With apologizes to Marlon Brando's character, eventual Saugus resident Jerry Quarry WAS a contender — no "coulda been" about it. For a time in the late 1960s-early 1970s there was Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and "Irish" Jerry Quarry. Prognosticators went every which way, but ultimately Quarry was the odd man out. Ali and Frazier each beat him senseless twice — and he knew how to take a beating. (He never got a shot at Foreman.) Quarry came out of retirement several times; during one "in between" period in the early 1980s, he ran a boxing camp at the Big Oaks Lodge in Bouquet Canyon.
"Straight From the Shoulder" By Jerry Quarry.
World Boxing magazine, September 1974.
Webmaster's note: This was the famous "Rumble in the Jungle," the Ali-Foreman fight in Zaire in October 1974. Hindsight being 20-20, Quarry was wrong: Ali stripped the title from Foreman with an 8th-round knockout.
George Foreman will knock out Muhammad Ali at least the fourth round, if not earlier. This is the way I see that fight going.
I see Foreman coming out a little cautious to begin with, trying to see what kind of power Ali might have. Ali will be moving and moving constantly, both left and right, throwing his left jab to let Foreman know that it's there, to let him know he's going to have trouble with that jab.
I see Foreman, still cautious, moving forward behind a left jab of his own. And he has a very good one. He'll try to unload a few of his rights to the body, trying to show disdain for both Ali's punching power and his boxing ability.
The first round will go more or less to Ali because of his boxing ability and his moving. Foreman will spend the round, like he did in the Norton fight, trying to learn exactly what the other guy has. Ali's jab will be somewhat effective. I don't think he'll have problems with Foreman's reach, but I believe it'll be a defensive jab, thrown while moving, intended to prevent Foreman from getting a clean shot at him. It'll be used strictly to keep Foreman off of him.
At the beginning of the second round, Foreman, showing complete disdain for Ali's power, will begin to work on him. He'll be pushing him to the ropes. It'll look like he's fighting like an amateur because he'll start throwing those heavy, roundhouse punches.
Ali, meanwhile, will be doing anything he can to prevent being trapped along the ropes and being hit with that power Foreman has. Foreman will not be pushing Ali like he pushed Frazier because Ali will not be coming at him. He pushed Frazier off to get punching room. He'll be pushing Ali into the ropes to trap him.
Lately, Ali has been doing quite a bit of laying on the ropes in just about every fight he's been in. This plays right into Foreman's hands. If he does this again he'll get hurt and hurt early, and probably knocked out. Ali has already proven he can take a good shot. But I don't think he can take a continued assault of hard punches from Foreman. And that's exactly what he's going to start taking by the end of the second round.
Although some people feel Ali allows himself to get trapped on the ropes as sort of a challenge to his opponent, the truth is he does it because he has to. Even in the first fight against Frazier, when he was criticized for allowing Frazier to hang to the body, he did it because he had to. He was fighting to survive against Frazier. I've been in with Frazier before and Frazier puts the kind of pressure on you that you're looking to rest any time you get the opportunity. That's what he was really doing, not the so-called "games" he said he was playing. That was a farce.
If he lays against the ropes with Foreman he'll get hurt. Foreman's too big. Foreman will be ripping shots to the body from underneath and from the outside ... those wild, swinging punches. He'll throw them both to the body and head in hopes of catching Ali. I don't think, however, that he'll catch him in the second round.
But as Ali will try to continue his movement those punches will start telling on the arms, the shoulders, in the belly, and they'll start telling as early as the late part of the second round.
When the third round begins, you're going to see a very fleet-footed Ali doing everything he can to try and stay away from Foreman. At this time Foreman will be trying to knock him out. In this round Foreman will nail Ali and Ali will be hurt very badly. He'll probably just survive the round. When he comes out for the fourth round Foreman will just push him against the ropes and take him out.
He'll probably finish him with one of the long, looping rights or lefts he throws from way outside. Ali may go down, get up, and go down again, because by this time the punches will have a devastating effect. But it'll definitely be a knockout.
