Inner Demons Take few Prisoners

By Ted Sares on March 16, 2014
Inner Demons Take few Prisoners
There are noteworthy boxing-related announcements about The President and El Torito.

It is now being reliably reported that former heavyweight contender Ike “The President” Ibeabuchi has been released from prison…

“He [Ibeabuchi] began to insist that he saw demons and he often insisted on people both treating him like and calling him The President. There was even an incidence where Ibeabuchi viciously attacked one of his trainers and a sparring partner.”—Jarrett Zook

“Despite his hard work in therapy during his 16 years in prison, Ayala’s inner demons came back to haunt him. His internal rage translated into his ring fire, but unlike Roberto Duran, Ayala was unable to control it outside the ring.”—Robert Brizel

The President

While it is now being reliably reported that former heavyweight contender Ike “The President” Ibeabuchi has been released from prison, efforts to determine his current status and whereabouts have not proved fruitful. ” Ike, now 41, was an exciting fighter in the nineties who amassed a record of 20-0 and captured the WBC International heavyweight title in 1997. Seemingly an unstoppable force and destined for a title shot, he was convicted for attempted sexual assault and battery with intent to commit a crime stemming from an incident in Las Vegas in 1999. Until the latest positive reports, the tough Nevada State Parole Board had repeatedly denied him parole.

El Torito

In still another somewhat noteworthy boxing-related announcement, former middleweight boxer Tony “El Torito” Ayala Jr. reportedly will be released no later than April 27, 2014 from Sanders Estes Prison Unit in Venus, Texas.

In 2004, Ayala violated probation and was sentenced to ten years in prison for speeding, driving without a license, and possessing heroin and pornographic materials. He was 9-2 at the time though Anthony Bonsante had taken his measure in his last fight for the vacant IBA super middleweight title on April 25, 2003, before being sent back to prison.

For whatever reasons, he has rejected all requests for interviews since his re-incarceration.

While “El Torito” made a decent comeback in 1999 after a 17-year absence, my sense is that he simply is too old at this point to make another one.

As for the President, his obstacles may be more technical, including the distinct possibility of depuration back to Nigeria.

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  1. Tom 09:32am, 01/02/2015

    Ayala was indeed an incredible talent and a bull like wrecking machine. Iv never seen so much talent in a guy so young able to just increase volume of punches and go on a sek and destroy mission like he did.
    He would of been a world champion no doubt!!!.

    The one thing about Ayala that stood out to me, was his BALANCE, he had tremendous balance when being hit or on defensive.
    He was a bigger version of Duran/Lamotta.

    Shame he went to prison, i personally believe he would have taken out the middleweight division.

  2. Ted 08:24am, 04/08/2014

    Hmm. Looks like Ike is still in the Joint.

    Also looks like BWAA member blew it when he reported otherwise.

  3. Joe Greene 08:00am, 03/25/2014

    Never mind their talent - these two belong in psychiatric hospitals. Whether they were born bad or went off the rails at some point is neither here nor there. Both men were indulged by their management and the fans and they abused it: twice in Ayala’s case.

  4. matt atwater 09:28am, 03/19/2014

    Heartbreaking stories man about two guys Ayala and Ibeabuchi who made a lot of money but didn’ know what to do with it and probably thought that it was going to be like that forever! Hopefully they will learn something in prison and open a book and read it? If they don’t no one can help!

  5. Eric 04:19am, 03/18/2014

    Ayala certainly had some big money bouts in his future, namely against Duran, Hearns, and Hagler, had he kept up his blistering pace of knockouts. A showdown with John Mugabi would’ve been interesting as well in the mid eighties. I would’ve picked Ayala to beat Duran had they met in ‘83-‘84, and I could very well see Ayala knocking out Hearns after that. Hagler would have been the opponent to tame the Baby Bull, however. Mugabi vs. Ayala, no contest here, Ayala flattens him. Styles make fights and I think that Ayala had he fought on, would have been all wrong for Duran or Hearns. Leonard or Hagler would’ve had his number, however.

