RIP Saoul Mamby

Duo

Bosomus Maximus
Jun 14, 2012
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Here's Saoul last year in April, sitting in on this youtube clip about his son, Meischan. He clearly knows where he is and what's happening, turns to his son at 1:36 to quietly remind Meischan "Plus you won the Golden Gloves in Pennsylvania..." when his son momentarily omits that amateur accomplishment after offering his record. Saoul is interviewed briefly at 5:43, looking up and responding appropriately when the interviewer asks him to say a few words, barely audible over the gym racket, but that was his manner of speech decades ago. Danny "Little Red" Lopez and Roberto "Squeaky" Elizondo are two others who have always been so soft spoken it was hard to clearly hear what they were saying, even in the aftermath of an electrifying win when they might have been expected to be hyped up. Little Red's wife sometimes had to speak in the ring for her husband during post fight interviews because Danny spoke so quietly, in absolute contrast to his KD exchanging thrillers.)

Meischan displays the crazy rope skipping skills he picked up from his father at 1:18...:


Saoul was always extremely quiet, very soft spoken and understated, even in loud gym surroundings during the early 1980's, well noted for calmness rather than energy. (Duran outhustled him to win over ten rounds, Mamby's usual path to dropping decisions, although he was blatantly robbed at least a dozen times.) Saoul didn't over expend, but boxed within himself, and even when older, that combination of poise with disciplined conditioning often allowed him to overtake much younger opponents late. He didn't load up much, but when he did, it wasn't uncommon to see him produce knockdowns with a single hook or cross. Pure textbook. Excellent hand speed and legs which bounced like rubber bands.

Criminally overlooked as one of the ATG chins ever. Dropped only once, in the opening round by a temple shot at age 46 from Derrell Coley in Coley's hometown. Mamby bounced right back up without a count, but the referee immediately waved it off in a bullshit TKO stoppage. Otherwise, Sweet Saoul would've never been halted in 85 professional bouts. He might be the last Vietnam combat veteran to have won a world boxing title. (This may partly explain why he was so relaxed in the ring. He'd been shot at by and killed enemy combatants. Peak Roberto Duran had no hope of intimidating him in any way after that. Combat veterans like those who then proceed to the gridiron or boxing ring have a different sort of fearless mentality.)

Perhaps Mamby was displaying signs of decline in that interview, but if you're observant, you can see his son isn't really all that expressive and animated either, aside from trying to play to the camera a little.

Here are a couple other interviews with Mamby to judge just how much he had or had not declined by early last year:




No, he shouldn't have been fighting at 61, but he was in vastly superior condition to Meldrick Taylor (who needed closed captioning in interviews by age 40), Muhammad Ali (who was badly struggling with his speech by 45) and sounded better than Hearns (who doesn't quite need captioning, but has clearly struggled for years).

In any event, he got to live the dreams so many boys he placed in body bags at Nam never got a chance to. In interviews, he expressed happiness he even got a chance to live long enough to box professionally, let alone win a title and become respected by both Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes.

He also outlived the opponent who gave him his most savage beating, poor Billy Costello, by over eight years. (Billy was only 55 when he died of lung cancer. Deaths like theirs and that of Howard Davis, Jr., also from lung cancer at age 59, are extremely disturbing to me, Howard being a clean living vegan conscious of his mother's heart attack death during the Montreal Olympics. These weren't substance abusers, of drugs, alcohol, PEDS, cigarettes or food [like the 507 pound Buster Mathis, Sr.], and not crazies, but solid people who died a disturbingly brief period of time after they stopped competing without letting themselves go physically.)

Becoming a champion:


The only man not named Duran to ever stop DeJesus, sending him into retirement:


Using his hand speed to manage Termite Watkins inside over the Championship Distance:


Pardon the static as he takes veteran Monroe Brooks to school as Larry Holmes provides commentary for his future trainer's win (I was watching this telecast live, so I didn't have to deal with that static):







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rjjfan

The Greatest
May 17, 2013
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I never saw him fight but I still remember reading about his fight with Billy Costello in that amazing book by Thomas Hauser "Black Lights".

"The fight was now half over, with Billy Costello in control. He was fresh; Mamby was tired. Not only was Costello ahead on points, he was dominating on a more primitive level of energy and aggression. For the first six rounds he had been beating Saoul Mamby, taking away the tools he needed to win. Now he would take away the tools that Mamby needed to survive.

Round seven. Billy stepped up the assault, continuing the professional workmanlike brutality of bringing another professional down. A hard right hand rocked Mamby. Another right smashed against the challenger's cheek, spinning his head to the side. A left hook, straight right and second left hook to the body - all in combination - landed with explosive power. Mamby was hurt, and in the tradition of the trade, he gestured with his hand for more. Billy obliged.

An overhand right rocked the challenger, forcing him to hold on for the first time in the fight. Mamby was starting to take real punishment. The brutalization had begun."
RIP Champ.
 

Duo

Bosomus Maximus
Jun 14, 2012
7,774
4,548
I never saw him fight but I still remember reading about his fight with Billy Costello in that amazing book by Thomas Hauser "Black Lights".



RIP Champ.
Here it is. I watched this broadcast live as well, rooting for Saoul. His toughness made headlines on the national newscasts:

 
Jun 11, 2013
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There may have been a reason Aaron Pryor vs Saoul Mamby never came off. It wouldn't have been a cakewalk for Aaron, Saoul definitely had a chance.
 

Duo

Bosomus Maximus
Jun 14, 2012
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There may have been a reason Aaron Pryor vs Saoul Mamby never came off. It wouldn't have been a cakewalk for Aaron, Saoul definitely had a chance.
I think Aaron could have outhustled Saoul on the inside by replicating the Duran template. Pryor didn't go to the body much, but there are clips of him punching downstairs, and he'd need to focus on that, not headhunting.

Still going inside on Mamby was no picnic with Saoul's hand speed, as Termite Watkins found out.

After the steel chinned Al Ford got up from Ray Mancini's body attack, Boom Boom went crazy head hunting in unsuccessfully trying to finish the rugged Canadian veteran. In a post fight interview after taking the ten round decision, Ray promised that "From now on, I'm gonna keep on that body!" After winning over Ford, I like Boom Boom's chances with Saoul if he targets Mamby's body with his indefatigable work rate. He showed the necessary smarts with his brilliant in and out 12 round shutout of Jose Luis Ramirez (a probable future IHBOFer) to qualify as Arguello's first LW Title challenger.
 
Jun 11, 2013
222
35
I think Aaron could have outhustled Saoul on the inside by replicating the Duran template. Pryor didn't go to the body much, but there are clips of him punching downstairs, and he'd need to focus on that, not headhunting.

Still going inside on Mamby was no picnic with Saoul's hand speed, as Termite Watkins found out.

After the steel chinned Al Ford got up from Ray Mancini's body attack, Boom Boom went crazy head hunting in unsuccessfully trying to finish the rugged Canadian veteran. In a post fight interview after taking the ten round decision, Ray promised that "From now on, I'm gonna keep on that body!" After winning over Ford, I like Boom Boom's chances with Saoul if he targets Mamby's body with his indefatigable work rate. He showed the necessary smarts with his brilliant in and out 12 round shutout of Jose Luis Ramirez (a probable future IHBOFer) to qualify as Arguello's first LW Title challenger.
I would have loved to have seen Saoul fight Ray, as well as Hilmer Kenty, Johnny Bumphus, Jimmy Paul, Hector Camacho, and Edwin Rosario. Somehow, even think Saoul against Cornelius Boza-Edwards would have been a good one.
 
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