Richard Steele became interested in professional boxing at a young age when he was introduced to world champion boxers Chalky Wright and Sugar Ray Robinson. He trained at Hoover Street Gym in South Central, Los Angeles, with trainer Eddie Futch. Richard joined and boxed for the United States Marine Corps and became Marine Corps Middleweight Champion in 1963. Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1944 Richard and his family moved to Los Angeles, California in the early 1950s. His father was a bartender and his mother was an elevator operator. During the interview Richard’s daughter Zakeisha Steele-Jones discusses the various job titles her father has held, including professional actor and campus police officer. Most notably, Richard was the second Black professional referee in both Los Angeles, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. A profound interview heralding key character traits, such as, perseverance, resilience, strength, and determination, Richard recalls being personally invited by Nelson Mandela to referee the WBC Convention in South Africa. Some of Richard’s most memorable title fights to date include, the Hearns and Hagler fight, Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns, and four Mike Tyson fights. Zakeisha also interjects that her father currently manages and owns a boxing gym where he trains and mentors young Black and Hispanic aspiring boxing champions and referees.
Steele, Richard & Steele-Jones, Zakeisha Interview, 2015 February 15. OH-02263. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
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An Interview with Richard Steele and Zakeisha Steele-Jones An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White African American Collaborative Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©African Americans in Las Vegas: A Collaborative Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2012 COMMUNITY PARTNERS Henderson Libraries Las Vegas Clark County Public Libraries Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas Libraries Wiener-Rogers Law Library at William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas Las Vegas National Bar Association Vegas PBS Clark County Museum Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV – University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers, Editors and Project Assistants: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White, Stefani Evans. iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the African Americans in Las Vegas: A Collaborative Oral History Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada Las Vegas iv Preface Richard Steele became interested in professional boxing at a young age when he was introduced to world champion boxers Chalky Wright and Sugar Ray Robinson. He trained at Hoover Street Gym in South Central, Los Angeles, with trainer Eddie Futch. Richard joined and boxed for the United States Marine Corps and became Marine Corps Middleweight Champion in 1963. Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1944 Richard and his family moved to Los Angeles, California in the early 1950s. His father was a bartender and his mother was an elevator operator. During the interview Richard’s daughter Zakeisha Steele-Jones discusses the various job titles her father has held, including professional actor and campus police officer. Most notably, Richard was the second Black professional referee in both Los Angeles, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. A profound interview heralding key character traits, such as, perseverance, resilience, strength, and determination, Richard recalls being personally invited by Nelson Mandela to referee the WBC Convention in South Africa. Some of Richard’s most memorable title fights to date include, the Hearns and Hagler fight, Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns, and four Mike Tyson fights. Zakeisha also interjects that her father currently manages and owns a boxing gym where he trains and mentors young Black and Hispanic aspiring boxing champions and referees. v Table of Contents Interview with Richard Steele and Zakeisha Steele-Jones February 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Claytee D. White Preface…………………………………………………………………………………………..iv Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1944, Richard Steele and his family moved to Los Angeles, California when he was eight years old; his father was a bartender and his mother was an elevator operator; Richard offers insight into California’s gang culture in 1951; he got into boxing at a young age; he recalls meeting world champion boxers Chalky Wright and Sugar Ray Robinson; first gym he went to was Hoover Street Gym in South Central, Los Angeles; Eddie Futch was his trainer; he joined and boxed for the United States Marine Corps..