Woodsy—So I told you last time that a matchmaker is a con, right? How did I start matchmaking? I was writing for World Boxing and Boxing International and Boxing World in England, and then I started matchmaking in 1977. I’d been watching boxing for 10 years, I’d been doing matchmaking, doing it for free. I worked for Tiffany Promotions, Sam Glass. I remember doing the Gerry Cooney/Austin Johnson fight in Hempstead, NY in January 1978, Eddie Davis fought Luis Rodriguez.
Glass had a lot of shows on CBS I did. The Azumah Nelson/Wilfredo Gomez fight in 1984, Bonecrusher Smith/Marvis Frazier in 1986, Cooney/Holmes in ’82. Don King promoted with Tiffany. I made Cooney’s early fights, Howard Davis’ early fights. I did small shows, a lot for Nancy Sciacca. I had Johnny Verderosa, Eric Winbush. Winbush KOd Saad Muhammad in ’83. I did every club show in New York. I did four shows in four days in the late 80s. Overseas I was a rep for Mickey Duff. I became a rep for Barney Eastwood. I did Sauerland, and Switzerland, France with the Acaries.
Those were some days. I remember one guy, Leon Washington, he was tall and slender. He fought Tom Bethea, and he was like, Watch how I handle this. Bethea was a short, sturdy puncher. Washington threw two rights over his head, nothing behind them. Bethea wasn’t worried. The third time he dropped him, right on the chin. This was one of the old tricks they don’t teach any more, Woods. There were some good fighters with terrible records. Doc McClendon, he was 10-22. He went life and death with Duran in 1973. No one can compare the fighters of today with fighters in the 80s. I mean, Kelly Pavlik wouldn’t beat Mustafa Hamsho. The weigh-in the night before has ruined things. Guys don’t fight at their weight class. Guys are built different. You had middleweights 5-8, 5-9, welters 5-7. Now they all look like Gumby. Guys go three divisions higher.
So anyway, I was making decent money. I bought a condo in Florida in 1989. I had been in Bay Ridge, then Atlantic/Court, then the lower East Side. I was roommates with the writer Joe Bruno at 89th/90th and First St. I moved to East Orange, NJ ‘cause rents in NY were going crazy. That was ’85. I was also doing matches for Main Events, ‘82‘-92, their best years. Between me and Lou Duva, we were the most powerful one-two matchmakers that ever lived. Holyfield, Breland.
I made Tyson’s early fights, Cooney’s, Frank Bruno’s, Francesco Damiani’s. In the 90s, the sport changed. There weren’t as many boxing people. You had promotional rights coming into it.
Anyway, I’m outta here, Woodsy. Til next time, see ya!