By Jim Amato

Way back in the 1960′s boxing fans and the media still searched for a heavyweight “White Hope”. There was Jerry Quarry and George Chuvalo along with the likes of Tony Doyle,etc…In 1966 a fighter emerged from the upper northwest region of the United States. He was strong,aggressive and packed a wallop. He was quickly added to the White Hope bandwagon. His name was Daniel Victor Kirkman but to his adoring fans he was “Boone”.

Kirkman was born January 1,1945 and resided in Renton,Washington. In 1966 he turned professional after winning the National A.A.U. heavyweight title in 1965. The wily old manager Jack Hurley viewed Kirkman as a diamond in the rough and took him under his wing. Boone would win six fights in his maiden year including two decisions over Archie Ray.

Kirkman started 1967 by winning five straight including a three round stoppage over faded contender Eddie Machen. The streak ended when Kirkman suffered his first loss on cuts to veteran contender Doug Jones. Boone turned the tables in their rematch halting Jones in round six. In 1968 Kirkman beat journeymen Aaron Eastling and Bill McMurray. He would not fight in 1969 due to an injury. He returned in 1970 to win four in a row including a two round knockout over Amos “Big Train” Lincoln.

On November 18,1970 Kirkman made his Madison Square Garden debut. His opponent would be the undefeated 1968 Olympic Gold Medal winner George Foreman. The fans settled in expecting a slugfest. What they got was a massacre. Foreman pushed down,shoved and manhandled poor Boone. The one sided affair ended in round two. Kirkman’s stock dropped dramatically.

To Kirkman’s credit he would come back to win ten in a row into 1974. He defeated the giant Jack O’Halloran and George “Scrapiron” Johnson. He pulled himself off the canvas to win a split decision over former champion Jimmy Ellis. Boone was now back in the ratings. A stop over tune up in Dallas proved to be an ambush as Kirkman was creamed in the third round by Memphis Al Jones. A fighter with a 6-21-2 record. Most chalked it up to a lucky punch KO and Boone moved on to meet the highly rated Ken Norton. Kirkman’s style was made for Ken as he broke Boone down and halted him in seven. Next Kirkman took on the dangerous Ron Lyle. The hard hitting Lyle busted Boone up and stopped him in eight.

On April 26,1975 Kirkman agreed to be one of five boxers to face now former heavyweight champion George Foreman. The circus like festivities saw an out of shape Foreman getting by his first four foes. His last opponent would be Kirkman. Foreman hurt Boone and floored him in the first but could not finish him. Boone lasted the three round distance and even landed a few good shots. Kirkman showed guts and resolve by refusing to let Foreman stop him again. Later in 1975 Kirkman would fall completely out of the rankings dropping a ten round verdict to the clever Randy Neumann.

In 1977 Kirkman returned to defeat Joe “King” Roman,Ron Stander and Pedro Agosto. In 1978 Boone would fight his last battle beating Charles Atlas. Kirkman would retire with a formidable 36-6 record. He had 25 KO’s and he was stopped five times. I believe he was still among the Top Twenty heavyweights in the world when he decided to hang them up. He fought three world champions and five boxers who challenged for a title.

Jim Amato

Filed under: Boxing

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