Via Ken Hissner: I remember meeting in New York with the famous manager, handball champion and great film collector Jim Jacobs. After leaving the office on his way to lunch, his wife Lorraine was passing by.
Jacobs told me about a young amateur boxer whom he and legendary trainer Cus D’Amato named Mike Tyson. We also talked about all the movies he’s been in and discussed what he calls “the worst decision I’ve ever made when Philly’s lightweight champion Harold Johnson to lost the title to Willie Pastrano.”
In June 1963, at the Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Johnson’s nineteen-match winning streak was halted at his fifth title defense.
In those nineteen matches, he beat top heavyweight Eddie Machen, 37-4-1, in July 1961. Legendary coach Cus D’Amato once told me, “When I had Floyd Patterson as the heavyweight champion, I didn’t want him. to fight Harold Johnson because he’s a great boxer. “
That night Johnson lost to Pastrano to Jimmy Olivas 69-68 and Harold Krause 69-67 while another judge John Romero was right, in favor of Johnson 69-68.
I met Johnson at a boxing event in Philadelphia one night, introduced myself, and asked Johnson, “How did that beggar Pastrano ever beat you?” He replied, “He’s a good fighter!” That’s Johnson’s class.
Then, driving with him to Atlantic City for a gig, he talked about his fight in Germany, defeating European champion Gustav “Bubi” Scholz, 85-1-6, when his manager gave him a second class while taking what should have been Johnson’s. He talked about Scholz’s skill.
One of Johnson’s defenses was against Doug Jones, 19-1, who later in heavyweight gave Cassius Clay, a.k.a. Muhammad Ali, all he could handle, never. get a well-deserved rematch. Another decision was a divisive one for Eddie Cotton, 39-11-1, in his hometown of what would later be Seattle, Washington.
In 1992 Johnson was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and in 1993, inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Another horrible decision I was in the ring in November 1976 at the Philadelphia Spectrum with my brother. Defeat super featherweight Philly Tyrone Everett, 34-0, challenges WBC World Champion Alfredo Escalera of Puerto Rico, 36-7-2.
I kept a scorecard in the stands and let Everett lead 13-2 in the innings. Just one headbutt that caused a cut in Everett’s forehead sent him on the defensive for an inning or two.
When they announced the decision with a score from judge Ray Solis of 148-146, I thought it was too close. Then, to my and everyone’s surprise, the announcer said that Puerto Rico judge Wiso Fernandez had scored Escalera 146-143, which shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.
Then there’s Pennsylvania judge Lou Tress, who I’m sure will give Everett his well-deserved title, shocking all with a score of 145-143 for Escalera. The boos ran through the crowd. By the way, Tress never judged a fight again. I guess the money he was paid gave him a life, so he didn’t have to work anymore.
Philly reporter Tom Cushman wrote the following about the decision: “Tyrone Everett won the world lightweight championship last night. Win it with a whirling, artistic performance that bravely glides past the edges of brilliance.
Tyrone stood tall, proud, bleeding in the corner of the field after 15 rounds, waiting for the championship belt to wrap around his waist as they yanked it out of his hand. Having picked him up clean, surprised they didn’t take his shoes and pants along with everything else.”
Two wins after a loss to Escalera, in May 1977, Everett was shot and killed by his girlfriend Caroline McKendrick at the age of 24.