Ted Sares fought as an amateur boxer in the Chicago area in the 50's. He has since become a boxing historian and member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He specializes in articles that capture the pathos of the sport. His works have been featured on a number of boxing sites and magazines including East Side Boxing, Fightkings, WAIL Magazine, IBRO Journal, Saddoboxing.com, and many others

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Virgil Hill in the Hall

By Ted Sares

Next year Roberto Duran becomes eligible for induction into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame and that should be a slam dunk. A few years later, Virgil "Quicksilver" Hill also will become eligible and I submit a reasonable, if not compelling case can be made for his induction as well.

Let's look at the facts. Virgil won his first fight in 1984 against Arthur Wright in Madison Square Garden. He defeated Clarence Osby in 1986 at the Felt Forum in New York City to win the WBC Continental Americas Light Heavyweight Title. And in 1987 he beat Leslie Stewart in Atlantic City to win his first world championship belt (the WBA Light Heavyweight Title). Almost twenty years later on Jan 27, 2006 and also in Atlantic City, Virgil beat Russian, Valery Brudov, 31-1, in impressive fashion to win the Vacant WBA Cruiserweight Title. The WBA cruiserweight title was vacant because Jean-Marc Mormeck had been elevated to super champion status after winning a unification bout. Brudov was the top-ranked challenger and Hill was No. 2.

That he earned the fifth world title of his career with a unanimous decision over Brudov on January 26, 200 in Atlantic City at age 42 is all the more remarkable. All three Judges had him winning the 12-round match 118-110 to earn the World Boxing Association cruiserweight title. Incredibly, he was appearing in his 28th world title bout and he used that experience to his advantage in easily beatings his confused opponent. "I couldn't catch him. I was shocked he moved so well for a 42-year-old guy. His experience showed," said Brudov through an interpreter.

In between his Atlantic City title book-ends, he has fought tough competition holding two wins over Frank Tate, 41-5, two victories over Fabrice Tiozzo, 48-2. including one in which he overwhelmed Tiozzo decking him three times in a remarkable one round onslaught in Villeurbanne, France. He has also defeated Donny LaLonde, 41-5-1, James Toney conqueror Drake Thadzi, 30-9-1, Lou Del Valle, 35-3-1, Rufino Angulo, 21-3-3, Adolpho Washington, 31-9-2, Lottie Mwale, 44-9, Marvin Camel, 45-13-4, Jean-Marie Emebe, 27-7, Ramzi Hassan, 35-12-2, Marcos Geraldo, 60-28-1, Leslie Stewart, 31-12, Bobby Czyz, 44-8, James Kinchen, 49-9-2, and Henry Maske, 30-1. The combined won-lost record of just the opponents mentioned in this article is an impressive 833-149.

His 1996 win over Maske was in Munich and was the popular Maske's first loss. Henry retired after that loss. As a fearless road warrior, ten of his big career fights have been in other countries including England, Germany, Australia, France and South Africa. Amazingly, he won seven of them. While some might criticize the number of bouts fought in his home state of North Dakota, "Quicksilver" has had more than his fair share of fights in Atlantic City or Nevada and his willingness to fight in an opponent's home country is reflective of both his courage and his international popularity.

With a 250-11 amature record and a silver medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Las Angeles, Virgil Hill is a 5-time world champion having won titles in both the Light heavyweight and Cruiserweight divisions. He has only five defeats, and three were against truly great competition.....Thomas Hearns, 61-5-1, Dariusz Michalczewski, 48-2, and Roy Jones, 50-4. After taking a long layoff during which he contemplated retiring as champion, he decided to continue but lost his Cruiserweight title to the tough Mormeck, 32-3, in Marseille, France. After this loss he decided to make still another title run against the aforementioned Brudov which, of course, proved successful and which moved his career record to a fine 50 (23 ko's)- 5.

Looking ahead, Virgil says, ".......now I'd like to fight once more and then walk away on my own terms." To this end, he claims he has negotiated a deal to fight Henry Maske in Germany, probably in January. As mentioned above, Hill beat Maske 10 years ago to claim the WBA, WBO and IBF light heavyweight titles. Both boxers are now 42. "It's amazing, at the tender age of 42, everybody wants to beat up on the old boy," Hill said. He negotiated the fight himself, though manager Bill Sorensen is still part of his team. "It was just that in this particular instance, I negotiated it myself," Hill said. "It was great. I got everything I wanted and even more." He declined to disclose the fight's purse except to say it involves "seven figures."

There is another rumor out there to the effect Virgil may defend his title against come backing Thomas "Hitman" Hearns but the Maske fight seems more secure.. On June 3rd, 1991 Hearns outpointed Hill to win the WBA light heavyweight title that he held at the time. But as fellow writer Jim Amato sagely said in another piece, "Thomas Hearns is a legend but he has had only two fights in the last six years. Virgil has stayed active and effective. I understand Virgil wanting to avenge a loss and maybe pick up a nice payday. I understand Tommy wanting to recapture his past glory. In sensible reality though this fight does not make sense. Hearns has done nothing to warrant a title shot at this stage of his career. I hope this fight does not come off for the fan's sake and Tommy's." (Virgil Hill vs. Tommy Hearns II?, 03.07.06 - By Jim Amato)

Whomever "Quicksilver" fights in his "last" one, I believe he has done enough in an amazing career that has now spanned 22 years to warrant inclusion in the International Boxing Hall Of Fame. He beat nine world champions, faced top German fighters.....in Germany, beat Fabrice Tiozzo twice....in France, won five world titles, has a 50-5 career record, an amazing 28 world title fights, three of his losses were against Hall of Fame worthy opponents, and he was stopped only once (by Roy Jones Jr. That should be more than enough. While beating an aged Hearns will not do much for punctuating his chances, beating Maske will. In any event, let's hope he is one of the few to leave boxing on his own terms.

"It's still a tough hustle for the kids," But when they come to visit [the hall of fame], with all they do for boxers here, you know this [museum] is strictly done from the heart......for boxers, it's priceless," Angelo Dundee

Ted Sares is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at tedsares@adelphia.net


Post a Comment

<< Home