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The Best Alley Fight Companion?

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  • The Best Alley Fight Companion?

    Click image for larger version  Name:	ike.PNG Views:	1 Size:	307.0 KB ID:	14518

    By Ted Sares

    Sports commentator Pat Summerall once said, “If I'm gonna fight in the alley, I want [Scott] LeDoux with me." Known as “The Fighting Frenchman,” LeDoux was indeed a rough, tough, 6’2”, 220 lb. road warrior out of Minnesota who fought the very best during the golden age of heavyweights in the 70s—a time when big boppers like Frazier, Ali, Quarry, Norton, Foreman, Shavers, Chuvalo, Terrell, Weaver, Jeff Merritt, Mac Foster, Joe Bugner, Leroy Jones, Jimmy Young, and Jimmy Ellis, among others, roamed the landscape. LeDoux fought tough guys because he was a tough guy during an era of tough guy heavyweights.

    He also was a genuine nice guy and that probably disqualifies him from being a prime alley companion, Pat Summerall notwithstanding.

    Others, of course, come to mind like Big George Foreman (first version), Sonny Liston (any version), Iron Mike Tyson, Earnie Shavers, Deontay Wilder, and 6’9” giant Tyson Fury. Each is suitable.

    Speaking of giants, the 7'2" Nikolai “The Russian Giant” Valuev has the ability to impress upon others a sinister demeanor threatening enough to scare away most potential alley opponents; yet his yen for writing poetry gives pause to his suitability. Also working against this monster is the fact that in 2011 he was elected to the Russian Parliament.

    If this writer needed a companion when potentially engaging in an alley fight in, say, Chicago or New York City, he might consider Joe “The Boss” Hipp, also called by the less politically correct, “Indian” Joe Hipp.

    A fringe contender Back in the Day, Hipp, a member of the Blackfoot Tribe, was rough, tough, and durable. He was a gritty southpaw heavyweight out of Yakima, Washington, and the type of guy you didn't want to meet in an unfriendly bar. He had plenty of heart, a strong chin, and exuded an extraordinary malevolence in the ring.

    He was 24-2 and on a three-fight winning streak when he met Tommy "The Duke" Morrison in Reno, Nevada on a hot sunny afternoon in June 1992. Tommy (32-1) was on a four-fight winning streak of his own and was a strong favorite in what promised to be a pier six brawl. In the end, the fight exceeded expectations.

    While Hipp lost in a bone-breaking, bloodletting non-stop ring war that featured shattered cheek bones, a broken jaw, fractured hands, and severe cuts, he exhibited traits that clearly would make him a marvelous companion to take with you into the alley. The late Tommy Morrison wouldn’t be all that bad either.

    The President

    But wait. Joe must step aside for royalty—he must make way for none other than the President, Ikemefula Charles "Ike" Ibeabuchi.

    Pat Summerall wasn’t broadcasting when this heavyweight out of Nigeria burst onto the scene but if he had been, he might have changed his mind about Scott LeDoux.

    Ike did his thing from 1994 to 1999, compiling a 20-0 mark with 15 wins coming by way of stoppage. Although he scored a rattling stoppage of Chris Byrd in what turned out to be Ike's final pro fight, his 1997 upset of David Tua remains the signature moment of his ring career.

    In this one, the 6'2″, 244 pound Nigerian with a reach of 77 inches, opened his tool box to reveal Tyson-like hand speed, controlled ferocity, solid footwork, devastating power, counter-punching ability and a rock-sold chin (he was able to walk through Tua’s best left hooks all night).

    Both men threw heavy stuff and neither took a backward step. In the process, Ibeabuchi and Tua set a CompuStat heavyweight division record with 1,730 punches thrown. Ike also set the individual CompuStat record by throwing an incredible 975 punches, an average of 81 per round.

    Ike had put the division on notice. After knocking out the previously undefeated Byrd, a slick southpaw, no one wanted to fight him. Quoting Lou DiBella, people were saying, “This guy’s a ****** animal. What do I need him for?” This, of course, is one of several good reasons why Ike bumps Joe Hipp from consideration.

    The Demons

    But there is more -- much more as Ike’s inner demons began to emerge and actualized what everyone hoped would not happen.

    A couple of months after the Tua win, Ike was arrested for kidnapping the 15-year-old son of his former girlfriend and crashing his car into a concrete pillar on a Texas highway, badly injuring the boy. He pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, was sentenced to three months in jail, and paid a $500,000 civil settlement.

