Resting places of boxing icons
Boxing's icons of the past live on as long as they are not forgotten. Consider visiting their final resting places.
Few sports can match the history or tradition that boxing has produced over the decades, and indeed, centuries.
But some customs seem to be disappearing. For instance, it used to be commonplace for promoters to invite retired champions living in the area of the promotion to the arena to enter the ring for a round of applause. These were joyful scenes as the old warriors walked up the ring steps one last time to take a deserved ovation. These were fighters who warranted the accolades for all they did to develop and cultivate boxing fans with their skills, work and sacrifices.
It seems, to me at least, that boxing is forgetting some of the men who made the sport as great as it is. And these old warhorses held sway over a much larger portion of the sporting audience than today's gladiators. These are men who should not be forgotten, even in death.
Scattered around the country and the world are the grave sites (some neglected) of some of the greatest boxers to ever don gloves and entertain an audience. These are boxers who surely would appreciate a final visitor. In a sense, they live on as long as they are not forgotten. A German proverb tells us, "Nothing is as new as something which has been long forgotten."
With those thoughts in mind, and with the aid of www.findagrave.com, I have accumulated a list of resting places of former boxing greats. Perhaps some www.maxboxing.com readers would like to take the time to visit these graves before the summer slips away for another year.
If the resting places are in a state of disarray, a return trip to tidy up would be appreciated. This is a far from complete list, and I will add any information readers can give on further grave sites.
Pedro Alcazar: WBO junior bantamweight champion who died after his WBO title fight with Fernando Montiel in 2002. Site: Manuel Amador Guerrero Cemetery, Panama City, Panama.
Henry Armstrong: The great champion who held the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight titles at the same time when there were only eight weight divisions. Found the rest he never gave opponents in 1988. Site: Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, Calif.
Abe Attell: The world featherweight champion from 1901 to 1912, he was famously accused of helping to fix the 1919 baseball World Series. You might run into Mike Tyson if you go to visit the old champ. Site: Beaverkill Cemetery, Rockland, N.Y.
Monte Attell: The brother of Abe, Monte held the world bantamweight title in 1909 and 1910. Site: Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, Calif.
Max Baer: It is shameful how Baer was portrayed and disrespected in the "Cinderella Man" movie; this good-natured world heavyweight champion deserved better. Site: Saint Mary's Mausoleum, Sacramento, Calif.
Oscar Bonavena: A top contender during the most competitive era ever for heavyweight boxing. He gave Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Floyd Patterson tough fights. He was shot outside a Las Vegas brothel. The murderer was never found. Thousands lined the streets of Buenos Aires to view his body as it passed on its way to the cemetery. Site: Cementerio de la Chacarita, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
James J. Braddock: The heavyweight world champion from 1935 to 1937, and now he has been famously captured for posterity by the movie "Cinderella Man." A prime example of how hard, honest work pays dividends. Site: Mount Carmel Cemetery, Tenafly, N.J.
John Broughton: The man who first set the rules for boxing in the bare-knuckle era. Also known as the father of English boxing, he reigned as its champion from 1729 to 1750. Site: Westminster Abbey, London, England.
Tommy Burns: Canada's only world heavyweight champion (Lennox Lewis does not count), he reigned from 1906 to 1908. Site: Ocean View Cemetery, Burnaby, Canada.
Primo Carnera: The only world heavyweight champion born in Italy, he was maneuvered to the throne (unknowingly on his part) by the mob. By all accounts, a good man caught up in a bad situation. Site: Carnera Family Plot, Fruili, Italy.
George Carpentier: The French matinee idol/champion, he held French titles from welterweight to heavyweight. One of France's all-time sporting heroes. Site: Cimetiere de Vaires-sur Marne, Seine et Marne, France.
Marcel Cerdan: If Carpentier is not the most beloved French boxer of all time, Cerdan certainly is. A charismatic boxer who holds a place on many people's lists of the greatest middleweights of all time. Site: Cimetičre du Sud, Perpignan, France.
Ezzard Charles: Probably the best light heavyweight champion of all time. But he is remembered most for holding the world heavyweight title during 1950-51. Site: Burr Oak Cemetery, Chicago, Ill.
Billy Conn: A great light heavyweight who is most remembered for a loss instead of a victory. He had Joe Louis all but beaten for the world heavyweight title before he got cocky, and Louis knocked him out in the 13th round. Site: Calvary Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pa.
James Corbett: "Gentleman Jim" is how this world heavyweight champion is often referred to, and he reigned from 1892 to 1897. One of the first champions to have attended college, Corbett brought an air of respect to the title. Site: Cypress Hills Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Tom Cribb: A man who took prizefighting seriously and beat opponents by becoming one of the first men to train for a bout. Site: Saint Mary's Churchyard, London, England.