The only way Ali can last past six rounds is if he's in tip-top condition and can revert back to his style of 1965. 1 don't think he's young enough to do it any more. If this was 1965 I don't think there's any way Foreman could have caught him. He could've danced and jabbed for 15 rounds and piled up enough points to get a decision. In those days Ali could move for 15 rounds and throw 14-15 punch combinations. That would've totally negated all of Foreman's assets. Even his strength and power. You can't hurt a man if you can't hit him.
Now Ali's not nearly as fast on his feet, not nearly as fast with his hands, not nearly as fast in getting away from punches as he was in the past.
The only way Ali could ever hope to win this fight is by going 15 rounds and getting a decision. He can hit Foreman with his Sunday best and there's no way he's going to knock him out. There's no way he can hurt Foreman. That means he has to stay away from Foreman for six or seven rounds and let Foreman's own body weight and size tire himself out.
That's the only chance Ali has, and I don't think he's capable of doing it.
Despite the slim chance of Ali forcing the fight to go the distance, Foreman must train for that possibility.
Every man should train for 15 rounds. I don't give a darn how hard a puncher he is. Anything's liable to happen when you're in that ring. You have to be ready. What happens if Foreman hurts his right arm and has to go strictly with his left hand for the rest of the fight?
The problem with Foreman is that I don't think he can carry his own body weight for 15 rounds. He's too big and too muscular. Over a period of time, throwing all out, wild, swinging punches as he does — and he does miss a lot of punches — takes a lot out of you. If after seven or eight rounds Ali is still around somehow, then he's got a darn good chance of winning. Foreman's style is such that he counts on knocking a guy out within five or six rounds. With Ali he'll be capable of doing it.
The best strategy for Ali is to run and run and run. He'll have to use the left hand and use it as often as possible. He's got to run like a bandit, very similar to the way Ray Anderson fought Bob Foster a few years back. The only difference could be that Foster is flat-footed and Foreman is not. He can go to his feet and push a fighter if he has to. I've seen him do it. He can move on his feet a lot better than a lot of people think he can.
Some people may believe I'm pulling for a Foreman victory because if Ali wins there'll be a rematch and I won't get a title shot for another two years. True. I have to pull for Foreman for just that reason. But as far as predicting Foreman will win it because I want the next shot — no.
Foreman will win it because he's too strong, punches too hard, and is too big for Ali.
From time to time, heavyweight contender Jerry Quarry will be writing a column exclusively for this magazine. In this, his first, Jerry gives his version of how the Ali-Foreman fight will turn out. We're sure you'll welcome this new addition.
World Boxing magazine, September 1974.
You know the TV commercial where Joe Frazier gets slapped across the face, goes down, gets back up, and says "Thanks. I needed that?"
That's exactly what Jerry Quarry was thinking about in his dressing room after he survived a first-round knockdown by Joe Alexander and then kayoed Alexander at the end of the second round of their fight at the Nassau (Long Island) Coliseum.
To the surprise of the predominantly pro-Quarry crowd, Jerry hit the deck in the first round when an Alexander left hook — a beautiful punch — caught Jerry flush on the jaw as he was pulling away from it.
Although the blow "shocked" Quarry rather than hurt him, it must've caused a few members of the Top Rank Inc. organization a few grey hairs since they'd already signed a Quarry-Frazier match for Madison Square Garden with heavy guarantees.
More embarrassed than injured, Jerry survived the round and returned to his corner with a sheepish grin on his face. Although Quarry hoped the fight would last awhile so he could get some much-needed work, he told trainer Gil Clancy he'd better end it as soon as possible — just in case.
Gil agreed. "Keep your hands up," he instructed Jerry, "and keep your ass off the canvas!"
He did. And as the round progressed Jerry went about his business of making sure further accidents didn't happen. With the precision of a surgeon, Quarry began the demolition of Alexander with a left-right combo with about 1½ minutes left in round two. Then, about a minute later, three left hooks and a right cross dumped Alexander on his back. Alexander got up at five but was clearly dazed. Quarry quickly followed with a straight right, a left hook, and another right that stunned Alexander.
Joe's legs turned to rubber as Jerry drove him into the ropes. With 10 seconds remaining a left hook landed squarely. Jerry followed it immediately with a pair of rights, another left hook, and a devastating right cross which put Alexander out and kept him woozy for about a minute after the count ended.
