As fight fans have no doubt read by now, the sport of boxing lost a great man on Friday, as long-time, old-school promoter Don Chargin passed away at the age of 90. Tributes have been flowing in since – A piece on RingTV.com paid a fine tribute, Don being called “The last gentleman promoter” – and Chargin will certainly be missed. A lovely man about whom nobody had or has a bad word to say, Don saw all the greats and he saw them live, from ringside.
A year ago, just after the first Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez battle, this writer had the honour and the privilege of speaking with Don over the phone. In speaking with him, I was told about the fight Chargin rated as the very best he ever saw: the 1970 lightweight war between Mando Ramos and Sugar Ramos.
Here is what Don had to say about the great fights he sat and watched:
“My father took me to see the great Henry Armstrong when I was 12 years old, so that puts it around 1940. He fought in my home town of San Jose and he was near the tail-end of his career by then but he knocked out a good fighter, Johnny Taylor, and I was just mesmerised. Armstrong just never stopped throwing punches,” Chargin said last year.
“The fight Ray Robinson had with Bobo Olsen, the one that went the distance, that was a great fight – 15 rounds and a heck of a fight. Robinson against Carmen Basilio, they were great fights. But I think the best fight I ever saw was one I promoted, it was Mando Ramos – who was a great fighter, but one who was all shot by the age of just 22 or 23, if he’d looked after himself he could have been one of the real greats – against Sugar Ramos, who has just passed away [this lightweight elimination bout being won by Mando Ramos via spit decision in August of 1970].
“That fight was at The Olympic Auditorium in California and the arena held 10,400 people. That night we had 14,000 in the place. Both guys just went at it, both were cut really badly and fans from both sides were screaming that the fight should be stopped. That was possibly the most brutal fight I ever saw. Check it out on You-Tube, it’s a fight you will not be able to take your eyes off!”
Pay tribute to Don now and go and do what he said, and watch this epic battle.