RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports

RSR Bids a Sad Goodbye to “Bad” Bennie Briscoe: One of Philly’s Great Warriors

By Mike “Rubber Warrior” Plunkett

Like the many thousands of fans around the world I was recently saddened to hear of the passing of one of the true Philly greats of a glorious bygone era. The untimely demise of “Bad” Bennie Briscoe (August 2, 1943 – December 28, 2010) marks the passing of one of the truly great middleweight fighters of the last half century, leaving us with one link less to that legendary period when Philadelphia churned out some of the most skilled and rugged middleweight prizefighters of all time.

If there was ever a city that specialized in producing tough as nails middleweight prospects and contenders, that city would no doubt be Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Through the years and specifically the latter part of the 60’s and well into the decade of the 70’s, the hardened boxing gyms of Philadelphia were essentially top flight assembly lines for some of the most willing, skilled and rugged old school middleweight contenders our sport has ever seen. Philadelphia churned out names such as Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, Gypsy Joe Harris, Willie “The Worm” Monroe, and Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts. Decades later it produced Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, a throwback to that period and arguably one of the greatest middleweight champions of all-time. But no list of the truly great Philly middleweight warriors would ever be accurate or complete without the inclusion of “Bad” Bennie Briscoe.

As with the other names listed in that small select group, Briscoe was forged over time in the worn, dank Philadelphia boxing gyms that were essentially a proving ground for men that were given to one on one ring warfare. He developed his craft in the dark shadows of those dingy gyms to become an iron man under the watchful eye of those that knew a counterfeit when they saw one. His skills were developed over time in the legendary gym wars old timers equate only with Philadelphia and in regular bouts with the best available opposition. Losses were viewed as a required exercise of education rather than a red flag for dismissal, and the paying of dues on the club circuit against cross-town rivals was the only way to garner bragging rights. There was no quit in his code despite having experienced his fair share of heartbreaking disappointment and defeat. “Bad” Bennie managed all of this, during a golden period when one could honestly state that Philly middleweights were some of the toughest fighters to ever grace the one-hundred and sixty pound ranks.

“Bad” Bennie Briscoe turned professional on September 10th 1962 with a four round decision win over one Sam Samuels after having compiled a 70-3 record in a standout career as an amateur. Keeping an active schedule he won his first fifteen bouts before losing a ten-round decision to the 14-3 Percy Manning. Quickly regrouping, he moved on to experience victory and defeat, along the way losing to 32-10-3 Tito Marshall and stopping the widely respected former contender George Benton, then 54-11-1. The early defeats were suffered at the hands of vastly more experienced fighters that had the advantage of years and caginess over him but before long Briscoe was firmly rated among the top middleweight contenders in the world.

The year 1967 would present a mixed bag and provide shading on Briscoe’s pedigree. Losing two competitive decisions to the great Luis Rodriguez, the former World welterweight champion, those bouts sandwiched a disputed draw with future middleweight champion and all-time great Carlos Monzon. Briscoe was honing his craft fighting on the road, in foreign locales such as Buenos Aires, Argentina, paying his dues at the highest level.

Over the next four-plus years Briscoe amassed a 20-5 record before challenging reigning World middleweight champion Carlos Monzon. Fighting again in Argentina, Briscoe lost a clear 15-round decision to Monzon in their rematch but not before acquitting himself well, having rocked the champion to his very foundation in a spirited 9th round surge. So solid was his challenge, in the years thereafter Monzon would be moved to voice his great respect for Briscoe, long after his reign as one of history’s all-time great middleweight champion’s had come to an end.

Undaunted by the setback experienced in his first title try, Briscoe stopped the highly rated Billy Douglas, and multi-division Commonwealth champion Tony Mundine, the former being the father of future heavyweight champion James “Buster” Douglas, for the NABF middleweight title. In his next bout he lost his title to Rodrigo Valdez, a future middleweight champion and perhaps one the most underrated middleweight titlists in history, by 7th-round TKO.

The next three years saw Briscoe go to the post fourteen times, amassing a 9-1-4 record against the best available middleweight opposition, among them Emile Griffith, Vinnie Curto, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. It was a successful grueling campaign and good enough to earn him a second unlikely opportunity, this time for Carlos Monzon’s recently vacated World middleweight title against old nemesis Rodrigo Valdez. On November 5th 1977 Briscoe lost a competitive 15-round unanimous decision for the vacant championship before a captivated audience in Lombardia, Italy.