Quarry was very philosophical about the whole thing afterwards. "If you stick your chin up in the air and say, 'Come and hit it' — someone's gonna come along and hit it. He hit me as clean as you can hit a guy. I didn't need it, but it woke me up. I sat there saying, 'Isn't this ridiculous?' The punch caught me leanin' backwards. And when I'm leanin' backwards and my heels are together, where am I going to go but down? I wasn't hurt when I got up. It was just a shock. He caught me doing the wrong thing at the wrong time."
"He was awkward to fight. Coming in sideways, jumping in and out. But by the second round I figured out what to do with him, I had been keeping too much distance between he and I. I had to get closer to him."
Quarry admitted he had made a mistake and got caught. "What a fool I was," he remembers thinking. "Sticking my chin out and getting hit like that. I never saw the punch coming. If I had I sure as hell wouldn't have stuck my chin out like that and said, 'Hit me.'
"It was an accident. It could happen to anybody. You gonna tell me Muhammad Ali stuck his chin out on purpose when Frazier caught him? You gonna tell me he stuck it out when Cooper hit him? I wasn't taunting him by sticking my chin out and saying 'Hit me.' He just caught me when I wasn't expecting it."
The blow did snap Jerry out of his first-round lethargy, caused by a combination of Alexander's awkwardness and Quarry's lack of work.
"I just haven't had that much action," Jerry noted. "My last fight went just one round. If you look at it, I've had just seven rounds of boxing in the ring since a year ago February 9th. Now how the hell are you gonna be strong?
"Gil and I talked about getting some work in this fight. I hoped it would last awhile. But the minute I came back to the corner I told Gil, 'I'm sorry, Gil. I didn't mean that.' He said 'Alright. Get close to him and start throwing and get him out of there.' So I did."
Quarry did admit the pressure of the Frazier fight and not wanting to blow it made him a little tighter. But he emphasized that he had not taken Alexander lightly and that "I trained my ass off for this fight."
Jerry emphasized that there was no chance Alexander could've finished him off in that first round. "I'll tell you this right now. There's no chance of me staying down. The man who beats me from here on in is going to have to beat me to death to beat me. Except I'm not going to get beat any more."
World Boxing Hall of Famer and onetime Saugus resident Jerry Quarry (1945-1999), the No. 1 contender three times for the heavyweight title in the late 1960s-early 1970s, who amassed a 53-9-4 career record despite two losses apiece to Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, worked out and ran a training camp for younger boxers at the Big Oaks Lodge in Bouquet Canyon in the early 1980s.
Known for his big chin and his punch resistance, "Irish" Jerry Quarry, aka the Bellflower Bomber, was born May 15, 1945, in Bakersfield, and was already winning boxing trophies at age 8. He went pro in 1965 and often fought at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. His first professional loss didn't come until his 21st bout in 1966. He stood 6 feet tall and was light for a heavyweight, usually under 200 pounds. Today he'd be a cruiserweight.
In 1967, when the World Boxing Association stripped Muhammad Ali of his championship title for dodging the military draft, Quarry was included in a tournament of challengers to succeed him. Quarry defeated former champion Floyd Patterson in a split decision, knocked out Thad Spencer, and advanced to the final round for his first heavyweight title opportunity against Jimmy Ellis, who was coached by Ali and went on to beat Quarry in a split decision.
Blood drips down Jerry Quarry's face during his first bout in 1970 with Muhammad Ali, who was then still better known as Cassius Clay. The fight was called after three rounds. AP wirephoto. Click to enlarge.
Quarry then won a number of bouts and easily handled 1964 U.S. Olympian Buster Mathis, which put him in line to challenge Frazier, the de-facto heavyweight champion, at Madison Square Garden. Frazier landed solid punches, but Quarry refused to go down. Frazier cut him in the 7th round, and the fight was halted. Ring magazine named it 1969's fight of the year. Quarry then won several more bouts, with only one loss in between to George Chuvalo — the only time in his professional career that Quarry actually went down for the count.
Meanwhile, Ali sued the WBA and regained his right to fight in 1970. Only one of the 10 ranked heavyweights was willing to face him: Jerry Quarry. Thanks largely to Ali promoter Don King, the fight on October 26, 1970, at the City Auditorium in Atlanta took on racial overtones. Quarry embraced the "Great White Hope" label (see below). Ali dominated in the first two rounds and cut Quarry in the third. The fight was halted and ruled a technical knockout.
