By Jim Amato

The heavyweight division of the late 1960′s and early 70′s was one of the most talent laden and competitive of all time. It gave us Ali and Frazier. Foreman Norton, Shavers, Quarry, Lyle, Patterson and Ellis. The list is almost endless. Bonavena, Middleton, “Blue” Lewis, Mac Foster, Buster Mathis, Chuvalo, Thad Spencer, Leotis Martin just to name a few.

In the late 70′s former Olympian Duane Bobick emerged as a legitimate contender. Although kayoed by Teo Stevenson in the Olympics, Duane 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. Fred Houpe, a.k.a. “Young Sanford” and Bunny Johnson of England.

I saw the flaws in Duane’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 Duane’s size and strength wore him down.

2170091039_f6e5cdc061I was not at all shocked when Kenny Norton kayoed Duane. 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 Duane’s career was his KO defeat to Kallie Knoetzee. Talent wise Duane was head and shoulders above this guy. Alas his chin betrayed him and Kallie stopped him in three.

That was really all there was to be for Duane. 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 Duane had the size, the punch, the amateur background and the overall talent. Where did it all go wrong?

I hear a lot of people today refer to Duane 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 that either.

Jim Amato

Filed under: Boxing

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