Mike Quarry: A Warrior in his Own Right

10.03.04 - By Kent Appel: A true gentleman of the boxing world was honored this past Saturday, March 6, 2004 for becoming a member of the California State Boxing Hall of Fame. It is an honor well deserved for Irish Mike Quarry, as he is a true warrior in every sense of the word, who gave every ounce of his body, heart, and soul every time he stepped into the squared circle.

Quarry is more than just Jerry Quarry's kid brother who followed the former heavyweight contender into the boxing profession. One of the hardest working fighters of his era, he was always in the best possible physical condition as he carved out his own niche in the tough light heavyweight division of the late 1960s and 70s. Anyone in the division who stepped into the ring against him knew they were in for a real fight.

Quarry was a fine boxer who was well school in the sweet science and after compiling an amateur record of 22-2-2, he rattled off 36 consecutive wins as a professional, including a win over contender Jimmy Dupree to earn a number one ranking in the light heavyweight division and a shot at the world championship held by Bob Foster, one of the greatest light heavyweight champions of all time.

Quarry, although trailing on the scorecards, gave a fine account of himself by boxing well in the first three rounds, only to be met in the fourth round by one of the hardest single punch knockouts in the history of boxing, a fierce left hook by Foster that put Quarry down for the count.

Quarry shook off the loss to Foster and continued to battle the best fighters the light heavyweight division had to offer ending his career in 1983 with a record of 63-13-6, 17 by KO. His biggest victories included wins over future light heavyweight champion Mike Rossman, former heavyweight title challenger Joe "King" Roman, and light heavyweight contenders Dupree and Tom "The Bomb" Bethea. Quarry also defeated Ray "Windmill" White for the California State light heavyweight title.

Quarry was also involved in matches against contenders such as Pierre Fourie, Chris Finnegan, Yaqui Lopez, and two rematches against Rossman. The record book shows Quarry lost these fights. Many of them though were very close affairs that went the distance and if Quarry had gotten the decision in even one of them, he very likely would have secured another shot at the light heavyweight title.

I was at the induction ceremony at which Mike Quarry was honored this past Saturday and it was great to see all of his surviving siblings and his mother join him on stage to receive his award. In an emotional moment for the Quarry family, younger brother Bob Quarry, also a former professional boxer, had this to say, "Mike was my hero when I was growing up and it is great to have a hero who loves me."

I spoke briefly to Mr. Quarry. He greeted me warmly by saying, "Nice to see you, God bless you and thank you for coming." He also gave me this sage advice, "If you get knocked down, tuck your chin in, get your hands up, and fight back with all that you have."

The California State Boxing Hall of Fame also honored Mike's older brother Jerry Quarry, posthumously. Jerry Quarry who tragically died of the condition known as Pugilistica Dementia (Punch Drunk Syndrome) in 1999, was a former national Golden Gloves champion as well as a former three time number one heavyweight contender who scored wins over such fighters as Floyd Patterson, Ron Lyle, Earnie Shavers, and Buster Mathis. Jerry Quarry is also the only fighter to have fought both Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier twice.

Although Mike Quarry suffers from the same condition that took his brother Jerry's life, he continues to fight the good fight and with his wife Ellen in his corner, he faces all obstacles life gives him. He keeps active with a strict schedule of mental and physical activities that keep him as focused and fit as possible. I hope he is around for years to come, as the boxing world would be less without him.

Article posted on 10.03.2004

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