Lower Than Low in St. Joe—Round 1

By Charles Jay on November 7, 2017
Lower Than Low in St. Joe—Round 1
Promoter John Carden needed an opponent and put out a call he never should have made.

Most people in the crowd at No Place didn’t need any special insight to spot something out of the ordinary…


Last April 16, ring announcer Amy Hayes, part of promoter John Carden’s small crew on hand, stood in the ring with her black leather jacket, holding a microphone draped in rhinestone “bling,” and introduced a rather vocal crowd of 663 at a place called, well, the “No Place” to Bryan Timmons, a hometown favorite, and his opponent, James Kindred, another local, in a scheduled four-round matchup of welterweights in St. Joseph, Missouri.

She’d had a busy evening dragging herself up and down the ring steps, as each of the seven fights that preceded it had ended within two minutes of the first round, giving her, in effect, more “face time” than any of the competitors. You’d think such a state of affairs would have had her on alert, watching intently and ready to climb inside the ropes again at a moment’s notice, but if she saw anything unusual about what ultimately happened, she’s not talking about it.

One can’t argue that there are a lot of untrained eyes in a typical boxing crowd. But there were many who didn’t necessarily need any special insight to spot something out of the ordinary, and that didn’t even include one veteran observer who called it “the weakest thing I’ve seen in a long time.”

And there was one female spectator at ringside who was crying a river of tears.

But there was good reason for it, as she knew something almost no one else in the room did.

One thing is certain—those who saw it and recognized right away what they were watching created a word-of-mouth that reverberated.

You see, the very next morning, Timmons, who was a veteran of ten professional bouts, not to mention at least five more in mixed martial arts, found himself being roundly and enthusiastically praised by a number of people for his efforts the previous evening. However, it wasn’t because he had put his talents on display to their fullest.

Rather, it’s because he had NOT.

That which leads us to how all the parties came to be at the No Place to begin with is actually the kind of story that, under a different set of circumstances, might warm the heart.

Brian “The Lion” Carden was a hard-hitting, hard-trying welterweight out of St. Joe, and was perhaps best described by Brent Shephard, a blogger who had once interviewed him, as “an all-or-nothing fighter.” That is to say, he either knocked his opponent out or got knocked out himself. People around St. Joseph still talk about the devastating KO he administered to a journeyman fighter named Reymundo Hernandez in July 2008, which had made it onto a cable broadcast. That, as it turned out, was the last fight he won. He dropped his last three bouts, all to undefeated opponents—the first two on TKO’s in the opening round and then a first-round disqualification to Bayan Jargal. Three weeks later, he died “at his home,” in the words of the obituary that was published in the local newspaper.

As it is stated on one of his websites, John Carden, who had two recorded professional bouts himself, promoted and managed his brother. And at some point after Brian’s death, he embarked upon the continuation and expansion of his activities in the sport as an homage to him. Hence the company name “Legacy Boxing” and a slogan that is used over and over: “The Legacy Continues.”

According to the official results sheet from the Missouri Office of Athletics, “Legacy Entertainment” was listed as the promoter, although it is “Legacy Boxing” that actually held the promoter’s license. That might be just a matter of semantics, but our research indicates that there was not a corporation under either of those names—and with any connection to John Carden—that was registered with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office as of April 16, 2016, at least as has been determined by records on its website. Our efforts to get clarification on this from Carden were unsuccessful.

Whether he is working under a corporate umbrella or not, John Carden aspires to the big-time, at least on a regional basis, but was at best a small operator at the moment in question. He claimed to have put on over twenty shows since he began his venture, and one of the purposes behind many of these, it seemed obvious, was to generate victories for club fighters, mostly locals, which operate as a “currency” of sorts when he seeks to send them somewhere else for a payday, though the paydays are not necessarily all that considerable.

Some agents or managers book the high-level opponents—the ones who will often fight in main events on cable television or overseas in front of large arena crowds or even in stadiums. Carden could be somewhere down at the other end, where booking a ten-round fighter to go out of town is a big occasion. After all, this was the Midwest/Great Plains area, where many of the “Wild West shows,” as some boxing insiders like to call them, are held. Basically anything can and does happen, and world-class talent is not in abundance.

