The Other Guy from Youngstown

By Ted Sares on March 17, 2014
The Other Guy from Youngstown
He has made a positive transition to life after boxing and remains a true credit to the sport.

Humble, sincere, friendly, and religious, Harry Arroyo is one of the nicest people with whom to meet and converse…

“When I was going through my transition of being famous, I tried to ask God why was I here? What was my purpose? Surely it wasn’t just to win three gold medals. There has to be more to this life than that.”—Wilma Rudolph

“Everybody breathing dirt, eating dirt—They call it ‘pay dirt,’ for Youngstown clean would be Youngstown out of work…”—Frank Bohn, 1915

Youngstown, Ohio is the kind of place you would expect tough boxers to come from. Halfway between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, it’s tough, gritty, and unsympathetic. A hardscrabble place with a population of about 74,000, it has a Steel Museum celebrating its major industry which has declined badly since the ‘70s. Located in a region often referred to as the Rust Belt, the city has seen better times as evidenced by the many boarded up shops, but strong efforts are now underway to revitalize the city’s post-steel image. Still, living in the Rust Belt proved too difficult for many who packed up their families and migrated to the Sunbelt.

One constant has been a tradition of professional and semi-professional sports with the Youngstown State University Penguins being a major regional draw. The university is also a major employer. But when it comes to sports in this city, boxing takes center stage because this is the sport that produced the likes of Tommy Bell, Tony Janiro,  Joey Carkido, Frank Lentine, L.C. Morgan, Greg “The Flea” Richardson, Jeff Lampkin, Donnie “Master of Disaster” Long,  Ken “The Cobra” Sigurani, Billy Lyell, Lenny and Ray Mancini and others. And when you mention Youngstown within the context of boxing, three names immediately come to mind—Boom Boom Mancini, Kelly Pavlik, and Harry Arroyo.

Harry Arroyo

Harry Arroyo, of Puerto Rican decent, has dark movie star good looks and a personality to match. He was a fan-friendly power puncher who fought in the same exciting way as Pavlik and Mancini. Harry duked during a marvelous boxing era when exciting fighters and fights were continually offered up to avid boxing fans that depended on TV as their means of enjoyment. Men like Jimmy Paul, Melvin Paul, Charlie Brown, Terrence Alli, Harold Brazier, Greg Haugen, Vinny Pazienza and many others made for great Saturday afternoon entertainment and Monday morning conversation. It was a time when the best fought the best and did not run up a record against dreadful opposition and posture for one big payday.

Arroyo streaked to 22-0 before facing super popular “Rockin” Robin Blake (20-0 at the time) in Atlantic City on January 14, 1984. It was a much anticipated fight seen on national TV between two 135-pounders on the upswing. Harry won a close UD10 and that positioned him for an April fight with Charlie “Choo Choo” Brown (23-2-1), a tough scrapper out of Philly. (Are there any other kind?) When Arroyo beat Blake, he broke into the top twelve IBF lightweight rankings. As for Rockin Robin, his star dimmed as he went 13-8 and retired in 1990 with a 33-8 record. The Texan now enjoys a successful career in law enforcement.

Choo Choo vs. Melvin Paul (1984)

The fight was for the IBF lightweight title was at the Sands in Atlantic City. This would be the big one for the affable Youngstown welterweight. Brown had beaten Melvin Paul (17-2) in January 1984 to take the newly created title by a close 15-round SD and was in defensive mode.

Charlie would later recall in a City Beat article by Benjamin Herold, “[Paul] definitely came to fight. He was a steady comer, he came right at you. So I figured I’ll box him,” said Brown while pantomiming his peek-a-boo style. “Both hands is right there in front of you, but you don’t know which is coming first.” Brown dropped Paul in round one with a left hook to the body and again in the fourth round with a right to the chest. But in the final round, Paul hit Choo Choo with a crushing right that Brown couldn’t remember getting hit with. However, as is the wont of a Philly fighter, he got up and even landed some solid shots before the final bell.

Fred “Herk” Jenkins hoped to use the championship to catapult Brown, then 23-2-1, higher in the rankings of the better-established WBA and WBC. The ultimate aim was a unification tournament involving popular WBA champ Ray Mancini and tough WBC champ Edwin Rosario and bigger paydays, but that plan, unfortunately for Charlie and Herk, depended on beating one Harry Arroyo.

