Began boxing in February of 1969 at The H.O.P.E. Development Center, later named The George Foreman Gym, on Lyons Avenue. By March of 1970 he was the Regional, State, and National Welterweight Golden Gloves Champion. Mr. Dennis also was a member of and toured with the U.S. National Team and competed against some Eastern Bloc countries before turning professional. I’ve mentioned before how Mr. Dennis was a State Champion in the professional ranks, and fought a “murderers row” of contenders and champions, while winning the majority of those contests.
I was able to spend some time asking Mr. Dennis about several topics and he was kind enough to share thoughts on boxing today, his boxing career, and opponents he’s faced in both amateur and profesional ranks.
Below are some of his answers:
Mr. Dennis credits Jimmy Fields and David Carrington, for teaching him most of what he learned about boxing and said he also was able to learn lessons that were very instrumental to his success from Archie “Mongoose” Moore and Joe “Old Bones” Brown.
On boxing today versus boxing in the 70’s:
Mr.Dennis said the difference is that in his day all the best fought each other to prove they were the best, and didn’t let politics get in the way. He also mentioned that in order for a kid to become a champion he would need to “stay in shape and stay fighting” but that it’s hard for them in today’s times because of the politics and business side of boxing taking over.
Wilfred Benitez bout:
Of course I had to ask about his bout with Benitez, that was aired nationally on The Wide World of Sports. Benitez is an International Boxing Hall of Famer with wins over Bruce Curry, Carlos Palomino, Randy Shields, and Roberto Duran. Benitez also may have beaten Sugar Ray Leonard had the referee not stopped the fight in a controversial manner with seconds left in the 15th round.
Mr. Dennis said Benitez was “very slippery” but not the toughest match he’d had, especially since he felt Benitez went into an almost exclusive defensive mode after Dennis hurt him with several body punches.
Toughest amateur opponent:
Raymond “The Pink Panther” Boyd
Mr. Dennis said they fought three times and each time was a heck of a fight. (After interviewing Mr. Dennis I read some information about one of their fights at the Sam Houston Coloseum that nearly started a riot!)
Toughest Professional Opponent:
Chuck “I Come To Fight” Mince
Mr. Dennis said his two fights with Mince were very tough with the two each taking one fight, and fought within a very short time span from each other.
Mr. Dennis said he’s going to be returning to boxing soon to “help out the kids” and is looking forward to seeing old and new friends. He also was kind enough to agree to share a few pointers about the rigors of the professional ranks, to an elite amateur boxer from Houston that is turning professional soon. You will hear more about that at a later time.