Randy Neumann: Boxer, Referee and Financier! Interview by Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (March 24, 2011) Doghouse Boxing - Tweet
How many times have you heard after a bad decision “we wuz robbed”! How many times have you heard after a fighter got what was left of his purse after he took the punches “I got robbed twice. In the ring and out”! At a Ring One meeting one of the former fighters said after his first fight he owed his manager $75.00.
Heavyweight boxer Randy Neumann knows the ins and outs of the game and the funny business that goes on. He’s been a financial advisor for 32 years. He now runs Randy Neumann and Associates out of Paramus, NJ. That goes back to 1980. He started boxing in 1969 and retired in 1977.
“I’ve been in the fight game since 1967 when I began boxing while a freshman in college. I had 15 amateur fights, 38 professional fights and have refereed thousands of fights over 28 years,” said Neumann.
Neumann turned professional in August of 1969 in Madison Square Garden scoring a first round knockout over Jeff Marx, 2-0. There were 4 fights scheduled for 8 rounds and the 2 fights scheduled for 4 rounds of which Neumann was in one of them. Little did he know that in two of the 8 rounder’s were Pedro Agosta and in the main event Big George Foreman against Chuck Wepner. He would meet Agosta 4 years later and Wepner 3 times starting 2 years later.
In 3 of his first 4 fights including his second fight Neumann fought Junior Wilkerson who made his debut in that second fight. “He was a big southpaw. I beat him in October (along with beating George “Suitcase” Simpson), November and December,” said Neumann. In their third fight in Madison Square Garden George Chuvalo would defeat Jerry Quarry in the main event. In 1973, some 4 years later it would be Neumann against Quarry in the main event.
Neumann's First Fight
Neumann would end up fighting 3 fighters 2 times and 3 fighters 3 times. In his sixth fight he fought a main event 8 rounder defeating Angel Viera at the Embassy Hall, in North Bergen, NJ. He scored a second round stoppage. On the undercard was now fellow NJ referee Brian O’Melia making his debut by scoring a first round knockout. They would meet 2 years later. “Next I beat Tony Gagliardi, 13-9-3, who was a New York detective,” said Neumann.
Neumann had 6 fights in 6 months starting off 1970 and was 9-0 when he met Edmund Stewart, 4-3-2, a Jamaican, in back to back fights. The first was an 8 round decision in Cliffside Park where he lived. The next month was at the Madison Square Garden where both Jerry and Mike Quarry won along with Brian O’Melia.
“I was in the Army for 4 months and hadn’t fought in 8 months and took on Jimmy Harris, 1-2, who lost to O’Melia on the last card I was on. Neumann was 11-0 and a big favorite. I threw a looping right hand lead. He shot a straight “He hit me with a wild right lead in the second round. When I got up I didn’t know what planet I was on,” said Neumann. Exactly a month later he reversed the loss beating Harris over 8 rounds. “Just because a guy can’t fight that well doesn’t mean he can’t punch,” said Neumann.
In May of 1971 the NY Golden Gloves champion who was originally from Argentina, Raul Gorosito, 1-0, stepped up big time losing to Neumann in an 8 rounder. Being O’Melia, 9-5, was from Bayonne it was a natural match-up when they fought the following month. It was a 10 round main event with Neumann taking the decision.
Neumann had a rematch with Gorosito who was now 5-1 looking for revenge and some 20 pounds heavier than in their last fight. Spotting Gorosito 32 pounds Neumann would take the 10 round decision. The stage was set for the following month to meet Bayonne’s Chuck Wepner, 22-8-2, for the USA NJ State title. They fought for 12 rounds with Neumann taking the state title.
From Left: James J. Braddock, Neumann (21), and Rocky Marciano
In March of 1972 Neumann met Philly’s Jimmy Young, 7-2, at the Garden. Young had won his last 3 bouts while Neumann was on a 7 fight winning streak. Neumann would take the win over 10 rounds. Young would get stopped by Earnie Shavers in his next fight. Then he went 10-0-2 including a draw with Shavers. This earned him a title fight with Muhammad Ali that many fans including this one thought Young deserved.
Just 5 weeks later Neumann was in with Wepner in a rematch and lost his state title. “I know I got robbed in that one,” said Neumann. This would even the score at 1-1. It would be almost 2 years before they fought the rubber match.
Neumann would come back before the year was over and score a pair of knockouts. In January of 1973 he would be in his biggest fight of his career taking on Jerry Quarry, 43-6-4, in the Garden’s main event. Quarry would have a new trainer in the legendary Gil Clancy who would take the 27 year old veteran puncher and teach him how to box.
