|Bare Knuckles Boxing Legend Paddy Monaghan
Intreview by Bob Carroll, Doghouse Boxing (Mar 16, 2009) DoghouseBoxing.com
If Bare Knuckles Boxing had a Hall of Fame, former BKB middleweight champion Paddy Monaghan would have been inducted to the hall on the first vote. Paddy had a career that consisted of 114 fights and NO LOSSES! Paddy is also the man who is credited with the phrase "The Peoples Champion" when he granted that title to his good friend, Muhammad Ali. When Ali was under fire from the United States government for refusing to report to the military after being drafted, Paddy began a campaign to restore Ali's name and career. Ali and Paddy became very close friends.
Recently, Paddy sat down with Doghouse Boxing to discuss his career.
Bob Carroll: Here in the United States, bare knuckle boxing is not recognized as a form of boxing. How popular is it in the United Kingdom?
Paddy Monaghan: It's very popular in the UK, of course it’s not recognized by the "British Boxing Board of Control ". Bare knuckle boxing did have its own governing body known as the "BKB" (bare knuckle boxing.) It was done under medical supervision and it was organised. Its arm reached "world-wide".
BC: Paddy, you were the world bare knuckle boxing middleweight champion. As the best bare knuckle boxer, give us an idea of your life as a youngster. Were you constantly mixing it up as a youth?
PM: I started boxing when I was a 16 yrs old, I lied about my age, I said I was 19. In fact I was taking on grown men by the age of 16, by the time I was 18, I was taking on and defeating seasoned pros., I was managed and promoted by the well known BKB promoter Tommy Heard. His venue was known as "The notorious barn", and any BKB fighter worth his weight fought there, it was “the mecca" for a bare knuckled fighter not only UK based but they were imported from all over the world. You asked if I mixed it up as a youth, apart from the odd once or twice I was always told by Tommy, "NO FREE SHOWS” ONLY MUGS FIGHT FOR NOTHING. We were not mugs, we had professional trainers to teach and condition us in our training for fights, and I had the best in Tommy Heard, Charley Shorey and Jimmy Beckett.
BC: You fought and won 114 bare knuckle bouts. Were these bouts judged or was it last man standing?
PM: Yes. They say I hold the world record for a bare knuckled fighter retiring undefeated after 114 fights and 20 yrs of boxing. Whenever we participated in any "title" fight, that was known as LMS (LAST MAN STANDING). Non title fights were decided by judges’ decision, if it went the distance. Non titled fights were under BKB rules, scheduled for 10 rounds. As I said a title fight could go on until there was only one man standing.
BC: 114 fights is tough in any form of fighting. Yesterday you and I were speaking about an injury you received just recently. What type of injuries did you receive during your career?
PM: The types of injuries I received during my career? My hands were the most troublesome. It’s always that way with a big puncher, and sometimes the hand injuries kept me out the ring for almost a year. Normally it would be months depending on how bad the hands were obviously. The cuts to me were superficial, they’d heal quicker.
BC: You retired from fighting in 1980. Did you have any instances of people challenging since your retirement?
PM: Yes, I retired in 1980. I was never tempted to make a comeback, even though I'd had a couple of offers and challenges. I knew NOT to because by then my hands ware damaged too much. I'm proud of my undefeated record and I wasn’t going to risk losing it because of my hands.
BC: In the pictures I have seen of you, you proudly wear a Bare Knuckles Boxing Middleweight Championship belt. The original belt was stolen from you in 1975. How was it stolen and did they ever catch the thief? Also, who would be that stupid to steal from you?
PM: I won the BKB middleweight championship of the world from French-Canadian Jean-Paul Durrell, from Quebec, on the 5th of May 1974, by way of an 8th round KO. I was presented with my beautiful BKB Championship belt. I treasured that belt. It was stolen from me in a crowded room in a New York hotel in 1975. I was chatting to some press guys I was sent over there to drum up some support for my forthcoming fight with Ferdi Chiocca from Chicago. I placed my belt down on a lounger, turned around to answer some questions, I went back to get my belt and someone had stolen it. IT WAS GONE! But since then, one of the worlds greatest martial arts grandmasters “Samuel Kwok" had an identical belt made for me by Massis Belts in New Jersey. I am forever grateful to SIFU SAMUEL KWOK.
BC: Besides that problem, the 70's seem to be a good time for you. You became good friends with a man known internationally as “The Greatest”, Muhammad Ali. How did that friendship start?
PM: You ask, how did I get to know Muhammad Ali? I first met him in 1963 when he came over for the first Henry Cooper fight. I had admired him ever since he won the 1960 Olympic gold medal in Rome for the USA. When they took his title and license away on 28th April 1967, due to factors outside the ring, I started a "petition" against the boxing authorities’ decision. After 3 and one half yrs I had received 22,224 names and addresses in support of my campaign. Letters of support were sent to me from throughout the world.
BC: There are pictures of you and Ali together at your home and in sparring sessions. Are you still in contact with him today?
PM: Yes we do, but its more difficult now because of his Parkinson’s syndrome. We used to contact each other regularly by phone. He knows I'm still here for him and I know he will always be there for me as a friend.
BC: You have new book out, “Paddy Monaghan: Street Fighting Man”, which tells your life story. Where would myself and my readers be able to purchase the book?
PM: Now ya wanna know where to get my book "STREET FIGHTING MAN". Well you can easily get it online, just go to Google, type Paddy Monaghan in to the search engine and it will tell ya where to get it online. Simple as that. I'll be looking forward to reading all your great reviews,
BC: Paddy, using this forum as a platform, what would you like to tell all of your fans and the readers of Doghouse Boxing?
PM: Okay, I would say, stop the knife and gun culture in this world! There's far to much violence in the world as it is, with out us having it on our own streets. Now, listen, Help each other and God bless you all!
I'd like to thank the legendary Paddy Monaghan for taking time out of his day to speak with Doghouse Boxing. Paddy is a true gentleman and a great person. For more on Paddy, listen to Bob Carroll, Butch and "THE Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. every Wednesday night from 8-9pm EST on Fightin' Words Radio Show. To listen live via the internet, go to http://1490wwpr.com and look for the "listen here" tab. Don't forget to check out the Fightin' Words Radio Show website, fightinwordsonline.com
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