Remembering Those Who Passed in 2011

By Ted Sares on December 29, 2011
Remembering Those Who Passed in 2011
Joe Frazier was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990. He was 67 at the time of his death.

The sweet science lost some greats and near greats in 2011, and each of them will be missed. May the Lord grant them eternal comfort…

(In alphabetical order)

George Benton. He was a solid middleweight contender from Philadelphia and a fine trainer of several champions, including Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, and Meldrick Taylor. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) in 2001. He was 78.

Gil Clancy. This superb trainer had George Foreman, Gerry Cooney, and Lucien Rodriguez. He also was a fine boxing commentator. He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1993. He was 88 at the time of his death

Sir Henry Cooper. Our ‘Enery, he was enormously popular and a dearly loved British boxing legend who won more awards than space allows to list. He was 76.

Nick Charles, the beloved Showtime boxing commentator. He was only 64 when he left us at his home in Santa Fe, N.M. “Never give up on life.”

Billy Costello, 55, the former WBC light welterweight ruler who won his first 30 professional fights, died of lung cancer in his hometown of Kingston, N.Y. He was 40-2 over a 20-year career.

“Smokin’” Joe Frazier, An extremely well liked heavyweight champion whose work ethic will always be inspirational. Joe was a 1964 Olympic gold medalist best known for his victory over Muhammad Ali in their epic 1971 bout of unbeaten heavyweight champions.  He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990. Joe was 67 at the time of his death.

Bill Gallo. He was a legendary boxing cartoonist who received the James J. Walker Award from the Boxing Writers Association, and the Champions Award from the Downtown Athletic Club. He was inducted into the IBHOF in 2001. Bill was 88 at the time of his death.

Genaro Hernandez. A former WBA and WBC super-featherweight king, he waged a long and heroic battle with cancer. He left us on June 7, 2011, at the age of 45.

Abrar Hussain. Pakistan’s well known Olympic boxer, 51, was shot dead by target killers as he came out of his office in the Ayub Stadium, where he worked as the Chairman of the Baluchistan Sport Board.

Scott LeDoux, former heavyweight contender. “The Fighting Frenchman “ was a rough, tough road warrior out of Minnesota who fought the very best during the golden age of heavyweights in the ‘70s, but he was a gentle giant with a heart of gold. He was 62 years old, and had been battling Lou Gehrig’s disease for three years

Ronald “Butch” Lewis was a highly successful and flamboyant boxing promoter best known for getting Michael Spinks a $13.5 million payday for what became just 91 seconds in the ring with Mike Tyson. He died from a cardiac arrest at the age of 65.

Ron Lyle, heavyweight contender and world title challenger who also fought the very best during the golden age of heavyweights in the ‘70s and participated in many classics. His action-packed tenure in the ring was part of a decades-long attempt at redemption. Lyle entered a Denver hospital in November and died eight days later after a stomach abscess became septic. He was 70.

Anele Makhwelo. This 22-year-old South African boxer died from injuries sustained after his South African Flyweight title challenge against the champion Doctor Ntsele in the Free State in October.

Gary Mason. He was a popular former British and European heavyweight champion. Mason, 48, was on his bicycle in Sandy Lane South, Wallington when he was involved in a collision with a van. The retired fighter was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tom McNeeley. A former Michigan State football player, he was a former world heavyweight title challenger who thrilled fans in the Boston area. He was 74.

“Iron Mike” Pusateri also thrilled fans in the Boston area during the same era as Tom McNeeley. He was 71.

Roman Simakov. This Russian light heavyweight died in December at the age of 27 after being knocked out and put in a coma during a WBC Asian title fight

May the Lord grant them eternal comfort.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

George Benton Tribute



Cassius Clay vs Henry Cooper I - June 18, 1963



CNN tribute to Nick Charles



Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 1 FULL FIGHT



Bill Gallo talks about living American dream



Genaro Hernandez - Yuji Watanabe



Former Olympian Abrar Hussain: Another hero lost



Mike Weaver vs Scott leDoux



Butch Lewis



Ron Lyle vs Scott LeDoux 1/2



Ron Lyle vs Scott LeDoux 2/2 + Ron Lyle vs Gerry Cooney



Gary Mason v Luc Goossens



Jose Torres | Tom McNeeley (HL) 1/1



Mike Pusateri Boxing part 1



Sergey Kovalev vs Roman Simakov 2011 12 05



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  1. the thresher 06:54pm, 12/31/2011

    Pete,  I think the first one was Phil Wright out of Boston. Mike won his first 17 all by KO. He fought some very tough guys along the way including Joe DeNucie twice.

  2. pete 03:43pm, 12/31/2011

    Fascinating. But who were Pusiteri’s opponents in that clip??

  3. the thresher 07:28pm, 12/30/2011

    Thanks Buster, that was very kind of you.

  4. pugknows 05:03pm, 12/30/2011

    Jim, I went to North Park with Ted and I also went to North Park Junior College. (I was two years behind)  and I can tell you he was one very rough and mean (he knew every trick) football player. He was one of the first middle linebackers, but they called it middle guard back then. I agree that he was a better football player than he was a baseball player. He got screwed out of being named all-city.