“I was hit low in the sixth round,” said Neumann. The bout would be stopped by the ring doctor between the seventh and eighth awarding the fight to Quarry. “Quarry was known for it,” said Neumann.
Just 3 months later Neumann was right back in action stopping the former New England champ Doug Kirk, 13-2 in the second round. In September of 1973 Neumann was in with Pedro Agosto, 25-4, with 20 knockouts in the Garden. Former WBA champion Ernie Terrell was in the main event in what would be his last fight losing to Jeff Merritt.
Agosto had won his first 14 fights by knockout. He was 18-0 with 16 knockouts before he suffered his first loss. His last loss was to former champion Floyd Patterson. Since then he won 5 in a row, 4 by knockout. After this fight Agosto defeated Jose Roman, 43-8-1, for the PR title. But this night he found himself on the canvas in the eighth round against Neumann. The following round the referee would stop it and award the fight to Neumann.
Several months later Neumann would meet Gorosito, 11-4-1, for the third time. It would be the main event at the Garden’s Felt Forum. For the third time Neumann would defeat Gorosito. This set the stage for another rubber match in March of 1974 against Wepner at the Garden. Though they were not in NJ, it would still be the NJ state title. “I told them I would never fight Wepner in NJ again. I believe this lead me to being black balled,” said Neumann.
“I felt I was ahead when in the sixth round we clashed heads. We were both a bloody mess. The referee Arthur Mercante stepped in and said he was going to have to stop it. Wepner said not to because he had a fight with Ali next (actually he was to take on the Ali-Foreman winner which he would one year later). Mercante said it’s not you cut so bad its Neumann. So Wepner said okay then stop it,” said Neumann.
Neumann in action in Mike Tyson fight
They gave the fight to Wepner due to the severe gash from the clash of heads. Neumann was ahead at the time by 5-1 and 4-2 on two cards. They should have gone to the cards not awarding a technical knockout decision. Neumann would be off for 9 months due to cut and with the help of Bruce Trampler arranged for a bout in Nassau, Bahamas with their Carl Baker, 10-10. He would stop Baker in the tenth and last round. Trampler worked on the Larry Renaud fight in Orlando, not the Baker fight in Nassau. Dewey Fragetta booked that fight
Next Neumann would fight Milwaukee’s Larry Beilfuss, 13-7, who was coming off a win over Ted Gullick, 15-7-1, in the same Auditorium in Wisconsin. Neumann would stop Beilfuss in the fifth round for another road win. Big Bob Scott, 6-7, was next in Bimini, Bahamas, and it was one dirty fight. “He bear hugged me and kneed me and I put a thumb in his eye for him to release me. The ref finally stopped it,” said Neumann. He got the win by disqualification in 2.
In June of 1975 Neumann traveled to London and stopped Billy Aird, 17-8-4, in the eighth. Aird was unbeaten in his last 4 fights and had a draw with Jimmy Young. It was then on to Port of Spain, Trinidad back to Nassau to fight their Wendell Joseph, 5-8-1, and got disqualified in 6. “I was giving him a boxing lesson and ready to knock him out. I would stay in the country for awhile hoping for a rematch,” said Neumann.
In September of 1975 Neumann got a National televised fight with Seattle’s Boone Kirkman, 32,-5, in Las Vegas. Kirkman a once promising fighter was coming off losses to Ken Norton and Ron Lyle. Neumann would win on all scorecards by a wide margin.
The following month Neumann would fight Bobby Walker, 7-5, at the Long Island Arena, in Commack, NY, in the main event. Walker had just defeated Dave “Ziggy” Zyglewicz, 31-4, who had challenged Joe Frazier for his NYSAC championship. Walker was down 7 times in this 10 rounder.
Referee Harold Valan just didn’t seem like he wanted to stop it. The fight went the full distance with Neumann declared the winner. “He was on work release so they escorted him out in handcuffs,” said Neumann.
In Neumann’s ninth fight in twelve months he met the former 1972 Olympian Duane Bobick, 32-0, at Madison Square Garden in December of 1975. Bobick had stopped 10 of his last 11 opponents. “I bounced off the ropes and got hit with an uppercut and was down three times,” said Neumann. The bout was stopped in the fourth round. For all intentional purposes his career was over. “Today Duane and I are very friendly,” said Neumann. Bobick had lived in Ocean City, NJ, before moving back to Minnesota.
