Thursday, March 30, 2023
HomeSportsOld habits: Billy Graham, refreshed and recovered, prepares to leave again –...

Old habits: Billy Graham, refreshed and recovered, prepares to leave again – Boxing News

“I WILL get my driver’s license back,” says Billy Graham box news, revived by his recovery from two hernias that had impacted his quality of life for so long. “I don’t have big ideas about becoming a top coach again – I don’t feel like working that hard. I’m too old to be a coach again. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I need to be closer.

“It wasn’t because I lost boxing [that I left it]. Because I was fed up with Ricky Hatton’s people. My daughter’s mother kept telling me, “You have to stop – it makes you sick,” and it did. When I came out I was physically fucked. My hands were ruined – they are ruined now. The doctors were crazy for me to stop it. But as a cornerman and as a tactician, I was at my best. I would have so much experience.

“I think in the back of my mind I always wanted to come back. When I retired, I didn’t stop learning. I kept going because you keep seeing more. I was handy. judgment on distance; clout; Balance; Lever. I love that.

“Well, yes, I will do it again. I have no illusions – it’s not that I aspire to turn back the clock. But if I’m vague, it’s because I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Halcyon Days: Graham alongside Ricky Hatton (Tara Carvalho/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Graham last worked a corner in 2008 when Ojay Abrahams fought Jamie Ambler at Watford in the last of Abraham’s 100 fights. That he had recently guided Ricky Hatton to victory over Juan Lazcano meant he was still recognized as one of Britain’s leading coaches, but not only is Hatton long since retired, Graham’s longtime colleagues Enzo Calzaghe and Brendan Ingle have died what means that if he is to return to the sport, he will return to a country that has a completely different landscape than the one he knew.

“I thought Enzo didn’t like me all these years,” says Graham, 67. “I bumped into him all the time. Then he called me out of the blue – there’s always a lot to complain about in boxing. Then, when [Joe Calzaghe] fought Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. he would call me on fight nights. “He’s definitely going to retire – if he doesn’t, I’ll chop off his hands.” He was probably asking me who I think would win. It certainly wasn’t for my advice; it was just a chat. I was disappointed that I couldn’t go to his funeral – I couldn’t find out where it was until it was too late. enzo [dying] was a shock because I didn’t know he was ill.

“I was against it [Ingle] many times. Our paths used to cross quite often. He could speak; had great stories; be really funny. I knew he had a lot of good fighters, but I also knew he had a lot of fighters that nobody wanted to see. We were rivals. We weren’t friends. But he also respected me.

“I was 18, 19 – just a kid – when I first conceived [professional] battle. I was alone in the dressing room and Brendan walked in – he looked older than he actually was. I didn’t know who he was. He asked who I was fighting. ‘I know him. I saw you fight – you will beat him. They are alone?’ ‘Yes, Phil Martin is in the ring.’ He stayed with me the whole time and went downstairs with me. That was the first time I knew him. I never told Brendan that. [But] it was a beautiful thing to do.”

If the Graham most remembered is the one who was on HBO 24/7 while he was so crucial to Hatton’s identity and success, Graham’s reputation and enthusiasm in the years before Hatton meant a pay -per-view fighter was that even more significant personalities emerged visited his gym. Among those who used Phoenix Camp when it was in Salford are the great Tommy Hearns and the late Emanuel Steward; Before becoming an independent coach, Graham also spent time in Helsinki with none other than Angelo Dundee.

“That was great,” says Graham, puffing on a cigarette reassuringly as he relives his memories of Hearns. “He’s one of my favorite fighters of all time. Fantastic to look at. Damn deadly. Except for Nicky Boyd, I’ve never trained a great fighter – I would have loved one. That was fantastic and he absolutely loved my daughter Billie. She would have been a toddler, had to go to kindergarten, and he was gutted, Thomas.

“Just to be around him and watch him train – he was way above that at the time [April 1999], fights at cruiserweight. He would sit in my office. He had these little soldiers and bought one for Billie. She sat on his knee. He was great. Unfortunately, what I could see the most was the slip. [But] his levers and balance as he moves around the ring [stands up to demonstrate]; he’s long dead. A damn move.

“[Steward’s] someone I’ve always admired as a coach. I loved his fighters. Had no advantage against him; was dead polite.

“[Dundee] was great too. I didn’t even know he was going to be there – Helsinki isn’t exactly a bloody battleground. It [March 1992] was the first time I worked alone on a corner. Henry Armstrong [against Jyrki Vierela]. good fighter.

“I really wanted to learn something. Nobody told me Dundee would be there. Phil [Martin] wouldn’t have known – I’m sure he would have put up with it. I couldn’t fucking believe it. I was shocked that he was there and went up to him and told him it was my first time alone and he was great. I was concerned because I had never wrapped anyone’s hands before. I felt really confident.