  6. Tex Hassler 12:49am, 03/18/2014

    If Tony Ayala had stayed out of trouble and on track he would have been an all time great in my opinion. The same is true of Ike Ibeacuhi, he brought excitement to the heavy weight like no on else around today.

  7. Ted 07:43pm, 03/17/2014

    John, check out this link

  8. John 07:38pm, 03/17/2014

    Thanks for the follow-up info, Ted. It sounds legit to me. If I have the time tomorrow, I’ll try to find out if he’s still locked-up in Ely, NV. I have his inmate number. By-the-way, a nice article on inner demons in boxing. God knows the sport has had its share.

  9. TEd 07:28pm, 03/17/2014

    Hey Kid, I met my goals and did reasonably well in each of the 4 lifts and managed to win my class and got a nice plaque and ring for my trouble but the meet started at 10:30 and ended at 10:00:  pm . I slept until 2:00 PM the next day. My forte is consistency and it paved the way on Boston.

    I know what you mean by blogs. I actually like to do then over the feature stuff. They are fun to do.

  10. Ted 07:23pm, 03/17/2014

    Hey John. not sure Facebook is all that reliable. I got it from this BWAA member who stated the following:

    “By Michael Amakor | March 14, 2014

    Reports indicate that former heavyweight boxing contender Ike Ibeabuchi was released from prison in February.

    The Nevada Board of Corrections confirmed his release in a phone call, but all efforts to track him or his mother who has spent the past couple of years trying to stir up support for his release down were unsuccessful at the time of filling this report.

    Originally from Nigeria, Ike Ibeabuchi 41, nicknamed “The President”, was an exciting fighter in the nineties who amassed a stellar professional record of 20 wins, including 15 knockouts with no losses. He also captured the WBC International heavyweight title in 1997 and seemed destined for a title shot before getting convicted for attempted sexual assault and battery with intent to commit a crime stemming from an incident in 1999.

    It has been they fervent hope in boxing that he would resume his career when released, but those hopes have faded over the years as the Nevada State Parole Board repeatedly denied him parole. With his release those wishes may come to fruition, but he most likely faces deportation.

    There are also unconfirmed reports that his family has just recently suffered a painful tragedy.

    Our thoughts are with the President.”

    The reason he might not be on the register is that he might be back in Nigeria . Just s[peculating. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong but I’m not ready to coincide that point just yet.

  11. John 07:14pm, 03/17/2014

    FYI: According to his Facebook page, it doesn’t appear that Ibeabuchi has been released from prison. His mother passed away recently and there was no mention of him attending the funeral. Plus, if he were released, he would have to register as a sex offender. I couldn’t find him on any Megan’s Law website.

  12. kid vegas 06:56pm, 03/17/2014

    Ted the Bull, how did you do at March Madness on Saturday in Boston? Is it on Facebook? Another nice short article by the way. I’m beginning to like the short reads as much as or possibly even more than your long well-researched ones. I don’t mean any disrepsct by that but the short reads seem to generate more fun exchanges that are often more informative than the article itself..

  13. Ted 06:49pm, 03/17/2014

    I agree Eric.

  14. Eric 01:20pm, 03/17/2014

    @Don, beg to differ. Back when Ayala wasn’t even 20 years old, he was being mentioned as an opponent for the great Roberto Duran. Ayala had already beaten some pretty good opponents, most of his opponents lasted just a few rounds. He was a 154lb Mike Tyson before there was a Mike Tyson. Ayala had the potential to be an all-time great. In early 1983,  even after the Cuevas fight, Duran was thought to be washed up, and if the opponent would have been Ayala instead of Davey Moore, who knows?

  15. Big Walter 01:08pm, 03/17/2014

    Jesus, I didn’t know Ike was on the streets. The Las Vegas papers were very quiet about this. Maybe he is in Nigeria.

  16. Don from Prov 12:28pm, 03/17/2014

    Ibeabuchi was a hell of a fighter, IMO, and also—obviously, deeply disturbed.
    Ayala, I didn’t think quite as much of as a fighter, but he is certainly—in his own way—just as disturbed as Ike.  I hate to say such a thing, but it sure doesn’t appear that Tony Ayala belongs anywhere that he can get to women.