Neumann decided to try it one more time in April of 1977 after being off for 16 months. His opponent would be Ibar Arrington, 19-2-1, from WA. He had won 9 of his last 10 fights. “We were supposed to fight in Alaska and then Seattle before finally landing at the Dickinson H.S. In Jersey City,” said Neumann. The referee would call a halt in the fifth round due to a cut over Neumann’s right eye awarding the fight to Arrington. Neumann was just 28 but realized it was the end of the road. I wrote a column in the New York Times that they titled, “How a young boxer of 18 became old, tired and 28.”
“Randy is a class guy. He (Neumann) helps out whenever there is a need, no matter how small or big it is. He has come to many amateur shows to show his support and is always willing to help out,” said Henry Hascup. That’s from the president of the NJHOF.
Neumann has been a referee starting at the New York Felt Forum in1983. In 1984 he started officiating in Atlantic City. His first world title bout was in Italy in 1987. In 1987 he did his first Atlantic City title bout in the Dwight Qawi and Evander Holyfield bout. All in all he had 47 world title bouts also in Germany (5), Ireland (1), Italy (2), UK (4), DK (1), and FR (1) are the number of trips in each country where he sometimes worked several title bouts on same card.
Neumann was ranked by Ring Magazine as their No. 9 contender. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Using his financial planning and boxing knowledge, he set up with help from his wife Kathleen, and Bob Lee, Sr., the former president of the IBF, the first ever pension plan for boxers.
“I fought in an exhibition in 2001 for the 911 Fund in Gleasons Gym,” said Neumann. His final record was 31-7 with 11 knockouts. He was managed by Joe Vella and trained by Pat Colavito, Freddie Brown and Chickie Ferrara.
This writer asked Neumann about any unusual fights that he served as a referee. “The most bizarre fight I have ever been involved in was an IBF Super middleweight title fight in 2006. Champion Arthur Abraham faced big punching challenger, Edison Miranda in Wetzlar, Germany,” said Neumann.
“Miranda came out like a house afire throwing bombs at Abraham. In the fourth round Abraham, who had been bleeding steadily from the mouth for a few rounds, couldn’t open his mouth to remove his mouthpiece. I said to the doctor,“Let’s stop the fight. I think he has a broken jaw His response was, ”No. He can win.” Okay, I am not going to overrule a German doctor in Germany when it comes to a medical decision so, the fight went on,” added Neumann.
In the seventh round Miranda scored the greatest head butt I’d ever seen. Instead of the usual lowering of the head to launch it into the opponents brow, in a clinch he slipped his head behind Abraham‘s turned it and slammed the back of Abraham’s skull with his. A doctor later told me that the back of the skull is the weakest area. “I took not one but two points away from Miranda,” said Neumann.
“The fight progressed and Abraham was beating Miranda. Miranda began throwing low blows in the seventh round so I issued two warnings. The third time I took away a point. Immediately he threw another low one so I took another point. In the eleventh round Miranda threw another bomb to Abraham’s groin so I took a point away. “The result of the fight was that Abraham won a decision without the 5 point deduction with a jaw that was broken in the first couple of rounds in a 12 round fight,” added Neumann.
Now that’s what you call bizarre! Neumann is one of the bigger referee’s so he gets his share of major heavyweight bouts. Two heavyweight fights come into mind were Andrew Golota against Michael Grant. Grant got dropped twice in the first round.
“In the tenth round Golota goes down and I ask him if he wants to continue. He shakes his head no. He was far ahead (86-81, 87-80 and 85-83) on points at the time but I had to stop the fight off. I run into his manager and he tells me Golota thought he was behind so he quit,” says Neumann.
Another was John Ruiz against Andrew Golota. “These two started it at the end of the first round (Golota hit Ruiz after the bell and Ruiz hit him back twice). Ruiz’s trainer Stone came running across the ring shaking a fist at Golota’s trainer, Sam Colona. I told both fighters in the third round I knew those foul tricks when they were in diapers and warned them I would start taking points away.
“In the fourth Ruiz starts hitting Golota from behind and I took a point away. In the eighth round I went to the Ruiz corner for the second time to have his trainer Stone fix the tape on the gloves and he handed me the tape and used abusive language. I threw Stone out of the corner. They were showing Stone in the dressing room threatening to sue me,” said Neumann.
Randy Neumann might be the first and only boxer who went onto becoming a referee and to be a financial advisor. He shouldn’t have any problem adding up his scorecard!