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This Day in Atlantic City Boxing History – Mike Tyson vs. Larry Holmes

Written by Rob Scott

Atlantic City — January 22, 1988 — On this day in Atlantic City boxing history, Don King Productions, along with Trump Plaza brought Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes together in a battle for the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship Of The World.

The Atlantic City Convention Center played host to this match-up of a great former champion trying to turn back the hands of time, against a current champion who many were saying greatness was inevitable.

Tyson vs. Holmes

Experience Takes on Youth

The thirty-eight-year-old Holmes, whose last bout was an unsuccessful attempt to regain the IBF/lineal heavyweight championship from Michael Spinks some twenty-one months earlier, looked to take his ring experience into the ring against Tyson who was a young twenty-one years of age at the time.

In the end, youth prevailed over experience as Tyson scored three knockdowns in the fourth round with the referee, Joe Cortez, calling a halt to the bout with five seconds remaining in the round.

This marked the first time Holmes had been knocked out in his career

Disclaimer: All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is not liable for any errors or omissions in this information. Any opinions or inquiries that you may have you can forward them to Rob Scott at robscottxl@msn.com.

ACBHOF Launches “Double Jab” – Weekly Podcast

First Episode of “Double Jab” Is History

Atlantic City – The Atlantic City Boxing Hall Of Fame launched it’s inaugural showing of “Double Jab” – A weekly podcast bringing you news, views and guests from every aspect of the Sweet Science.

The show airs every Wednesday night from 7pm to 8pm on Triax57.com.

Our Guests

Hosted by Rich Quinones, along side co-host, Rob Scott, this initial show featured former light heavyweight/lineal-IBF heavyweight champion, Michael Spinks, and famed referee, Steve Smoger, who spoke in-depth about their careers and experiences in the fight game.

ACBHOF Starts Weekly Podcast

The “Double Jab” Kickoff

Atlantic City – Starting Wednesday, January  18, 2017, the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame launches “Double Jab”- a weekly video podcast bringing boxing news, views and guests live every Wednesday night from 7pm to 8pm.

Our Guests

Hosted every week by Rich Quinones and Rob Scott, this new program looks to capture everything boxing…past, present and future.

Spinks and Smoger

Tune in this week when guests will be former Undisputed light heavyweight and heavyweight champion, Michael Spinks, along with famed referee Steve Smoger.

View live and rebroadcasts at www.Triax57.com

Double Jab Infographic

David Weinberg on Unwarranted Low Blows to AC’s Bill Johnson

Written by David Weinberg
The Press of Atlantic City Staff Writer
View the article on The Press of Atlantic City

A.C. Boxing Trainer Bill Johnson Dealing with Unwarranted Low Blow

Low blows occasionally happen in boxing.

But they’re not normally delivered outside the ring.

HBO unofficial boxing judge Harold Lederman hit Atlantic City trainer Bill Johnson with one a few weeks ago during the network’s broadcast of the Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith Jr. fight in California.

Bill Johnson Training

During one of the undercard bouts on Dec. 17, 2016, Lederman was asked his opinion of a rule recently adopted by the World Boxing Council which prohibits fathers from serving as chief seconds (head trainers) for their sons during WBC-regulated fights.

Lederman agreed with the rule and cited Bill’s presence in the corner during his son Leavander Johnson’s fatal fight against Jesus Chavez in 2005 as a reason… (continue reading)

IBF Interviews Michael Spinks on His AC Hall of Fame Induction

View the article on International Boxing Federation

Michael Spinks to be inaugurated into AC Boxing Hall of Fame

When Michael Spinks got notice that he was going to be inducted into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame, the former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion of the world was stunned and in disbelief.

Spinks, highly regarded as perhaps the best light heavyweight ever, was genuinely honored and taken aback that he was even chosen to be elected in the inaugural class of 2017.

“It’s kind of unbelievable.  I feel good about it.  I love Atlantic City,” said Spinks, who fought a total of 13 professional bouts in the city by the sea.  Spinks recalled his early trips to Atlantic City before a host of casinos began to take form in the 1970’s.  Spinks would walk up and down the boardwalk eating sandwiches.  “I liked the rides.  I really enjoyed myself in A.C…” (continue reading)

 

Here’s to a Great Year!

Happy New Year!

From everyone at the ACBHOF, Happy New Year!

Start 2017 Right

Do you have any boxing resolutions for 2017? Ours is to have everyone leave the first annual induction into the ACBHOF with a smile.

2017 New Year

ACBHOF Congratulates Bill Johnson on His Hall of Fame Induction

Written by Rob Scott
Photographs by Rob Scott

Bill Johnson Lays the Foundation for Boxing in Atlantic City

Atlantic City – On Memorial Day weekend 2017, the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame will have its first induction ceremony honoring many who have played their part in putting Atlantic City prominently on the boxing map.

Of all the names that will be announced throughout the weekend’s festivities,  the name Mr. Bill Johnson just may ultimately get the most applause.

Bill Johnson
Mr. Bill Johnson is at home at the PAL.

Johnson, a longtime Atlantic City native and boxing fixture, will be inducted into the AC Boxing Hall of Fame for his close to forty year involvement with the sport and the Atlantic City boxing scene.

