29.08.04 – By Jim Amato: The heavyweight division of the late 60’s and early 70’s was one of the most talent laden and competetive of all time. It gave us Ali and Frazier. Foreman, Norton, Shavers, Quarry, Lyle and Ellis. The list is almost endless. Bonavena, Middleton, “Blue” Lewis, Mac Foster, Buster Mathis, Chuvalo, Thad Spencer, Leotis Martin.
In the late 70’s former Olympian Duane Bobick emerged as a legitimate contender.Although kayoed by Teo Stevenson in the Olympics, Bobick was guided through the pro ranks by “Smokin’ Joe Frazier himself. Duane racked up quite an impressive resume on his way up the ratings ladder. There was Chuck Wepner and Larry Middleton. Young Sanford” Fred” Houpe and Bunny Johnson of England.
I saw the flaws in Bobick’s armour when he fought and beat Bunny Johnson who was in reality a blown up light heavyweight. Johnson boxed Duane’s ears off until Bobick’s size and strength wore him down.
I was not at all shocked when Bobick was kayoed by Kenny Norton. I was shocked that it had ended so soon. There was really no shame in losing to Norton at that stage of his career. Norton was Numero Uno and some of the best of all time have been caught cold.
The loss that ruined Bobick’s career was his KO defeat to Kallie Knoetzee. Talent wise Bobick was head and shoulders above this guy. Alas his chin betrayed him. Kallie by KO in three.
That was really all there was to be for Bobick. As in most cases he hung on for a while but was never again a major player in the heavyweight sweepstakes.
It is too bad because Bobick had the size, the punch, the backround and the overall talent. Where did it all go wrong?
I hear a lot of people today refer to Bobick as a “Bum” or “The Great White Hoax.” This is so untrue. Duane Bobick could fight. Make no mistake about it. If he were active today, he would be right in the mix. Make no mistake about it.