The rematch, billed "The Soul Brothers Versus The Quarry Brothers" (Jerry's younger brother Mike was a highly ranked light heavyweight boxer), came June 27, 1972, in Las Vegas. Ali wore out Quarry before the end of the 7th round. Mike also lost his match against Bob Foster.
Jerry Quarry went in and out of retirement over the next 20 years, stopping in Saugus long enough to train fighters at Dee White's Big Oaks Lodge and to announce one of several comeback attempts in 1983. Boxing started at the lodge under Quarry's guidance and White's ownership. White, who previously owned a variety store in Canyon Country, bought the lodge in 1980 and ran it for more than three decades. Her son, Johnny White, remembers that the canvas-and-rope boxing ring that was set up on the patio had been used in either "Rocky" or "Rocky II" and was owned by actor Mickey Rourke before it ended up at the Big Oaks.
Click to enlarge.
Quarry was no stranger to the camera himself. He was a character actor in various television series, especially during temporary breaks from boxing, and he had a recurring role on the dramatic crime series "Adam-12" (1968-1975).
In many respects, Jerry Quarry's life and career mirrored the story of boxing in the latter part of the 20th Century. He made millions of dollars in the ring and lost it all. He was hugely popular — and unpopular — during the Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing, only to end up with dementia pugilistica after being hit in the head too hard, too many times. By the time he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995, he barely knew what was happening. In the end, he could no longer care for himself. He was hospitalized in December 1998 and died a few days later, January 3, 1999. He was 53.
1. Dee White, personal conversation, August 2018.
2. Johnny White, personal communication, August 2018. The boxing ring had been removed before the lodge burned down August 11-12, 2018.
Quarry Announces Return to Ring
The Signal | Wednesday, May 25, 1983.
"Everybody says I'm an old man," said a lean and mean Jerry Quarry under the shady, bucolic expanses of the Big Oaks Lodge in Bouquet Canyon Monday afternoon. "God bless everybody who thinks that."
Quarry, who turned 38 on May 15, contended for Muhammad Ali's heavyweight boxing crown in the late '60s and early '70s before being turned away bloodied but unbowed.
Ali has since retired. And so had Quarry. Until Monday at Big Oaks Lodge.
With a host of backers, well-wishers, friends, family members, and boxing people looking on, Quarry announced that he was coming out of retirement to fight again.
But Larry Holmes and Michael Dokes need not worry. Quarry's quarry is the newly created cruiserweight title. He needs to get down to 195 pounds for that, but in the last two months he's dropped from 235 to 202 and so that appears to be no problem.
"I have no doubts that I can win it," said a confident Quarry to the applauding throng. "We're going to raise hell and shock the world.
"I'm an Irishman who hasn't lost his 'White Hope' title yet."
Quarry, who had a career mark of 63-8-5 [sic: 53-9-4] with 36 knock-outs [sic: 32 knockouts] (including six over number one contenders, his brother, Jimmy, claimed), last fought a professional fight five years ago. He knocked out Lorenzo Zanon in nine rounds.
Since then he put on some weight, but kept running and exercising to stay fit.
Two months ago, he went into the program in earnest and shed 33 pounds.
"That's because of exercise, not food diet," his father, Jack, noted.
Quarry said that he was not quite ready to step in the ring yet. He estimated that about two more months of work was needed before he could lace up the gloves in a real bout. The target date is mid-July.
His first fight?
"Probably some guy I pick up hitchhiking," Quarry quipped. The Quarries [sic] are a ring-wise family (Mike, now 32, fought for the world light-heavyweight crown several times and Robert, 21, is a promising young New Jersey heavyweight with a 7-3 record) and know that Jerry will need a few tune-up fights before jumping into contention.
According to co-managers Dan Goossen and Al Lewis, the great comeback fell into place a few months ago when they persuaded brothers Manny and Sammy Asadrian to become backers in the great enterprise.
That meant that the Asadrians would pick up the tab for Quarry's months of training and other expenses.