Cus D'Amato: The legendary trainer most known for his last boxing prodigy, Mike Tyson. Before that, he trained and managed world champions Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres. He protected his fighters until the bitter end. Site: Saint Patrick's Cemetery, Catskill, N.Y.
Al "Bummy" Davis: There is still some debate as to whether Davis was a good or bad guy. However, there is no doubt that he was a world-class welterweight who had an exciting style. Site: Montefiore Cemetery, Saint Albans, N.Y.
Jack Dempsey: The legendary world heavyweight champion who really needs no introduction for followers of the sport. He defies adjectives, but ferocious is the one most people associate with him. Site: Southampton Cemetery, Southampton, N.Y.
George Dixon: The first African-American boxer to win a world title. A master boxer who is also credited with inventing shadow boxing. Site: Mount Hope Cemetery, Mattapan, Mass.
Don Dunphy: Dunphy was boxing's greatest broadcaster. Dunphy did more on-air than the three-man crews who followed him ever could. Site: Holy Rood Cemetery, Westbury, N.Y.
James Figg: Recognized as bare-knuckle boxing's first champion. He did much to establish the sport through his popularity, and later he started boxing schools. Many consider him the father of boxing. Site: Old Parish Church of St. Marylebone, London, England.
Luis Firpo: Earned his nickname of "The Wild Bull of The Pampas" with his aggressive style and intimidating looks. Perhaps the most popular Argentine champion of all time. Site: Cementerio de la Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Bob Fitzsimmons: Before anyone else, he won the the middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight world titles. An awful physique hid one of the most devastating punches of all time. Site: Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Ill.
Tiger Flowers: A devoutly religious man who became the first African-American middleweight champion. Unfortunately, he died while still near his prime and on the verge of another world-title shot. Site: Lincoln Cemetery, Atlanta, Ga.
Tony Galento: Old "Two-Ton" was far from a great boxer, but he was a great character who famously said of Joe Louis, "I'll moider the bum." Then he went to his training camp a bar. Site: Saint John's Catholic Cemetery, Orange, N.J.
Victor Galindez: A two-time WBA light heavyweight champion who never took a backward step in the ring. He retired from the ring because of a detached retina. Tragically, he died soon after his retirement in a race-car accident. Site: Cementerio de Morón, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Joe Gans: He gave America the phrase "bring home the bacon," and he won with scientific skills in an age of brawlers. Site: Mount Auburn Cemetery, Baltimore, Md.
Ceferino Garcia: One of the early Puerto Rican boxing pioneers who showed the way for others during his reign as world middleweight boxing champion during 1939 and 1940. Site: Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, Calif.
Kid Gavilan: "The Keed" finally was given a proper tombstone to honor this world welterweight champion. One of Cuba's greats, who thrilled crowds with his bolo punch. Site: Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery, Miami, Fla.
Rocky Graziano: The man was New York City through and through, which is the greatest compliment that could be paid to the former world middleweight champ. He was portrayed by Paul Newman in the biographical movie "Somebody Up There Likes Me." Site: Locust Valley Cemetery, Locust Valley, N.Y.
Harry Greb: No one can deny that "The Human Windmill" created a record that few can rival. His career ring record was 264 wins and 23 losses with 12 draws, and the names contained within that ledger are truly awe inspiring. Site: Calvary Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Marvin Hart: An often-forgotten world heavyweight champion. While certainly not an all-time great, he did fight his way to the top at the turn of the last century. Site: Resthaven Memorial Park, Louisville, Ky.
John Jackson: "Gentleman" John Jackson was the English boxing champion from 1795 to 1803 but was more well known for bringing pugilism to the masses through his boxing academy. Site: Brompton Cemetery, London, England.
Peter Jackson: He should have been the heavyweight champion of the world, but racial prejudices prevented this Virgin Islands-born, Australia-reared man from reaching the heights his skill demanded. Site: Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane, Australia.
Jim Jeffries: He should have been the first world heavyweight champion to retire undefeated, but the public demanded he come out of retirement to challenge Jack Johnson. Site: Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, Calif.
Lew Jenkins: A hero out of the ring, and a good fighter within it. "The Sweetwater Slinger" earned a Silver Star in Korea, serving in the Army, and won the world lightweight title by defeating Lou Ambers. Site: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.
