"As was the case in 1962, when Benny Kid Paret died at the hands of Emille Griffen, the networks would turn their backs on what was once a ratings winner. In the wake of Du Koo kim's death, boxing commissions and regulators dictated medical reforms that included more extensive physicals and shortening championship fights from 15 rounds to 12."
"That turned out to be a wise move..." - boxinginfo
The 1982 fight between Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini vs. Kim Deuk- koo forever changed the boxing landscape and ultimately led to an end to my father's 7 year boxing career; since then, he remains boxing's biggest enthusiast I've ever known.
When first talking to my dad, Charlie "Taxi" Thompson, about what inspired him to box he shared with me a unique story, one that I didn't expect. I had always remembered my dad telling me that around the age of 24, he was busted by an undercover officer for smoking "refer" while on the job, but I never knew that that very incident sparked his initial interest to step foot in the ring.
"I wanted to show them I was healthy, and on the straight and narrow," dad told me when I asked 'how was getting busted while working as a housing cop a pre-cursor for beginning a career in boxing?"
"I always knew I could punch," dad added.
I chuckled as he went on to tell me that for his first and only professional fight, he served as an under card for boxing legends, Muhammad Ali Vs. Larry Holmes in 1980.
*Undercard(s)- are boxing matches that come before the main event fight.
While he boasted a 5-3 winning record as an amateur, my father knew that he had taken too many hits to his head throughout the majority of his career. Come the faithful night in 1980, dad's first and only professional fight ever was stopped in the 2nd round (out of 4 rounds) due to him taking too many hits. Interesting enough, Muhammad Ali lost to Larry Holmes in the Main Event later that night also due to stoppage.
2 years later, young Korean champion, Kim Deuk- koo, died 5 days after losing a brutal boxing war against the World Champion at the time, Ray "Boom-Boom" Mancini.
As mentioned earlier, Kim and Mancini's match was ultimately the catalyst that led boxing regulators to take stricter pre-caution with boxers who took too many hits. And so they began revoking boxing licenses of fighters they deemed most at risk, with my father being one of them.
"I was heartbroken. I wanted to keep fighting...," dad said.
"They called me in for a doctor examination and diagnosed me with a cerebral contusion and put me on social security."
Before today, my knowledge of dad's depth of experience and accomplishments in boxing was always a little murky. I'm glad I made the decision to make this post otherwise I couldn't imagine a better time where I would sit down with my father to hash over the more intimate details of his boxing life as the topic was only something we had grazed over here and there in our conversations over the years of me growing up.
I only ever knew him to be the dad that watches re-runs on boxing classics nearly everyday on TV and would bang on his speed punching bag every other morning. I knew he was an experienced fighter and I always admired his will to exercise, however, it was clear that I had overlooked just how much my father's accomplishments and boxing impact was intertwined with the history of the sport.
In these moments speaking with my father of his boxing past I was surprised, impressed, and even more proud to be one of Charlie "Taxi" Thompson's sons, his youngest.
"I was a great puncher. But I had no self discipline. I was having too much pus*y ... you can't fu*k and fight" - in reference to how dad's numerous love affairs and flings with women hindered his performance not only in the ring but also in other areas of life such as not finishing college.
Why dad was called Charlie "Taxi" Thompson
"I drove medallion taxi cabs from 1974 to 1980... That's how I met Butch's mother"
*How much was dad paid for fight?
Boxing run in the family?
"Butch [my oldest brother] fought once. Golden Gloves amateur. He won by decision but he ain't show up for his second fight. He said he ain't want to fight anymore" - other accounts from conversations about my brother's short boxing career also referred to him training with boxing legend Zab Judah at one point.
The Fight That Changed Boxing Forever (November 13th, 1982)
Larry Holme's take after beating Muhammed Ali due to stoppage...
Thanks for reading...
1. Dad's wall.
2. Google images