Battling Brett Dies - by Ron Jackson

Brett Lally, who beat SA middleweight champion Charles Oosthuizen in 1988, has died at the age of 48.

Lally and Oosthuizen met in June 1988 at the Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg. The fight was stopped in the ninth round after Oosthuizen had suffered a deep cut over the left eye after a clash of heads.

SA Boxing World reported at the time that it was “possibly the best fight of the night”.

Oosthuizen suffered his fourth defeat when referee Wally Snowball intervened “because of a horrible gash”.

The magazine reported that “Lally came in from the first round throwing overhand rights, hooks, combinations and even used his head and elbows on occasion. “At the time of the stoppage there was little in the fight in what had become a slugging match.”

Lally passed away at Dearborn’s Oakwood Hospital in Michigan.

He was an aggressive fighter who won a US Golden Gloves amateur title at 53.97 kg in 1982. He turned professional in 1983.

In 1990 he stopped Robert “Bam Bam’’ Hines in the fourth round to win the vacant NABF light-middleweight title.

Lally always gave of his best but came short against “world’ champions such as
Gary Hinton, Otis Grant, Vinny Pazienza, Donald Curry and Terry Norris and in his
last fight, in August 2003, he lost to future WBC and IBF light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson.

Lally, who was born in Northville, Michigan, on January 14, 1963, finished with a record of 32 wins, 19 knockouts and 12 losses.

SCOTT LE DOUX DIES - by Eric Armit

The recent death of Scott LeDoux from Lou Gehrig’s disease brought back many
memories of the days when America ruled the heavyweight division, not all of the
memories are good, but more of that later. Scott LeDoux, known as the Fighting
Frenchman, a contender for the heavyweight title in the mid-1970s and early ’80s fought just about every good heavyweight around in those days, and was probably the most popular boxer to come out of Minnesota. In his 10-year professional career, LeDoux had 33 wins, 22 inside the distance; 13 losses; and 4 draws.

He fought eight fighters who were either past champions, current champions, or
would go on to win the heavyweight title. Scott had limited technique, but limitless
heart. He had his first pro fight in 1974. He fought Duane Bobick (his first fight with Bobick set new gate records for any fight in Minnesota), John Deano Dennis, George Foreman, Pedro Soto, Leon Spinks (with whom he drew) Bill Sharkey, James J Beattie, drew with Ken Norton in a very controversial decision after having Norton on the floor twice in the last round, Mike Weaver, Marty Monroe, lost in seven rounds to Larry Holmes for the WBC title ( the loss to Holmes was due to an eye injury and he protested the stoppage it was pointed out that that the ring doctor had said he could have lost his vision, he replied, “What’s an eye when you’ve given your heart?”), Greg Page and Gerrie Coetzee.

In his last fight he lost to Frank Bruno at Wembley Arena in 1983. The post Holmes
fight quote typified Scott. A fighter of limited talent who achieved a great deal ore than seemed possible due to his toughness and fighting spirit. After retirement he went on to work as an analyst for ESPN and was elected local Commissioner.

Scott had two other claims to fame, one of which was amusing, and the other exposed the sordid underbelly of boxing at the time. Scott fought in a tournament being promoted by Don King and being carried on ABC TV entitled the United States Boxing Championships. The tournament was set up to try to establish an American champion in every division. King staged the bouts in very American locations, with the first on the flight deck of the US Navy carrier Lexington.

To qualify for a place in the tournament a fighter had to be rated in the US rankings being compiled by Ring Magazine. In February 1972 Scott was matched in the tournament over eight rounds with prospect Johnny Boudreaux at the USA Navy Academy in Annapolis. Scott lost the bout but felt he had been robbed.

ABC’s boxing front man in those days was Howard Cosell, a controversial character with a style that aggravated and angered many fans, and an ego of gargantuan proportions. As Cosell was giving his post fight summary, an enraged Scott kicked out at Cosell and displaced Cosell’s toupee, immediately becoming vastly popular in the eyes of a few million viewers.

However, there was a serious side to this, as Scott went on to alleged that the whole tournament was a farce, with fighters of managers Paddy Flood and Al Braverman, associates of King, getting preferential treatment. A federal grand jury was set up to investigate the charges, but meanwhile the tournament continued with ABC showing four more cards.

In those days an eccentric character, Flash Gordon was a one man “Wikipedia Leaks” of his day, and in his weekly magazine he began to publish information which exposed the details of a deep and dirty scandal. The spotlight shifted to Ring Magazine as there were allegations that some members of the Ring staff were asking for payment to put fighters into their ratings. It then also emerged that false fights were being put into the Ring Record Book.

Texan Ike Fluellen, a policeman and boxer, who had not fought for a year, found himself credited with two fights in Mexico, and he alleged that he had been advised to change managers to one of King’s associates in exchange for a place in the Ring US rankings and in the tournament. It emerged that the records of eleven fighters had been falsified and the then Ring Editor Nat Loubet’s defence that they relied on unverified information supplied by managers when compiling the records fell on deaf ears.

The outcome was that ABC promptly dropped the tournament and carried out their
own investigation. At the same time CBS had also had a bad experience with a series of mismatches for their boxing programme. As a result, for a while boxing became a sport which none of the major TV companies would touch, and that had serious implications for the sport.

It took a long time for the sport to recover from the scandal. Luckily for the sport under managers and staff such as Bert Sugar, Herb Goldman, Randy Gordon and particularly Steve Farhood and current Nigel Collins the Ring, the “Bible of Boxing” is back and beyond the high standing it once had, and now HBO and Showtime see the sport as a very important part of their scheduling. However, the vital part that Scott played in exposing the scandal has largely been forgotten.