From Fighter to Writer

By Ted Sares on July 11, 2013
From Fighter to Writer
Johnny was not ready for the likes of Licata—maybe a year or two later but not in 1971.

Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams was a big John Coiley fan who, rumor had it, wanted to buy Johnny’s contract. But John’s people reportedly balked…

“Many abused children cling to the hope that growing up will bring escape and freedom.”—Judith Lewis Herman

“It takes very little for a child’s world to be devastated. A single experience can have a profound impact on a child’s life. A man sticks his hand in his daughter’s underpants, or strokes his son’s penis once, and for that child, the world is never the same again.”—Laura Hough, Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Is a Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse

“You know something, I don’t have to take that kind of shit from my father anymore.”—Vinnie Curto

“If I can help anybody or one person [by sharing my story], then I am happy.”—Irish Micky Ward

“It is my hope to provide inspiration to victims everywhere who would consider violence to themselves or others as means to escape the emotional pain they’d been subjected to.”—Irish John Coiley

This article is not meant to put “Irish” John Coiley up on some pedestal. Coiley, who has few illusions about himself, has been no saint; indeed, he has done things during his lifetime that he is more than sorry for—things that he wishes with all his heart he could undo, but given the circumstances, at least they can be understood, if not forgiven.

That said, I wish to thank John for allowing me to tell a story that touches upon the raw and sensitive subject of a brutally resentful and sexually abusive father and a passive, albeit physically and psychologically abused mother who failed to protect her children. John, like ex-boxers Vinnie Curto and Irish Micky Ward, is one victim of sexual child abuse who has chosen to fight back by avoiding denial—by refusing to feel self-pity and suffer silently (though he did so for many years and was consumed by painful emotions that were kept closeted and could not be articulated). Hopefully, his story will join the many others that are being told to raise awareness and to tell the kids that you don’t have to be silent any longer.

Behind Door 11

“He (my father)…had been a boxer. I was his firstborn. He said he didn’t make the champions, so I’m going to be champion of the world, so I had no choice. Basically, I had no choice.”—Irish John Coiley

Irish Johnny Coiley grew up in East Cambridge, Massachusetts, a section that’s does not derive its wealth from Harvard or MIT.  Coiley’s father, John T. Coiley Jr., entered the Navy at the age of 17. Coiley believes something traumatic might have happened during his father’s Navy years. How else could one explain why, after producing nine children, the senior Coiley would go on to sexually molest each of them. Like some other frustrated fathers, Coiley Jr. was a veteran boxer with a long-lost dream of becoming a champion and transitioned that dream, vicariously and with bitter resentment, to his son.

The skinny kid was always fearful before a fight, but from his very first amateur bout at age 17, he realized that what stoked his inner fires and enabled him to get it on was that his father put the gloves on him when he was 10, saying he would be “CHAMPION OF THE WORLD LIKE I SHOULDA BEEN.” But during the night in the back bedroom of Door 11, Apartment 63 at the Roosevelt Towers Housing Projects and with a drinking problem adding to his fury and resentment, Coiley’s father would sodomize the boys and rape the girls while his mother claimed she didn’t know what was happening. The kid would later channel the deep pain and white hot anger in a way that would serve him well in the ring.

In John’s own words:

“My father, the rapist, the savage and violent abuser of children, his wife, our mother, and our dogs instilled in the skinny-minny me I was from a young age how I would have to be smarter, faster and stronger than my friends and enemies alike if I would amount to anything in life. As a boxer, I needed to set my sights to being Champion of the World. I should strive for nothing less. It would be in hindsight, of course, before I could understand how this was the one positive to his madness. At the time it ranked near the top of the list of things I hated most about him. Why? Because I was a child, a vulnerable child who didn’t like pain, who wanted to be a child that I’m not sure I, or my siblings, ever really knew how to be. And yet, though his teachings were viciously extraordinary, I did ultimately incorporate the learned resource into my daily planner. I hated running or exercising indoors (if it were raining or snowing) before school, but ultimately, as years were added to my calendar, into my street-fighting persona that then perfectly segued into a boxing career where it became an asset to my existence, to my boxing persona as it would be written about the Irish Johnny fighter I would become, how my gym workouts were ‘impressive,’ and how my conditioning more than made up for the punching power I lacked. Sadly though, because I had not yet learned multi-tasking, everything else, schoolwork, girlfriends, went by the proverbial wayside.”