Staying true to his nature and the code of grizzled Philly middleweight warriors, “Bad” Bennie spent the remaining better part of himself losing tough ten-round wars in 1978 with future middleweight champions Vito Antuofermo and Marvin Hagler, the latter a fighter that would go on to make history as the undisputed middleweight champion, and become ultimately recognized as one of the top-five all-time best middleweights ever. After Hagler, his career played out in a decidedly downward arc. The years and the wars at or just below the very top of a red hot middleweight division had taken their toll. Going 6-7 in the autumn of his ring career, he walked away after a December 1982 loss to an unheralded opponent of modest experience. His final career tally: 66-24-5, 53 KO’s.

“Bad” Bennie Briscoe was one of the most beloved fighters in Philadelphia boxing history and one of the best middleweights to never win a world title. He would have been a threat to unseat any middleweight champion in the history of a division that dates all of the way back to 1884, and certainly a lock to win a major world title in today’s middleweight climate. He had the misfortune of campaigning during a period when two other middleweight greats reigned. It took the very best to deny him what he had worked so very hard for as a professional prizefighter. He poured his spirit and very essence into the pursuit of greatness yet in a very real way his failure at the top to the very best underlined the legend he had in fact become as a contender.

In closing there are any number of ways to summarize “Bad” Bennie Briscoe, but boxing fan Marlon Jordan posted on a Facebook roundtable what I feel may be a particularly fitting statement that captured just who “Bad” Bennie Briscoe was relative to the prize ring and history; “Briscoe was the truth”.

We’ve lost another of the great ones. May God rest his soul.

Bennie Briscoe
Nickname: ”Bad”
Division: Middleweight
Professional Record: 66-24-5, 53 KO’s

Date Opponent Location Result

1962-09-10 Sam Samuels Philadelphia, US W PTS 4
1962-12-13 Dave Wyatt Philadelphia, US W KO 3

1963-01-14 Charley Little Philadelphia, US W KO 1
1963-02-11 Brad Silas Philadelphia, US W KO 4
1963-02-28 Joe Smith Philadelphia, US W KO 6
1963-03-25 Chuck McCreary Philadelphia, US W PTS 6
1963-04-25 Cash White Philadelphia, US W TKO 2
1963-07-22 Joe Clark Las Vegas, US W PTS 4
1963-10-11 Roosevelt Ware Philadelphia, US W TKO 4
1963-12-02 Bobby Bell Philadelphia, US W KO 1

1964-01-20 Johnny Clyde Philadelphia, US W PTS 6
1964-03-09 Charley Scott Philadelphia, US W KO 1
USA Pennsylvania State Welterweight Title
1964-06-15 Percy Manning Philadelphia, US W TKO 8
1964-11-30 Walter Daniels Philadelphia, US W PTS 8

1965-02-22 Dave Wyatt Philadelphia, US W KO 7
1965-03-29 Percy Manning Philadelphia, US L PTS 10
1965-04-19 Jimmy McMillan Philadelphia, US W KO 1
1965-05-10 Doug McLeod Philadelphia, US W KO 1
1965-09-20 Tito Marshall Philadelphia, US L UD 10
1965-12-06 Stanley Hayward Philadelphia, US L SD 10

1966-07-25 C.L. Lewis Philadelphia, US NC NC 4
1966-10-10 C.L. Lewis Philadelphia, US W TKO 6
1966-12-05 George Benton Philadelphia, US W RTD 9

1967-03-20 Luis Manuel Rodriguez Philadelphia, US L UD 10
1967-05-06 Carlos Monzon Buenos Aires, AR D PTS 10
1967-05-29 Bobby Warthem Philadelphia, US W TKO 7
1967-10-09 Georgie Johnson Philadelphia, US W TKO 4
1967-10-30 Ike White Philadelphia, US W TKO 3
1967-11-20 Jimmy Lester Philadelphia, US W TKO 6
1967-12-15 Luis Manuel Rodriguez New York, US L UD 10

1968-03-25 Yoland Leveque Paris, FR L DQ 4
1968-08-07 Gene Bryant Las Vegas, US W TKO 8
1968-08-20 Jose Monon Gonzalez New York, US W UD 10
1968-09-23 Vicente Rondon San Juan, PR L UD 10
1968-11-02 Pedro Miranda San Juan, PR W KO 7
1968-11-18 Charley Austin Philadelphia, US W SD 10

1969-01-26 Vicente Rondon San Juan, PR W TKO 8
1969-02-14 Juarez De Lima New York, US L SD 10
1969-03-10 Jose Monon Gonzalez New York, US W TKO 5
1969-05-19 Percy Manning Philadelphia, US W KO 4
1969-09-30 Tito Marshall Philadelphia, US W KO 1
1969-11-18 Joe Shaw Philadelphia, US L MD 10

