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June 19, 2015

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Page 16 BOSTON POST-GAZE'R'E, JUNE 19, 2015 Kibitzing at Katz's Afi's Biggest Fan the nursing home where he resided. Sam Langford fought Jack Johnson in a life and death battle in Chelsea, MA in 1906 losing a close decision to the future champion. Sam was never given a shot at the title, an injustice that is acknowledged by boxing fans till this day. It seems that Johnson, the first black heavyweight champ, decided to draw the color line in or- der to avoid his most danger- ous challengers. Sam Langford is buried in the Cambridge Cemetery Gaspar and Mike Ortega and has a headstone that Brandon's tattoo honoring was placed there years ago his great-great-grandfather Last week I got to spend by Ring 4. It has been writ- Sam Langford a really nice time with a fine group of boxing people It is always a thrill to be at Katz's Deli in Woodbridge, able to spend time with the CT. The lunch was arranged former contender. He still by Rick Kaletsky, who is also has the sparkle in his eyes the curator of the Muham- and loves to talk about his mad Ali Museum, which is career of which he is, de- housed in the lower level of servedly, very proud. Gaspar his home down the road from fought more times on TV Katz's. Rick puts this lunch then any fighter in history, together once a year and it and Rick Kaletsky likes to is a fun event, say "He was on TV more In addition to the incred- than Ed Sullivan." ible museum he has The younger Ortega is one assembled, Rick is also of the most competent boxing the author of "Ali and Me: referees in the business. Brendon Foster and his While talking with him about Through the Ropes," a mem- mother Carol Doyle oir of his years following the the fine art of officiating box- career of and spending time ten that Langford was the ing matches, I could hear just with Ali. Rick recalls many only man Jack Dempsey how much he is concerned stories of his time around feared. He was originally with keeping the sport safe. The Greatest, and his pas- from Nova Scotia and made sion comes through loud and Boston his home. clear in the book and also at Brendon Foster is so proud the museum where he can of his great-great-grandfa- talk endlessly about the Ali ther that he has an image years. Spending time with of him tattooed on his arm. Rick at the museum where It is touching to know that he has assembled an amaz- the great Langford is still re- ing collection of Ali memo- membered by his family and rabilia is something one by so many boxing fans. At a does not forget. He is a gra- later date, I will do an inter- cious host and knowledge- view with Carol along with a able boxing guy. story on Langford. He should At Katz's Deli, while shar- never be forgotten. ing half sour pickles and the Former number one wel- Carol Doyle and Gaspar best cole slaw anywhere, terweight contender Gaspar Ortega I got to spend time speaking Ortega and his son, re- with Carol Doyle and her nowned boxing referee Mike, Mike is completely focused son Brendon Foster. Carol is were at the lunch. The 79- on the action and the the great-granddaughter of year-old Gaspar is still light wellbeing of the boxers when one of the greatest heavy- on his feet and looks as ff he he is doing his job. I will also weights who ever lived, Sam could jump in the ring and be talking further with him Langford. You can see the knock off ten rounds without for a future column. resemblance and just feel a problem. Ortega got a shot It is great that Rick the love she had for her at the title in 1961, losing to Kaletsky puts this lunch great-grandfather. She re- the great Emile Griffith. If together and it reminds me members him and told me you take a look at some of of just how interesting and how she was a bit afraid of Gaspar's fights on YouTube, intelligent loxing people going up to him when her you will see a master at the are. I always come away mother would take her to art of slipping punches, from these events having learned something and with a greater appreciation for those who make up the sport of boxing. Rick deserves a big thank you for working to keep boxing people in touch with each other. Be sure to check out Rick's book. Rick Kaletsky, Peter LaBarbera, and some other guy Ali and Me GOING OUT IN A BLAZE OF GLORY -- The Manchester Monarchs made their final season in New England a memorable one, defeating the Utica Comets in the Ameri- can Hockey League Final to capture the Calder Cup. The Monarchs topped the Comets 4-1 in the best-of: seven series in their swan song season. Next year, Manchester, the top affiliate of the L.A. Kings, will