Legendary boxing man Don Chargin discusses lengthy career in the sport
Don Chargin, 85, has been in the business of boxing for 68-years and many consider him to be the most knowledgeable person in the business.
In 2001, Chargin was inducted into The International Boxing Hall of Fame, but three years ago he lost his business partner and partner in life, sweet Lorraine Chargin.
The two were inseparable. Always traveling together whether business or pleasure and Chargin is now attempting to continue in her absence, but in the way Lorraine would have wanted.
“The only thing that keeps me from going insane from grief is to continue promoting boxing with no thought of ever retiring,” Chargin told World Boxing News.
Last weekend, Chargin put on yet another entertaining show which saw Paul Mendez defeat Rahman Yusubov, after which, WBN caught up with the seasoned promoter to gather some just of his career highlights.
Q: What’s the best fight you ever promoted?
A: Ramos vs. Ramos. Mondo vs. Sugar. A bloody, knock down, punch for punch battle between two great ex-champions at The Olympic Auditorium. The seating capacity was 10,400 and we squeezed 13,900 bodies in that night. The fire Marshall received a case of Cutty Sark every time we had a major show.
Mondo won a unanimous decision and neither Ramos was the same after.
Q: Tell us about the Olympic where you were the matchmaker for the great Aileen Eaton for 20 years.
A: It was built especially for boxing and wrestling in 1928, was the venue for boxing in the 1932 Olympics and was know as The Madison Square Garden of the West and The Bucket of Blood. When I walked into that 18th and Grand old arena my first day of work in 1964, I had to pinch myself that I wasn’t dreaming. We had televised fights every Thursday night. (Chargin became commonly known as “War a Week” Chargin)
Q: What was the worst fight you ever saw?
A: Eddie Machen and Zora Folley. The number one and number two heavyweight contenders fought at The Cow Palace in San Francisco. Thank goodness I didn’t promote it but was in the crowd. Two really good fighters that made it a staring contest.
Q: What was the most unusual event you ever promoted?
A: A Wild West Show in Oakland. People told me they were making lots of money with this traveling show and the main event was an Ostrich Race between two huge, mean and dangerous birds. Well the rider of one was so drunk he couldn’t stand and the trainer who was the other rider told me if we didn’t have the race the crowd would riot. I never even rode a horse but agreed to be the second rider. Business is business. It was at the San Jose Speedway and about 100 yards after the start the damn bird took me right through the infield fence, threw me and escaped to a hot dog stand. Buck, the owner finally got him back in the cage.The crowd loved it.
Q: What was your greatest triumph?
A: Lorraine and I took Loretto Garza of Sacramento to Nice, France, to challenge the WBA 140-pound champion Juan Coggi who was promoted by the French promoters the Arcaries Brothers. We took the fight as a sub on only 10 days notice and Garza was a 6 to 1 underdog for the mandatory fight. Our kid won and we celebrated in Nice and Paris. What a time.
Q: Who was your all-time favorite fighter?
A: A tie between Loretta Garza and Andy “Kid” Heilman, a middleweight from North Dakota. So loyal. They never wanted to fight for anyone but us.
“In all my years of promoting fights throughout the world I’ve never worked at a more beautiful venue than Cache Creek Casino Resort in the gorgeous Capay Valley North of Sacramento, California.”– Don Chargin