The Amateurs

Later, when he was 17 years old, the abuse came to an end and the cocky street fighter with a giant chip on his shoulder went to “the fights” with a buddy and said he would be doing “this” the following week at the Boston Arena Annex. True to his word, the lanky kid won his first 24 amateur bouts before losing to Mike O’Keefe in the finals of the 1968 Golden Gloves. Coiley won the 1968 New England Diamond Belt Title in the 147-pound class and then competed in the finals of both the Golden Gloves and the Amateur Athletic Union. He lost both fights in the finals in highly controversial and questionable decisions, finishing his amateur career with a 27-4 mark that easily could have been 29-2.

He was a poster boy for the “98-pound weakling.” But now the kid who had been picked on by bullies when he was much younger was a man ready to move on to a higher level under the tutelage of fatherly and easy going trainer and manager Al Clemente. The equally notable (and wilier) Sam Silverman would be his promoter during his early pro career.

The Professionals

“I knew Johnny’s quality from the onset…People would say ‘How can you tell?’ I’d say ‘Watch how he moves, stays away from the punch.’ He had just one tremendous mind as far as boxing and he knew every inch of that ring. It was amazing how smart he was…he was one of the classiest boxers I’ve ever seen. He was one of the greatest. He was the most natural boxer I’ve ever seen. He had all the moves…He could backpedal…He knew where to stop, six inches from the ropes. The proudest thing in my life, I nominated him for the [Ring 4] Hall of Fame.”—Mickey Finn

Ring 4 member and notable Boston area boxer Richard Torsney (who fought Marvin Hagler twice in the amateurs and finished with a 51-4 record) had this to say:

“There was a crew of characters who’d come in and out. Sam Silverman, Rip Valenti, cops, hustlers, mafia and celebrity fight fans like Miles Davis. And there were a host of classy/tough boxers like Tony Valenti, Dick Hall, Bobby Covino, Paul Raymond, Roosevelt Moulden Brown, the Kivlan brothers, Ron Stander, Jack O’Halloran and many others. However at that time two guys that stood out as particularly classy were Hasson and Coiley. Their sparing sessions were something to be appreciated. They were hard, sharp and a bit dangerous. My recollection was it was an event of sorts when they went at it. One thing I know from personal experience was that John Coiley didn’t take it easy on anyone. It wasn’t that he was a gym fighter taking advantage of guys less skilled. When he stepped in the ring he went to work and though he was a craftsman, his job was manual labor. John was a gentleman outside of the ring and a hard man inside the ropes. His jab was like a rapier. It was fast, ripping and stinging. He moved well too. I also worked with John at Connolly’s Gym in Southie around 1974 but by then his time had passed.

“My memories of John are all positive. I liked him as a guy, respected him in the gym for his work ethic and admired his skill and courage in the ring. It was a pleasure watching his career.”

John turned professional in 1969 with his first fight coming against New Jersey’s Dave Horn who had 29 pro fights under his belt. He then went undefeated in his next 23. Included in this streak were a draw and a win against “Iron Mike” Pusateri and a quick stoppage of tough Skip Yeaton out of Portland, Maine. While many of his opponents had losing records perhaps belying the quality of his unblemished mark, Johnny was never really in an easy fight. Whatever the case, Irish was matched with rugged and undefeated New Orleans middleweight Tony “Machine Gun” Licata in October 1971 in what would be a faceoff between two undefeated fighters with the same 23-0-1 record. John was 21 at the time while Licata was two years younger.

All handlers, especially those who manage fighters at the highest levels, make calculated decisions as to which match-up is most beneficial to them and Licata’s people were savvy enough to know that this bout was one of them. The fact was, Johnny was not ready for the likes of Licata—maybe a year or two later but not in 1971.

Many said Johnny was moved too quickly, but the “Splendid Splinter,” Ted Williams wasn’t one of them. He was a big Coiley fan who, rumor had it, wanted to buy Johnny’s contract. But John’s people reportedly balked.