…...…….…1 – 7 Richard describes how he became Marine Corps Middleweight Champion in 1963; Ken Norton was the Marine Corps Heavyweight Champion; Richard and Ken trained together in California; Richard recalls his first time travelling to Las Vegas in 1963 for the 1964 Olympic Trials; Hired by the Athletic Commission and appointed by the governor of California, Ronald Reagan, Richard reluctantly becomes a referee in 1971……………………………………………. 8 – 21 Steele is soon brought into Olympic Auditorium to work as a referee in the same auditorium he fought in; The State Athletic Commission then hires Steele as an A referee of title fights at the Forum; WBC president José Sulaimán approaches Steele to be the referee for ten-rounder main events; Zakeisha Steele-Jones enters the conversation; Zakeisha interjects that her father was also a professional actor and a campus police officer; he was the second black referee in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas; he eventually trained younger black and Hispanic referees and helped them get jobs in Las Vegas; his most memorable title fights include, the Hearns and Hagler fight, Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns, and four Mike Tyson fights..…………………. 22 – 34 Richard became the gym manager of Nevada Partners boxing gym in 1995; Zakeisha describes gym management in detail and the importance of teaching and training at-risk youth; Richard talks about growing up with Barry White and being in a singing group with him when they were younger; he describes the first time he heard Barry White on the radio; Richard recalls being personally invited by Nelson Mandela to referee the WBC Convention in South Africa....35 – 48 1 This is Claytee White. It is February 12th, 2015. I am in North Las Vegas in a boxing studio with Mr. Richard Steele. Mr. Steele, could you please spell your last name for me? S-T-E-E-L-E. Thank you so much. How are you today? I'm doing great. Fantastic. And we are also sitting here with his daughter and I'm going to have her pronounce her first name and spell the first name for me. Zakeisha, Z, as in Zebra, A-K-E-I-S-H-A. Steele, S-T-E-E-L-E. Jones, J-O-N-E-S. Wonderful, thank you. Mr. Steele, I'm going to start with you and I'll come back to her much later, because she doesn't know anything about this section. I'm going to start with your early life. Tell me where you grew up and what the family was like. Well, I grew up in Los Angeles, California, and Los Angeles at that time was a very beautiful place. But I discovered that a kid that really had no direction, he can find trouble anywhere, or everywhere in Los Angeles. So, I was just running the streets, just having fun with my... When were you born? I was born January the 26th, 1944. Oh, almost birthday time. Uh-huh. Yes, it passed. Oh, it was just here. 2 Where? Where were you born? I was born in Kansas City, Missouri. We moved to Los Angeles when I was eight years of age. And so do you have any memories of Kansas City? Very few. And the ones that I have is because I went back at a later date. But I was very young when I moved from Kansas City. All I remember was a big park called Swope Park. Swope Park was a very large park and it had different…a swinging bridge, different events there that a kid will remember. So what did your parents do for a living? My father was a bartender. He was a bartender. And my mother, she worked in the Garment District. She was an elevator operator. A long time ago they had people that run elevators. Right. So what part of Los Angeles did the family live? West Los Angeles. We lived in West Los Angeles at first for two years and then we moved because we was living with my aunt, my father's sister, when we first moved there. Then he got a job and my mother got a job, and then we moved on our own. But we had to move to East Los Angeles, on the east side. So it was a little different. There was a lot of kids that was doing the wrong things. They had gangs and everything. A lot of people don't believe that in 1951 there was still kids that wanted to call themselves…whatever, a gang name. So it was problems always in my life. But the gangs also served another purpose for a lot of kids. It was almost like a family. It was like a family. It was somewhere you felt safe. It was someone you could call your buddies, your partner. It was someone that you could depend on. And whenever there was someone from another part of town come in your area, you know that you was all right because you had your boys with you. So it was sort of like you had to belong to someone or some part of the gang. You 3 had to be able to say—your friends