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Page16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, MAY 9, 2014   i 7 iii!i!i iil Who Was Jack Mitchell? Mark Rowe on left against Jack (Stan Johnson) Mitchell. more than one or two rounds kid." I was told. Sure enough, when Mitchell entered the building that night he hardly struck terror in anyone's heart. He looked skinny and was smoking a cigarette. I thought, they must have been really hard up for an opponent for Kirk. I wrote this fight off as not one that would be very exciting. I was cer- tainly mistaken. When the bell rang for the first round Kirk came out in his usual style throwing bombs. Mitchell avoided all of Kirk's punches and even decked Kirk with a left hook before the end of the round. I turned to my trainer and asked what was going on? He said he didn't have a clue as this Mitchell was certainly no stiff. The Montreal boxer continued to score punches on the heavyweight from Lowell while avoiding get- ting hit himself, when at the end of the fourth round the fight was halted due to a bomb scare someone had phoned in. The arena had to be evacuated and the match was declared a no contest." Mitchell got his money and was on his way back to Canada, and we were all puzzled by this second coming of Gene Tunney. A month later Mitchell was brought back to fight Johnny Coiley. Onceagain, he came out of his corner displaying incredible boxing moves. He won every round before flattening Coiley in the fifth round. This guy was certainly no fluke. In the month between the Kirk and Coiley fights he had twice defeated the very capable Gene Wells in Montreal. After the Coiley victory he traveled to London where he was robbed in a decision loss to world ranked Mark Rowe, losing by a quarter point margin. How had this tomato can turned into a world class fighter overnight? He could move, he could punch, and he had endurance. He was brilliant in the ring. Yet, this was the bum we knew as Jack Mitchell. Or was he really Jack Mitchell? He returned to New England to defeat Jimmy McDermott and Joe Young in Portland, Maine. He then went on to twice win decisions over Fred Preacher Lewis at the Expo Building. Lewis was a devastating puncher who had twice decked a young Cassius Clay in the 1960 Olympic trials. I was with Mitchell before the first Lewis fight. We had lunch together and he ate a ham- burger, French fries, and a large piece of chocolate cake followed by a cigarette. I asked him about his train- ing regime, and he told me he would spend time near a river getting his mind ready for a fight. I couldn't believe this. Had he found some supernatural power that made him into an unbeatable force? After the second Lewis fight, Mitchell dropped out of sight. Gradually, the truth began to emerge. Mitchell was really a fighter by the name of Stan "The Animal" Johnson from Seattle, Wash- ington. Johnson who fought as a middleweight and light heavyweight had handed Earnie Shavers his first loss by out boxing the hard punch- ing future contender over four rounds. It turns out Johnson had been convicted of a crime and was sent to prison in 1970, but he managed to escape and slipped over the border to Canada where he assumed the name Jack Mitchell. He loved to box and managed to book fights for himself. He was even able to wrangle a phony passport in order to fly to London for the Rowe bout. One thing, he never wanted his photo taken, though I do have one from his fight in London. The reason Johnson/ Mitchell disappeared after the Lewis fight was that he had been captured by the FBI and returned to prison. The next I heard of him was when I saw the result of a fight he was in against A1 Bolden in 1973. Johnson was kayoed in the first round. I could not believe anyone would defeat him that easily, so I did some investi- gating. It turns out Johnson was let out on a furlough from prison for the fight. He went down in the first round and feigned a serious injury. On the way to the hospital he escaped. Turns out it was as hard to keep him behind bars as it was to hit him. His record shows he had a hand- ful of bouts a few years later and then nothing more. I often wonder whatever became of him. I can honestly say he was one of the best fighters I have ever seen in action. He had an amazing style that would have made him a worthy challenger against any boxer in the world. It's a shame we never got to see him fulfill his potential. In the early 1970s, boxing was very hot in the New England area. Local promoter Sam Silverman was promot- ing shows all over. He had numerous cards at the Bos- ton Garden and Boston Arena as well as a weekly show in Portland Maine. He had regu- lar cards in Waltham featur- ing local star Donnie Sennett. Sam also would hold matches in North Adams and Taunton. When Silverman was active you didn't have to wait long or go far for an evening of boxing. He would also have live boxing shows in conjunc- tion with closed circuit broad- casts of some of the great fights of the decade. In addi- tion to Donnie Sennett, the shows would feature superb local talent such as Johnny Coiley, Bobby Covino, Tommy Connors, the ageless George Johnson, Doug Kirk, Bobby Richards, Jimmy McDermott, Paul Cardoza, Paul Raymond, Iron Mike Pusateri, and many others. I don't think I was ever disappointed by one of Sam's promotions. One very interesting card took place in Waltham on March 3, 1972. The main event featured Donnie Sen- nett going up against vet- eran Ivelaw Eastman. On the undercard was a bout between the very hard punching Doug Kirk out of Lowell and Jack Mitchell from Montreal, Canada. As was my practice, I