Tony Licata

Both men had fought and taken the measure of tough Mike Pusateri. However, a perusal of their respective records indicated that Licata had fought much tougher and seasoned opponents like Johnny Brooks, Gilbert de los Santos, Tom Hannah, Gene Wells, Danny McAloon, and Larry Carney. There was no questioning the quality of Tony Licata’s record.

As a full measure of the late Tony’s skill level, he would finish with a great 60-7-4 record that included wins over Mike Nixon, Vinnie Curto, Mike Rossman, Willie Warren, Denny Moyer (91-28-4 at the time), Jose Roberto Chirino, Emile Griffith for the NABF middleweight title in 1974, Cubby Jackson for the USBA title also in 1974, and Jose Luis Duran for the U.S. middleweight title in 1976.

Tony’s first defeat was a controversial majority decision in 1975 against Ramon Mendez in Milan, Italy. He avenged that loss exactly one month later in New Orleans with a dominant UD Then, two months later, he lost via a tenth round TKO to the great Carlos Monzon (83-3-9) with the WBA middleweight title at stake. The fight was scheduled for 15 rounds and was held before a packed house at Madison Square Garden.

The Two Fights

Johnny lost the first one to Tony by a decision over ten fast and furious rounds in New Orleans. Two months later, Licata stopped Coiley in the ninth round—this time on Johnny’s home turf at the Hynes Auditorium in Boston. Licata lived up to his nickname “Machine Gun” as he banged away at an outgunned Coiley.

Johnny regrouped with a TKO over Danny Perez, but the brutal Licata beatings caught up with him. After the Perez success, he lost to Carlos Alberto Salinas, drew with Juan Botta, and lost again to Paul Osborne. By now, the writing was boldly on the wall.

During this period, the kid from Cambridge was managing a home delivery agency for the Boston Herald in Wellesley, Mass., but after a layoff he yearned to get back in the ring and asked Sam Silverman to promote him in a comeback. Sam’s response was direct and cut to the bone: “You made too many comebacks. No one will come to see you.”

Coiley and his wife, Linda Susan McCarthy of Medford (whom John refers to as Linda I), were divorced after a four-year marriage and before his move to Seattle where he would make his last comeback.

Seattle

Upon moving to Seattle by the luck of the draw, the Cambridge native hastily married Linda II and she soon became pregnant. He also fought and lost his last two bouts in 1975 in a dangerously short period of 42 days. On June 2, he was stopped by Seattle’s Mike Lankester in the seventh round but gave him all he could handle until the stoppage. John puts it this way, “I beat him for seven rounds. In the eighth round…I dropped my left hand—BANG, he hit me. I got back up, he banged me around again. I got up and the referee just said, ‘You don’t want to do it,’ and that was it. The heavy-handed Lankester had prior early round KO wins over Dave Hilton and Mike Pusitari and also had beaten legendary Luis Manuel Rodriguez (107-11) in 1972. Coiley’s performance, though a losing one, deluded him into thinking he could still be a main event fighter.

John’s July 14 outing, a 10-round fight at the Seattle Center Arena against limited Ohioan Nick Peoples (6-19), was supposed to be a confidence builder; instead, it ended up being Coiley’s final go as he was stopped in the fourth round.

Apparently, the World Boxing Association’s rule that “any boxer who has suffered an actual knockout shall be suspended for at least sixty days” and “cannot be reinstated until he has submitted to a medical examination” was somehow overlooked.

John finished out his career with a 24-7-2 record. All told, he fought 64 times (amateur and pro) with a combined record of 51-11-2, enough to earn him a spot in Ring 4 of the Veteran Boxers Hall of Fame in 2008.

The Struggle

“It’s an ongoing thing. You can’t just say, ‘O yeah, I know it now.’ No, no, it’s I’m learning it now. I think that’s it. That’s life. It’s a friggin’ classroom, nonstop. Sometimes you skip class and sometimes you pay good attention and you do your homework.”—John Coiley

“Few would guess Coiley, this artistic soul capturing words on a page, used to be a boxer, taking on the best of the best and ‘knockin’ ’em out’ left and right. His self-designation, ‘fighter turned writer,’ encapsulates it all.”—Krystina Lucido (PressBoxOnlin.com – “From Fights to Fiction” 2009)

The back-to-back losses to Licata took the wind totally out of Johnny’s sails…and he and Linda II, his pregnant wife of four years were divorced in Seattle. By age twenty-eight, he was twice-divorced.

