Sosa vs. Williams: “Aqui, Jungle”

Ron LiptonBy Ted Sares: In the ring I know this is going to be hot, and Sosa meets Charlie in mid ring for the instructions, Smiley Hayward is massaging prince Charles's traps and he knows of me from the Philly gyms and knows this one is going to be a Pier 6 with no referee bullshit interference. I tell them the same thing I tell them all, "Respect each other, obey my commands, and let’s keep this strictly professional." My words are over and Sosa says growling at him, "Aqui, Jungle." This is going to be a Jungle now.

--Ron Lipton

When I go out there, I have no pity on my brother. I’m out there to win.

—Joe Frazier

Charles “Prince” Williams fought three grueling bouts in an 11-month span between July 1994 and June 1995. A TD (draw) with tough-as-teak Merqui “El Corombo” Sosa was book-ended by malefic KO losses to James Toney and then to Sosa in a rematch. However, it was the remarkable draw that stands out in the memory of most boxing fans.

The fight was held at Ballys Park Place Hotel Casino in Atlantic City. At stake was the vacant NABF light heavyweight title. Sosa was 24-4-1 at the time while The Prince was 36-6-3 coming in. Both guys had fought at the top level of their division and were primed for war. Indeed, Sosa lost a razor thin SD to James Toney, and had a point not been deducted in the tenth round, he would have prevailed. He also held a UD over rugged Glen Johnson. Williams had TKO wins over Bobby Czyz, a prime Frankie Swindell, and James Kinchen, among others.

What ensued is still being talked about in boxing circles as the two combatants, both old school types, engaged in one of the most savage fights ever. The exchanges of body and head shots had the crowd gasping in amazement. First one shot would hit flush and spray sweat all over the ring; then, one in return would do the same. There were few clinches for Referee Ron Lipton to worry about as he kept a close eye on the hellacious mayhem being waged. Like the Morrison-Hipp or Pemberton-Sheika wars, this one was making everyone uneasy, if not queasy. Neither guy was about to quit though in my opinion Sosa was getting the better of it. Sosa suffered a fractured cheekbone while The Prince sustained a nasty orbital eye cut.

Finally, after seven rounds of give-and-take mind numbing punishment, the ringside doctor (and Lipton) had seen enough. To save both fighters for another day; the fight was stopped. Clearly, neither warrior could continue the mutual bloodletting (though Sosa complained bitterly, albeit wrongly that he was still ready to go). It was a rare “double knockout,” which officially was ruled a technical draw.

The Rematch

Five months later at the Convention Center in Philadelphia, Sosa took matters into his own hands and found redemption. In a phone booth type battle, Sosa and Williams stood in front of each other and traded an untold number of power shots. Each fighter was hurt in the ebb and flow action until Sosa caught Williams and put together sharp combinations that ended matters in the tenth. While Prince Charles never went down, he absorbed the final series of punches in a corner, dangerously out on his feet. The referee then waved it off. Later, Williams left the ring on a stretcher. He would never be the same fighter and would retire after one more fight in 1996, which he won. Sosa would go 9-5 until he retired in 2000, also with a win to cap off a fine ring career.

Both men were exciting to watch and each is a class act extraordinaire.

Ron Lipton

Speaking of class acts, Ron Lipton was one hard hitter himself. He was called by World Boxing Magazine in its Sept 73 issue one of the hardest hitting fighters to compete in amateur compettion. He is an ex-cop, one of the best pro trainers and cornermen in the business, former international pro referee, long published boxing writer, boxing historian, and current boxing instructor for the last seven years at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.

I always viewed Lipton as a top notch referee who was in better shape than the fighters and still is, was always in the background and unobtrusive, and was more than strong enough to handle any clinches swiftly to allow the fight to flow. His kowledge of the rules is well-documented as is his passion for the sport of boxing.

Lipton’s friendship with Emile Griffith, Mohammed Ali, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, and many other high profile boxing personalities add grist to the mill for a great story. But I suspect the most compelling story is why Ron Lipton has not refereed in quite some time, and therein may rest a story that simply demands to be told.

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Appendix: A sampling of fights refereed by Ron Lipton


Date Boxer Opponent Location Result

2002-04-26 Orion Sistrunk L Gary Wilcox Rutland, Vermont TKO 2

1998-09-03 Danell Nicholson W Mike Sedillo Foxwoods Resort, Ct PTS 10

1997-03-22 Kevin Pompey W Nate Woods Troy, NY UD 8

1996-10-04 Roy Jones Jr. W Bryant Brannon Madison Square Garden TKO 2

IBF super middleweight title ~

1996-05-10 Evander Holyfield W Bobby Czyz Madison Square Garden, TKO 5

1996-05-10 Montell Griffin W Charles Scott Madison Square Garden, TKO 4

1996-03-23 Ruediger May W Carlos Vasquez MSG Theatre, NYC KO 2
~ International Boxing Council super bantamweight title ~

1996-02-06 Alex Stewart W Bryant Smith 69th Regiment Armory, NYC KO 6

1995-12-15 Jesse James Leija L Oscar De La Hoya Madison Square Garden TKO 2

1995-08-26 Pernell Whitaker W Gary Jacobs Atlantic City, NJ UD 12

~ WBC welterweight title ~

1995-06-10 Roberto Duran W Roni Martinez Kansas City, MO, TKO 7

1995-06-10 Tommy Morrison W Donovan Ruddock Kansas City, MO, TKO 6

Vacant International Boxing Council heavyweight title ~

1995-05-20 Ray Mercer L Evander Holyfield Atlantic City, NJ UD 10

1995-5-20 David Tua W Dan Murphy Atlantic City, NJ TKO 5

1995-05-05 Zuri Lawrence D Garth Hedger Schenectady, NY PTS 4

1995-03-18 Steve Collins W Chris Eubank Millstreet, Ireland UD 12

WBO super middleweight title ~

1995-01-13 Merqui Sosa D Charles Williams Bally's, Atlantic City, NJ TD 7

~~ Vacant NABF light heavyweight title ~

1994-12-17 Harold Grey W Vincenzo Cagliari, Sardegna, Italy

IBF super flyweight title ~ SD 12

1994-08-26 Tracy Harris Patterson L Hector Acero-Sanchez Atlantic City WBC

Super bantamweight title SD 12

1994-01-28 Jeff Mayweather L Joey Gamache Lewiston, Maine, PTS 12

NABF light welterweight title ~

1994-01-22 Eamonn Loughran W Alessandro Duran Belfast, N. Ireland UD 12

WBO welterweight title ~

1993-09-25 David Tua W Rick Honeycutt Poughkeepsie, NY KO 2

1993-04-22 Jake Rodriguez W Charlie Brown Paramount Theatre, NYC DQ 6

1993-03-13 Ivan Robinson W Genaro Andujar Poughkeepsie, UD 6

1993-02-18 Lonnie Bradley W Dexter Emanuel Paramount Theatre, NYC KO 1

1992-09-25 Michael Bentt W Kenneth Myers Catskill, NY TKO 3

1992 3-27 Lou Savarese W Elvin Johnson Catskill, NY KO 2

1991 12-12 Tim Igo W Mitchell Rose Binghamton, NY PTS 4

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Article posted on 05.08.2008

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