Forgotten Legends: Tracy Harris Patterson

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By: Steve Gallegos

To be the son of a legend in boxing has it’s up’s and down’s. Some fighters get opportunities and breaks that they wouldn’t have gotten or don’t deserve because of their famous name. There was however one fighter who created a name for himself by coming up the hard way. That fighter was former two-time champion Tracy Harris Patterson.

Standing at only 5’5 1/2, Patterson was a little big man with excellent skill and power and he was a fan favorite amongst fight fans in the 1990’s. Tracy Harris was born in Grady, AL and his family would later relocate to New York. It was in New Paltz, NY that an 11 year old Tracy Harris would walk into a boxing gym operated by former two-time Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson. Patterson would get down on his knees so that he could work the mitts with young Tracy. Three years later Floyd Patterson would adopt Harris, thus becoming Tracy Harris Patterson.

The former Heavyweight champion guided his son through an outstanding amateur career in which he twice won the New York Golden Gloves championship. He would turn pro in 1985 at the age of 20 and would go 44-2 with 33 KO’s over the next seven years while claiming the North American Boxing Federation Jr. Featherweight title in 1990. Despite his excellent record as well as having his legendary father in his corner, Patterson didn’t get a shot at a world title until his 47th pro bout when he faced the tough Frenchman Thierry Jacob.

They met on 06/23/92 at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, NY and it was for the WBC Super Bantamweight title. Patterson came out throwing bombs in the first round, rocking Jacob and dropping him just before the bell. Jacob got up but was badly hurt. Patterson wasted no time in the second round as he went for the kill, putting Jacob down again, causing referee Arthur Mercante Jr. to stop the bout. Tracy Harris Patterson was finally a world champion and it was the first time that a son of a former champion would claim a world title.

Patterson would get a stiff test in his first title defense 5 1/2 months later when he fought the legendary Daniel Zaragoza of Mexico to a draw. Patterson would successfully defend his title three times over the next year, which included a technical decison win over Zaragoza in a rematch after the fight was stopped in the seventh round due to cuts. It was in his fifth defense of his title that he would suffer his first setback in five years as he dropped a close split decision to Hector Acero-Sanchez.

After the loss to Acero-Sanchez, Patterson made the very difficult decision to cut ties with father Floyd Patterson, who had trained him since he was a teenager. He then hired world class trainer Tommy Parks and after winning his next two bouts, he was back in line for a title shot, this time against undefeated Eddie Hopson.

The two met on 07/09/95 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, NV and it was for the IBF Jr. Lightweight championship. Many were wondering if Patterson had brought his power up to 130 lbs. Patterson would quickly answer that question as he blasted Hopson in two rounds. Just as his legendary father had done before him, Tracy Patterson was now a two-time world champion. The glory would however be short lived.

In his first title defense, Patterson faced a young, determined slugger named Arturo Gatti. They met on 12/15/95 at Madison Square Garden and it was on the undercard of Oscar De La Hoya’s lightweight title defense against Jesse James Leija. Patterson got off to a slow start in this bout and was dropped in the second round by a  right uppercut. Throughout the middle rounds, the fight heated up and turned into a exciting, back and forth slugfest. Patterson would rally late, putting together good combinations while causing both of Gatti’s eyes to swell. Despite a strong finish, Patterson would come up short, losing a unanimous decision.

The fight was one of the most exciting bouts of 1995 and a rematch wasbinevitable. After winning his next three bouts, Patterson would get another crack at Arturo Gatti when they met on 02/22/97 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, NJ and the IBF Jr. Lightweight title was once again at stake. Towards the end of the first round, Patterson rocked Gatti with a short right hand and he began to let his hands go. During this rally, Patterson landed a hard left hand to the body that put Gatti down. Gatti was clearly hurt and looked like he might stay down; however referee Rudy Battle ruled the punch a low blow instead of a knockdown.

Tracy was furious as he knew the blow landed cleanly. Television replays clearly showed the punch landed clean to the body. Rudy Battle didn’t realize at the time that he robbed Tracy Patterson of a possible knockout. Gatti recovered from the shot and the fight continued. With the exception of a brief Patterson rally late in the fight, Arturo Gatti dominated the bout by boxing smart. The end result would be a unanimous decision win for Gatti.

Patterson was humbled in defeat, not blaming the referee for the bogus low blow call. He gave credit to Gatti as he said he was in the ring with a young, hungry warrior. Many felt that Tracy Harris Patterson’s career was done, despite only being 32 years old. Patterson would continue fighting on, determined to get back in the world title hunt by winning his four bouts, however that quest would come to a screeching hault in July of 1998 as he was dominated and stopped by Goyo Vargas in six rounds.