Choo Choo vs. Arroyo (1984)

The stage was set and Harry did not disappoint, taking the title with a dramatic 14h round TKO as Brown gassed against the better trained and more determined Arroyo, though he claimed the fight was stopped too soon.

Brown went on to win only three more bouts and eventually lost his last 11 fights retiring in 1993. “Things didn’t go to well because of the frame of mind I was in,” he said. “It got to the point where I just didn’t give a damn. I’ve been hurt by the fight game a little bit. I expected something from it. I’ve been to the top, and I even took the city to the top by my being from here. It didn’t last long, but I got there.” He finished with a mark of 26-16-2 after a second round KO loss to veteran Sammy Fuentes in 1993.

Arroyo vs. White Lightning (1984)

In September of 1984, Harry was set to defend his newly won crown against still another Charlie Brown (this one nicknamed “White Lightning”) in Youngstown. This Charlie Brown (23-0 at the time), from basketball-crazy Moline, Illinois, was a true road warrior having fought in Miami, New Jersey, New York City, Memphis, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Ohio, California, Virginia, North Carolina, and Denmark. Going into the bout with Arroyo, White Lightning had impressive wins over Remo Di Carlo (11-1), Louis Burke (18-0), and Frank Newton (24-0-1). He also raised eyebrows when he beat (and retired) the former active WBC super featherweight champion Alfredo Escalera (53-13-3) at Madison Square Garden in 1983.

But none of this helped much as Arroyo destroyed, dismantled, and grounded White Lightning by TKO in the eighth round. This Brown would also follow a pattern and go 8-10 losing six of his last eight (though one of his later wins came against the famous Saoul Mamby by six-round UD 1992). He retired in 1995 with a 31-11 mark, his last fight a second round TKO loss to rugged Ralph Jones (30-2). He probably will be remembered more for his nickname and subsequent first round KO loss to Greg Haugen than his willingness to fight anywhere in the US.

At this point in Harry’s career, it was becoming apparent that fighting him could result in a big career detour as was the case of the two aforementioned Charlies. Numbers don’t lie and their fights with Harry were pivotal in a negative way. But what about Harry, where would he go from here?

Arroyo vs. Alli (1985)

After the win against “White Lightning,” the Youngstown native defended his title against rock hard Terrence Alli (24-3-1) from Brooklyn by way of Guyana. The fight took place at Bally’s in Atlantic City in January 1985 and for those who were fortunate enough to be there or to witness it on TV, it was a memorable one with ebb and flow action and incredibly hard punches landing on the heads of the combatants. Savage and brutal, each fighter took turns hitting the other with sharp combinations and accurate career-ending shots. Harry was hurt by a vicious uppercut in the seventh but somehow hung on. In the 11th round, with the fight dead even on the judges’ scorecards, Arroyo, who had been down once, waged a fierce exchange with Alli finally catching him in a corner. Putting his punches together, albeit slowly, he launched a barrage of unanswered shots that snapped Alli’s neck back until Tony Perez, an always recalcitrant third man, had no choice but to call a halt to the sudden and lethal onslaught at 1:16 in what was hailed as one of the best fights of the year. Harry survived, but did he win the battle and lose the war.

While the loss seemingly had no immediate adverse impact on Alli’s career (he would go on to win 29 more bouts though his last nine were winless), it was a different story for Harry. In April 1985, and perhaps too soon after the Alli fight, he defended his title against crafty Jimmy Paul (21-1) again at Bally’s. This time he lost a lopsided decision. Paul put Harry down five times to take the IBF title and signaled that the Alli fight took far too much from him. Validating this notion, Arroyo’s career then went in the same direction as that of the two Charlies and he too fell on hard times, albeit Harry’s hard times resulted from a hard-earned win.

Arroyo went 14-10 the remainder of his career and while he picked up the WBC Continental Americas light welterweight title from undefeated Rick Souce in 1988, he lost it two months later by a brutal first round knockout to tough Loreto Garza, who later became the WBA junior welterweight champion. After dropping a 10-round UD to undefeated Vinny Letizia in 1993, Harry Arroyo called it quits with a fine record of 40-11 and a willingness to fight the very best. And give his all.

Arroyo has expressed some disappointment over the fact that he never had a chance to meet Ray Mancini in the ring. The possibility of a matchup between the two fighters emerged in the early 1980s, but circumstances intervened. Had it been made, it would likely have been billed as “Don’t Blink.”

