QUARRY FAMILY REFLECTS ON LOSS.
No one will ever be able to say that Mike Quarry could have been a contender. He was. But perhaps he could have been a baseball player instead.
His brother, Bobby, is the sole surviving Quarry brother of the four, and the youngest.
At Mike Quarry's funeral last Saturday, Bobby Quarry cried while eulogizing his brother at Shafter District Cemetery near Bakersfield, then he talked to us about what might have been on the baseball diamond.
He remembered a rather amazing feat that took place when Mike was in the middle of his 13-year boxing career, which produced a record of 63-13-6 with 17 knockouts and a shot at Bob Foster's light heavyweight championship in 1972; Foster won via knock out in the fourth-round.
``Michael could have been a baseball player,'' said Bobby Quarry, 43. ``I remember when he was 24, 25, at the height of his boxing career, and we went to the batting cages one day. He was in the machine that was throwing in the 90s (miles per hour).
``I remember he paid for 14pitches. He stepped in there and he hit the first seven pitches righty (his natural side), all line drives. Then he switched to the left side. He missed the first one, sawed off the second one and hit the last five.''
All line drives.
``And it wasn't like he was playing baseball all the time,'' said Bobby Quarry, who was 9-12-2 with six knockouts fighting as a heavyweight from 1982-1992.
That, he was not. Even in high school, the Quarry brothers weren't allowed to do anything but eat, sleep and drink boxing, according to their sister, Wilma Pearson.
Bobby Quarry, during the eulogy, also remembered an incident that showed just how nice his brother Mike could be. There were thugs who started trouble with a group that included Bobby and Michael.
``I hit this one guy a couple of times and then another guy jumps on my back,'' Bobby Quarry said. ``Mike comes over and pulls the guy off my back.''
This happened two more times. Finally, Bobby asked Mike, who apparently was not engaged in fisticuffs, what the deal was.
``I said, `Mike, what are you doing? Why won't you keep this guy off my back?' He said, `Well, I didn't want to hit the guy.' I said, `Gee, thanks, Mike.' ''
The 50 or so people attending the funeral laughed lovingly. There was more crying than laughing, of course, because of yet another in a long line of deaths in the Quarry family since 1999, when former heavyweight contender Jerry Quarry at 53 died of pugilistic dementia, the same illness that claimed Mike's life on June 11 at 55.
Also meeting their demise during that time was sister Brenda and brother Jimmy as well as Jack Quarry, the father of the family. That's four of eight Quarry siblings, and none of them made it out of their 50s.
Left are sisters Wilma, Janet and Diana and brother Bobby. To make matters more sad, Bobby was only at the funeral on a one-day pass from Folsom State Prison, where he is serving time for grand theft.
Bobby Quarry will be released from prison in November. He has plenty to look forward to, as was evidenced by his young daughter and young son running around at the funeral services.
Jimmy, not like the others: Jimmy Quarry is known as the brother who didn't box. But Robert Pearson, who is married to Wilma, said that Jimmy was a very talented boxer and that he did actually make his pro debut.
``In his first pro fight, he threw up in the ring,'' Pearson said of Jimmy Quarry. ``He said, `That's it for me. I don't want to get hit.' Jimmy was very gifted in boxing, he just didn't have the heart for it.''
The singing Quarrys: Pearson said that way back when, in the late 1960s, Jerry Quarry and sisters Wilma and Diana recorded several songs that had been cut by the folk-singing group Peter, Paul & Mary, which recorded its first album in 1962 and is still performing.
``They were good,'' Pearson said of the Quarry trio. ``They cut the records, but they were never distributed. I was thinking, `Wow, that could have been marketable back then.'''
Arum happy to have `cloud' removed
It has been quite a week for promoter Bob Arum, chairman of the board of Top Rank Inc.
Arum found out that there will be no federal racketeering charges filed against his company after a 21/2-year probe that gazed into, among other things, possible fight-fixing.
Arum also found out that he might have the scariest fighter in the world in welterweight champion Antonio Margarito.
Finally, Arum is on the brink of signing the third fight between his man Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao.
Arum's Las Vegas offices were raided by the FBI in 2004. Part of the scope was centered on the possible fixing of a fight between Joey Torres and Perry Williams that took place in 2002 at The Pond in Anaheim. It was won by Torres via second-round technical knockout.
Torres, a convicted murderer, had been temporarily released from prison while his case was on appeal and had the one fight, but he has since been returned to prison.
``Having a cloud hanging over your head like that, I wouldn't wish that on anybody,'' Arum said Friday. ``It's the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life. People at the office were wondering if they were going to be out of a job.
``I may have put a good face on, but let me tell you, I was really disturbed by this."
Arum now only has to worry about his fighters. One in particular, Margarito, can't find an opponent of elite status.
This week Arum offered Winky Wright $4 million to fight Margarito on Oct. 7 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. He was turned down flat. Arum has a standing offer of $8 million out to Floyd Mayweather Jr. to fight Margarito.
Both money figures would represent the largest paydays for Wright and Mayweather.
``None of these so-called elite fighters, whether it is Mayweather or Winky Wright, want anything to do with Margarito,''
Arum said. ``I offered Mayweather his highest purse by far and he won't fight him. And now Winky Wright. I offerend him more money than he made in the Jermain Taylor fight, and he won't fight him.
``What does that tell you? That Margarito is the best fighter out there."
As for Morales-Pacquiao III, it is scheduled to take place Nov. 18 at Thomas & Mack. The only thing left standing in the way is that Pacquiao needs to defeat Oscar Larios tonight in the Philippines.
``Everything has been agreed to, but we wanted to wait until after Pacquiao's fight with Larios'' to sign the contract, Arum said.
Morales and Pacquiao have split two fights. After their second fight last January, a Pacquiao victory by 10th-round TKO, a third fight was immediately discussed. But Morales said he had trouble making 130 pounds and that he wanted the third fight to be at 135.
Pacquiao balked, however, and insisted they fight again at 130.
Pacquiao got his wish, and they will get it on in the rubber match unless Pacquiao loses to Larios. And that's not likely.
-- Robert Morales
Promoter Bob Arum, right, pictured with Miguel Cotto, will have no federal racketeering charges filed against his company.
Christof Koepsel/Getty Images
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2006|
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