Mike Quarry: Remembering a Fallen Warrior

16.06.06 - By John Howard: I was saddened last week to read the obituary of former light heavyweight boxer Mike Quarry. Actually, it ruined my day, and it will likely ruin the rest of my week. Mike, like his heavyweight brother Jerry, was tough. For you pre-baby boomers, he was Arturo Gatti/ Mickey Ward tough. Rocky’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and soon to be 6 rolled into one toughness. Too tough for his own good, unfortunately..

“A Quarry never backs up.” I remember reading that quote from father Jack Quarry, also the trainer of his son, Mike. Mike died at age 55 of pugilistic dementia, a debilitating neurological disorder resulting from too many punches to the head. The nature of the sport. A non-forgiving sport. For most fighters, excluding the elite, an underpaid sport. For every Oscar De la Hoya, there are hundreds like Mike Quarry. I wish Mike would have chosen another line of work.

Mike being from Bakersfield, CA., would have been better suited as a roustabout in the nearby oil fields. Definitely a safer choice. At least they allow you the luxury of a hard hat.

Stories like this make me feel bad about being a fight fan. I now feel guilty for tuning into a Quarry fight knowing beforehand that I was in for a bloodbath. A war! A fight fan would be assured of getting their moneys worth of blood, gore and debauchery. I remember in 1972 when Mike fought for the light heavyweight title against champion Bob Foster. Ironically, the same night brother Jerry fought for the heavyweight title against Muhammad Ali. The card was billed as the Soul Brothers vs. the Quarry Brothers. Mike was KO’d in the 4th round. Brother Jerry was stopped in the 7th. A bloodbath made to order..... Mike, and brother Jerry Quarry died too young.

Article posted on 17.06.2006

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