2 Baltimore Boxers Dead Within 2 Weeks

Two Baltimore Boxers Dead

Ever wonder why Gervonta “Tank” Davis’ signing to Mayweather promotions was such huge news in the city of Baltimore? It’s because so many others seeking to elevate themselves out of the atrocities that have become status quo in Baltimore never get to reach the top.

This was the case with 2 of Baltimore’s latest victims, boxers, Victorious Swift and Montell Pridgett. Two Baltimore boxers dead with no cause and as of now, no justice.

Unjustified Homicide

Victorious Swift was a 19 year old senior at Baltimore Design School with a penchant for art and pugilism.  The youngest of 7 brothers and sisters, Victorious had not yet gotten a chance to test himself in the squared circle, but was a good gym prospect according to coaches.

On Sunday morning, while walking home from a recording studio, Victorious was caught in what could only be described as a hailstorm of bullets.  He died in  an area hospital shortly after.

24 year old Montell Pridgett, in contrast, not only tested himself in the ring but thrived in it.  Pridgett amassed a solid 42-8 amateur record and was eyeing the professional circuit.

On March 15th, on the 1500 block of Pennsylvania avenue, Montell was involved in a fight turned deadly as the currently unknown other participant shot Montell in the torso.

Montell Pridgett succumbed to his injuries in shock trauma on Wednesday morning.

Montell was a close friend of Baltimore native and IBF junior lightweight champion, Gervonta Davis, who expressed his sadness saying,

“I wake up from a call saying my friend got killed … RIP”

 

Both victims were killed within one mile of the intersection of North and Pennsylvania Avenue, an area that gained notoriety during the Baltimore riots only 2 short years ago.

Both victims trained at Umar boxing, located 3 blocks away from that infamous corner.

Both victims had eyes on the world outside of Baltimore with the sky being the limit, but whatever potential they may have had was taken by “the streets”.  The simple moniker “victims of the street” doesn’t properly describe the circumstances of these young men.  Baltimore itself is ‘beyond the veil’.

Mayweather Promotions’ Ishe Smith’s Ex Wife Murdered Execution Style

Latoya Woolen Brutally Executed in Sin City

Latoya Woolen, ex-wife of Floyd Mayweather protege, Ishe Smith, was killed gangland style in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Woolen reportedly was shot in the back of the head while sitting outside of a Dollar Tree.

There are no suspects at this time but the investigation investigation is ongoing.  We here at The Beat send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Latoya Woolen.

 

Mike Epps Presents: Festival of Laughs, Baltimore

Writer, actor, and comedian, Mike Epps, will be performing at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore on Saturday, April 1st at 8:00 pm.  Joining him will be Bruce Bruce, Felipe Esparza, and Rickey Smiley.

Baltimore will be the second stop on his Festival of Laughs tour.  Other tour dates are as follows:

March 31, Detroit, Michigan @ Joe Louis Arena

April 7, Atlanta, GA @ Phipps Arena

April 14, Houston Tx @ NRG Arena

April 15, Baton Rouge, Louisiana @ the River Center Theatre for Performing Arts

April 21, Saint Louis, MO @ Chaifetz Arena

April 22, Milwaukee WI @ Milwaukee Theatre

May 6, Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie

May 12, Southhaven, MS @ Landers Center

 

Tickets are available now.

Tony Zale “Man of Steel”

“Tony Zale was one of the nicest men I ever met, and one of the toughest fighters I ever saw” -Bert Sugar

Co Authored by Oliver Hayes and James Lafond of jameslafond.com .  

The Man of Steel, Tony Zale

Biography

Born on May 29, 1913 in the steel town of Gary, Indiana was the aptly named “Man of Steel” Anthony Florian Zalenski, or more widely known as Tony Zale.

Zale came from a poor family with 4 brothers and 2 sisters.

After his father passed when Tony was a mere 2 years old, his mother became both mother and father to him.

He began boxing as a kid, which helped with the shyness he developed after losing his father.

Zale turned his therapy into a profession in 1934 while still working in the steel mills of Gary, Indiana. He won the National Boxing Association Middleweight title by knocking out Al Hostak in the 13th round on July 19,1940.