would inquire about the out of town fighters being brought in to fight our local heroes. Usually, they were opponent types, guys that could put up a good fight but would usually lose. Billy Marsh, who fought Bobby Covino and Johnny Coiley twice each was a good example of such an opponent. He was able to push both fighters to their limits while still losing. I asked about this Mitchell fellow who was to fight Kirk and was told he was a real stiff, or as is known in the business, "a tomato can." "Don't expect this one to go It's the most famous pho- tograph of a goal in hockey -- of a man in motion but frozen in stillness for all time. It is Bobby Orr, cap- tured in midflight, hands raised in triumph hoisting his magic wand stick, in celebration of his famous overtime goal that beat the St. Louis Blues and delivered the Stanley Cup Champion- ship to Causeway Street for the first time in 29 years. It was a photograph, of course, that captured the moment for all time. The old, grainy videotape simply does not evoke the same emotion, the same passion, the same awe as that classic black and white still photograph does. It was Sunday, May 10, 1970 -- Mother's Day in America -- but the genesis of what would become, as the decades rolled by, hockey's most hallowed day in Boston. The prominent statue out- side the current Garden commemorates the moment for all to see -- even those who just are passing by -- since it is set back just a few feet from the street. The actual spot where Orr scored his memorable tally against St. Louis netminder Glenn Hall? It's located in what is now a parking lot in front of the current TD Garden -- unmarked and unnoticed -- and driven over numerous times per week. As this is written the Stanley Cup Playoffs series with Montreal is currently underway. We mention that because those 1970 playoffs were also noted for a little oddity: namely that the Montreal Canadiens did not qualify for them. That's interesting because during the period from 1965 through 1979 you were dealing with a couple of real hockey powerhouses. Boston made the Stanley Cup Final 5 times over that span while Montreal made the Final 11 times. But in 1970 the Habs stayed at home, denied a berth in the annual rite of spring when they were eliminated from participa- tion on the last day of the regular season. However, the Canadiens would be back in 1971. The Bruins would finish first in the National Hockey League during the regular season -- just as they did this year -- and face the Canadiens in the opening round of the playoffs. They would also face Montreal rookie goaltender Ken Dryden, who had been called up from the minors during the regular season. Regardless, it would be a relatively high scoring series and featured a feat by Orr that is now long forgot- ten by most. It came in Game 4 when the Bruins legend scored a hat trick in the Montreal Forum to even the series at 2-2. That reduced the former best-of seven-series to a best-of- three series for the remain- ing games. The Bruins won Game 5 by a 7-3 count, giv- ing them what is called in tennis "double match point." All they needed to do was to win either one of the two remaining games to close out the Canadiens. But they couldn't. Montreal responded with an 8-3 victory in Game 6 and then captured Game 7 by a 4-2 count to sideline the B's for the rest of the playoffs. Payback, of a sort, came the following year when the Canadiens were knocked out of the 1972 playoffs in the opening round by the New York Rangers. The Bruins, of course, went on to capture the Cup, the last time they would do so until 2011. Just a small glimpse of a long memorable history written by two great teams. IT'S STILL GREEN NEAR THE GARDEN --While the Black and Gold participate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, its assessment time down the street at the headquarters of the Boston Celtics. "It was a tough year but I saw a lot of positive things from individuals," noted President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. "I thought our team gave a good effort on most nights. I think consistency was our biggest challenge. I don't think the team was a great fit or a great mix but indi- vidually I liked what I saw in almost every player. I just felt like we didn't have the size inside to protect the rim. I thought that was a big factor that cost us a lot of games." And just like everyone who followed the C's this past season, he was left with the same impression as those throughout Celtics Nation. "We didn't finish a lot of games down the stretch," said the man who will undoubtedly remake the Celtics roster between now and opening night in late October. Who not to be concerned about? Head Coach Brad Stevens. "I think Brad did a great job this year," said Ainge. "He's a special person and a great coach. The players saw it. They saw his intelligence. I think he earned the respect of the team in a really difficult situ- ation. He'll be even better next year. I couldn't be hap- pier. I have no worries about Brad. He's probably the only one in this organization that I'm not concerned about." IN MEMORIAM -- It was two years ago (May 9, 2012) that Red Sox public address announcer Carl Beane died of a heart attack while driv- ing his SUV along a rural road in central Massachu- setts. He was 59. Carl was a well-known member of the Boston sports media family, having covered the Red Sox, Patriots, Brnins and Celtics -- plus Boston College football -- for a num- ber of radio outlets, both regional and national, over a career that spanned several decades. He was given a trib- ute at Fenway Park the day following his passing.