Although he lost to Vargas inside the ring, he gained an even bigger win outside the ring as he reconciled with his father Floyd, whom he didn’t speak to very much in the last four years. He would go 2-2-1 from 1999-2001, retiring with a record of 63-8-2 with 43 KO’s. He was one of the tougher, more exciting little big men of his era. He was a hardworking, blue collar type of fighter that didn’t rely on his father’s name as some fighter’s do today. He instead made his own name and we hope to someday see him inducted into Canastota alongside his legendary father.

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Forgotten Legends: John ‘The Eastern Beast’ Brown

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By: Steve Gallegos

There are some fighters who train hard, fight tough and for some reason or another cannot get to that next level and become world champion. That was the case for former Jr. Lightweight and Lightweight contender John The Eastern Beast” Brown.

Brown was a unique person in and out of the ring. Standing at only 5’4, Brown was a relentless, all action fighter who was in his opponent’s face for every second of every minute of every round. John Brown was born and raised in Atlantic City, NJ. Life growing up for John Brown was very rough as his brother was murdered and he was raised in 12 foster homes. Brown was a very angry person growing up, however he knew there was a beautiful world outside the dark, harsh world he had experienced and he was determined to find it. He would find it in boxing.

Brown would turn pro in 1989 and would go 18-4 over the next nine years, while mixing it up with top notch fighters such as Calvin Grove, Lamar Murphy and Jesus Chavez. Outside the ring, Brown would toughen himself up by living homeless on the streets while eating land crabs and cockroaches.

1998 would be a good year for Brown as he began to get national exposure and began his quest to a world title. He would face WBU Jr. Lightweight champion Angel Manfredy on 09/22/98 at Madison Square Garden. The bout was nationally televised on TNT’s short lived boxing series called “Title Night”. Although Brown would come up short and lose a unanimous decision, he was in Manfredy’s face all night and would frustrate him throughout the bout with his rough, inside fighting style. After the Manfredy fight, Brown was back in the gym and one month and two days later, he was back in the ring as he faced former world champion Gabriel Ruelas.

They met on 10/24/98 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, NJ and it was part of an HBO Boxing After Dark doubleheader. Brown was a late substitution for Jesse James Leija, who was originally scheduled to face Ruelas that night. Brown battered Ruelas all night long en route to an 8th round TKO. This performance would set up a world title shot against “Sugar” Shane Mosley.

They met on 04/17/99 at the Fantasy Spring’s Casino in Indio, CA for the IBF Lightweight championship. Brown was able to frustrate Mosley at times and Mosley had difficulty with Brown’s height and wasn’t able to land many clean shots. In the eighth round, Mosley was able to catch and rock Brown with hard combinations which forced the ringside doctor to stop the fight in between rounds.

Brown would bounce back from this loss with a convincing 10 round unanimous decison victory over Francisco Cruz just four months later. This would set up another world title shot against Diego Corrales. They met on 12/04/99 in Lincoln City, OR for the IBF Jr Lightweight championship.
Brown showed his toughness once again in a game effort. During the fight, Corrales landed a hard right hand that didn’t move Brown. Corrales then said to Brown, “man you are a beast”, and Brown then looked at him and growled. The end result would be a 12 round unanimous decision win for Corrales.

Brown would begin the new millenium by going 2-0 with a No Contest in his next three fights, which included a convincing 12 round decision over unbeaten Robbie Peden. This win would set up another crack at a world title as he faced Steve Forbes. They met on 12/03/00 in Miami, FL for the vacant IBF Jr Lightweight championship. Brown boxed well against the very skilled Steve Forbes and was getting the better of him in most of the exchanges. As the bout was heading into the later stages of the fight, it appeared that John Brown was on his was to finally winning a world title, however in the eighth round, Brown began bleeding badly from his left ear. Referee Jorge Alonso called time and called the ringside doctor over to inspect the ear. The doctor determined that the eardrum was punctured, forcing the fight to be stopped.

It was an eighth round TKO win for Steve Forbes, however John Brown was ahead on all three judge’s scorecards and was on his way to winning the fight. Nine months later, Brown and Forbes met again, however this time Forbes would win a 12 round unanimous decision. It was pretty much the end of the road for John Brown at the top.