would have to say, “Hey, he's one of us. So don't bother him.” So how did you get into boxing? I got into boxing at a young age. One of my friends, he came up to me after I had a fight. I used to fight at school all the time. So, my friend, his name was Albert Wright. Albert Wright came to me and he said, “Man, you know, you're always fighting.” He said, “Why don't you come to my house?” He said, “Do you know that my father is a world champion boxer?” And I said, “No. Who is your father?” So he said, “My father's name is Chalky Wright.” And I said, “Wow, I don't know.” He said, “Come over to my house and I'll show you his championship belt and I'll introduce you to my father.” So I go over to his house and he introduced me to his father. And then his father—it was unbelievable—his father says, “I want to introduce you to my friend, come in the back.” So I go in the back and he said, “This is my friend, Sugar Ray Robinson. So here I am; I'm with two champions; I'm with two world champions. I don't know just how strong of champions they are at that time. I’m just, “I'm so glad to meet you.” I know that Sugar Ray Robinson, I heard him on the radio a couple of times. And so Albert Wright became my best friend right then. [Laughing] And so he asks me a question; Sugar Ray asked me a question. He said, “Are you in the gym?” And I looked at Albert and I said, “Yes, we’re in the gym.” So the next day we went to the gym. Was that the first time in the gym? [Laughing] Yes, yes, that was the first time. So I go to the gym with Albert. Is this the gym at school? No, no. This is a private gym. 4 Oh, okay. The name of it was Hoover Street Gym. It was 78th and Hoover in Los Angeles. So we're talking about South Central? South Central, yes. Yes, okay. Yes. So I didn't want to make myself out a liar, so that's why I told Albert, “We’ve gotta go to the gym, man.” So his father, Chalky, which was a champion and everybody knew him, he called a friend of his named Eddie Futch and says, “I want you to look after my son and he has a friend with him.” And so Eddie said, “Oh, yes, yes.” So we came and Mr. Futch was there and there we are. He's teaching us the basics and how to jab and how to stand and everything. Albert already knew a little more than I did—a lot more than I did at that time. Well, naturally... Yes. And so that's what started us to box. Eventually, I left because the girls, the guys and everybody else would draw me away. But tell me a little about Eddie Futch. Oh, Mr. Futch, oh, he was something. At the time he worked for the post office and he would do a shift and get off at two or three o'clock and he would come to the gym and train us fighters. At that time he had about four or five different guys that he really liked. Eddie was a very quiet, very strong person. He was the type of guy that knew what he wanted and he didn't need nobody to tell him how to do anything because he knew everything to do with boxing. He used to tell us stories how he used to box…as small as he was, he used to box with Joe Lewis and everybody respected him. When Joe Lewis came to town and everything, they would always make sure they see and talk to Eddie. Eddie…he was a wonderful person. He was the type of guy that whatever 5 he say, you will see it; he will make you believe what he's said because it will come to the truth, the truth of it. In other words, in boxing if he tells you to throw a one-two and you go and throw a one-two, the results was wonderful. I mean you would be very happy that you followed his instructions. Who were some of the fighters that he trained over the years? Oh, Eddie trained…he helped at one time Joe Lewis. He worked with Sugar Ray Robinson. He worked with Joe Frazier. He worked with Ken Norton. He worked with Alexis Argüello. Eddie Futch had over twenty-one world champions. So I was fortunate enough to interview Eva. Yes, Eva. I lost track of her and don't know where she is. She showed me the boxes of materials that at one time she was trying to find a place for. Oh, yes. Yes, I got most of them. Oh good, good. I’m glad she found the place. I'm really glad. And we have her contact information if you ever want it. Fantastic. I just want you to give her mine so she can get in touch with me. So why did you…you faded away from this at that point, about how old? About fourteen. And so the girls were just too attractive. Yes. And the guys, they were smoking and partying and having fun. I got caught up into that. It kept me away from the gym and, also, I started going to high school. When I got sixteen I was in high school and then there were just more girls. There were more girls, more liquor, more smoking. 