Harry now lives comfortably with his wife and four children in Ohio. Humble, sincere, friendly, and religious, he is one of the nicest people with whom to meet and converse. He has made a positive transition from boxing to a life after boxing and remains a true credit to the sport.

Ted Sares is a private investor who enjoys writing about boxing. A member of the Elite Powerlifting Federation, Ted is one of the oldest active competitors in the world and holds several state records.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Harry Arroyo TKO11 Terrence Alli



Richard (Rick) Soucé vs Harry Arroyo 1988



YouTube Jimmy Paul Vs Harry Arroyo Rds 1 2



YouTube - Jimmy Paul Vs Harry Arroyo Rds 3 4 5.flv



YouTube - Jimmy Paul Vs Harry Arroyo Rds 6 7 8.flv



YouTube - Jimmy Paul Vs Harry Arroyo Rds 9 10 11.flv



YouTube - Jimmy Paul Vs Harry Arroyo Rds 12 13 14.flv



YouTube - Jimmy Paul Vs Harry Arroyo Rd 15 _ Postfight.flv



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  1. Ted 06:24am, 03/27/2014

    My pleasure

  2. Chief2224 06:11am, 03/27/2014

    What an amazing article! I followed Harry’s boxing career but I got to know him as a person when we both worked together at Mill Creek Park where Harry was a police officer. He was the sweetest, nicest guy I’ve ever met. Everybody who met him just adored him. To be honest, I almost forgot about his boxing past because I really came to like and respect Harry, the man. So it was great to read this article and be reminded of just how great a boxer he really was. I haven’t seen Harry in ages but, wherever he is, I hope he is doing well. He is truly one of Youngstown’s finest.

  3. Pete The Sneak 09:58am, 03/22/2014

    leigh, ditto…I pretty much feel the same way…That’s why it’s great when Ted is not on the links, cause the result is a barrage of boxing history lessons…So you see. this brutal winter we’ve had up north has had its advantages…Peace.

  4. leigh 01:01am, 03/22/2014

    Must admit guys nearly all comments I read on here are like a history lesson,I read about boxers I’ve never heard of then go research a bit ,it’s got to be the best web site for learning more about our great sport.

  5. Ted 06:00pm, 03/21/2014

    My pleasure Spike

  6. Mike "Spike" Elliott 03:34pm, 03/21/2014

    I thank you for remembering Champ Harry Arroyo. I was Arroyo’s PR guy after his career ended. Harry became the reason that the Boxing Ministry began in 1992 in Youngstown,OH. not only was Harry my close friend but a real credit to the sport. I was friends with so many great talented fighters in Y town such as LC Morgan’s nephew and good fighter: Lenzie Morgan as well as Earnie Shavers (Warren,Oh) and Craig Kikta, Ken Sigurani, Roland Commings, Bobby Plegge and many many others..Again bless you for bringing Arroyo to the for front again. great job!!

  7. Jim Crue 06:24am, 03/19/2014

    ha, good one Ted and ain’t that the truth.

  8. Ted 06:22am, 03/19/2014

    An issue between two Chicagoans resolved peacefully!! It’s a miracle.

  9. Jim Crue 06:15am, 03/19/2014

    oops, I’m getting senile in my old age. You are correct!! Isn’t the first time I’ve been wrong and won’t be the last I’m sure. I did not look back far enough.

  10. Steve Corbo via Ted 06:12am, 03/19/2014

    After reading Jim Crue’s comment, I double checked multiple sources, including boxrec.com as he suggested. All were in agreement, L.C. Morgan fought Eddie Perkins on January 12, 1961 at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles California. With L.C. winning a unanimous decision after 10 rounds.

    Here is the link to Eddie Perkins’ Professional Record as posted on boxrec.com:  http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?cat=boxer&human_id=12540&pageID=1


    One thing for sure, without question, Eddie Perkins, was a great fighter. I had the honor and privilege of meeting him and talking with him on many occasions over the years. He passed away on May 10, 2012, at the age of 75, and I had the sad but, necessary duty, to pay my final respects to Eddie by attending his wake. There were five of us who went to his wake, together, as a group. The group included myself, my son and former pro boxers John Nocita, Lenny LaPaglia and Johnny Lira. Shortly thereafter, Lira passed away on December 08, 2012, at the age of 61, and LaPaglia passed away on July 06, 2013, at the age of 53.

