There is only one man that can claim to carry such a title of “Baby Hands Of Stone” that was given to him by the great Roberto Duran’s wife herself, Felicidad Iglecias Duran, in the early 90’s, and that man would be Mighty Mike Maggio.
Born in 1979, “Mighty” Mike was a scrappy Italian kid that grew up on the west side of Erie, Pennsylvania. He started boxing when he was 10 under the influence of his dad, “Big” Joe Maggio and his uncle, Phil Maggio. When Mike began to learn the sweet science at the lower Eastside Sports Center in Erie, he trained under Apache Dann Carr, Joe Soliwoda, Vince Christiano and Matt DeForce. They saw something in Mike that was very special. This team lead Mike throughout his journey of eventually being a boxer on the USA Olympic Team, a near undefeated professional with only one loss, and an inductee into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame.
As a vicious super lightweight at 140, Mike holds an outstanding amateur record of 57-5. He was a 4-time Pennsylvania State Golden Gloves Champion in addition to being on the USA Olympic Boxing team in 1991. He was Olympic team mates with Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Shane Mosley, and Shannon Briggs. What a dream team! In 1992, Mike fought in Sweden for the Olympic trials again, but came up short on a decision. However, he still won the “Most Outstanding Fighter of the Tournament” Award. How does that happen? It is because of the way Mike fought. Mike was told as a young fighter by Apache Dann Carr that if he could throw 100 punches per round, who could ever beat him? Well, “Mighty” took this to heart and has thrown bomb to bomb, from bell to bell, never less than 100 per round, in every fight he’s ever fought since he was 10 years old. Now that’s “Mighty.”
“Mighty” Mike had a professional career record of 15-1-1, 10 KO’s. Five of his KO’s on his ledger are from body shots. His one loss came when he received an injury of nerve damage in his back during the fight. In addition to a torn retina, the cervical nerve damage that paralyzed his left
arm for over a year ended his professional career in 1992. He had 7 particle bones cut out of his back from the wear and tear of boxing with 46 staples sealing the wound, and damage to both ear drums. However, Mike has no regrets, is alive and well, and was proud to be the type of fighter he was trained to be. He lived a dream life as a professional boxer and continues to live the dream with his family today.
“Mighty” Mike fought on the undercards of Hector “Macho” Camacho and Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran. He also developed a deep bond with former Heavyweight Champion, “The Quiet Man” John Ruiz, who he still remains good friends with today. “Mighty” fought on 9 cards with Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran. During this time “Mighty” and Roberto became good friends. They had family gatherings over dinner when Duran would come to Erie, PA. There must have been something in that Sicilian sauce that Jonanne Maggio, Mike’s mother and biggest fan, made from scratch to seal the bond. Duran’s family had love and respect for Maggio as a person but also as a fighter. So much so that Roberto’s wife, Felicidad, nicknamed him, “Las Manos del Bebe de Piedra,” or Baby Hands of Stone.”
In addition, Roberto had a special jacket made for Mighty Mike as a token of his appreciation for Mike’s friendship and hospitality. This jacket is one of a kind and Mike has already been offered 100k for it, but Mike says, “That’s just money. It can never compare to the memories that Duran gave me and my family.”
During Mike’s amateur and professional career transition in 1992, he met his wife Lynette, in true “Love Story” fashion. In Erie, Pennsylvania, after his return from the Olympic Trials in Sweden, Mike’s mother told him about a girl named Lynette. She told Mike that he would marry her someday and sure enough, he did. After 10 dates, Mike proposed and 22 years later, they are still as happy as ever with three beautiful daughters, Selene Rosa, Nyla Inez, and “Baby G” (Gianna Star) who can all fight. They choose not to compete, but will always have the boxing skills that their daddy taught them when they were young.
Just recently, while training for a local boxing exhibition, Mike took a hard right hand from a heavier fighter that sent him to the hospital. While being examined, the neurologist told Mike that the tests show that he has had approximately 70 concussions. The examiner couldn’t understand how he could have so much head trauma without the typical excessive symptoms of poor memory or slurred speech, etc. Mike just replied in true “Mighty” Mike fashion, “Because I’m just “Mighty”, that’s all.”
“Mighty” Mike still trains religiously in a boxing gym in Erie three times a week. He has been selling cars at Dave Hallman Chevrolet in Pennsylvania for 21 years now and couldn’t be happier. He told me that his father “Big” Joe told him, “Live life to the fullest every day, because tomorrow is never promised.” And that is just what he does. Mike’s joy and humility exudes in his voice and his loyalty and appreciation to family and friends is his highest regard. Inside of Mike beats the heart of a true champion both inside and outside of the ring. I am happy to call him my spiritual brother and fighting stable-mate under the guidance of our common mentor, Apache Dann Carr. Even mightier that Mike’s devastating body shots and punch volume, is the size of “Las Manos del bebe de Piedra’s” loyalty and heart.