Zale enlisted in the US navy in 1942 following a 15 round decision win over Georgie Abrams for the vacant world middleweight championship and a subsequent 13 round decision loss in a non-title fight against “The Pittsburgh Kid” Billy Conn.

The Man Who Fought Rocky Graziano

“[In the ring]I’m thinking, ‘It’s just the two of us, he and I, and I’m going to get him out of the way.’ I always felt I could do it and I did. When I’m in the ring I’m free.”  -Tony Zale

 

Aside from taking part in one of the most iconic trilogies in boxing history, Zale was known for bruising body punching, excellent conditioning, and a never say die attitude in the ring.

Zale was unusually shy outside of the ring but supremely confident inside it. This shyness led to Zale getting little recognition in his time despite his crowd-pleasing style.

His opponents, such as Rocky Graziano, received more media coverage in their bouts because of Zale’s propensity for privacy.

The “Man of Steel” bested Graziano in 2 of their 3 encounters, all 3 fights ending by knockout.

 

Notable Fights

A unanimous decision loss to Billy Conn, who was the world light heavyweight champion, a man who famously came two rounds from defeating Joe Louis for the heavyweight crown. Like many great fighters of the late 1930s, WWII interrupted his career at his peak as he did what he and fighters of his era saw as his military duty.

Zale and Graziano share a place in one of boxings five most notable ring photos, in which Graziano, screaming with fury, delivers a shattering right hand from a deep lunge that picks Zale up off his heels. While Graziano, a man of less character than Zale, was a “Hollywood” TV boxer, who would later loose in weak fashion to Ray Robinson, Zale was the prototypical working man’s champion, the Joe Frazier of his time.

Record:

Bouts: 87

Rounds : 501

Wins: 67

Losses: 18

Draws: 2

KO %: 52

 

A special thanks today to James LaFond as ‘the man of steel’s’ death day is also James’ birthday. I’m certain that’s not a coincidence.   

 

George Kid Lavigne

“Of all the fighters of the present day, George Kid Lavigne is the one I most admire.  He is the grandest little man of our time” – John L Sullivan 

Co Authored by Oliver Hayes and James Lafond of jameslafond.com

The Saginaw Kid

 

Biography

The second world lightweight champion, also known as the Saginaw Kid, Lavigne began boxing under his brother Billy’s tutelage in Michigan logging camps in sanctioned bare knuckle affairs. His first three fight, against Morris McNally, who he KO’d in Round 1, was under Queensbury Rules. His next two fights were also in Michigan against George Siddons and both ended in draws, the first fight after 77 rounds and the rematch in 55 rounds. His bouts in the 1880s were most likely fight with “skin tight” gloves, possibly under LPR rules and may have been broken up by police interference.

“Keeping Lavigne Sober”

George’s later fights were sometimes fought under conditions which did not permit a decision. These conditions persisted until 1920, when The Walker decision legalized boxing. During the roughly 25-year “No Decision Era” newspaper decisions were often rendered by ringside writers.  His trainer, Biddy Bishop, famously claimed that keeping him sober for 11 days was a “tremendous achievement.” The latter half of his career was plagued by lax training, larger men, and the deleterious effects of heavy drinking. Beyond the ring George continued to be plagued with alcoholism and alleged spousal abuse for which he was commited.  Due to the alcoholism and the resulting depression and abuse, he was committed to a sanitarium on four separate occasions. Lavigne worked odd jobs until he landed a night watchman job with Ford Motor Company in Detroit.

 

Notable Bouts

-2 draws with George Siddons, logging 132 rounds in Saginaw and Grand Rapids, Michigan

-A 30-round win over Joe Soto in San Francisco

-A 50-round draw with Jim Burge in San Francisco

-2 draws with Young Griffo in New York

-A “Negro-must-KO” fight with Joe Walcott in Maspeth, NY

-A KO of Dick Burge in London to win the World Lightweight Title

-A TKO of Joe Walcott in San Francisco

-An 18-round KO of Andy Bowen, resulting in Bowen’s death

 

George Henry “Kid” Lavigne :

Born 12/6/1869 – Died 3/9/1928

Bay City, Michigan

Lightweight

Right-handed

Lightweight champion 1896-99

Fought 1886-1909

Total Bouts 56

Won 35

Lost 6

Draw 10

No Decision 5

KO 19

KO’d 4

W/F 0

L/F 0

NC 0