    In July 1999, he was accused of attempted sexual assault of a Las Vegas escort in his hotel room at The Mirage casino. Other assaults then came to light and Ike was eventually sent to a state mental facility where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After an extremely lengthy trail, he was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment.

    Ike’s trainer Curtis Cokes saw the warning signs. Cokes is quoted as saying: “His biggest problem is that he just doesn’t obey the rules. He wants to break the law…He needs help, and he and his family don’t see that. He thinks everybody’s after him. If Ike looks in the mirror, he’ll see the real problem. Something’s wrong with Ike…”

    The most thorough account of the rise and fall of Ike “The President” Ibeabuchi is found in Eric Raskin’s excellent 2017 HBO From the Vault article titled “Unrealized: The Story of Ike Ibeabuchi, The Great Lost Heavyweight.” It is written as an oral history.

    Lou DiBella relates: “He was a prodigy. He had amazing power. He had fierce determination and he had no fear of anybody, and he believed that he was the king, that nobody could beat him. He’d walk into the ring and you would almost have this vision of a bull coming at a matador with the steam coming out of the nostrils. Unfortunately, here was a very scary man both in and out of the ring. And it’s unfortunate that we’ll never know what could have been.”

    Former boxing publicist Greg Juckett says,There was a paranoia there. I don’t know what the clinical neurosis, the definition of it would be. But there was definitely a paranoia with Ike….He was very untrustworthy of people and something would occasionally scare him. He was a very quiet guy. Quiet to the point where it was a little unsettling.”

    Other quotes are more disturbing. Sage matchmaker Eric Bottjer recalls saying to his boss, Ibeabuchi’s promoter, the late Cedric Kushner, “This guy’s crazy. He’s going to hurt somebody. I don’t want it to be me or you or anybody else. But he’s quite capable of killing somebody.”

    In 2014, having served out his term, Ike made a much-publicized move to reignite his career, only to be picked up again by ICE. in 2016, he got arrested in Arizona for a probation violation and remains on a lifetime probation in that state.

    Ike is back behind bars. It has been reported that he is due for release from the Arizona State penal system later this month, whereupon he may be deported. Whatever the case, it seems unlikely that he will ever fight again.

    Like Joe Hipp, Ike exhibited traits that clearly would make him a great companion to take with you in an alley fight, but his were clearly different. They were dangerous traits possibly fueled by paranoia and attendant mental issues. Still, if The Ring magazine named him “Boxing's Most Dangerous Man,” as it did in 1999, then I don’t need any more convincing. He’s my pick.

    Ted Sares is a lifetime member of Ring 10, a member of Ring 8, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He is an active power lifter and Strongman competitor in the Master Class.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Matched right, Hipp was fun to watch. His fight with Tommy Morrison is a true forgotten classic.

    Talent wise, Ibeabuchi was the most talented heavyweight I ever saw. He had it all, power and blazing speed for a heavyweight. I marvel to this day at his natural talent. But outside the ring, he was a bad person.

    Comment


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      The Hipp Morrison fight is almost too bloody to watch---almost. What a brawl.

      I agree with your assessment of Ike. He was the most complete heavyweight I have ever seen fight.

  • #3
    Chuck Wiggins, who was Jack Dempsey's choice. Alternatively, Tony Galento.

    Comment


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, Tony would have been a good one.

  • #4
    Probably the biggest "could have been" since Tony Ayala....and he was a sexual preditor as well.

    Comment


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      For sure. Here is what the technically challenged Johnny Tango says "Ibeabuchi / Tua was one hell of a fight! If I needed help in an alley fight, I'd take Jack Dempsey. As folklore has it: “A couple of guys tried to mug me on Third Avenue a few months ago – they tried to rob me but I flattened them." said Dempsey. FYI: He was 74-years old at the time!"

  • #5
    After the "Thrilla in Manila" Ali said "If God ever calls me to holy war ,i want Joe Frazier fighting beside me ." ...good enough for me

    Comment


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      great quote teaser

  • #6
    Ali-Frazier IV in 1996 at the Olympic torch lighting. 🔥

    "If I could have, I'd have pushed him in," said Joe.

    Comment


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      From Ron Shreck "Another scintillating job of writing Ted--what about you? I think you'd be fine in most alley's of the world. By the way I always appreciate your contribution to the written word on these warriors past and present. Best, Ron."