Jack Johnson: He has received much publicity and respect after the great PBS documentary on his life. He will always be remembered as the first African-American to hold the world heavyweight title, and he's probably the best defensive heavyweight of all time. He ranks pretty high on the all-time heavyweight ratings as well. Site: Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Ill.
Thomas Johnson: The man who coached the now-legendary 1976 U.S. Olympic boxing team. He was killed during the tragic 1980 U.S. National Boxing team crash in Poland. Site: Lincoln Memory Gardens Cemetery, Whitestown, Ind.
Stanley Ketchel: Probably the hardest-hitting middleweight ever to don boxing gloves. His life and death is the stuff for movies. He was a tough man created by tough times. Site: Holy Cross Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Johnny Kilbane: World featherweight champion from 1912 to 1923. It's still the longest reign in featherweight history, even though it has to be noted he sat on the crown for long periods of time. He had a great rivalry with Abe Attell. Site: Calvary Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio.
Duk Koo Kim: The ill-fated Korean boxer who lost his life after challenging WBA lightweight champion Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini. While not a great fighter, Kim is significant: His death did lead to safety improvements in boxing. Site: Kojin Village Cemetery, Kangwon-do, South Korea.
Sam Langford: A true great who is the best boxer to never win a world title. Of course, race played a large role in that. He fought from lightweight to heavyweight and was avoided and feared in all of them. Site: Cambridge Cemetery, Cambridge, Mass.
Juan Lectoure: The manager of many Argentine champions -- Carlos Monzon, Horacio Accavallo, Nicolino Locche, Victor Galindez and Oscar Bonavena. In all, he led 12 different fighters to a world title and was respected for his honesty in an often-cruel business. Site: Cementerio de la Chacarita, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Vyacheslav Lemeshev: One of the amateur greats produced by the Russian system. He won the middleweight title in 1972 but was forced up to light heavyweight for nine years in every international competition. Site: Vakangovskoye Cemetery, Moscow, Russia.
Benny Leonard: One of the greatest lightweights in history, and a defensive genius who could punch better than advertised. A marvel of the canvas to be sure. Site: Mount Carmel Cemetery, Glendale, N.Y.
Sonny Liston: The most enigmatic heavyweight champion of all time, whose life, career and death are surrounded by mystery. Site: Paradise Memorial Gardens, Las Vegas, Nev.
Tommy Loughran: One of the few men to earn The Ring magazine's "Boxer of The Year" award more than once. He was at his best at light heavyweight but did well at heavyweight against the likes of Jack Sharkey, Max Baer and Paulino Uzcudun. Site: Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, Pa.
Joe Louis: Perhaps the greatest heavyweight of all time, and surely the most important historically before Ali came along to rival (if not surpass) him. A hero to Americans of every race, he gave us the phrase, "He can run, but he can't hide." He is a legend in so many ways. Site: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.
Bennie Lynch: Another great fighter of the early days whose life was shortened by alcohol. With all due respect to Ken Buchanan, Lynch is Scotland's greatest gift to boxing. He could do it all in the ring, but could control little outside of it. Site: Saint Kentigerns, Glasgow, Scotland.
Eddie Machen: Maybe if Machen hadn't come along during the most talent-rich era ever for heavyweights, he could have won a version of the title. Site: Lawn Crest Cemetery, Redding, Calif.
Rocky Marciano: A true legend who knew when to retire. He will be remembered for both his career and knowing when to end it. Site: Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Jack McAuliffe: The lightweight world champion from 1885 to 1893, he was one of the very few men to ever retire undefeated. Site: Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, N.Y.
Carlos Monzon: Monzon is my -- and many others' -- pick as the greatest middleweight of all time. He could do it all in the ring and was the very definition of the 1970s playboy jet-set lifestyle. He held the world middleweight title for seven years, defending it against everyone. He never lost control of the situation in the ring. Outside of the ring it was a different matter for Monzon, and he was jailed for killing his wife in 1989. Site: Cementerio Municipal de Santa Fe, Santa Fe, Argentina.
Archie Moore: A legendary light heavyweight champion whose life should be studied and mirrored by boxers of every generation. He still holds the all-time knockout record for boxing at 141, a record I have the confidence to say will never be broken. Site: Cypress View Mausoleum and Crematory, San Diego, California.
Davey Moore: The world featherweight champion from 1959 to 1963. He died a couple days after he lost his title to Sugar Ramos. Site: Ferncliff Cemetery, Springfield, Ohio.
Benny Paret: Another boxer whose life was lost in the ring. He was a good welterweight who rose to the world title by always advancing and outworking his opponents in the ring. Site: Saint Raymond's Cemetery, Bronx, N.Y.