  11. Jim Crue 06:12am, 03/19/2014

    Steve and Ted,
    you got me on the LC Morgan vs Eddie Perkins. I don’t remember it and it’s not on BoxRec. Someone should tell them. I have from time to time sent them info they did not have. Since there is no Ring Record Book these days they are the go to source.

  12. From Steve Corbo via Ted 06:08am, 03/19/2014

    Even checked my trusty old hardcover 1983 Ring Record Book…  The Bible of Boxing also confirms LC Morgan fought and won a 10 rd decision over Eddie Perkins at the Olympic, in LA, back on January 12,1961.
    SC
    PS: Seems like a million years ago when I would buy that hardcover Ring Record Book every year… No computers back then!

  13. Pete The Sneak 04:28am, 03/19/2014

    Harry Arroyo was the only fighter/fight that my then girlfriend (now wife) used to sit down and watch with me cause he was ‘cute.’..lol…Great write up Ted on a classy gentleman and a heck of a fighter, Harry Arroyo. Really great to hear he’s doing well… Also, nice of you to give props/recognition to the Charlie’s (Choo Choo and White Lightning) and all the other incredible lightweights of the 80’s… Those were some good boxing times man…Peace.

  14. Matt McGrain 02:21am, 03/19/2014

    Arroyo Alli is a great fight.  I love that fight.

  15. Ted 06:59pm, 03/18/2014

    Agreed

  16. nicolas 06:32pm, 03/18/2014

    TED; I would say the loss that Crawley suffered against Bramble perhaps took a lot out of him, as he did not fight for about a year. and then I think another two years went by. I suppose his dreams and perhaps confidence of a more successful career than he did have (only two losses) perhaps ended his desire.

  17. Ted 06:30pm, 03/18/2014

    Unless he failed an MRI, he just may be taking a break from boxing. He broke the second and third metacarpal in his right hand in sparring with Alexander Kahl. There had been talk of a lack of motivation but we might see him back at some point.

    Thanks Irish for the comments about Scott-Wilder.

  18. nicolas 06:28pm, 03/18/2014

    IRISH FRANKIE: I have read that after his fight with Enzo, he just got burned out of boxing, and was just going to take off a year, which as we can see is now nearly 4 years. Funny when during that year of 2010, he only fought twice, and before Enzo had not fought in six months. of of course the business end can take a lot out of these fighters as well, which may have also played a factor in many fighters not being the same they had once showed. I remember a fighter in the San Francisco Bay Area, back in 1979 who looked like he had a lot of promise named Tommy Evans. The cruiserweight division had just started, and some felt he could have been either a champion or at least a top contender in that group. But he just also, vanished. I think one of the promoters there had gotten angry at him and said that he would never deal with him again.

  19. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:55pm, 03/18/2014

    Ted Sares-Speaking of mysteries…here’s one for you….where the heck is Alexander Frenkel? 22 and 0 with 18 KOs….. last time out in 2010 he almost killed Enzo Macca…..no hide nor hair of him since! Should we send out a search party?

  20. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:42pm, 03/18/2014

    Ted Sares-Pete Ehrmann submits a great piece bringing attention to the mysterious decades old cold case involving Ad Wolgast’s bent cup….yet only one writer on here as far as I can see….yea that’s right…. you…. cries foul when Scott pulls that in your face shit job last Saturday night. Then Scott says I didn’t flop and….wait for it….Wilder says, yea that’s right he didn’t flop….and everyone else says that settles it, let’s move on. This irks me because this is the kind of ” lump it” shit that’s been coming out of Washington these past five miserable years. They don’t even bother to spin it anymore….they either tell a more preposterous lie or call you a racist for speaking up.

  21. Jim Crue 03:23pm, 03/18/2014

    terrific article Ted as usual
    Steve Corbo, LC Morgan did not fight the great Eddie Perkins. I followed his career when I was a kid in Chicago and to be sure just looked on BoxRec. I used to go to Johnny Coulons gym to watch Eddie train.

  22. Ted 12:00pm, 03/18/2014

    Tyrone Crawley was another very fine talent that left us way too soon. That guy was a true “Butterfly.”