He would not challenge for a world title again and would go 1-10-2 over the next 10 years. His record as a professional stands at 24-19 with five KO’s. He was a special breed of fighter who always showed up in top shape and ready to fight any time he stepped into the ring. He mixed it up with some of the best fighters of his era in their prime and he always gave them their money’s worth. It’s unfortunate he wasn’t able to get to that next level and get that title called “Champion”.
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Joseph Diaz, Ivan Morales and Jose Hernandez Headline Dec. 8th Triple-header from San Antonio

TRIO HEADLINES FREE “CHRISTMAS IN THE RING” EVENT IN SAN ANTONIO ON DEC. 8 FEATURING UNBEATEN OLYMPIAN “JO JO” DIAZ JR. AND A FULL CARD OF TEXAN TALENT

EACH FAN DONATING ONE TOY RECEIVES A TICKET TO CHARITY FIGHT NIGHT AT COWBOYS DANCEHALL

SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 1) – Christmas will come early for fight fans in San Antonio, Texas, as Golden Boy Promotions and Leija-Battah Promotions are pleased to announce that 2012 United States Olympian Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr., unbeaten Mexican star Ivan “Nino Maravilla” Morales and Fort Worth’s Jose “Loco” Hernandez will headline a stacked card of Texan talent at Cowboys Dancehall on Monday, December 8.

“Christmas in the Ring” will arrive in San Antonio on December 8 when Golden Boy Promotions & Leija Battah Promotions present an explosive night of professional boxing. Gloves will fly as boxers take on opponents for the final time in 2014. This is going to be a cannot miss night. Even better it is FREE to Texas boxing fans and professional fighters with the donation of a toy and will benefit the Children’s Shelter of San Antonio and St. PJ’s Children’s Home to give to the abused and neglected children from “Santa Clause.” Bring a toy to the Leija Battah offices at 4310 West Ave. between 9am – 6pm Monday thru Friday and receive your free ticket. This event is sponsored by Mexico – Live It To Believe It!, O’Reilly Auto Parts Dewalt, Nike Boxing, Red M’Combs Toyota, Everlast, and Lowe’s.

Legendary Hall of Fame, Founder & President of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya, Texas Promoter Mike Battah and legendary former World Champion and Promoter Jesse James Leija want to give back to fans by giving them an early Christmas Present to show our appreciation for all of the support that has been given to us over the past three years.

In the main event, scheduled for 10 rounds in the junior featherweight division, rising star Diaz Jr. will face his most experienced foe to date in 69-fight veteran Jose Angel Beranza. The 22-year-old southpaw from South El Monte has had a spectacular 2014 thus far, winning all five of his bouts, three by knockout. 38-year-old Mexico City native Beranza (36-31-2, 28 KOs) has seen it all over the course of his career, and after facing a series of five opponents in his most recent bouts who had a combined 82-2-1 record, he’ll look to get back on track against Diaz.

The co-main event will see Fort Worth’s Hernandez (14-8-1, 6 KOs) attempt to return to the win column after a controversial split decision loss to Keandre Gibson in August when he takes on San Antonio’s Justo Vallecillo (6-17, 3 KOs) in an eight-round junior welterweight matchup. Unbeaten in four of his last seven, including an eighth-round technical knockout of 15-0 Tony Luis, the popular Hernandez always gives the fans an exciting performance and against the dangerous Vallecillo, he expects to deliver another bout to remember.

Currently ranked seventh in the world by the WBC, the 23-year-old Morales (26-0, 15 KOs) is excited to be back in San Antonio, where he defeated Raul Hidalgo back in April of 2013. Since then, the talented southpaw has won five straight matches, most recently stopping Cesar Canchila in six rounds in August. On December 8, he will meet up with Kyrgyzstan native Timur Shailezov (17-8-1, 4 KOs) in a 10-round bantamweight bout.

That’s not all though, as eight more fights featuring some of Texas’ rising fighters will be contested at Cowboys Dancehall. First off, the unbeaten San Antonio stars Javier Rodriguez (11-0-1, 1 KO) and Joseph Rodriguez (7-0, 2 KOs) will be challenged in separate junior featherweight 6-round bouts against opponents to be determined. Junior welterweights Jairo Castaneda (6-0, 2 KOs) and Albert Espinoza (2-4) will face off in a 4-round fight. San Antonio’s Cresencio Ramos (1-0, 1 KO) will go up against Cooperas Cove’s Jaime Hernandez (1-2) in a 4-round junior lightweight battle. Newcomers, Christian Santbanez (0-2) will go up against Daniel Arriaga (0-1-1) and David Ruiz (0-2) will fight Erick Loera (2-1, 1 KO), in separate 4-round lightweight matches. Light heavyweight Adam Franklin is making his professional debut against San Marcos’ Kevin Conrad (0-2) in a 4-round bout, and opening up this exciting night, Brownsville’s Juan Tapia (2-0, 1 KO) and Robert Ledesma (0-3) from San Antonio will go against each other in a junior featherweight 4-round fight.