1970-03-16 Joe Shaw Philadelphia, US W TKO 7
1970-09-23 Eddie Owens Philadelphia, US W KO 6
1970-11-02 Harold Richardson Philadelphia, US W TKO 6

1971-01-12 Ned Edwards Philadelphia, US W KO 2
1971-03-22 Tom Bethea Philadelphia, US W TKO 6
1971-05-03 Carlos Marks Philadelphia, US W KO 5
1971-08-10 Juarez De Lima Philadelphia, US W TKO 2
1971-10-14 Charley Austin Philadelphia, US W TKO 1
1971-11-15 Rafael Gutierrez Philadelphia, US W KO 2

1972-01-18 Al Quinney Philadelphia, US W TKO 2
1972-03-21 Jorge Rosales Philadelphia, US W KO 1
1972-04-19 Luis Vinales Scranton, US L SD 10
1972-10-11 Luis Vinales Philadelphia, US W TKO 7
1972-11-11 Carlos Monzon Buenos Aires, AR L UD 15
WBC Middleweight Title
WBA World Middleweight Title

1973-01-29 Carlos Alberto Salinas Philadelphia, US W KO 5
1973-03-26 Art Hernandez Philadelphia, US W TKO 3
NABF Middleweight Title
1973-06-25 Billy Douglas Philadelphia, US W TKO 8
NABF Middleweight Title
1973-09-01 Rodrigo Valdez Noumea, NC L PTS 12
NABF Middleweight Title
1973-10-22 Ruben Arocha Philadelphia, US W KO 3
1973-12-08 Willie Warren Atlantic City, US W TKO 7

1974-02-25 Tony Mundine Paris, FR W KO 5
1974-05-25 Rodrigo Valdez Monte Carlo, MC L TKO 7
vacant WBC Middleweight Title
1974-10-09 Emile Griffith Philadelphia, US L MD 10

1975-01-14 Lenny Harden Philadelphia, US W KO 10
1975-04-07 Vinnie Curto Philadelphia, US D PTS 10
1975-06-16 Stanley Hayward Philadelphia, US W UD 10
1975-08-18 Eddie Mustafa Muhammad Philadelphia, US W SD 10
1975-11-18 Eugene Hart Philadelphia, US D PTS 10

1976-02-25 Jose Martin Flores Philadelphia, US W KO 7
1976-04-06 Eugene Hart Philadelphia, US W KO 1
1976-06-26 Emile Griffith Monte Carlo, MC D PTS 10
1976-08-16 Emetrio Villanueva Philadelphia, US W TKO 4
1976-12-20 Willie Warren Nice, FR D PTS 10

1977-01-17 Karl Vinson Philadelphia, US W UD 10
1977-03-31 Jean Mateo Paris, FR W KO 10
1977-07-26 Sammy Barr Philadelphia, US W TKO 8
1977-11-05 Rodrigo Valdez Campione d’Italia, IT L UD 15
vacant WBC Middleweight Title
vacant WBA World Middleweight Title

1978-02-04 Vito Antuofermo New York, US L UD 10
1978-03-31 Tony Chiaverini Kansas City, US W TKO 8
1978-05-24 Bob Patterson Philadelphia, US W KO 5
1978-08-24 Marvin Hagler Philadelphia, US L UD 10

1979-02-05 David Love Philadelphia, US L UD 10
1979-05-23 Nick Ortiz Washington, US W PTS 10
1979-08-14 Joe Barrientes Atlantic City, US W TKO 6
1979-09-11 Teddy Mann Philadelphia, US W UD 10
1979-10-20 Clement Tshinza Liege, BE L PTS 10

1980-01-24 Richie Bennett Upper Darby, US L UD 10
1980-08-25 Richie Bennett Philadelphia, US W PTS 10
1980-12-15 Vinnie Curto Boston, US L PTS 10

1981-01-30 Nick Ortiz New York, US L SD 10
1981-12-23 Rick Noggle Canton, US W KO 6

1982-03-23 Norberto Sabater Atlantic City, US W TKO 5
1982-06-01 Ralph Hollett Halifax, CA L SD 10
1982-12-15 Jimmie Sykes Philadelphia, US L UD 10

Advertise Now On RSR

Purchase Boxing Interviews Of A Lifetime

Pre-Order the Horror Thriller FAMILY SECRET Now!

Leave a Reply