“At the breakfast table he said, ‘Come here – sit here.’ He remembered my name and then said to me: “I like to go for a walk after breakfast – would you like to come?”. We ended up doing this every day for at least a week. He couldn’t believe how much I knew about his career, except [Muhammad] Ali. I talked about Carmen Basilio and one of my favorite fighters of all time, Jose Napoles. Smooth as butter.

“We talked about all fighters from all eras. I’ve always tried to talk about Muhammad Ali and he wouldn’t – I could tell. I actually asked him, “Why didn’t they tell him to back off?” and he didn’t like it. I remember I was disappointed because we got robbed but we drew. “Billy, you come over here to another country, fought an undefeated kid and got a tie – you should celebrate.” I was green.”

GettyImages 1921639 copy

10/30/1997: Graham with Carl Thompson (John Gichigi / Allsport)

His memories even of Hearns and Dundee are further evidence of the Graham complex’s inability to separate boxing’s darkness from its light. There are anecdotes about the time he spent on the phone advising Ronald “Winky” Wright, but about how he allowed his fighter Steve Foster to fight Wright for too long; about how Michael Katsidis once called him to see if he was coaching him and then the confirmation of Katsidi’s demise; about how he once stopped Carl Thompson from accepting a proposed rematch with David Haye.

Still, The Preacher’s eyes light up when he recommends Pariah as “the best documentary about Sonny Liston” and describes himself as “Ellie Scotney’s biggest fan.” He is as reluctant to embrace technology as he is unable to dispassionate about the sport that will forever define his life, yet his obsession demands – because it is, and maybe it is what he needs – this he tolerates to get his fix.

“I’m the world’s best tech,” he says, lighting another cigarette while Mowgli, his Lakeland Terrier puppy, plays at his feet. “I can work with YouTube. I can work with Netflix. Every day I look on YouTube to see what’s coming [in boxing]. I also have DAZN, but I only do that when I have to because it’s a bit too technical for me. I keep brewing and pausing it and then I can’t fucking turn it back on for ages. So I’m afraid to touch things. I haven’t texted anyone for so long – I have a friggin’ iPhone; My hands are screwed and the keyboard is too sensitive to touch – I’ve forgotten how to type.

“[But] I do it a few times a day. I think half the time I do it just to hear what someone is going to talk about. Someone comes out with words of wisdom, and it’s bullshit.

“Joe Gallagher and Jamie Moore are the only ones still doing it, from Manchester. They’re still producing. From what I remember Matthew Hatton should be a good coach. He knew well what he saw. He was good at picking winners because he was young – and I know some good fighters who were useless. Pat Barrett and Anthony Crolla too.

“I’ve always watched women’s boxing – Jane Couch was a very good friend of mine – but I didn’t think I’d be as interested as I am now. I really enjoy women’s boxing. The fights should be 12 two-minute rounds. It’s great because there are a lot of good fighters now and two minute rounds is why it’s really exciting.

“My favorite thing to watch is Ellie Scotney. She has fantastic balance, anticipation; She is a boxing fighter. They’re my favorite fighters—aggressive counter-punchers—and I’ve watched them since their first pro fight.

“If trained and guided properly, she will become a superstar. Americans would love them. It is not the finished article. But she could be a fantastic body puncher.”

It is then – perhaps more than ever – within two and a half hours at his home in Mossley, on the outskirts of Manchester, that he also reveals that he “can’t stand the royals” and describes the sale of the house he was once in Owned Atlanta as his “biggest mistake” — that Graham’s need to get back into fighters is becoming very apparent. With fighters he is not only the most compassionate but also the most spirited; just as eager for them to get it right as he no doubt will be again to help them train.

“The early days with Ricky Hatton were the best days,” he says. “From the first time I see him. When he first came to the gym. It was made for me. My tastes have changed over the years – training the fighters was my favorite – and it was made for me. He trained all the time.

“I would have put him on the pads the first day and let him train for the first week. From then on, even though I had other fighters to train – champions – he was constantly on my mind. From day one as a junior amateur.

“I knew he was the perfect fit for me. Personally too – he has some of my bad qualities. I was a successful coach when he came to me. Those were the best of times. With him, and when he turned pro, he came up.”

TOI.NEWS Home Click here

Follow and Subscribe to Our YouTube, Instagram and Twitter – TwitterYoutube and Instagram.

News & Image Credit – Click Here

Hurry Up!

TOI News TOI.News
TOI News TOI.News
We are TOI.News and we provide Top Latest Breaking News of Entertainment, Game Guide, Sports News, etc.

Leave a Reply

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments