Makes One’s Bones

By Clarence George on March 22, 2015
Makes One’s Bones
Bones wound up getting into legal hot water over charges of drug trafficking and pimping.

Clarence “Bones” Adams was a throwback, a liverwurst-on-white kind of fighter who always reminded me of guys like Baby Arizmendi and Kid Azteca…

“Fee-fi-fo-fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he live, or be he dead
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.”
—Jack and the Beanstalk

Clarence “Bones” Adams was a throwback, a liverwurst-on-white kind of fighter who always reminded me of guys like Baby Arizmendi and Kid Azteca.

Bones made his bones when the rest of us were going out with cheerleaders, to paraphrase Moe Greene. Following an impressive amateur career (176-4), he lied about his age and turned pro at 15, decisioning Simmie Black on April 3, 1990. He won his first 27 fights, 15 by stoppage, save for a draw against Anthony Perez on March 1, 1991. Following a draw against Manuel Sepeda on July 1, 2003, Bones temporarily retired, returning to the ring on October 20, 2006, beating Armando Cordoba by split decision. He last fought on February 19, 2010, stopped by Edel Ruiz via fourth-round TKO. Bones wound up with a record of 44 wins, 20 by knockout, seven losses, four by knockout, four draws, and one no contest.

Adams, who was born in Henderson, Kentucky, but fought out of Vero Beach, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada, fell short in his quest for the IBF bantamweight title, at only 18, stopped by Orlando Canizales via 11th-round TKO, and broken jaw, on March 27, 1993, his first loss. He lost his next two, dislocating a shoulder in both, retired in the fourth by Frankie Toledo on November 10, 1993, and stopped by Jeff Trimble via sixth-round TKO on February 25, 1994. He did win the WBA junior featherweight title, at 25, by decisioning Nestor Garza on March 4, 2000, but failed to score the vacant IBO junior featherweight strap on August 4, 2001, losing to Paulie Ayala by controversial split decision. Adams did less well in their February 23, 2002, rematch, losing by unanimous decision.

Some 13 years ago, Dr. Margaret Goodman, president and chairman of VADA, interviewed Adams for SecondsOut.com. “I was so upset after that (the first Ayala fight),” he said. “I didn’t even remember what I told Larry Merchant in the interview. That was why I didn’t try the second time. I didn’t want to try like I did the first time and get my heart broken. I knew I had won. I still took the second fight even though I thought I would get screwed again. I was sick in camp, I knew I could have canceled, but how could I risk turning down $500,000? I guess it sounds like greed, not really greed but I couldn’t afford it. I am not Oscar De La Hoya, worth how many millions? I knew I could take the fight, not get hurt and if I lost HBO would still be there.”

Bones also expressed an admirably low opinion of the oxymoron known as “women’s boxing”: “I strongly believe that women’s boxing will never really amount to anything. All you have to do is see what happens in the gym much of the time. They are either with trainers that are really dirty old men or trainers that don’t know much about the sport. How can a woman possibly become successful with someone like that?”

When asked what he’d be if not a boxer, Adams said that he’d “like to do anything with building. I couldn’t do an office job. I would like to do something where I could look back at the end of the day and see that I accomplished something.”

Too bad he didn’t heed his own advice. Bones wound up a limo driver, getting into legal hot water over charges of drug trafficking and pimping. Kind of ironic, given that he had told Dr. Goodman that “If I had to give advice to a young fighter, it would be to not abuse your body.”

Adams has pled guilty, and been sentenced to six months in a Nevada hoosegow. “That’s actually more time than prosecutors were seeking,” reports David P. Greisman on BoxingScene.com. “They had asked the judge merely for probation and for Adams to remain under house arrest.” But, said U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones to Adams, “You need to spend a little time in jail.”

So Bones got his bones ground, but he’s not yet 41 and has plenty of time to make good. And speaking of good, that’s the kind of guy he is, regardless of his inept impression of Huggy Bear. As Steve Gallegos wrote just a few months ago for TheTitleFight.com, “He was a scrapper, a true pugilist who never had anything easy in the ring. He truly embraced his underdog role and in the end remains another unsung hero who never truly got the respect or the big paydays that he truly deserved.”

I don’t know about dem bones, but dis Bones gonna rise again.