  17. Ted 11:36am, 03/17/2014

    Bob, I share your angst

  18. Ted 11:35am, 03/17/2014

    Not short—a tragic night

  19. Eric 11:31am, 03/17/2014

    Sports Illustrated mentioned in their article on Bobby Halpern that a possible opponent for the 44 year old was someone named Gerry Cooney. This was in December of 1977. Still, that might have been short night for Mr. Halpern.

  20. Bob 11:18am, 03/17/2014

    I’m a big believer in rehabiliitation and second and even third chances, but something scares me about these two guys walking around as free men. I hope I’m wrong.

  21. Ted 10:43am, 03/17/2014

    Eric, I have covered all of that in past articles on Shavers came back to fight a zombie and was promptly eaten alive. Same with Little Red Lopez. Dewy pulled it off.

    All Ayala has to do is find some chump who will lay down with his first body shot via a left hook, and then he should retire and become some sort of prison counselor and stay out of trouble. Maybe have a book written down the line to get some money but stay away from alcohol and keep a low profile and get out of Texas. He has served his entire sentence so he should be able to go anywhere he chooses. 

    Halpern had a decent comeback until Guy Casale sent him to Bronx Dreamland.

  22. Eric 10:28am, 03/17/2014

    Even if they released Ayala tommorrow, he would be 51 years old. With 40-something fighters becoming more and more common, a 50 plus year old Ayala would still be considered ancient. One fight and out could be possible. Didn’t Ron Lyle and Shavers have some fights in their fifties? Remember back in the late seventies when heavyweight Bobby Halpern was making a comeback after a 17 year prison sentence. Sports Illustrated featured a lengthy article on Halpern. At the time, Halpern was 44 years old, and not a former A-list fighter like an Ayala or a Ibeabuchi. During his short comeback, Halpern was kayoed in a couple of rounds by future heavyweight champ Trevor Berbick, and finished by knocked out by Rocky Casale in his final fight.

  23. dollarbond 10:17am, 03/17/2014

    Thanks for the prop Ted.

  24. Ted 10:06am, 03/17/2014

    Great point Bill. That is a distinct possibility. One fight and go out with a win.

  25. dollarbond 09:58am, 03/17/2014

    Well done Ted but I think the Bay Bull might launch another comeback like that guy Dewy did just to prove a point.

  26. Eric 09:23am, 03/17/2014

    I thought at the time all four “future champs” were starting that Ramos would’ve been the best bet to gain a world title. Then the unheralded Ted Sanders exposed a major weakness in the talented Ramos. I’m thinking that lack of discipline played a major role in Ramos not living up to the hype that surrounded him at the start of his career, as well as his suspect chin. The funny thing is that Ramos went the distance with the hard punching Curtis Parker and won the decision. The eighties had a lot of talented middleweights, not great but solid fighters nonetheless. Parker, Hamsho, Scypion, Sibson, Minter, Antuofermo, Juan Roldan, Frank Fletcher, Michael Olajide, Michael Nunn, Iran Barkley, etc. Underrated era for middleweights.

  27. Jim Crue 08:29am, 03/17/2014

    I remember that well. Ramos had no chin and Bumphus never panned out.
    I spoke with Ayala when he was in Minneapolis to fight Bonsante. My friend Kurt and I went to the gym in St Paul to watch him train. He was very open about his time in prison and I remember telling him to stay out of trouble . He kind of grunted as I remember.

  28. Ted 08:21am, 03/17/2014

    Add Edwin Valero to this duo and you have the three poster boys for wasted talent—not to mention and inner demons.

  29. Eric 08:00am, 03/17/2014

    Two huge talents that were wasted. Absolutely no sympathy for a woman beater or rapist. Ayala proved himself to be the typical front running bully against Yori Boy Campas, hand injury or not, he quit. Both of these guys had potential to become world champions, especially Ayala. His name was being mentioned as a possible opponent for Duran, and maybe a Leonard, Hearns or even Hagler down the road. Remember that Ayala was featured along with Johnny Bumphus, Bobby Czyz,  and Alex Ramos as “Tommorrow’s Champions” back in the early eighties. It seems Czyz was the only one who made it to the big time.

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