37 years ago yesterday: Murray "Shepherd David" Sutherland vs. Chong-Pal "Legendary Stone Fist" Park

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by IntentionalButt, Jul 23, 2021.

  1. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Guy wants to name his çock 'macho' that's ok by me Full Member

    Nov 30, 2006
    Was going to make this last night, but passed out. In my defense, I was running on little sleep all week and had watched a ton of boxing in the previous 24 hours (between the Puello vs. Rubio and Gassiev vs. Wallisch live cards) - bits of it good, but most of it mediocre to horrible. :hollering::yawn::sleep:

    This is the first time anybody defeated another person for a super middleweight title in boxing. Officially the lineage begins with Sutherland himself, finding his comfort zone after failed campaigns at light heavy (challenging unsuccessfully twice for gold, knocked out by Matthew Saad Muhammad and Michael Spinks for the WBA & WBA respectively) and then middleweight. His bar to claim the inaugurally vacant belt was fairly low, however, only having to best tough but limited (and by this point washed up) South Philly veteran Ernie "Grog" Singletary - who came in with four losses in his previous six bouts.

    Park, on the other hand, would hang onto the prize once he claimed it - making eight successful defenses over three years, including twice against
    This content is protected
    , before dropping it to go for the WBA (then managing to defend that once as well). For all that, most boxing fans around the globe are today as unlikely to know the Seoul man as his rival from Edinburgh. Both exist with their names forever linked as trivia footnotes, pioneers in a division that has ensconced itself fully in the masses' regard in the nearly four decades since (with a couple of tournaments at 168lbs in recent years proving the biggest headlines in the sport for a time).

    This content is protected
    . Granted, having faced a pair of All Time Greats in Tommy Hearns and Michael Spinks puts a thumb on the scales but he also threw a shout to New Jersey based Puerto Rican journeyman Marvin Walker (who fought under the ring name "Mario Maldonado", and already had double digit losses when he lost a SD to pre-championship Sutherland in Atlantic City in '82) - so there is the possibility of some sour grapes toward the man who clipped his historic reign so short. Or maybe he gave genuine unbiased opinions and Maldonado really is the most overall skilled fighter he faced, above the Hitman and the Jinx, who knows. (calls to mind the controversy around Floyd Mayweather Jr. calling Emanuel Augustus his toughest match, in what many considered a disrespectful nonrecognition of José Luis Castillo).
    Kamikaze and Rumsfeld like this.
  2. Saad54

    Saad54 Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Dec 10, 2014
    I mean it was pretty meaningless in the context of the time.

    Btw this title was established when Sutherland defeated Ernie Singletary for the vacant IBF title. The Park fight was his first defense

    The division was pretty weak at first as 160 lb. Retreads Sutherland, Park and Fully Obel won titles.

    By the very late 80s and early 90s it seemed to get better
  3. Colonel Sanders

    Colonel Sanders Pounchin powar calculateur Full Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    I like Park. Gutsy unorthodox fighter.
    Kamikaze and George Crowcroft like this.
  4. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Guy wants to name his çock 'macho' that's ok by me Full Member

    Nov 30, 2006
    ...I know. I said that. Hence the distinction of Park being the first to become super middleweight champ by defeating an incumbent.

    And to defend it successfully.
  5. TBooze

    TBooze Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Historically, this fight and indeed these fighters are underrated. Not a criminal/scandalous underrating, but still they should get more kudos.

    This fight was a very solid brick in the foundation of a division, that would in due course have a lot of exceptional fighters, fights and events.

    Sutherland had enough about him as a boxer, to get this fight recognised as in a new division. There had been previous attempts to establish a division between 160 and 175, this was the successful one.

    And Park was at least on par with the average alphabet title holder of the time. Fighting in South Korea probably helped him a few times, but he also beat a few fighters with decent reputations, starting with the ex-pat Scot.
  6. Indefatigable

    Indefatigable Active Member banned Full Member

    Mar 6, 2021
  7. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Guy wants to name his çock 'macho' that's ok by me Full Member

    Nov 30, 2006
    Park a good deal more so (IMO) than Sutherland, as he was just a better fighter as borne out by this result and their résumés in toto, and has both a de facto and de jure superior accomplishment in helping usher in the new weight class: qualitatively beating a better h2h opponent in Sutherland himself than Sutherland did in the apparently somewhat arbitrarily chosen Singletary, as well as having the more formal distinction on paper of seizing the belt from an established holder (not to mention a legitimate contender in both of the adjacent divisions straddling 168lb) rather than claiming it while vacant and void of any lineage whatsoever. :thumbsup:

    Important cornerstone, yes, and not a bad watch. I can think of many SMW title bouts in more recent years eminently less enjoyable (virtually the whole seven year stranglehold that German-based rivals Robert Stieglitz and Arthur Abraham had on the WBO title springs to mind :shakehead:).

    Interesting - do you know what other limits had been mooted to be set? Or which middles and light heavies might have been under consideration as the principals of the inaugural contest?

    I have no problem with Sutherland being in one corner, as it happens - my issue lies more with Grog. All due respect to him, competent Philly scrapper in his day, but...tail end of his career here, and on what should have been a precluding slump. His only qualifying aspect heading in was that in his previous contest (knocking out 12-21 southpaw "Dancin' Dan" Snyder) both he and his opponent Snyder had weighed in somewhere in the high one-sixties. :nusenuse:

    To be fair, he did halt seven of his eleven opponents in SMW title victories (Sutherland, Gumb, Curto II, Sam, and Otti for the IBF and Gallardo & Pasireron for the WBA - yet another sanctioning org where he became first to defend, and in this case also inaugurate, their belt at super middle) ...and of the rest, I believe only Lindell Holmes II has been widely decried as home-cooking:

    Worth noting as well that, while not contiguous reigns in terms of the alphabet orgs, he did capture the lineal title from Sutherland and defended it ten successful times in a row carrying it from his IBF to.WBA tenancy. Maybe not a whole lot of wow factor among his set of challengers (I rate Curto, and would say Holmes as well but for the asterisk on both official defenses over him) in a still fledgling weight class, but, ten lineal defenses is still ten lineal defenses, and that's something.
  8. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

    Jan 8, 2017
    The first Supermiddle title fight.
    Not too many years later and the British practically took over the division!
  9. Saintpat

    Saintpat Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jun 26, 2009
    I can’t fault Murray for not naming Park as having the best boxing skills he ever faced. Perhaps he should have gone with Hearns or Spinks in this category over Mario Maldonado, but Park wasn’t a guy who got by on pure boxing skills.

    Maldonado aside (I’d have to see their fight to know what he’s talking about, how the guy fought him), there’s no category there among people Sutherland fought where the right answer probably isn’t Hearns, Spinks or maybe Saad — where among best jab, best footwork, hardest puncher, etc., do you fit Park? If best body puncher was a category, sure.

    Shifting to this fight, Park’s body language is about as bad as I’ve ever seen in a world-class fighter. He looks defeated every time he gets hit cleanly, steps back and looks away, etc.

    He’s game as hell but in between summoning his courage to rally his body language is just awful.
    George Crowcroft likes this.