Back to Boston

John fell into a deep depression after his last pro loss, but with the aid of therapy he gradually began to work his way out of it.  Training young fighters while working for the Somerville Youth Program and also at the dingy (and nourish) Somerville Boxing Club which he started up with Bobby Covino, another well known Boston boxer, also helped in Coiley’s struggle. At the gym, you’d hear the faint pitter-patter of the speed bags and then the rumble of voices and the smell of rosin and lineament when you walked in. You would also smell the familiar cigar and cigarette smoke from hangers on, observers and even the trainers. 

John’s positive and knowledgeable influence and gentlemanly demeanor was soon felt by a number of students who began to see him as a role model. Said Chris Calnan, a writer in Austin, Texas, “…He (Coiley) taught me that discipline and that’s something that I’ve carried over into everything—into my work, into how I treat people, everything.”

Baltimore

“His quiet and happy demeanor is contagious to the people around him. No matter what comes his way, Coiley embraces it with a newfound zeal for life.”—Krystina Lucido

“…they will always be my ‘homes’; Cambridge, Massachusetts, my birthplace where I endured painful childhood lessons and learned to dream, and Baltimore, Maryland where new dreams were polished and realized. How can I not be grateful?”—Coiley

A more grounded John then moved to Baltimore and perhaps for the first time good things started happening in his life. One of the highlights was when he received a call from his second wife telling him that he could now have custody of his four-year-old daughter, beloved Jade (now age 32), and he became a proud single parent. And then he met his “soulmate” Mary Pat Osborne. They were married on July 3, 1993 in Baltimore. These were marvelous moments in a life that had far too few.

Thirteen years later Mary Pat passed away at the age of 51. John has difficulty talking about this and tears begin to well up but he puts it in words that strike to the soul: “I am, we are as one, even in death we do not part.”

During his happier time in Baltimore, Irish Johnny worked for 14 years as Service Desk Ambassador at the famous Brick Bodies Padonia Fitness Club in Cockeysville where he met and made more friends than he could count on and was deeply loved by all. And it was here that he began to find the artistic soulfulness that was fast rising to the surface—it was here that “fighter turned writer” became his self-designation. As Mike Kimball, general manager of Brick Bodies puts it, “John is one of those people who you could hear speak for hours and still walk away feeling like you want to know so much more,”

Florida

After Mary Pat died, John needed to relocate and recharge. His mother lived in Homosassa, Florida, so the two agreed that he would stay with her until he could find a job and place of his own, but she died before he arrived.

These days, the 63-year-old Coiley has incorporated—except during periods of depression that sometime border on the dangerous—the need to be all that he can be into most areas of his life. He writes and markets his writings, which include short stories, movie scripts, and song lyrics. He also is working on a book about his life—a nightmarish life that has included unimaginable adversity and emotional pain. But he has persevered and hopes that one day his considerable writing talent will be discovered and that one of his scripts will be picked up by a director. 

Like he says, “You just gotta keep on working and working and working and when it’s your time, maybe you’ll get lucky, maybe you won’t.”

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Coda: Two of John’s short stories, “Beyond Closed Walls” and “The Dynamic Duo,” appeared in my 2011 book “Shattered: A Collection of True Crime and Noir Essays.” When the publisher’s proofreader completed his task, he told me that two articles stood out from the rest and thinking that I was their author, he complimented me. Of course, they were written by John.

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  1. The Thresher 08:24am, 11/28/2016

    My pleasure John

  2. john coiley 08:07am, 11/28/2016

    for some reason I AM only now reading the whole article….Wow! kinda makes me look impressive…THANK YOU, Ted and all who responded in kind…john coiley

  3. The Thresher 06:35pm, 11/27/2016

    Thanks Frank, I’ll let John know about your post.

  4. Frank De-Amicis 06:25pm, 11/27/2016

    I boxed John in the 1968 Diamond Belts. It was my first fight.
    Went into the Marines and boxed in the Smokers Viet Nam

  5. john coiley 09:59am, 05/27/2014

    THANK YOU, Leslie… the flashback to my Youth Program days was timely….here’s hoping your life is grand as you deserve…thanks for the memory prong…john

  6. Ted 08:05am, 05/27/2014

    Thanks Leslie

  7. leslie Parker-Earll 10:34pm, 05/26/2014

    Great article. Thanks for sharing it. John was a good guy, I worked with him at the Somerville Youth Program.