6 And what about Albert, did he...? Albert, no. Albert never…he was a good kid. Albert was a good kid. He never indulged in any type of illegal acts or whatever. Albert never really got into boxing. Okay. So tell me how you came back to it. So here I was; I had a couple lessons and everything, but I went back to the streets and started hanging with the guys. And I had a court date. The judge, he stated to me, he said, “If you don't find a place to go, I got a place for you.” So he looked at me and he said, “I'll give you thirty days.” And I was seventeen at that time. I said, “Okay.” I went and joined the Marine Corps. At that time, thank God, you could join like that with your mother's permission. She was in court with me and she knew I had to go somewhere. So we found the Marine Corps and I got into the Marine Corps with some help. Academically…my academics was very short because I didn't go to school. And then when I did go, I was messing around. So I go to the Marine Corps. I mean I get help even with the test. So the guys really wanted me to join. So the drill instructor helped me with the test and everything. He gets me to go through all the preliminaries and gets my mother to sign. So I go the Marine Corps. So I'm in the Marine Corps and they have different companies. The drill instructor is always bragging that their company is the best. So one company said, “Well, I got a guy; he's a real good boxer. We want to box your company. And who do you have to represent your company?” So the drill instructor turns to all of us and said, “Who wants to box for us?” And nobody raised their hand. [Laughing] Nobody raised their hand, so I did. I said, “Okay, I'll do it.” And so I went and I boxed for our 7 company. Of course, I knew a little bit, not much, but a little bit, and I was very strong and very young. So I ended up winning the match. And the drill instructor said, “Wow, man, you are pretty good.” So every time a company would challenge our company, he would always put me in there. So eventually, I'm beating everybody up. And so we have, the Marine Corps—every part of the service has a special service where they do football or track or boxing. We had a very good company in the Marine Corps athletic. In the Olympics, we even had one of the guys; his name was Mills, he won the mile. He was a mile runner and he won a gold medal. So they really pushed athletes and really pushed sports. So they asked me to join the boxing team and that's how I really got into boxing. I'd rather box instead of march. It was much more fun. So I really started learning how to box. So did you have a trainer? Yes. Oh, yes. We had an Olympic trainer and everything. He thought that I knew enough and I was strong enough that he would spend some time with me and make me a boxer, so that's what he did. So I boxed for the United States Marine Corps. How many boxers were on your team? It was about fifteen because we had eleven weight divisions, but we had substitutes. But one thing about a team, you had to make the team, you see. You had to make the team. So whatever weight division you was in, you had to go against the guy that was already there. Exactly. So they put me against the middleweight champion in the Marine Corps, and the fight was so close. The fight was so close and it was my first fight. It was my first fight and, believe it or not, this guy, he was the Marine Corps Champion and it was his fifty-seventh fight because…at the 8 same time he was the Chicago Golden Glove Champion. He was the Chicago Golden Glove Champion and on top of that…You know Mr. T? Yes, on television? Yes. Okay. So he was Mr. T's brother. [Laughing] His name is Tero, Charlie Tero. So I fight Charlie Tureaud, and, man, just from my heart; I didn't really know how to fight. But he stood toe to toe with me, so he gave me a chance. I mean I'm going to try to knock him out. So they thought the fight was so close, they let both of us stay on the team. So I made the team. Charlie Tero and I became good friends. He was telling me, “My brother's name is Mr. T.” He was even Mr. T at that time? Yes. Yes, yes, a big movie star and everything. So anyway, it comes around where we have all of the Marine Corps boxers come together and we have the Marine Corps Championship. So you know what happened; I had to fight him again. Now, this is for the Marine Corps Championship now. For the middleweight. For the middleweight. Yes, it was the middleweight, a hundred and sixty-five pounder. So I fight him again and I know how to beat him now. So I beat him and I become the Marine Corps Champion. So I'm representing the Marine Corps Champion. Now, I'm not realizing how important that is, but this is in 1963, okay? You know what's around the corner… Yes. …the 1964 Olympics. Oh, my god. Okay. 9 So we travel around. I went to North Carolina. And so we're trying to build up our team. So we go to North Carolina, Camp Lejeune. So we go in there to see what they have so we can add to the team. I open the door; my eyes are looking at this guy's chest. I look up at what is the biggest guy I've ever saw in my life. I looked up into the face of this guy, and they was coming out; the Camp Lejeune team was coming out, and the Camp Pendleton team, we was going in. I said, “Who in the world is that guy?” So he said, “Well, that's the Camp Lejeune’s heavyweight.” So I turned to my heavyweight. I said “Boy, you are in trouble.” [Laughing] I said, “Who is that guy?” So he says, “That's Ken Norton.” Ken Norton? Oh, man; I ain’t never heard of Ken Norton. Boy. And then he won. I won. So he flies back with us. Ken Norton flies back to California? Yes, to California. That's how he got to California. He was the Marine Corps Heavyweight Champion. So we all fly back to California to prepare for the Olympic Trials. So we go; we train, we train, we train. Then, you know where the Olympic Trials was. It's in Las Vegas. It was the first time I'd ever been to Las Vegas, 1963, for the ‘64 Olympic Trials. So we come here. How old am I in ’63? At that point? Nineteen? So born in…wow. I was nineteen. Wow. So that is—and I was thinking about that—that's why I was really protected when I came here. I was nineteen; I couldn't gamble, even though we snuck around and played slot machines. [Laughing] 10 Where did you stay in '63? I want to hear the whole thing about '63. Okay, let me tell you. So we come here in 1963. And so we got to go way out south; it was some bungalows. And a bungalow was the Hacienda, Hacienda Hotel. They was bungalows then. And they put us out there in the bungalows, two to a bungalow. Our team, we stayed there. And the competition was at…We was the first event at the sports arena—I mean you know right next to the Hilton? The convention center? The convention center. Yes. We was the first event. They was still cleaning up the event. They had built it and they was cleaning it up. Oh, of all time, the first ever event. Yes. The Olympic Trials there. And so there we are in the Olympic Trials. We get there like two days before, so all us guys, we're walking all around Las Vegas. But the problem is that I never really felt or saw what a lot of other blacks saw and felt in Las Vegas because I'm nineteen and I got a Marine Corps uniform on. Yes, yes. Yes. They didn't even ask me how old I was. I walk in the casino or whatever. They didn’t even say anything. I had a uniform. So I didn't really experience a lot of the things. I see guys on Fremont Street, all of the white guys was wearing guns. Oh, yes. In those days they— In '63? Yes. Yes. Wow. 11 Yes, they were wearing guns. And so that’s kind of, [laughing] that is kind of nervous. Yes, exactly. Within itself. But I'm a Marine and we walked around with our uniforms and checked everything out. I never really experienced and didn't really know the prejudice that was really here. Oh, I see the looks. But the looks to me, to be honest with you, was not that look that other blacks was getting because I had a uniform. And you were tall and good-looking and they were just curious? Yes. So I'm here to fight for the Olympic Trials. So the treatment that I got—and I was just thinking about this—the treatment that I have received here in Las Vegas was much different from a lot of blacks, even my family, my kids; they was treated a lot different from others when they came because of who they were. Yes, exactly. You see? It's that kind of town. Yes. It's who you know or who you stand for or what you stand for. So I really didn't get the prejudice or the hate that a lot of blacks was getting from the Westside. I didn't know anything about the Westside even though I was on Fremont Street. But I was on the Strip and Fremont Street, just walking around, just enjoying myself as a nineteen-year-old kid in the Marine Corps, and everybody is shaking my hand and everybody is just speaking, “Hi, how are you doing?” and everything. So I really didn't get the feeling that others did and I didn't really learn about that until later. So this time, where did you have the practices, the sparring and all of that to get ready? Right there at the convention center. 