The Toughest Cat in Boise

By Pete Ehrmann on April 28, 2014
The Toughest Cat in Boise
“You jerk, you stuck your thumb in my eye, and that’s the only reason you whipped me.”

When Ali visited Boise years later and saw Logan for the first time since their fight, the reunion was not warm and fuzzy…

Last January residents of Boise, Idaho were warned to look out for a mountain lion on the prowl after a bicyclist and two dogs were attacked. A week later a man stepped out of his house in the Boise suburb of Garden City and came face to face with one in his backyard.

“We stared at each other for 20 or 30 seconds, and he took off,” the man told Karen Zatkulak of local KTVB.

Naturally. It was 1960s heavyweight contender George Logan, who at 77 still looks tough enough to whip his weight in wildcats.

Among the 29 fighters he whipped in his pro career were former heavyweight champion Ezzard Charles (KO 8), Pete Radamacher (KO 2) and Alejandro Lavorante (W10). Logan’s propensity to bleed a lot accounted for most of his losses, including TKOs to Tom McNeeley, Robert Cleroux, and, on April 23, 1961, Cassius Clay.

In a telephone interview I had with him 21 years ago, Logan remembered his fight in San Francisco with future heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali:

“I worked him over good in the second and third rounds. At the end of the second round, I came back to my corner. My (left) eye was hurting, and (manager Al) Berro told me, ‘Hit ‘em in the nuts, put this guy out of here!’

“I said, ‘No, if I can’t whip the guy honest, I won’t do it at all.’”

In the next round, Logan said, “the dirty bugger”—Clay—“stuck his thumb in my eye.”

The eye swelled up alarmingly, and Berro stopped the fight in the fourth round. “I thought it might blind him,” said the manager. “It scared me.”

When Ali visited Boise years later and saw Logan for the first time since their fight, the reunion was not warm and fuzzy.

“You jerk,” Logan told him, “you stuck your thumb in my eye, and that’s the only reason you whipped me.”

His wife Nancy, Logan said, “thinks I’m the meanest person alive.”

In fact, he was very personable and forthcoming with me, and later sent me a tape of his two wild 10-rounders with McNeeley in Boston that George lost by decision in 1960, after McNeeley stopped him on cuts earlier at Madison Square Garden. They’re totally enthralling brawls.

When I arranged for my 1993 interview with Logan through his daughter, she asked if I could send her some clippings about her dad because he didn’t talk much about his boxing career.

“But you know he fought Ali, right?” I said fatuously.

Sure, she replied with a laugh—“Try getting a date around here when everybody knows your father fought Ali!”

Including, apparently, the mountain lions.

See Logan’s February 7 interview with KTVB at: http://www.ktvb.com/video/featured-videos/Man-describes-finding-cougar-in-backyard-244429491.html

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  1. mike gentile 03:48pm, 12/16/2014

    my father trained Bill McMurry from Sacramento. Bill and George fought at the old fairgrounds. yep Bill whipped him.

  2. Mike Casey 09:15am, 04/30/2014

    ‘Hit ‘em in the nuts’. You gotta love fight managers! Nice article, Pete.

  3. NYIrish 07:52pm, 04/29/2014

    Good one !

  4. Bob 05:02am, 04/29/2014

    Wonderful story, Pete. George Logan is a very modest and unassuming man. Looks and sounds great for his age. I’m glad you picked this story up, otherwise the only people that would have heard of it were fellow residents of the Potato State. Also loved the news video. Great job.  Very pleasant surprise to see this this morning.

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