play in Ontario, California. Manchester's march to the 'title included series wins over two other New England based franchises -- the Port- land Pirates and the Hartford Wolf Pack. The Monarchs eliminated the Pirates in the first round, got by Wilkes- Barre/Scranton in the sec- ond and then swept the Wolf Pack in the Eastern Confer- ence Final to advance to the title round. The Monarchs also won the regular season race, going 50-6-3 (109 points) over the course of the 2014-2015 cam- paign under Head Coach Mike Stothers. However, New Hampshire hasn't heard the last of the Monarchs. The team cur- rently based in Ontario, Cali- fornia (the Ontario Reign) will be moving to the Granite State as a member of the East Coast Hockey League. That team's new name: the Manchester Monarchs. So, even though it'll be a step down on the hockey ladder, the Los Angeles Kings will continue to have an affiliate in New Hampshire and Man- chester will continue to have a team playing in the Verizon Wireless Arena. Meanwhile, Worcester faces the very real possibility of not having professional hockey next season since the Worcester franchise will be moving to San Jose, Califor- nia, the home of the parent team -- the San Jose Sharks. So, next season's AHL lineup in New England in- cludes Bridgeport, Hartford, Springfield, Providence and Portland. Throw in the "new" ECHL Monarchs and you've got quite a bit of minor league pro hockey throughout the region. WAS IT REALLY THAT LONG AGO? -- It was two years ago (June 24, 2013) that the Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final at the Garden. It was another fine season for the B's -- or should we say half season since the regu- lar campaign didn't get under way until January. Remem- ber, in the fall of 2012 there was that NHL lockout that essentially shut down the league for the first three months of the season. Although the B's did not pre- vail against Chicago, they lifted the spirits of an entire region in the wake of the marathon bombing tragedy. As we said at the time, the Bruins were more than strong -- they were Boston Strong. DO YOU FEEL A DRAFT?. -- Perhaps you should because there are two of them com- ing up. The first will be the NBA Draft to be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Celtics hold the 16  and 28  draft picks in round one of the two-round draft plus the 3 m and 15  picks in the second. The Internet has been alive with speculation that Celtics GM Danny Ainge will trade some of those picks to move higher up the ladder in the first round. We'll see. And, in a departure from normal practices, the Celtics draft night headquarters will be at the Seaport Hotel. There's a concert at the Gar- den and the practice facility in Waltham is not quite large enough for the draft night party that the C's put on for their season ticket holders. The second draft will be the NHL version held on June 26  and 27  in Sunrise, Florida, the home of the Florida Panthers. The Edmonton Offers (now headed by former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli) won the Draft Lottery and will pick first. The Bruins have eight picks in the seven-round draft with their first round selection (14  overall) getting the most attention. They also have two picks in the second round, so they have a good chance of picking up some really good talent. NHL HAS SEVEN NEW HEAD COACHES -- As of press time, there will be seven new faces behind the benches of NHL teams next season. Let's take a look. Buffalo Sabres -- When you're the worst team in the league (only 23 wins last season}, a coaching change is coming. Dan Bylsma, who formerly coached Pittsburgh, was chosen for this huge rebuilding job. New Jersey Devils -- John Hynes was successful for five seasons as the head coach of the AHL Wilkes- Barre/Scranton Penguins. He was hired on June 2 d shortly after his team was eliminated from the playoffs by the Monarchs. Detroit Red Wings -- Jeff Blashill coached the Wings' AHL team, the Grand Rapids Griffins, for three seasons, winning the 2013 Calder Cup, named AI-IL Coach of the Year in 2014 and reaching the conference finals this season. A good resume for a promotion. San Jose Sharks -- Peter DeBoer, who previously coached the Florida Panthers and the New Jersey Devils, gets to experience the West- ern Conference. Toronto Maple Leafs -- Mike Babcock received an eight- year, $50 million contract, the largest in NHL history. Edmonton Oilers -- GM Peter Chiarelli got right down to business and hired former San Jose coach Todd McLellan. Philadelphia Flyers -- Can a successful college coach work his magic in the NHL? Former North Dakota mentor Dave Hakstol wiK certainly try.