Newspaper Archive of
Boston, Massachusetts
October 24, 2014     Post-Gazette
PAGE 16     (16 of 16 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 16     (16 of 16 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
October 24, 2014

Newspaper Archive of Post-Gazette produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2018. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

Page16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, OCTOBER 24, 2014 Jerry Quarry A Boxing Tragedy Part 3 Incredibly, Jerry was back in the ring less than two months after the Frazier fight. He kayoed Johnny Carroll in one round, and then a month later he fought Brian London in Oak- land, CA, disposing of the Brit in round two. It is amazing to think he would be put back in the ring so soon after taking such a beating against Joe Frazier. He could not have been physically or mentally prepared to be fighting again without a layoff. Maybe this partly explains what happened in his next bout. Jerry would step back up in class and fight tough George Chuvalo in a scheduled ten rounder in New York City. As any boxing fan knows, George was not a great boxer, but he gave everyone he fought a rough time of it and was impossible to knock down. This was a bruising battle, but Jerry was winning handily going into the seventh round. George's right eye was almost completely closed and his left eye wasn't in much bet- ter shape. Quarry was landing clean shots and seemed on his way to a tough, but one- sided decision. For his part, even though Chuvalo was losing, he was not giving up. He was landing solid body shots and was absorbing Quarry,s best shots without tak- ing a backward step. With less than fifteen seconds remaining in that seventh round, George landed a glancing left hook off the side of Jerry's head. Quarry stepped back, wobbled a bit, and then went down. He immediately got up, but then went down on one knee and removed his mouthpiece. Referee Zack Clayton stood over him shouting the count in his ear, * nine, ten, you're out." At this point Jerry jumped to his feet and protested, but there was no doubt he had been down for the full count. He was clear eyed and appeared to be fine. Why he chose to take the count on one knee instead of the standing eight count, which was in effect, I never know. What was going on in Jerry's mind? Had the fact that Chuvalo had taken his best blows and con- tinued coming on disheartened Jerry? Were the body blows getting to him? Had he begun to panic because punches he was throw- ing, which had flattened most of his previous op- ponents, were not hav- ing that effect on George? Did his mind go back to the Frazier bout? If any Jerry and Mike guaxry or all of these things were going through Jerry's head at the time of the knockdown, this was the perfect time to get out of there. Again, I am not questioning Jerry's heart, what I am saying is that if panic was setting into his subconscious, it may have been sending a signal to run for safety. Many things can go through a boxer's mind when he is decked. I think of Buster Dou- glas in his upset win over Mike Tyson. Buster fought a perfect fight that night while winning one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. Douglas was winning handily when, with six seconds remaining in the eighth round, Tyson connected with a right uppercut, flooring Buster. When Buster hit the deck he pounded his fist on the canvas out of frustration. He did not appear to be hurt. He also did not immedi- ately get to his feet. Douglas, who had never been the most motivated fighter, was think- ing it over. Even though he was far ahead on points and in complete control of the fight, he now had the opportunity to go home. For- tunately, he got up and the rest is history. This was similar to what happened to Jerry Quarry in the Chuvalo fight, only Quarry did not get to his feet until the fatal ten had been counted, Jerry Quan'y vs. George Chuvalo Boxing is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. When that bell rings, a fighter is com- pletely on his own. Even in the weeks, days, and moments before a fight a boxer has to contend with all of the thoughts that race through his mind. The self-doubt, the fear, thinking about that night he may have had a few beers instead of going to bed early. Any little mis- step in training can come back to haunt him on his way into the ring. On June 27, 1972 Jerry Quarry stepped into the ring for the second time against Muhammad Ali. Their initial meeting had been in 1970 and was Ali's first fight after being in exile for three years. In that first bout, Jerry was stopped on a cut in the third round. It didn't go long enough to tell us much about how these two would fare against each other. In their second meeting, Jerry's brother Mike was fighting the same night in a chal- lenge against the great Bob Foster for the World Light Heavyweight Championship. The younger Quarry was brutally kayoed in the fourth round. He was knocked cold and did not regain conscious- ness for sev- eral very scary min- Quarry vs. AU utes. Jerry was watching this bout, and the sight of his brother being seriously hurt had to have an effect on him. He walked into the ring with that image in his head, still not knowing for sure how badly hurt his younger brother was. This had to be weigh- ing terribly on him and it showed. When the bell rang for the first round, Jerry ran right after Ali and within seconds actually picked Ali up off of his feet and car- ried him on his shoulder. Jerry was com- pletely out of control; it was as if his mind had short-circuited. He made no effort to defend himself and took a terrible beating on his way to being stopped in the seventh round. Once again, Jerry was beaten before the bell even rang. what he did that night was a form of boxing suicide. Incredibly, after the Ali fight, Jerry would go on to have two of his greatest victories against a couple of the most feared heavy- weights of the era. He won a ten round decision over Ron Lyle and then took apart the very hard punching Earnie Shavers in less than a round. Quarry also took two more savage beatings. One in a rematch with Joe Frazier and then against Ken Norton in