12 Oh, okay. So how did it work when you were deciding who was going to go to the Olympics; how did that work? Well, that was a bad situation for me because what happened is that all the armed forces were there and plus the Golden Glove winners of each state was there. So I had fought a guy from the Navy; his name was James Rossetti, Jimmy Rossetti. I had fought with him and lost to him. He had been in the Navy like fifteen, twenty years almost, and he had made a career out the Navy, and he was on the boxing team. So he had many years of experience. He was their middleweight and I was the Marine Corps Middleweight. So we fought once and he won. So I come to have to fight him again in the trials. So, boy, here I’ve got to fight Jimmy Rossetti again. So I know he's got so much experience, he's so sharp, and he knows all the tricks and everything, but I'm not thinking about tricks or whatever. But then they said my match was a real special match. So they wanted to have a special referee to do the match. We're not thinking about everything. So who do they want to referee my fight? Archie Moore. Archie Moore…? And I said, “Archie Moore…man, I don’t care who referees my fight, I'm gonna whoop this boy's butt. [Laughing]. So Archie Moore…he’s getting all the accolades and the clout and everything. So Jimmy Rossetti and I, we’re going at it, we're going at it, we're going at it, and all of the sudden—he was a southpaw—he jabbed with his thumb out like this. Oh. Okay. I have a picture; I still have the picture somewhere where his thumb went right in my eye. And I'm wiping my eye and everything. I'm trying to tell the referee, “Hey, man, this guy thumbed me; he thumbed me.” And he said, “Come on, let's fight, let's fight.” And just made us go ahead and fight. Well, I can't see out of one eye, okay? So I'm fighting and I'm mad as…I don't what. 13 I'm trying to kill this guy and everything. So anyway, they end up stopping the fight. I'm mad. I said, “Didn't you see him thumb me in my eye?” He said, “No, I didn't see it.” So I had a real bad taste in my mouth for one of the greatest fighters of all time, Archie Moore. He was the referee; he allowed this guy to thumb me in my eye. So I don't say nothing about it. So Jimmy Rossetti, he wins everything. He goes to the 1963 Olympics. And what happens? He fights a guy from Africa, the first fight, and he loses. Rossetti loses? Rossetti loses. And I said, “Man, I could have done that.” [Laughing] So when they stopped the fight, they considered you not winning? Yes, yes, I lost; I lost the trials. So he represented the United States as the middleweight, and he ends up losing the first fight. If I would have known this guy... That's what he deserved. Yes, yes. So that's not all of the story. So after he comes back, the Olympics is over and everything. So I get out of the Marine Corps and he gets out of the Navy, and I turn pro, professional, and he turns professional. And who's his manager? Archie Moore. No. No. I could not believe it; Archie Moore is his manager. So no wonder he didn't see the thumb. [Laughing] Yes, right. I said “Man, oh, my god.” So I try to fight this guy as a pro now; I really want to fight him. I told my manager, I said, “Get this guy, man; get this guy, Jimmy Rossetti.” And they turned me down. He turned me down. He turned me down because at the beginning of my career, it was going real good. I had one loss. I went up to San Francisco and they took the fight from me. Anyway, so I was nine and one, but I had eight knockouts. So Jimmy Rossetti…they said, 14 “No, we don't want to fight.” Who was your manager/trainer when you turned pro? Okay, it was two. It was Eddie Futch and Jackie McCoy. So Eddie Futch was your trainer? Yes. How did you get in touch with Eddie Futch again? Okay. So when I get out of the Marine Corps and I go back to the 78th Street Gym, he said, “Yes, I've been watching you, man. You’ve been doing good.” And so I said, “Look, I want to continue boxing.” So he says, “Sure.” Well, he and Jackie McCoy was partners. So they start training me again. So I signed with him and we start training again. We had a wonderful relationship. Wow. So was Albert Wright...? Albert Wright never did fight. So was he still part of this gym? No, no, no. He never did fight. Albert was like a historian; he knew more about boxing…he knew fighters because of his father's relationship, which his father ends up getting killed, Chalky. You know the story about that... Him and Mae West. You know Mae West? Of course. So it was something about Mae West and Mickey Cohen. You know Mickey Cohen? Uh-huh, yes. Okay, so that story... He was security for Mae West, right? Or something like that. He was a driver. A driver. 