Humble, Talented, and Deserving

Already a New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame member, his induction to the AC Hall of Fame is one that literally hits home. Being a long-time resident, the honor fills him with pride, but it’s also one he admits came by surprise.

When asked about his thoughts upon hearing about his induction, Johnson explains, “I was speechless at first, because I never even dreamed about something like this. It was the furthest thing from my mind.” He admits, “I just came into the boxing business through the PAL to help my sons and other boxers, and it never dawned on me to be inducted into any Hall of fame. That is why I am again overwhelmed and thankful”

Atlantic City PAL Ring
The Atlantic City PAL Ring

He may feel overwhelmed, but the honor is indeed deserved. He has not only worked with the PAL fighters, but with Atlantic City being one of the major places for fights, his working with the top professionals in some way was inevitable.

He explains, “All the boxers who participated in the matches at the casinos, especially during the heyday, come and look for a venue where they can train to get into shape. Manny Steward use to bring his fighters in, as well as Don King and his fighters. We’d work with numerous headliners like Bruce Seldon, Pinklon Thomas, Carl “The Truth” Williams, Julio Caesar Chavez, Dwight Qawi, Mathew Saad Muhammad and others who would come through.” He recalled fondly, “I even remember Angelo Dundee once gave us a time clock when he was training a fighter here at the PAL.”

Family First for Johnson

Having opportunities to work full-time elsewhere, like in Ohio with fighters from the Don King stable and with Emmanuel Steward proteges to name just a couple, Johnson decided to remain in Atlantic City to continue working with fighters like his son Leavander.

While it was initially his three sons who brought him into training, two of them decided to stop fighting. His third son, Leavander, had too much talent and warrior spirit to take the same path as his brothers. His goal was to become a world champion and the elder Johnson was there to lend help to his son.

Atlantic City PAL

Together with his father, Leavander finally realized his dream of becoming a world champion when in June of 2004, he defeated Stephano Zoff by 7th round TKO for the vacant IBF World Lightweight championship in Italy. It was a goal achieved through setbacks and adversity, but it was one that Leavander was determined to make happen.

Unfortunately, Leavander tragically passed away in a Las Vegas hospital from injuries he received five days earlier in his first title defense against Mexico’s Jesus Chavez. It was a blow to not only the Johnson family, but also to Atlantic City and the boxing world as a whole.

Remembering Leavander’s Heart

Johnson states, “I’ve always said that Leavander elected to bang when he didn’t have to, and that came from his big heart. He was knocked down like five times when he fought the Russian, [Orzubek] Nazarov in Florida, and even though the fight was stopped in the 7th round, reporters asked him [Nazarov] why after having him in trouble so many times was he not able to get him out of there? ‘His will was just  too strong’ is what Nazarov said.”

When asked about his correspondence with Jesus Chavez after the tragedy, Johnson said, “He use to call and often speak to my older son. When he came to the hospital after the fight, he spoke to the family and I didn’t want him to carry a burden, so I told him that this is the nature of the game and it could have easily been vise-versa. These young men go into this sport knowing that these things can happen.”

He goes on to quote Leavander himself, who was questioned in an earlier broadcast of the Foreman Boxing Show about the sport implementing more safety. He stated, “Leavander smiled and said, ‘Safety? Listen, this is a dangerous sport because you really aren’t supposed to be hit upside your head.’  Which is correct.”

Bill Johnson Quote

The reality is boxing is the hurt business, but Johnson felt confused about the recent WBC decision to not allow fathers to be head cornermen in title fights that are sanctioned by them.

“I really don’t understand why they would implement something like that. Who knows a fighter better than his father does? There is still an emotional bond, especially if a trainer has taken a fighter from point A. to point B. because they have grown with each other. So if they are talking about feelings and emotions, whether father and son or not, the feelings are there between that trainer and that fighter.”

Legends Run in the Family

His job has been hard, but beneficial in seeing his fighters rise to achieve their goals. He was there throughout his son’s career and life, and his name will be going into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame along with him as well, as Leavander (34-5-2, 26KOs) is also one of the 24 names of inductees who will be honored.

“I know Leavander was a humble person who loved boxing and Atlantic City. Which is why if he was here, I know he would be extremely proud and just explode. Actually, I am really more proud for him because he set his goals and accomplished them, and the acknowledgment shows that his efforts were appreciated.”

When asked how much longer will he keep at it, he humorously noted a recent incident by saying, “One of my trainers saw a guy walk in the gym and said, ‘That guy looks good and in about eight years we can,’ and I had to say hey hey…I now take it one day at a time. I once walked in and one day I will walk out for the last time. In March I will be 76 years old, but have been going at it since I was thirty-something years old.”

Bill Johnson Training
Bill Johnson working with a first time PAL visitor.

He reminisced about a time when Leavander was asked what he will do after boxing, and Leavander’s response is still firmly in his head. He said, “Leavander responded by saying he will come back to the gym and work with his father training fighters. I did stay away from the gym for about two months after he passed, but I know that’s not what he wanted.”

It’s not what he wanted and the PAL and the sport of boxing are glad that he has kept doing what he does best, training hungry fighters and making a difference.

The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame congratulates Mr. Bill Johnson on his induction.

Disclaimer: All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is not liable for any errors or omissions in this information. Any opinions or inquiries that you may have you can forward them to Rob Scott at robscottxl@msn.com.