  5. the thresher 03:08pm, 12/30/2011

    Great post Joseph

  6. The Welshman 01:55pm, 12/30/2011

    Growing up in South Wales in the late 50s early 60s along with my family listening on the wireless (radio) to the terrific British heavyweight contests incredible fights including Dick Richardson, Brian London, Joe Erskin, Billy Walker, Johnny Prescott and the Daddy of them all Henry Cooper without doubt this was the greatest era in British heavyweight history, the round-robin series of fights involving these warriors were incredible and it was Henry Cooper who came out on top, he dominated British Heavyweight boxing for over a decade in fact he was probably the best in Europe for a decade, now before our American posters come down on me like a ton of bricks (i can already hear your mutterings across the ocean) i totally agree at that time Henry was not going to become a world champ but nevertheless he was truly a fine, fine fighter and more importantly a fine, fine human being, was there ever a greater servant to the sport of boxing than Henry ? i doubt it, started out fighting as a 10 year old schoolboy and was still serving the sport as a fund raiser for the injured boxers charities right up to his death, almost a full life term time servant to the sport of boxing, surely there should be a catagory for such men in the “International boxing hall of fame”  it was Henry who first gave me the boxing bug, as a lad Henry was my hero, and now i’m turning old and grey i say without shame Henry is still my hero, thank’s for the memories R.I.P.

  7. the thresher 11:51am, 12/30/2011

    Touhy Ave. and Sheridan Road. Was and is a damn nice area.

  8. the thresher 11:50am, 12/30/2011

    Whoops, Made the Herald American’s ALL-City baseball team in 1955.

    I lived in the Portage Park area which meant that I had a long commute to HS every day. I also grew up in the tough Logan Square area at Kimball, Diversey, and Milwaukee. Ugh.

  9. the thresher 11:47am, 12/30/2011

    Jim, I went to North Park Academy also on the North side at Foster and Kedzie. We played Sullivan in Basketball, but we were in the Private School League. Still, we played a lot of public schools like Ammundsen, Taft, Roosevelt, etc.We played our games at Winniumac Park Stadium or at Lane Tech Stadium. My brother went to Shurz and then went to WW2 as soon as he graduated. Both my sisters went to North Park.

    I played football and baseball at NPA. Made the Herald American’s ALL-City baseball team in 1959, but I awlays thought I was a better football player and got several offers (best one came from Oklahoma A&M)  but never played in college. I wanted to concentrate on my grades instead and was smart enough to know I could not do both. I did play baseball in college..

    I also played some mean Windy City softball under the lights at Claredon Park Stadium near the Lake at Wilson Ave. I loved that game dearly.

  10. Jim Crue 11:28am, 12/30/2011

    Hi Ted,
    I went to Sullivan on the far north sioe. Lots of my friends went to Lane Tech as did my dad. I grew up at Touhy Ave. and Sheridan Road. A block from the lake. How about you?

  11. the thresher 11:06am, 12/30/2011

    JIm, where did you go to HS?

  12. Jim Crue 07:59am, 12/30/2011

    Ted, I am originally from Chicago. Grew up on the north side in the 1950’s and 60’s. Lived there until 1977 and return often to visit family. Great city!!

  13. The Pinoy Pikey 07:47am, 12/30/2011

    Ted, that’s right, you are from Chicago.  I keep forgetting that—seems like I think of you as a regular fella from Southie/Dot…LOL!

  14. dollar bond 07:13am, 12/30/2011

    Thanks for reminding me and remembering them.

  15. Jim Crue 07:07am, 12/30/2011

    Let’s remember that Gil Clancey was the manager and trainer of the GREAT Emile Griffith and was the first trainer and manager of Ralph Tiger Jones in the 1950’s before the New York mob used its muscle and took Tiger away from him.

  16. MIKE SCHMIDT 06:45am, 12/30/2011

    Very very nice Thresher. I always remember Gil Clancy and what a superb job he did on TV announcing—his call round to round, telling us like a fortune teller in advance as to what would happen, in Duran vs Barkley—simply magical. Boxing is my Sanctuary indeed my friend—and by the by I just finished the book and it has a cosy spot on the bookshelf waiting for your autograph while at the next Hall of Fame. All the best in the New Year to you sir.

  17. Pete The Sneak 05:21am, 12/30/2011

    Wow..Looking at all those names in one article surely does put it all in perspective. What a great Lineup of fighters/writers/trainers/Commentators we lost over this past year. Nice Tribute Ted. All will be truly missed. Peace.

  18. TEX HASSLER 07:45pm, 12/29/2011

    Life is temporary at best and Mr. Sares reminded us of this in his fine article. All these men will be missed by their families and fans. George Benton could have been a champion if he would have had the right break. All these men contributed to our sport and our prayers should go out to their families.

  19. pugknows 06:55pm, 12/29/2011

    Simple and poignant. Thanks, Thresher

  20. JC45 06:41pm, 12/29/2011

    Merry Xmas( belated ) and a happy new year - holiday season to all. Its been a shocking year Ted. Add my favourite Aussie boxer of all time, Lionel Rose, to the list if you can mate. Cheers.

  21. Don from Prov 06:34pm, 12/29/2011

    Oh what a picture of Ali/Frazier!

    Mr. Frazier was to be deeply admired.

  22. the thresher 06:00pm, 12/29/2011

    PP, The Nick Charles story hit home real hard. He and I were/are both Greek and Italian, both first generation Americans, we both grew up in the same neighboorhood in Chicago, both married the same number of times, both moved around the country, both had many similar interests. We hit it off real well.

    Iron Mike was a dear friend. That one was a killer. Came on all of a sudden.

  23. The Pinoy Pikey 05:46pm, 12/29/2011

    Nick Charles, Gil Clancy and Smokin’ Joe really hit home for me….Ted, I know the loss of “Iron Mike” Pusateri was a huge loss for you, as you were good friends from the Ring 4 functions at the Florian.

  24. the thresher 05:41pm, 12/29/2011

    Rest in Peace boxing brothers; you gave us great thrills along the way. We will miss you.

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