R.I.P “Bad” Bennie Briscoe

By James Slater - It has been a sad end to the festive holidays for two boxing legends. Yesterday, the wife of legendary trainer of champions Angelo Dundee passed away at age 85, while later the same day, Philadelphia middleweight great Bennie Briscoe passed away at age 67. To Angelo and the family and friends of “Bad” Bennie, we offer our condolences.

Briscoe, who was actually born in Augusta, Georgia (on Feb. 8th 1943) turned pro in Philly in September of 1962, and he went on to battle against some of the finest middleweights in boxing history. Briscoe, who came up tough, went in with a veritable who’s who of middleweight stars of the 1970s.. George Benton, Carlos Monzon, “Dynamite” Billy Douglas, Rodrigo Valdez, Emile Griffith, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart and Vito Antuofermo were eight of the terrific fighters Briscoe went in with, and of course he also met the fearsome Marvellous Marvin Hagler towards the end of his amazing, twenty-year pro career!

Imagine a fighter from the current era going in with that many great fighters time and again. “Bad” Bennie was from a time when boxing and boxers could afford no such luxuries as “cherry picking.” Yet despite the murderer’s row the shaven-headed warrior went in with, only one man ever stopped Briscoe. During a career that saw him partake in 96 pro fights (winning 66 of them), Briscoe was only stopped by Valdez; who TKO’d him in the 7th-round of their 1974 meeting.

Briscoe challenged for the middleweight title on three different occasions: being out-pointed over 15-rounds by Monzon in his first shot, in 1972 (Monzon being a fighter he had previously held to a non-title draw), being halted by Valdez in ’74 and finally, losing a 15-round decision to Valdez in a 1977 return fight. Briscoe was able to capture and defend the NABF middleweight crown, however.

Most of Briscoe’s fights took place at the legendary Philadelphia Spectrum, although the teak-tough fighter who scored 53 KO’s in his pro career, did fight in venues such as Madison Square Garden, Convention Hall, Atlantic City and The Blue Horizon in Philly. Briscoe also fought abroad, in countries such as Argentina, France and Italy. Basically, apart from win the world title, Briscoe did it all.

It was in the summer of 1978, when he was aged 35, that Bennie met perhaps THE greatest ever middleweight in Marvin Hagler. The “Marvellous One” was aged just 24 at the time, and he sported a 40-2-1 record (to Briscoe’s 60-16-5). In the end, youth told over experience and Hagler won a ten-round UD. Briscoe would fight another 13 times, retiring in December of 1982 with an amazing 66-24-5(53) record.

A genuinely tough man, Briscoe is one of the best fighters never to have become world champion.

Article posted on 29.12.2010

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