a fight that is sickening to watch as Jerry was just a human punching bag. I firmly believe Jerry Quarry was con- stantly fighting the demons in his mind. He had been used as cannon fodder in the gyms starting at age five. He had an abusive and vicious father who inflicted mental and physical pain on him for years. The fact that Jerry was able to go as far as he did is amaz- ing considering the torment he must have been in. I am certainly no doctor, but I would be willing to bet ff Quarry's case was looked at, he would be diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). He had to have amazing courage to push forward in the most brutal of professions while dealing with all of his inner turmoil. It would have been bet- ter ff he hadn't been so brave and had got- ten out of the sport early on, but it was how he was raised and all he knew. There is no happy ending to this story. Both Jerry and his brother Mike ended up suffering from dementia pugilistica, a ter- rible and too common malady that strikes those who have taken too many punches. Jerry was only 53 when he passed away. Mike was 55. Email Bobby at Like an oncoming winter storm advancing toward Bos- ton, it has already arrived in several cities in the region. A sports talk radio show men- tioned that it had already reared its ugly head in places such as Springfield, Hartford, Lowell, Providence, Worces- ter, Manchester, N.H. and Portland. In short, it has us sur- rounded and it's only a mat- ter of time until ... Well, much like a winter storm perhaps something could intervene to throw it off track but the way it looks right now the Hub will be in for quite a commotion once it hits -- possibly in the next year or two. And what is it? It is the brand new version of hockey overtime, presently being utilized throughout the American Hockey League. And in my opinion, it trivializes a grand sport, reducing it to a series of gim- micks that are even worse than the ones now in place. In short, it's just plain bad, real bad. But first, a little back- ground. Right now, the NHL employs a couple of gim- micks following regular sea- son tie games for the pur- poses of breaking a tie. Earlier in its history, when pro hockey was genuine from end to end, that wasn't the case. Back a couple of decades ago, if a regulation 60-minute game ended in a tie, the teams simply contin- ued into a five-minute over- time. If a team scored a sud- den death goal during the extra session, it was awarded the game's two points. The losing team didn't earn any points. A 1999 addition gave each team a point at the end of regulation, with the award- ing of a third point to the over- time winner. Overtime really changed when the NHL powers decided that the five-minute overtime would be played us- ing only four skaters per team instead of the traditional five, a radical departure from the overtimes featured in the other popular pro sports. Major League Baseball doesn't remove players in extra-inning games, while the NBA and the NFL also don't play their OTs without full-strength teams. Only the NHL has seen fit to employ this method in its regular season games that go into overtime. That's gimmick number one. The second gimmick is the penalty-shot format shoot- out. Of course, this is totally unrelated to what has just transpired -- an actual hockey game -- but somehow to the NHL authorities it is -- or perhaps make that was -- a rather nifty way to break an overtime tie and award that important third point. It seems that those who hold the power in the NHL have begun to have second thoughts about the shootout. Some have likened it to deciding a baseball game with a home run derby- not a bad' analogy, actually. Some openly have started to use the word we never thought they'd use -- gimmick. How to resolve all of this? Well, the obvious answer is to follow the leads of MLB, the NBA and the NFL- all of which play their overtimes without gimmicks. The fa- vorite comment of the late broadcaster Johnny Most definitely is appropriate here -- fiddlin' and diddlin'. That's exactly what the NHL is doing, but now the league seems to acknowl- edge at least a partial error of its ways. So, the realiza- tion goes, let's have a new version of OT -- one that doesn't eliminate the shootout, but cuts down dramatically on the need to employ it. Rather than install the new version in NHL games right away, let's see how it works out as an experiment in a lab. The time is now and the lab is the American Hockey League. Back in July, when nobody was really noticing, the AHL Board of Governors passed a set of new overtime regula- tions, First, there would be a dry scrape of the ice surface at the end of regulation. That's fine. Then the skat- ing overtime would be length- ened to seven minutes. No problem there, either. Then the OT would start in the now common four-on- four format and be played that way "until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining)." They then would go to three-on- three for the rest of the over- time. Why? To increase the odds that a tie will be broken in the skating overtime and thus there won't be a need to go to a shootout. This is, of course, an even greater gimmick than the already existing ones. Imag- ine if a baseball game went to extra innings and each side used only eight players in the 10  inning and then reduced that to seven in the 11 th inning and beyond -- until some sort of artifi- cial termination point was reached and then a home run derby ensued: Such an idea wouldn't even get proposed in baseball; it would be laughable. NFL overtimes might end faster ff each side used fewer play- ers, but could you see the league's higher ups ever con- doning it? Would fans con- sider it "real" NFL football? I don't think so. Using and experimenting with gimmicks is not the way to go in the grand game of hockey. The NHL, its history, its traditions deserve better than that. But make no mis- take, the latest gimmick is just down the road a few miles, waiting to enter town and spoil a time-honored sport. Meanwhile, fans can only hope that the sport they love remains intact, that present gimmicks are removed and proposed ones are rejected. True fans of the NHL deserve nothing less.