Imago

Jurgen Blinn in New York

Jurgen Blinn in New York
By Seconds Out

19/03/2007 at 00:00Updated

By Jerry Glick: When fans packed the Theater at Madison Square Garden to watch John Duddy and Anthony Bonsante fight for Duddy’s IBA Middleweight belt they were accorded the usual announcement of the names of celebrities in and out of boxing who were in attendance.

By Jerry Glick: When fans packed the Theater at Madison Square Garden to watch John Duddy and Anthony Bonsante fight for Duddy’s IBA Middleweight belt they were accorded the usual announcement of the names of celebrities in and out of boxing who were in attendance. 

To be sure; in attendance were writer Tom Wolfe, actor Chuck Zito, tennis great John McEnroe, baseball legend and IBA honcho Dean Chance, as well as boxers Iran Barkley, Jake LaMotta, Tyson conqueror Kevin McBride, Junior Jones, Gerry Cooney, Barry McGuigan, Paul Malignaggi, James Moore, Vito Antuofermo, Pawol Wolak, Billy Costello, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, plus one more fighter that hasn’t been heard from in a while. He gave Ali a run for his money back in 1971, Jurgen Blinn, the 64 year old former European Heavyweight Champion.

He looked not terribly different than the tall, slim, blond headed, German man who made the great Ali work hard before stopping Blinn in the seventh round. 

“I run seven kilometers (to stay in shape),” said Blinn of his obviously trim body. Blinn weighs around his old fighting weight. 

Blinn fought many of the top fighters of his day. Weighing around 195 pounds, he would be considered nothing more than a Cruiserweight today. 

“I fought as heavyweight because of the money,” added Blinn who was light for the heavyweights of even those days.

Nevertheless he fought Jose Manuel Urtain, Joe Bugner, George “Scrap Iron” Johnson, Ron Lyle, Manuel Ramos who nearly KO’d Frazier, Floyd’s younger brother Ray Patterson, Light-Heavyweight challenger Giulio Renaldi, Gerhard Zech, Charlie Polite, Billy Joiner, and many more. He amassed a respectable record of 31-11-6 (9) over nine years in the ring.

We sat and talked, with the help of a translator, at a diner on 8th Avenue in Manhattan in the shadow of Madison Square Garden, just before it was time to attend the show.

Blinn, a highly intelligent gentleman, said that he was in New York for a vacation, but he also admitted that he was looking for a young talented heavyweight who would be willing to come to Germany and train under his tutelage. The monetary grass is very green in Germany for talented heavyweights. 

Blinn is not too impressed with the current crop of heavyweights out there today.

“I think Klitschko good, and the rest, no,” said Blinn.  “Just Klitschko.”

“Nobody else right now, but maybe they are coming,” assessed Blinn.

The best man he ever fought was Muhammad Ali.  When he fought Ali, did he think he could beat the great man?  “No, I take a chance, but I know I can’t win.”

Among those mentioned above, who did Blinn think was the best, other than Ali?

He said one word, “Urtain”. 

Back in the 60’s, Jose Manuel Urtain (birth name, Jose Manuel Ibar Azpiazu), known simply as “Urtain” was considered somewhat of a phenomenon; he was a Spanish stone thrower with legendary power. Eventually his lack of skill betrayed him, but his strength was renowned. Other than a loss by DQ he didn’t lose until the great British Champion, Henry Cooper, taught him the finer points of boxing.

“He was a hard puncher, Urtain,” added Blinn.  “Fifteen rounds. I went fifteen rounds.”

“Fought Joe Bugner,” said a proud Blinn. “Two times,” he recalled.

Blinn also had some good things to say about the young heavyweight who beat his countryman, Axel Schulz, Brian Minto. He was impressed with the young man who has proven his toughness against Vinny Maddalone and others including Schulz.

Minto fought Luan Krasniqi and lost, but before that fight took place, Blinn agreed that that is a good fight, and that Minto is a favorite of his. 

For this reporter the opportunity to talk to a part boxing history such as Jurgen Blinn, was an exciting moment. For this reporter it is a gift.  Blinn fought from the mid 1960’s to the early part of the 1970’s. He fought many of the best in the business of that era. Seeing boxing of that era, through his eyes, was seeing it from the inside. 

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