  8. Boxing, a very PACIFIC moment! 10:04pm, 11/11/2013

    The peacemaker of crunch!

  9. Ted 04:02am, 08/31/2013

    Tony VALENTI , thanks for the prop

    Valenti is a big name in Boston.

  10. john coiley 02:25am, 08/31/2013

    Is this THE Tony Valenti. ex-boxer whose father promoted fights in Beantown?

  11. Tony VALENTI 09:08pm, 08/30/2013

    Precious Print! Thanks for the boost!

  12. john coiley 01:37am, 08/19/2013

    WOW! I AM in awe at these responses to Ted’s glorious article and accolades afforded me. I THANK YOU all, probably especially you, Ted, for gifting me so this time in my life…love to you…john

  13. Ted 07:47am, 08/18/2013

    Thanks Dan. Much appreciated.

  14. Dan Cuoco 07:20am, 08/18/2013

    I was on vacation and missed this outstanding article about Johnny Coiley. I’ve met and communicated with Johnny many times, but never knew the full details of his life outside the ring. Even our mutual friend Ken Flora was unaware of the demons in his life.

  15. Ted 07:43am, 07/26/2013

    Thank you Angel. I really appreciate that.

  16. Angel 05:05am, 07/26/2013

    Ted, to tell John’s story is truly inspirational. Amazing how he rose above the abuse. Great article, one of your best!

  17. Ted 03:19pm, 07/24/2013

    Thanks, LL Cool. Yes his guest articles were very edgy—just the way I like them. Thanks for you post.

  18. John aka L.L. Cool John 03:00pm, 07/24/2013

    A great but depressing read, Ted. Definitely one of your best. I’m at a loss for words over the subject material.  Sad. I loved the articles John wrote in “Shattered: A Collection of True Crime and Noir Essays.” Edgy and dark.

  19. Ring 4 Facebook 08:08am, 07/23/2013

    Ken Flora 11:38am Jul 23

    A great but sad story. I’m proud to call John a friend for over 45 years, we are also birthday twins. He is a great gentleman.

  20. From Facebook 01:59pm, 07/21/2013

    These are being posted so John’s family members can see them.

  21. From facebook 01:56pm, 07/21/2013

    Joseph A Francis That was a great article .. You really hit a grand slam with it ..

  22. From FaceBook 07:46am, 07/20/2013

    Bobby Franklin 11:23am Jul 20


    John was and is a true gentleman. I saw just about all of his fights in Boston and remember him well from the New Garden. I was proud to sit next to him when he was inducted into the Ring 4 Hall of Fame. Ted, thanks for helping John tell his story.

  23. From FaceBook 07:45am, 07/20/2013

    Joseph A Francis 3:09am Jul 13


    A great read .. I have always Known johnny to be a gentlemen of an individual who was always there to work with other fighters and a great person to talk too . I use to look foreward to working with him on the weekends when I would go down there from Manchester ,N.H. after I got out of the Marine Corps. in 68 ..

  24. Ted 05:25am, 07/17/2013

    Thank you

  25. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:11pm, 07/16/2013

    Ted Sares-Some time ago you posted that you were working on this piece about John Coiley but that it would take some time and effort to bring it together…..and man did you ever!.....for my part his story deserved your best and that’s just what you gave it.

  26. Ted 06:26pm, 07/16/2013

    It’s a resort and a little bit of Heaven located about two hours north of us in lower Quebec Province near North Hatley. It’s all about R and R.

  27. Pipsqueak 05:29pm, 07/16/2013

    Ripplecove? What’s Ripplecove?

  28. Ted 04:37pm, 07/16/2013

    Thanks, Ezra. Much appreciated.

  29. Ezra Salkin 08:18am, 07/16/2013

    Great job on this one, Ted. Very soulful and I love the way it wraps up. Not for the faint of heart but neither is boxing.

  30. Ted Sares 07:24am, 07/16/2013

    Thank you Audley and to all the others for all your nice comments. It really makes the effort worthwhile. Time now for a vacation to Canada—to Ayers Cliff—to Ripplecove.