Pascual Perez: He was both an Olympic and world boxing champion who held the world flyweight title for six impressive years. He was an all-around great who had few weaknesses on offense or defense. Site: Cementerio de la Chacarita, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Jerry Quarry: Another of the talented 1970s heavyweights whose rise to the top was derailed by legends Ali, Frazier and Foreman. Even in death Quarry helped his fellow man, as it inspired the Jerry Quarry Foundation for dementia pugilistica. Site: Shafter Memorial Park, Shafter, Calif.
Sugar Ray Robinson: The man whose ring greatness called for a different category altogether. He inspired the term "pound-for-pound" and generally is considered the greatest boxer of all time. Site: Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, Calif.
Maxie Rosenbloom: The light heavyweight champion from 1930 to 1934. He gained nearly as much attention for acting and operating a popular bar in Hollywood. Site: Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, Calif.
Barney Ross: A three-division champion who also distinguished himself through bravery during World War II. He did his best work at welterweight, where he had thrilling battles with Jimmy McLarnin. Site: Rosemont Park Cemetery, Chicago, Ill.
Salvador Sanchez: The Jimi Hendrix of boxing. He was a man who had unrepeatable moves and licks that were silenced way before his time by a tragic car accident. Site: Santiago Tianguistenco Cementerio, Santiago Tianguistenco, Mexico.
Tom Sayers: One of England's most popular bare-knuckle fighters, whose skills earned him the nickname of "The Napoleon of the Prize Ring." It was a nickname he got by beating men much heavier than himself. Site: Highgate Cemetery, London, England.
Max Schmeling: He was as great a person outside the ring as inside of it. In later years, he became known as much for his sportsmanship and willingness to help others as his career-defining knockout of Joe Louis. He remains Germany's most popular boxer, and he died only a couple months short of his 100th birthday. Site: Saint Andreas Friedhof, Hollenstedt, Germany.
Gustav Scholz: The man who led Germany out of its postwar boxing doldrums; he was known for a rowdy and fun-loving lifestyle away from the game. Site: Waldfriedhof Potsdamer Chaussee, Berlin, Germany.
Jack Sharkey: He could have been a much better world heavyweight champion had he been able to keep his emotions in check. He was a stylish boxer for a big man, and he mixed it up with the best of his time. Site: Prospect Cemetery, Epping, N.H.
Billy Soose: He held the world middleweight title in 1941, but he gave it up to join the Navy and fight in World War II. Site: Pine Grove Cemetery, Paupack, Pa.
Young Stribling: He fought in an amazing 285 total bouts before his untimely death at age 28 while riding his motorcycle. He never held a world title but did defeat six world champions, just at the wrong time. Site: Riverside Cemetery, Macon, Ga.
John L. Sullivan: A mythical figure in his own time, he proudly proclaimed he "could lick any man in the house." He did so, if challenged. The first star of the gloved era of boxing, he could be considered the Babe Ruth of boxing. Site: New Calvary Cemetery, Mattapan, Mass.
Lew Tendler: He was good enough to be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame, even though he never held a world title. One of the first southpaws to make a stir in American boxing circles, he defeated some of the best lightweights of his era. Site: Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose, Pa.
Gene Tunney: An underappreciated world heavyweight champion who also distinguished himself in combat during World War I. He lost only one fight as a pro. He twice defeated the legendary Jack Dempsey, something for which he was never forgiven. Site: Long Ridge Union Cemetery, Stamford, Conn.
Joe Walcott: The oldest heavyweight (37) ever to win the title, before George Foreman came along and eclipsed his record. If title fights were sanctioned for only 12 rounds back in Jersey Joe's days, he would have retained his title against Rocky Marciano instead of getting knocked out in the 13th round. Site: Sunset Cemetery, Pennsauken, N.J.
Jess Willard: The man who took the title from Jack Johnson in the oppressive Cuban heat. He was not a great heavyweight champion, but "The Pottawatomie Giant" had as much heart as any man who ever entered the ring. He took a savage beating from Jack Dempsey but boxed until his last drop of energy left him. Site: Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, Calif.
Tony Zale: Before Superman, Zale was known as "The Man of Steel." A two-time middleweight champion who grew up tough in the steel mills of Indiana, he was best-known for his unforgettable scraps with Rocky Graziano. Site: Calvary Cemetery, Portage, Ind.
Fritzie Zivic: Any man who can beat the great Henry Armstrong deserves all the merit in the world. Zivic was world welterweight champion during 1940-1941. He was an all-around boxer who fought everyone and always gave an honest performance. Site: Saint Nicholas Cemetery, Millvale, Pa.
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