      My response: "Thanks Ron. I could do some good in the alley.

  • #7
    Here is a great and related piece by one of our own. https://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/Can-Ike-Ibeabuchi-Resume-Campaign-After-17-Years-98041

    Comment


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      And this in from a well known boxing figure who shall remain anonymous (my choice as he doesn't mind).

      "There was a moment a few weeks before the Byrd fight when Ike refused to come to the gym and couldn’t be reached. Cedric, freaking out, got Ike’s mother on the phone, she spoke to Ike, then called Cedric back and told him “Ike says there are evil spirits in the air conditioning ducts”. You can hear Cedric’s colonial brogue as he relates having told her “Mrs Ibeabuchi, can you please ask him to tell Mr. Cokes to TURN OFF the air conditioner??” Then he detonated Chris along the ropes. Beautiful violence. " Incredible stuff.

  • #8
    We're talking pro boxers here as to who you would want on your side in an "Alley Fight" so to speak. In the ring Ike was a force there are no two ways about that, built like a tank and a fierce competitive spirit. A sad saga outside the ring for sure and a great article as always by Ted Sares.

    There are MMA guys and the list is long from Benny "The Jet," to Jon Jones and I know of them all that you would want on your side

    Besides having been a police officer and a bouncer in some very tough places having many times to fight 3 or more guys at once which anyone that knows me knows is the truth, I would say the knee jerk reaction to have someone in your corner from the pro ranks of boxing would be as to size and fierceness, George Foreman, Chuvalo, Dempsey, Liston and the like.

    Without going into the nauseating endless battle of criminal background, guilty or not guilty bullshit right now, I never saw anyone who was a more vicious, fast and decisive street fighter than Rubin Carter.

    I was with him and another buddy of mine when two carloads of heavy football type types got into it with us on Bloomfield Ave on the Orange/East Orange border line, then both cars emptied out into a brawl we did not want.

    Guys were laid out so fast you could not believe it. Same with my days with Frankie DePaula, just devastating on the street bare knuckles. Some of the smaller guys I have known you would have to see it to believe it in their dealing with multiple attackers and just destroying them.

    That was skill, speed and lightning punching power with both hands. For brute backup, you cannot do better than Foreman, Liston, Chuvalo and Dempsey, not for running through brick walls like pro lineman but just knocking MF'S O.U.T.
    Last edited by Ron Lipton; 09-07-2019, 08:13 PM.

    Comment


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      Holy sh--t. That was a great post, but I'd feel pretty comfortable with you as my back up, Ron. You were/are a very proficient student of controlled mayhem and I can prove it. Actually, you and I could cause a pretty good ruckus.

  • #9
    Good question.

    Aside from (Liam McGeary, Kahbib Nurmagomedov, Lyoto Machida ,and a few other MMA guys) my boxing picks would be; Greb, Frazier, Foreman, Tyson, Toney, and Beterbiev.


    Cheers,

    Storm.

     

    Comment


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      Good ones, especially Beterbiev who is very heavy handed like he almost wears brass nucks. Good for alley fighting.
      Last edited by Kid Blast; 09-08-2019, 11:14 AM.

  • #10
    Made me think of these guys:
    https://www.boxingforum24.com/thread...harada.375028/

    Comment


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      Very nice. Do you live Down Under?

      Bob Mlandinich emailed me with:"I think Ron Stander would be hell in a bar fight, against anyone." I agree.

    • SuperLight
      SuperLight commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, Aussie and proud. Don't get me started on Kostya

  • #11
    Further to this, I got home late the other night and found there was a documentary on Jack Johnson.

    I think (particularly in his prime) he would be good on my list/side.



    If you like someone that can just knock MF's out when he wants, then he’s certainly your guy.

    Anyone that plays with and destroys Ketchel like Johnson did is someone you want on your side/list.



    That said, getting back to SL’s post, Australia, and some of Australia’s smaller guys. . . .

    Years ago at the Newtown gym Jeff Fenech was infamous for beating up and/or knocking out several large Rugby players at once.



    At that stage Fenech was just a bantamweight.

    If we’re talking about people that loved to fight (regardless of size) then Jeff Fenech and Jeff Harding should probably be considered also.

    As the former hated not fighting in the streets, and the latter hated the minute break between rounds.



    Many a night out with Jeff ended in mayhem and/or with blue revolving lights as a backdrop to the scene(s).




    Cheers,

    Storm.


    Comment


    • #12

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