Quarry, 45, finds state boards possess a tough punch to slip

September 26, 1990|By Bernard Fernandez | Bernard Fernandez,Knight-Ridder

Attention, promoters. For only $10,000 (and possibly less), you can secure the services of 45-year-old heavyweight Jerry Quarry for your very next fight card.Provided, of course, you can sneak him past a state boxing commission.

Quarry's second attempt to gain a license from the California State Boxing Commission failed last Friday, prompting the former contender to claim deprivation of his civil rights and his trainer, Guy Ditmars, to send out an all-points bulletin for a promoter and state commission willing to take Quarry as is.

"It's terrible, really terrible," Quarry said of his repeat rejection by the California commission. "It's a violation of my civil rights to deny me the opportunity to do what I do best. Something's awfully wrong in America if this can happen to me. It's age discrimination, pure and simple."

Said Ditmars: "Jerry is willing to go anywhere for an opportunity to fight and show what he can do. For 10 grand, he can be on the first plane out."

Quarry's comeback, after an absence from the ring of seven years, was supposed to have been launched last June 2 in Lake Geneva, Wis. That fell through when Quarry, who claims he was "sucker-punched" by co-promoter John Ellis, sustained a cut over his right eye that required nine stitches to close. Ellis has said Quarry punched him first.

Quarry has since filed a lawsuit against Ellis and the other co-promoter, Gary Pliner, in connection with the incident. And the loophole in Wisconsin statutes that made it possible for Quarry and vision-impaired Aaron Pryor to be granted boxing licenses in that state have been largely closed.

"The governor [Tommy Thompson] got real uptight and appointed an advisory panel right after Pryor fought here," Pliner said from Wisconsin. "All kinds of new regulations got passed, some of which were almost ridiculously stringent. Quite honestly, I don't know if Quarry could get licensed in Wisconsin now."

There is a rumor floating around that Quarry is headed to Tennessee, whose boxing commission didn't exactly cover itself in glory when it approved a matchup of a couple of washed-up heavyweights, Leon Spinks and Randall "Tex" Cobb, in March 1988.

"I've heard Quarry was going to try to get a fight here," said John Hopkins, who heads the Tennessee Boxing Commission. "I've heard he was going to come in and do an exhibition. But it's all speculation until I receive an application from him. We won't start to think about it until that occurs."

Quarry is sure that he will find a state commission that will grant him a license to fight, even if the licensing is done without any noticeable degree of enthusiasm and support.

"All I want is a chance to show what I can do," Quarry said.

"If I'd gotten that chance in Wisconsin, none of this [latest controversy] would be happening now. I'd have had two or three fights, proved that I can still fight and fight well. That's why I have so much bitterness in my heart toward John Ellis."

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