Jan 4, 2014

Jerry Quarry: Boxer with Something Extra

When I was a kid in the 1960s, my friends and I liked to read boxing magazines and watch boxing on tv.  Not because of the pummelling -- because of the beefcake.

Our favorite boxer was Jerry Quarry, the Bellflower Bomber (1945-1999).  He was big.  Not just famous -- big.  

A heavyweight -- 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, with beneath-the-belt gifts obvious to anyone who looked.

Want a better look?

Born in California to a family of boxers, Jerry won the Golden Gloves amateur boxing championship in 1965, at age 19, and then went pro, fighting such greats as Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali (he lost to both, twice.)

He was all over tv, guest-starring on such kid favorites as Batman, Adam-12, Land of the Giants (starring bodybuilder Gary Conway)and The Hardy Boys.

He never gave up in the ring, no matter what -- he could take punch after punch forever. Sometimes the referee called the fight just to keep him from suffering any more injuries.

After retiring in 1975, Jerry tried several business ventures and ill-advised comeback bouts in 1977 and 1983, but years of pummelling took their toll in physical and mental decline.  In the end his brother had to look after him.  The Jerry Quarry Foundation is an advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness of pugilistic dementia.

Not a lot of gay rumors in the life of "ladies man" Jerry Quarry.  Sometimes you could be an icon for gay kids in the 1960s just by being big.  And never giving up.