FORMER WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION RECALLS LAST WORLD TITLE FIGHT IN HARTFORD

October 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 

Marlon ‘Magic Man’ Starling Still Resides in Hartford, site

Of the Saturday, November 7, Dawson-Johnson Rematch

at Hartford’s XL Center Live on HBO World Championship Boxing

————————————————————————————————————————

HARTFORD, CONN., (Oct. 30, 2009) – The memories come flooding back when Marlon “Magic Man” Starling sits back and recalls the last world title fight to take place in Hartford, Conn., more than 20 years ago.

The East Hartford resident who turned 50 years old in August can still remember specifics of the night he won a unanimous decision on Sept. 15, 1989, against Yung-Kil Chung to defend his WBC Welterweight World title at the Civic Center in Hartford now known as the XL Center, the site of the Nov. 7 rematch between another of Connecticut’s favorite sons as Chad Dawson battles Glen Johnson in a rematch for the WBC interim and IBO light heavyweight title.

The victory over Chung that night in Hartford was also one of Starling’s final fights and last victory as a professional boxer.

“What I remember about that night was that Marlon Starling put on a show,” said Starling, who routinely refers to himself in the third person. “I did everything I wanted to do but knock him out. The thing about me and this was true throughout my entire career was I never did anything great. I did everything good. I turned professional in 1979 and my first year in the Top 10 was 1980. I finished my career in the Top 10.”

The current president of the Connecticut Hall of Fame, Glenn Feldman, also has fond memories of the last world title fight in Hartford. “I just remember an electric atmosphere, a buzz around the city,” said Feldman. “The Civic Center used to be the hub of the city. Starling was huge in Hartford. He was the man. People loved him and when he fought it was the talk of the town.”

In 1989, Starling knocked out Lloyd Honeyghan to win the WBC World Welterweight Championship. After his first title defense against Chung, Starling challenged Michael Nunn for the IBF World Middleweight Championship, but lost by decision. In his next fight, Starling lost his welterweight title on a close decision to Maurice Blocker in what would be Starling’s last fight. He retired with a record of 45-6-1-1 (27 KOs). He was 32 years old.

“I never retired from boxing. I quit,” Starling said. “Every other boxer retires and then comes back for the all-mighty dollar. When Marlon Starling was the WBC Welterweight Champion of the world he wasn’t just the best welterweight fighter, he was one of the best fighters in the world, period. There were only one or two or three other fighters in the world who were better than me. There was Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez and Evander Holyfield.”

Starling said he knew he was finished with boxing after flying to Los Angeles to train five months after his final fight and sparring with a 20-year-old. “I slept for two days after that. I knew right then and there I was too old for this sport. I was 32. I thought maybe I could come back and still be a champion but Father Time caught up with me. You have to love this sport to do it and to do it well.

“I don’t ever regret quitting early. I don’t think it was early. Look at Sugar Ray Leonard and Larry Holmes. They all came back and they got beat by mediocre fighters and that tarnished their careers.”

Starling fought numerous times on network television and was a popular fighter, despite never using a promoter. He did train with a young Freddy Roach, who is now considered one of the best in the world and currently trains Manny Pacquiao. “Marlon was always business-like when it came to training and boxing,” Roach said recently.

“Freddy Roach trained me but you know who trained Marlon Starling better than anyone was Marlon Starling,” Starling said. “He worked with me but I’m tough. Ninety-five percent of boxing is conditioning and I was always the best conditioned fighter.”

Starling still lives in East Hartford and said that after 20 years of odds and ends jobs like driving a limo and serving as a host at a restaurant, he has finally found a job he loves. He currently works with people with special needs at Catholic Charities. “I was still trying to find what I wanted to do when I grew up,” he said. “About eight months ago I found it. I think I finally found a job that I can love more than I love boxing. You do this for the love of it. But what I really want to do is to train fighters. That’s what I know best. Training boxers is more of love of mine and a goal not or a dream. The dream for me was winning the world title.”

Starling will be in attendance Saturday night at the Dawson-Johnson fight and has worked with Dawson in the past. He has advice for him come Nov. 7. “He’s got to keep doing what he’s been doing. He cannot get into a fight. What’s the worst thing that can happen in a boxing match? You get into a fight. I think Chad Dawson has all the attributes to be a world champion. But you can’t fight the fighters and you can’t box the boxers. He has to mix it up. He has to not get into a fight with the tough guys. He has to keep them in the middle of the ring.”

Saturday night’s fight will be broadcast live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT.

Remaining tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75, $50, and $35, (plus any applicable fees and surcharges), can be purchased at the XL Center box office, at all Ticketmaster outlets, through Ticketmaster Charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at  www.xlcenter.com.

  • RSS ESPN News

    • Kameda-McDonnell unification on horizon October 31, 2014
      Bantamweight world titleholders Tomoki Kameda and Jamie McDonnell are headed toward a unification bout in early 2015.
      Dan Rafael
    • O'Connor scores knockout in homecoming October 31, 2014
      Welterweight Danny O'Connor made his return from a one-year absence from the ring to knock out Andrew Farmer on Thursday in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
      Brian Campbell
    • Abdusalamov progress 'very small' year later October 31, 2014
      A year ago this Sunday, Magomed Abdusalamov was an undefeated fighter. But after going the distance in a defeat that night, he suffered a blood clot in his brain, was in a coma for weeks and has never recovered the ability to walk or talk.
      William Weinbaum
    • Upcoming fight schedule October 31, 2014
      Boxing schedule for 2014
      Dan Rafael
    • Trout-Grajeda set for Dec. 11 ESPN special October 29, 2014
      After a difficult 2013 in which he lost decisions in both of his fights, former junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout took off almost nine months before returning. That sort of layoff, however, is now a thing of the past for Trout.
      Dan Rafael
    • Stevenson settles for fight against Sukhotsky October 28, 2014
      Light heavyeight champion Adonis Stevenson will take on Dmitry Sukhotsky on Dec. 19.
      Dan Rafael
    • Murray win sets up fight with champ Golovkin October 28, 2014
      Middleweight world titleholder Gennady Golovkin, decked out in a tuxedo and maroon bowtie one week removed from a big knockout victory, got an up close look at his next opponent on Saturday at the Salle des etoiles in Monte Carlo.
      Dan Rafael
    • Korobov-Lee bout finds a home on Dec. 13 October 28, 2014
      A fight between Matt Korobov and Andy Lee has been added to the undercard of former welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr.'s match with Diego Chaves on Dec. 13 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
      Dan Rafael
    • Dulorme-Lundy added to Lemieux-Rosado card October 27, 2014
      Junior welterweights Thomas Dulorme and Hank Lundy, both contenders not far from a world title opportunity, will meet on Dec. 6 with the winner going a long way to making his case that he deserves the opportunity.
      Dan Rafael
    • Caballero wins vacant IBF bantamweight title October 25, 2014
      Randy Caballero of the United States improved to 22-0 after beating Stuart Hall of Britain in a unanimous decision Saturday to win the vacant IBF bantamweight title.
      Associated Press