  31. Audley 06:55am, 07/16/2013

    Ted, you tell an amazing story. I recognized John’s name from your book “Shattered” and found his life story fascinating. Glad John gave you permission to tell his story. Amazing how he looked beyond the abuse and still took the best from his father. Great work!

  32. kid vegas 06:50pm, 07/15/2013

    I think you outdid yourself with this one, Ted. What do you do for an encore?

  33. The Krusher 03:59pm, 07/15/2013

    Tough and sensitive subject is correctomundo! Speaking for myself;lf, I don’t know how I could have coped. When you said that John sometimes borders on dangerous depression, what does that mean? Very strong effort here Ted the Bull. Very skillfully done.

  34. Meinhard Schmidt 07:37am, 07/15/2013

    Thank you for the article. I couldn´t read it earlier. For me this is a story of hope,  even in our worst moments we got to catch those little moments of happiness. And try to live a good life for ourself and others.

  35. peter 05:37pm, 07/14/2013

    John—I like, respect, and value what you have done. You are bravely speaking out. And by doing so, you are helping others by giving them a voice. Congratulations! At 63, you are fighting the good fight.

  36. Ted 04:58pm, 07/14/2013

    I don’t know Dollar. High up for sure but it was a real difficult one to write. I always felt my best was “The Friends of Tony Veranis.” I’d rate this one the most difficult to write. It actually took a lot out of me.

    thanks for the prop.

  37. dollarbond 04:29pm, 07/14/2013

    How do you rate this one, Ted?  I have read a lot of your stuff but nothing touches this one.

  38. john coiley 11:35am, 07/14/2013

    hey, Ted…is it okay I’ve only rererereread the article I forget how many times? thank you…

  39. Tedsares 11:22am, 07/14/2013

    My pleasure Johnny to be a part of this project.

  40. john coiley 08:22am, 07/14/2013

    just noticed your comment, my Jado…thank you, as always for being in my life…daddy

  41. john coiley 08:20am, 07/14/2013

    Wow! Thank you, Ted for allowing my voice to be heard; not all victims of sexual abuse become abusers. I was blessed with being single parent which enabled me to more clearly see the gifts we have placed before us if we pay attention in our daily living. hooray for that. by the way, my daughter and her fiancé will be visiting me in FL from MD in September…

  42. Ted 05:59am, 07/14/2013

    THANKS Giorgio, HOPE ALL IS WELL IN FRANCE. ALWAYS GREAT TO HEAR FOR YOU, AMICO.


    THANKS, SHARON. YES THEY WERE COURAGEOUS.


    Many thanks FD.

  43. Giorgio Corsi 01:38am, 07/14/2013

    What a piece of Art .... great article Ted and also a lot of great comments ... you manage to stimulate a lot of reactions from a lot of good folks.

    Keep doing this

    Ciao from France

    Giorgio

  44. Sharon Cobb 10:03pm, 07/13/2013

    Ted—A wonderful job. Irish Micky, thank you so much for having the courage to share. I am sure you are helping many men out there, as men/boys are molested 6 to 1 in America, and probably even more than the statistics because they are afraid to be open about this. You’re a brave man with a lot of heart=a fighter. xoxoxo Sharon Cobb (formerly Mrs. Tex Cobb)

  45. FrankinDallas 06:41pm, 07/13/2013

    His story goes to show that no one has any excuse not to try the best they can be. If Coiley, Curto and Ward could overcome such horrible abuse then anyone can do so.

  46. Ted Sares 12:28pm, 07/13/2013

    Wow, it’s great to see some of the old gang on here like JC45, EZ E, Rich Torsney, and Jill. Many thanks for your wonderful comments, folks. Difficult subject to write about. Very draining.

    Like Johnny says, if we can get just one kid to open up and release his or her demons, we will have done our job.

  47. From Facebook 06:22am, 07/13/2013

    Jade Coiley Thank you, Ted. My Dad is my hero…saved my life many times over…broke the vicious cycle of abuse and did a wonderful job raising me. He instilled in me morals, values and a heart to serve that are rare in today’s world. truly a great man although he doesn’t see that…which adds to the list of things that I adore about him. Thank you for honoring a bit of who my father is

  48. EZ E 07:59pm, 07/12/2013

    Thanks DON, very kind of you. And yes, it’s kind’a of a reunion, with quite a few HOF knowledgeable fight freaks on board. UNCLE TEDDY DOES IT AGAIN!!

