my home. he was a great guy, and ill never forget it, i still keep in contact with him. =)
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:12 PM   #9
burt bienstock
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Default Re: Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

Yes Jack Dempsey, I attended Stillmans Gym,almost weekly for several years in the 1940's...As John Garfield once posted to me, we probably rubbed shoulders together many times, in those halycon days for us...Words today cannot describe, the enjoyment I experienced, watching all the great fighters train and spar, a few feet from me...
P.S. All for 50 cents, I might add.....
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

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Originally Posted by burt bienstock View Post
What personal encounter you had in boxing that you find memorable today?...I'll give you my experience first...
In 1942 ,I as a youngster was in Stillmans Gym, NY.,watching the great fighters training...A few feet away from me ,was a young ,tough looking guy sitting on a cool radiator with his feet on the ring apron...Spitting on the floor constantly...A large heavyweight wanted to get past ,this tough spectator, who motioned the big 200pounder,to walk under his legs, which to my amazement he did walk under his legs...Watching all this I thought"wow this is a tough bastard".Well a few days later at St. Nicholas Arena, who do I see in a prelim bout was this same guy.His announced name was Rocky Graziano...And the amazing thing was at this time Graziano was AWOL, from Camp Dix,under his real name Barbella...Some balls Rocky Graziano had then...A real animal,and an authentic tough guy....And your experiences ?
Great story BB...It's great to recollections like this from you (and JG too). Enjoy it very much.
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

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Originally Posted by burt bienstock View Post
Yes Jack Dempsey, I attended Stillmans Gym,almost weekly for several years in the 1940's...As John Garfield once posted to me, we probably rubbed shoulders together many times, in those halycon days for us...Words today cannot describe, the enjoyment I experienced, watching all the great fighters train and spar, a few feet from me...
P.S. All for 50 cents, I might add.....
BB, i could listen to you allllllllll day. Do you think it would be possible for the likes of yourself and JG and whoever else(if any) was around the gyms back then, to start a thread telling us some of your experiences and stories of the gyms and fighters back then? Im certain im not the only one who would just love to hear these.
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Old 03-18-2010, 06:04 AM   #12
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Default Re: Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

I have several memorable ones.
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Old 03-18-2010, 06:31 AM   #13
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Default Re: Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

Prob' be a few chats with Kostya.
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:59 AM   #14
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Default Re: Favorite boxing experience outside the ring?

My one was meeting Muhammad Ali - April fools day (1991 I think) i was about 15 - at school everyone was saying Ali is in Nottingham (my local city) today and i was going "yeah whatever april fools" so they bet me and took me up to the phone box down the road from school and got me to ring this big book store where they said he was going to be and they said yes Mr Ali will be here today - so I bunked off school there and then rang home and got my mum to ring my dad at work and he got out of work early somehow - I got there about 2 hours in advance but had to queue up for hours and my dad met me at the door when he got there (!!) got in a met him and shook hands and had a bit of a play fight - he was as wide as a door and had massive hands i remember and wrists which were about 3 times the width of mine!! it was a great day and a very emotional one for my dad to - my dear dad wept when he gave him a hug - unfortunately neither of us had a camera on us because it was all last minute - regret that but its all up here anyway
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:42 AM   #15
burt bienstock
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johnmaff36,,Thanks for your interest in us "oldtimers"..As I have posted before, to me Stillmans Gym was like heaven for me,in the 1940s...I sat or stood next to great former champions, contenders, show business figures, and yes wise guys....We all had one common interest...To watch most of all the best boxers sparring wit each other in the two rings on the main floor...Some of the sparring, would become 'wars',and the trainers ,sometimes had to intervene, or risk injury to their charges....Upstairs,the boxers fighters would hit the heavy bags and shadow box...Remember there were about 5 times or more fighters in that golden age, then today,and more fights, more competition, more experience, equals better fighters...Such was the 1940s...B.B.
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