Bryan Timmons is not a bad example of the kind of opponent Carden might book, in the respect that he is someone who competes on undercards and has a record around or below the .500 mark. Timmons is about as likable as it gets; educated (Missouri Western State University, right there in St. Joe) and a solid family man. He’s the type of guy who values the idea of maintaining his relationships with everyone he comes across in the business, and is known for always putting forth an honest effort.

He doesn’t necessarily need to fight, but he likes it, and judging from his activity in both the ring and the cage, he did so on most any date that was made available. One of those dates was last April 16, and it was in St. Joe. And that meant it was time to put one in the “win” column in front of the hometown crowd.

It was potentially important indeed for Carden to get Timmons a victory, in order to keep him alive as a viable opponent. That was basically his place in the culture of professional boxing.

In order for you to understand how the business works for an “opponent,” we need to explain a little about the regulations that exist around the country. In many states, a fighter is put on a suspension, which is placed on a national list for all commissions to see, if he or she loses a specified number of bouts consecutively. And this differs from state to state; for example, in New Jersey it’s six fights in a row. In numerous jurisdictions it’s only five straight.

In Missouri it is ten consecutive fights, but such a thing was moot, for all intents and purposes, because Timmons was making his money not by staying home, but by going on the road against prospects who were in other states.

According to BoxRec.com, perhaps the most popular online record-keeping source available, Timmons, at the time of the April 16 fight, had a career record of 3-7. He was 3-0 with three knockouts in the fights he had in St. Joseph, with his opponents having a collective record of 0-5.  Outside of St. Joe, he was 0-7 with five knockout losses, against foes with a cumulative 20-2-2 mark. Timmons fought in Kansas City and Brooklyn twice, along with Omaha, Waterloo and Topeka. And he was in a position where he had lost four consecutive fights. The point is, Carden was going to be limited as to where he could insert Timmons into a card—and make a little money for himself—if he picked up a fifth straight defeat.

At the level at which Timmons was operating, he was going to find himself in a four or six-round fight, on an out-of-town show, generally as a trial horse, and some of the paydays were better than most, such as the two appearances in Brooklyn. He might either be sent or brought by someone like Carden because the out-of-town promoter specifically wanted someone like him, or as part of a group of fighters in the same “stable” that would make it more feasible for that promoter to bring Carden’s people in and pay him expenses to do so.

When a significant part of your business is in supplying opponents, as Carden’s was, you aren’t turning down many opportunities, and have to have people available on short notice a great deal of the time. It also helps to be able to say that your guy is coming off a win, and Carden was hoping to accomplish that for many of the fighters who were on the so-called “A” side of the April 16 card.

Whether Timmons was going to be among them was something that had come into question. In four-round fights on small-time shows, pullouts are not the most unusual thing, and one must presume that is why Carden had scheduled no less than thirteen bouts for the evening. But it had become apparent that Timmons was going to need an opponent, and time was getting scarce. Being a local guy, he had more than his share of friends coming to see him, and it was not a small consideration that they had bought tickets, which constituted revenue.

Carden claims he had been getting a number of phone calls from someone who was asking to be put on one of his fight cards. For anyone who has been a promoter or matchmaker, this is not the slightest bit strange. So he made a mental note of the young man’s availability, in the event he was going to be needed. That occasion did indeed arise, as Bryan Timmons was going to have to be accommodated if he was going to be eligible for an out-of-town payday anytime in the future.

Carden was in a jam for an opponent, so he put out the call.

A call he never should have made.

A call to James Kindred…......Special Olympian.

(NOTE: Promoter John Carden has declined to answer any questions related to this story)

The Most Astonishing Boxing Story You’ll Ever Read
Lower Than Low in St. Joe—Round 1


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  1. Bruno Schleinstein 03:46pm, 11/07/2017

    Off to a great start and looking forward to the next chapter. Still….we are not surprised that an asshat wannabe boxing promoter would set up a gross mismatch….as a matter of fact a stinkin” ass travesty .....but it boggles that a jurisdiction would license Special Olympian James Kindred for a sanctioned professional boxing match