  49. Tex Hassler 05:43pm, 07/12/2013

    This was not light, easy reading but at time the truth can be tough. Thanks Mr. Sares for telling it like it is.

  50. John 01:59pm, 07/12/2013

    Over the past several years, I’ve read all four of your books and most of your articles, Ted. This piece is brilliant; albeit extremely depressing and tough to read.

  51. Don from Prov 10:49am, 07/12/2013

    Ah,  JC45—Does it take this good an article to bring you around again?
    I’m happy just to see your moniker up there.  Hope all is good with you.

    And EZ E: This has the makings of a mini-all star event!
    For those who don’t know, Mr. E was a hell of a fighter—
    And is a true gentleman who knows his boxing.

  52. EZ E 08:14am, 07/12/2013

    UNCLE TEDDY, once again YOU OUTDID YOURSELF!! Coiley’s victim, Danny Perez, is a family friend, although we’ve lost contact over the years. Shortly after he got ko’d by Johnny I accompanied him & Doc McClendon to a Washington D.C. fight card where both appeared and BOTH lost. As we drove back up I-95 to New York Perez said that he had enough and that he should’ve quit after the Coiley fight. Well… about a month later he called to asked if I was interested in accompanying him to Canada. “What’s happening in Canada?” I asked. He replied, “Me! I’m fighting Canadian Champ Joey Durelle.” I declined the invitation. Durelle did Danny a great favor that night by knocking him out in a couple of rounds, convincing Danny to finally retire!!

  53. Rich Torsney 07:25am, 07/12/2013

    Ted, these behind the scenes articles you’ve written really gets the reader thinking and feeling deeply. I know every sport has athletes with gritty background narratives but for some reason stories of boxers seem to have even more grit. For me, one of the compelling characteristics of John’s story is the juxtaposition of his demeanor from inside to outside the ropes. My guess is not many people would guess what John’s sport was if they didn’t know; maybe tennis?

    Thanks for including my words in your piece. I’m happy I was able to contribute.  By the way, the gym with the cast of characters I mentioned, was the New Garden on Friend Street. In my mind was one of the last vestiges of old time fight gyms.  It was a stone’s throw from Boston Garden, that was cool.  It had old time trainers like Johnny Dunn (his flip over hairdo wouldn’t move in a hurricane), Val Boston (gruff and scary) and Al Clemente who trained John Coiley.  Those were the days.

  54. Thresher 07:08am, 07/12/2013

    Here are a bunch of photos that show John at different stages of his life.

    https://www.argentaimages.com/media/image/q/John+Coiley/page/1

  55. Jill 06:11am, 07/12/2013

    Takes my breath away.

  56. dollarbond 05:13am, 07/12/2013

    This one is a masterpiece.  Brillaint.

  57. Gutterdandy 03:47am, 07/12/2013

    Magnificent piece, Ted.  One of the best things I’ve read—and not only about boxing—in quite some time.

    Johnny

  58. JC45 10:24pm, 07/11/2013

    Maybe your best , Ted. Much appreciated amigo .
    To use a hoary old cliche , that article could bring a tear to a glass eye .
    There is not much about modern boxing that interests me these days but an article like that did.

    G’day Donny , hope alls well in your world mate ;)

  59. B Red 09:20pm, 07/11/2013

    Deep Article, one of your best Ted

  60. rmladinich 06:49pm, 07/11/2013

    If the Big Man puts us here on earth, he sure don’t make it easy. John has squeezed a lot of living into his 63 years and I hope that more often than not he has the peace he deserves. Boxing is a good antidote to such rage, but it’s hard to find other outlets as one gets older. I’m glad John can put pen to paper and get those feelings on the page. He sounds like a remarkable man, a true survivor and a champion in more ways than one.

  61. Don from Prov 06:18pm, 07/11/2013

    This is one of the best articles that has appeared on Boxing.com—


    Very very good stuff, Mr. Sares

  62. Ted 05:39pm, 07/11/2013

    Thanks Paul, Coming from you that means a lot to me.

  63. Paul Magno 05:36pm, 07/11/2013

    Brilliant…That’s all I can really say….

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