15 He was supposed to have been a driver. Chalky Wright was supposed to have been Mae West's driver. But he was a good-looking Cuban guy. So she kind of fell in love with him. So Mickey Cohen and they told him, “Hey, leave her alone.” Well anyway, they found Chalky in the bathtub; said that he had drowned. How do you drown in the bathtub? I mean, so many people, man, drowning in the bathtub. People just let it be; they don't ever investigate. Yes, exactly. So tell me what happens after you…What was it, nine fights, eight wins? Yes. And then…? So my career was going pretty good; I mean really good. We get some real good fights and so I was doing pretty well. But then I get a phone call from the owner of the Olympic Auditorium; her name was Aileen Eaton. So Ms. Eaton, she called me, “Oh, Richard; oh, Richard, I really would like for you to help me out.” I said, “Sure, whatever I can do for you.” She said, “Well, I got this little heavyweight that is supposed to fight tomorrow night, but his opponent fell out and I need you to step in for him.” So what is a “little heavyweight?” [Laughing] Did you ask that question while you were on phone? No. What is a “little heavyweight?” Anyway, she said, “Oh, he doesn't weigh that much.” Well, she knows that I only weighed one seventy-five. So now you’re no longer a middleweight, though, right? Yes, I'm a light heavyweight. I go into the light heavyweight as a professional. So from a hundred and sixty-five…I got a little older and everything. So I go up one step to one seventy-five. But Mr. Futch, he's the one that told me, he said, “I don't want you to lose that weight no more.” He said, “Whenever you get in shape, whatever you weigh, that's what we're going to fight.” So I got in top shape and I weighed a hundred and seventy-two. So I had to fight at one 16 seventy-five a light heavyweight. So when Eileen called me and said, “We got a little heavyweight,” huh, what's a “little heavyweight?” So anyway, I said, “Okay, I'll help you out.” So I call Eddie and he said, “Well, okay, if you really want to do it…” He checked the guy out and he said, “Man, the guy is a heavyweight.” So I said, “Yes?” So he said, “Well, let's try it out.” So the guy weighed two hundred and twenty pounds. Oh, my god. Wait. That's a “little heavyweight,” okay? Two hundred and twenty pounds. Now, I’ve got to eat that morning so I weigh over a hundred and seventy-five. I have to weigh a hundred and seventy-six; I can't be a light heavyweight; I’ve got to be a heavyweight and heavyweight starts at one seventy-six. So I eat that morning before I go to the weigh-in, and so I come in at one seventy-six. Okay, so the commissioner allows the fight. I end up knocking the guy out. [Gasps] Who was it? His name was Mark White. Last name White? White, yes. Yes, like yours. Yes, right. Do you know him? No. [Laughing] Do you know him? But anyway, poor Mark, I end up knocking him out and it was a shame because in those days they had rosin. You know you get in and you…so you…? So that's the flooring? Yes. It's a little box you step in and it's white powder that you step in and you do that to keep the... 17 Friction and...? Almost like a gymnast. That stuff. Yes, right. You put it on the bottom of your feet so that when you move around you won't slip. But anyway, I hit him with a left hook, drops him at his face. And he's a dark-skinned guy, okay? Mark was real dark-skin. So I hit him and I knocked him into this rosin. [All laughing] So his face go into the rosin box. So he comes back up and he's black over here and he's white on this side. And everybody…they just cracked up; they laughed so hard. “Oh, my god, he knocked him white” [All laughing] I'll never forget that. It was so funny. It was so funny. So I 'm doing good. Then Aileen Eaton and everybody saw, man, boy, that guy can punch. I was a puncher. So they gave me a couple more heavyweights and the same thing; I was just so much faster than they were and they were not top-quality heavyweights. Okay, I see. Had been around for a while. Been around for a while. So I just jump on them and hit them hard and knock them out. And then this guy from Arizona, Johnny Featherman...I'm 8…and I lost a couple of fights, but I'm 8 and 2; something like that. Anyway, Johnny Featherman…they asked me to fight him. And he was a small heavyweight; he only weighed about one ninety. So I fought him. I saw…it was a commercial at that time about this big pendulum, this big ball. It would swing and knock a building down. So I saw the punch coming and it reminded me of that commercial. He hit me in the side and broke three ribs, and, wow. So I continued to fight with three broken ribs for about…I’d say about five more rounds. And then Eddie and Jackie is asking 18 me, “What's wrong? What's wrong?” Well, I can't talk. When you get your ribs broke, you can't move, you don't want to move, you don't want to inhale or exhale. I mean it hurts so much, you don't want to talk. I can't talk. So he said, “What's wrong with you? What's wrong with you?” I just said, “Nothing;” I just shook my head, saying, “Nothing, nothing.” So he said, “Let me go out there.” And then he comes back and Jackie said to me, “Is