Not long afterward, the Quarry troupe happened upon Big Oaks for something to eat.
"Jerry asked if he could sing," said Dee White, who owns the Bouquet retreat. Quarry said that he had sung in Las Vegas.
That incident soon led to the Quarries [sic] picking Big Oaks as an ideal site to train for The Comeback, according to Lewis. The splendid isolation of the place was perfect.
"There's nothing else to do up here," Lewis said.
Quarry has had some very tough sparring partners to prepare for his return to the world of pro boxing. Not only are brothers Mike and Bobby available, but World Athletic Association heavyweight champ Monte Masters of Saugus has been working out with Quarry.
Masters, who has a 27-1 record with 23 K.O.s and stands 6-5, is about half a foot taller than Quarry. But that's nothing new for Quarry, and the pair sparred two lively rounds in front of the well-wishers before the afternoon ended.
The Saugus boxer is trying to iron out a contract for his next fight but would eventually like to take on WBA champ Michael Dokes one of these days. And hooking up with Quarry, whose backers drive very expensive cars and seem well-connected in boxing, is not a bad move for Masters.
Also on hand was a muscular lad named Dave Amos of England, whom Lewis referred to as the "future Olympic heavyweight champ."
"He'll beat (Teo) Stevenson right now, " Lewis proclaimed.
Actors Dale ("Wells Fargo") Robertson and Huntz ("Bowery Boys") Hall were the more well-known celebrities at the affair.
Quarry took some time to mention his cable television exercise program. He's calling it "Boxercise," a program that not only gets folks in shape to music, but teaches self-defense.
"I want to become an enigma," he concluded. "I want people to remember Jerry Quarry."
Former Heavyweight Boxer Quarry Dies
The Associated Press | As published in The Signal | Monday, January 4, 1999.
Click to enlarge.
TEMPLETON (AP) — Jerry Quarry, a popular heavyweight who fought Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson then eventually lapsed into a punch-drunk fog, died Sunday after being taken off life support. He was 53.
Quarry was hospitalized Dec. 28 with pneumonia and then suffered cardiac arrest while at Twin Cities Community Hospital. He died at 3:52 p.m. after family members directed doctors to remove life support, according to Claude Sutherland, a longtime family friend.
"It was a family decision to take him off life support when they were told he would probably be bedridden," Sutherland said. "They're pretty distraught."
Quarry, who earned $2.1 million in purses as a top contender in the 1960s and '70s, later was living on Social Security checks. By the age of 50, the pounding he had taken in the ring turned him into a confused, childlike man whose relatives had to take care of him.
The medical name for his condition was dementia pugilistica, severe brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head.
Among the highlights of Quarry's career were two fights against Patterson, the former heavyweight champion. Both bouts were in Quarry's hometown of Los Angeles, and the first ended in a draw and he won the second on a controversial split decision.
Quarry, a 6-foot, 195-pound blond who seemed to be easy to cut, earned his biggest payday, $338,000, by fighting Ali when Ali returned from his banishment in 1970.
Early in the fight in Atlanta, the two butted heads and a gash opened above Quarry's left eye. Ali peppered the spot with jabs, spraying blood, and stopped Quarry in three rounds.
Quarry futilely pleaded with the referee not to stop it.
Ali cut Quarry again to win a rematch in seven rounds, and Joe Frazier bloodied him badly in the second of their two fights, winning in five at Madison Garden in 1974.
Quarry finished his pro career with a 53-9-4 record after having (fought) more than 200 bouts as an amateur.
Neurological tests revealed early signs of dementia in 1982, before his short-term memory loss and motor skills deteriorated so noticeably and before his last three fights.
A neuropsychologist who examined him five years ago said that boxing had aged the boxer 30 years and that he was at third-stage dementia, similar to Alzheimer's.
In 1992, Quarry fought for one final time. Believing he could make a comeback as George Foreman had, he took a bout in Colorado, a state where no boxing license was required.
But Quarry was battered for six rounds by a club fighter. "Irish Jerry" Quarry's payday for absorbing the beating was $1,050.
He is survived by three children; four sisters; three brothers, including Jimmy and Mike, who were fighters; and parents, Jack and Awanda Quarry.
A funeral was scheduled for Saturday in Shasta.