  23. nicolas 11:45am, 03/18/2014

    TED: Rockin Robin Blake had just lost his previous fight with Tyrone Crawley in one of the earlier ESPN bouts before he met Harry. It was a big upset at the time as Blake had been very highly touted. As I recall, I think the fight with Blake was his first televised bout. When Arroyo lost to Paul, the irony was that Robin Blake was supposed to be the original opponent, but I guess due to some injury suffered by Blake, Paul was the substitute, and a far more dangerous substitute to be sure, as Paul would later on stop Blake when Blake got the opportunity for a title. At the time, I think that the three months time difference between those important fights in Harry’s career were not thought of as too soon. I think that had Paul been the original opponent for Harry, that Mr. Arroyo would have put on a better contest than he did. he however showed a great fighting heart in going to full 15 rounds, and never giving up trying to win. If one looks at some of the contests back than on Free TV, the networks had generally been far better stewarts of providing top level competition than HBO or Showtime does now. It seemed the networks back then were more concened about the fight, and not the product of a fighter. Though in truth, when there were a greater prolification of fights on national TV, there were some matches which did not seem worthy for national TV.

  24. Thresher 10:53am, 03/18/2014

    Here is a neat email from my Chicago buddy the renowned Steve Corbo


    “Ted:

    Really enjoyed reading this piece. Before I even opened the link, as soon as I read the “subject”, I said to myself Harry Arroyo.

    So many memories here. I remember Charlie “White Lightning” Brown from the amateurs. This kid could fight. He was from Silvis , IL /Moline (same thing) And YESTERDAY… YESTERDAY (Sunday 03/16/14)... I was in Silvis/Moline, telling my wife about Charlie Brown and wondering what ever happened to him….  No kidding.

    Vinnie Letizia fought and beat an over the hill Arroyo here in Chicago (actually a suburb of Chi) on an Ernie Terrell promoted card. Three (3) months later Letizia was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was only 21 years old and sported a 16-0-1 record w/14 KO at the time of his death. 

    Harold Brazier, Melvin Paul (not to be confused with Jimmy Paul) Choo Choo & White Lightening, Frankie “Rootin Tootin” Newton, Remo Di Carlo (I had a kid on a show up in Canada and Remo was on the card), Loreto Garza and one of my favorite old time guys L.C. Morgan. I never saw him fight in person, but he was a legend in the gyms in LA and Chicago in the 1970s and he had a win over Eddie Perkins. Who else but you and a handful of others would even recognize the names of these great, great fighters.

    And especially nice to read that Harry is doing well in life!  I didn’t know him personally, but he seemed like he was a class act.

    Steve Corbo”


    His email hits on some great memories for me.

  25. Ted 07:08am, 03/18/2014

    Bill, one more blog then I am backing off for a bit.

  26. Ted 07:07am, 03/18/2014

    Last I heard, Alli was struggling to make a go of it. Money issues I think.

  27. Ted 07:06am, 03/18/2014

    Eric, no, Shavers was never Youngstown. Cleveland was his announced port of call

  28. Dollarbond 05:32am, 03/18/2014

    You are a machine!!!!

  29. Eric 03:58am, 03/18/2014

    What about Earnie Shavers? I know Earnie was born in Alabama or somewhere in the deep south,  but he was always introduced as fighting out of Youngstown, Ohio. Arroyo vs. Mancini is a tough call. I’ll go with Arroyo. Mancini vs. O’Grady in 1981 would’ve been interesting as well. Mancini was a good, solid fighter, but IMO was maybe got a little more hype than he deserved.I’m thinking he was the third best 135-140lb fighter out of Ohio during the eighties. Pryor, Arroyo, and then Mancini in that order.

  30. Peter Silkov 02:07am, 03/18/2014

    The lightweights in the 80s were really something, great fights just about every week it seemed.  Its a shame Mancini and Arroyo never got it on. that would probably have been one of the decades standout fights, I’d lean towards a Mancini win by late stoppage.  Alli was a favourite of mine at that time too, (Alli vs Mancini what a fight that would have been!) I hope he is doing well but have heard that he isn’t unfortunately.

  31. NYIrish 01:46am, 03/18/2014

    Good one Ted. Cheers! Glad he’s doing well.

  32. Tex Hassler 12:54am, 03/18/2014

    I remember Harry Arroyo and he is not forgotten by many I am sure. Youngstown is a great place and thanks for bringing these men back to mind.

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