You may have thought this was a movie review, it's not. I'll leave that to DLFERGUSON. I haven't seen this movie yet, and I will eventually. You'll be surprise to know that I did audition for the part of 'McCracken' and I was beat out by Jesse Lipscombe for the role. Enough about that... This is the story of Adolph Pruitt.
I see Adolph every single day at the gym. To the ordinary man he's just another person sitting next to you on the bus. You may think nothing of it. Let me tell you! This man is a part of boxing history and most people that come to the gym don't even know anything about him. A fighter who comes to the gym and trains with Adolph don't even know the man whose holding the mitts in front of him. They want mitt work with the 68 year old veteran but they don't bother to ask about his background. When I tell them that the guy who was working with you has fought for the world title three times, their eyes usually light up.
I used to take it for granted of him being at the gym all the time, not in a bad way. I never took advantage of his knowledge of the ring or showed him any lack of disrespect, but it did get to the point where he was beginning to be just some regular 'Joe' until somebody wised me up and reminded 'Me' who this man is! Never again did I let that feeling of neglect win me over.
There is something rich about Adolph and that richness is the hard look of life written on his face. His story reminds me of the film RESURRECTING THE CHAMP. He is on skid row but I don't look at him as a transient and I don't care if his clothes are not of the latest fashion. I look at the history that is in front of me. I look at this gem that is rough around the edges and raw like the streets that he roams in South Central. I've seen him get in the ring and move around with some pug, and don't under-estimate this man because he is old. He has quick reflexes and can still counter punch. He may be rusty but he can put up a fight and doesn't get winded. Once a warrior always a warrior. I give him a few buck every now and then when I have cash to throw away. Other guys buy him sandwiches and drinks and they give him cash as well as payment for the mitt work that he provides.
I talk to Adolph every day and ask how's he doing? He calls me Pepe', which is a spanish nickname for Jose. He knows my real name but he calls me Pepe' instead. When he sees me from across the gym he yells PEPE' and I yell it back to him. Everybody at the gym has an inside code name and Pepe' is between Adolph and me.
Lets go back in time when Adolph was in his prime and look at his boxing career.
His first pro fight was on December 29, 1961 at the Mayo Civic Auditorium in Rochester, Minnesota. He lost his pro debut to a fighter by the name of Brian O'Shea was 6-0-0 at the time, but that didn't stop Adolph Pruitt from having a career record of 44-12-2 and 30 of those wins by way of knockout. If you look at the places that he fought you wouldn't think that this Welterweight from Aberdeen, Mississippi could accomplish so much in his life. He fought east and west from the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles to Madison Square Garden in New York City. He fought places in between such as Arizona, Nebraska, Texas, and Las Vegas to name a few. His career took him outside of the mainland to fight in Honolulu, Hawaii, Manila, Philippines (which was for the vacant WBC light welterweight title against Pedro Adigue jr.) Buenos Aires, Argentina (for the WBA light welterweight title against Nicolino Locche.) Monterrey, Mexico (for the WBC/WBA welterweight title against Jose Napoles.)
What a journey huh?
My favorite article clipping about Adolph that I read was when he fought Raul Soriano over in Mexico. Soriano broke Adolph's nose in the first round but Adolph came back with a hard attack assult, and stopped him in the fifth to win by a TKO.
What does Adolph Pruitt have to show for his hard work? The record. The record will show that this man was a force to reckon with. After a career like that... Life takes you in a direction totally the opposite of what you expect and a new chapter begins. If you're not a fight fan his name means nothing. One wouldn't care if he is alive or dead but if you Google his name you will find over 65,000 results about him.
It's sad to see that he was in a dvd called 'Ultimate Bumfights' which is about homeless transients in LA beating the crap out of each other while wearing boxing gloves. You may be asking yourself after all of his accomplishments in the ring why would he take on such a low grade production that would blemish his reputation? Maybe he did it for some money?
I remember when Adolph was arrested for something minor (news travels fast at the gym) and he tried to use his name to get out of the situation. The officer didn't care who this old man was. To him, he was just some bum off the street who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I bet if he got into some altercation back in the day and told them who he was people would cut him a break. That's what a big name can do for you. I wouldn't be surprised. I'd do it too!
If you're a fight fan and would like to meet and speak with Adolph or maybe get some lessons from him who has many years of ring experience? Come to the gym where legends train at: The Broadway Gym located at 10730 S. Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90061.
Adolph retired from boxing after his last fight in December 2, 1972 which was for the NABF welterweight title. Unfortunately, he lost this bout. Maybe he was discouraged from this loss that he never returned to the ring. It happens.
Pepe' will always be a champion in my eyes.