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Paulie Ayala | Clarence 'Bones' Adams I 1/7



Paulie Ayala | Clarence 'Bones' Adams I 2/7



Paulie Ayala | Clarence 'Bones' Adams I 3/7



Paulie Ayala | Clarence 'Bones' Adams I 4/7



Paulie Ayala | Clarence 'Bones' Adams I 5/7



Paulie Ayala | Clarence 'Bones' Adams I 6/7



Paulie Ayala | Clarence 'Bones' Adams I 7/7



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  1. Clarence George 01:54pm, 03/24/2015

    Pimping is about as revolting as it gets, Irish, I agree.  But I don’t think Bones was much more than a minor facilitator, and he doesn’t deserve the six months.  More importantly, that’s how the prosecutor himself saw it.  He clearly was open to making a deal with Bones’ lawyer, but the judge didn’t want to sign off on it, so…

    And, yes, I share your revulsion for Harry Reid.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:25pm, 03/24/2015

    Clarence George-Floyd was out in 60 days….kept away from other inmates and probably put money in their accounts to smooth things out….Bones won’t be so lucky. Human trafficking is a big problem in Vegas directly related to 5 Billion Dollar a year illegal prostitution. Oscar Goodman wanted to legalize….probably still does. Harry Reid holding up the Human Trafficking bill….I still say someone whipped his sorry ass….ribs and facial injuries from exercise accident….right!

  3. Clarence George 03:56am, 03/24/2015

    Absolutely right.

  4. Magoon 03:04am, 03/24/2015

    He also reminds me of your guy Izzy Jannazzo.

  5. Clarence George 06:37pm, 03/22/2015

    You’re right, Bob.  Vegas wants its visitors to have a good time, but they’re anything but soft on crime.  That’s very much my attitude, though I don’t approve of Bones getting prison time.  That said, his lawyer must have thought that this was the best deal he was going to get.  The sentencing was a long time coming, by the way, as he was indicted in 2012.

  6. Bob 04:55pm, 03/22/2015

    Sorry to hear about Bones’s troubles with the law. Las Vegas justice can be very harsh. There is a misconception of it being a lawless town, when nothing could be further from the truth. Bones still has time for a happy ending and hopefully that will be so after his short “vacation.”

  7. Clarence George 09:39am, 03/22/2015

    Very pleased, Irish.  And you deserve some of the credit.  I’ve been toying with a piece on Bones for a year or more, but kept shunting it aside.  Your post on Ted’s Tiger Williams article reminded me of it, and I decided to get ‘er done.  Excellent work getting in touch with NSAC.  I’m surprised and disappointed by the judge’s decision, which strikes me as overly harsh, if not downright vindictive.  I fully share your high opinion of Bones, who was a tremendously appealing fighter.

    Good points, Nicolas.  The way I see it, as pro boxers have always been almost exclusively of the “lower classes,” the number of white Americans who’ll enter the ring will continue to dwindle.  There was a time when the sport was dominated by men of either Irish or Italian descent.  And Jewish.  Those days are over.

    And what about the sexuality of the female fighters themselves, Eric?

    Right you are, Tony,  Yes, Rooster was your namesake’s informer, while Huggy Bear was Starksy and Hutch’s.  The difference is that there was a dainty pretense that Huggy Bear was more of a hustler than a pimp.

    Absolutely delighted you liked it, Jill.

  8. jill diamond 09:03am, 03/22/2015

    As always, what a great read!

  9. Tony Baretta 08:50am, 03/22/2015

    Rooster > Huggy Bear . Tell “Bones” don’t roll da dice if ya can’t pay the price. Don’t do the crime if ya can’t do the time. And dats da name of dat tune.

  10. Eric 08:07am, 03/22/2015

    Never knew this guy hung around that long. I do vaguely remember him from the ‘90’s. I would have to question the eyesight and sexuality of any male trainer that trains female boxers for sex. With the exception of Mia St. John, I’ve never seen an attractive female boxer. You could claim Ali’s daughter, but she looks so much like Ali, that would be like wanting to have sex with the GOAT. Even Mia isn’t all that when she isn’t dolled up.

  11. nicolas 07:59am, 03/22/2015

    I absolutely agree with you Clarence.  I also think that in the second fight Bones did not fight his fight, thinking that he would have to go and knock out Ayala to win. Many years ago, an African American woman friend of mine made a comment that if it is a white fighter against a black fighter, they will give it to the white guy if it is close. Well, in reality, in a comment I had made about outrageous decisions, that is not true. Even if you are an American fighter. this is also more so if a Caucasian fighter fights someone of Mexican descent, (does the box office support that Mexican people give to boxing have anything to do with that?) World ranked Caucasian fighters in the USA are almost as non existent as world ranked Korean fighters today. I would even suggest that USA is probably not even in the top ten, South Africa is even ahead of USA. While it may be far fetched to say that if people like Adams had captured the unified titles that more Caucasians would have taken to the sport, past boxers like Vinny Pazienza and the late Tommy Morrison acknowledged the influence of the Rocky movies to pursue boxing.

  12. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:07am, 03/22/2015

    Clarence George-I loved this article. I phoned the NSAC after this ridiculous, life changing decision and for some reason the receptionist put me right through to Marc Ratner. He patiently listened to my rant and told me they were going to get together with the officials and “review the tapes”. Sad to say, toward the end of Clarence’s career substance abuse may have been an issue. This guy could really fight and his skillset was off the charts….i guess it helps when you start out as a toddler.

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