Portland’s ‘Lightning Ray’ Lampkin reflects on boxing then and now


Many boxing followers are eagerly awaiting Saturday’s combat between defending heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, however Portland had its personal brush with bigtime boxing.

Again within the Nineteen Seventies, Portland’s “Lightning Ray” Lampkin was boxing elite, fighting against then-WBA lightweight champion Roberto Durán and different high names within the sport.

OPB’s Paul Marshall sat down with Lampkin just lately to speak about his profession and the way he began boxing as a boy. You may also take heed to their dialog utilizing the audio participant on the high of this story.

Paul Marshall: How did you get into boxing?

Ray Lampkin: Once I was a child, I’d stroll round and see these posters of those fighters. I wished to try this. I had loads of fights in colleges. It was one thing that I wished to do. I wished to be well-known. I wished to have my image on the wall additionally.

Marshall: What age did you begin combating?

Lampkin: About 9. I discovered there was a group heart within the neighborhood that taught boxing. They’d a boxing class for amateurs. I walked in there sooner or later and tried to seek out the health club and who to speak to. I instructed them that I wished to discover ways to field and that’s the way it bought began.

Marshall: What do you keep in mind in regards to the early days?

Lampkin: I fought as an beginner. I misplaced the primary beginner combat that I had. In 1958, that they had the Montavilla Neighborhood Match, a novice event for folks with lower than 5 fights. I gained my first combat on the age of 10 weighing 45 kilos. It felt good, and I bought a bit of gold belt buckle afterwards. As I bought older, I ended up getting the golden gloves event: gained 5 golden gloves tournaments and was a runner up in three different tournaments.

Marshall: What was Portland’s boxing scene like?

Lampkin: Portland used to have used to have so many boxers, loads of younger children combating. Within the Golden Gloves event, we’d combat groups from Seattle, Tacoma. It was an enormous present that lasted three days. Again then, you win Golden Gloves, you then go to nationwide tournaments, after which from nationals you’ll qualify to be within the Olympics. I’m unsure what modified it, however gyms was once full at one level.

Lampkin takes a big swing.

Lampkin takes an enormous swing.

Courtesy of Ray Lampkin

Marshall: How’d you get the nickname “Lightning Ray”?

Lampkin: I bought it after I turned professional. My supervisor thought my jab was lightning quick. Each fighter that was a fairly good fighter wished to be known as “Sugar Ray” after Sugar Ray Robinson. My supervisor had settled on Lightning Ray, and that was that.

Marshall: When do you know it was time to show professional?

Lampkin: I used to be getting older and the time got here. I had 10 professional fights with out a supervisor or coach. I had 9 wins and one draw. I didn’t need to waste anymore time. If I used to be going to do something, then I have to get with somebody with some connections. I ended up getting with Mike Morton, who was one of many fundamental managers right here in Portland. Mike had connections and I ended up signing with him.

I misplaced my first professional combat in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I fought Esteban de Jesús. Roberto Durán was the champ of the world. Esteban beat Durán . I wished to see what I’d do towards one of the best. Once I bought over there, I simply knew that I used to be going to beat him. He knocked me down within the first spherical. It was extra embarrassing than harm. We went 12 rounds. He had dwelling subject and bought the choice. I misplaced to one of the best fighter on the earth.

Marshall: What was your early boxing schedule like?

Lampkin: I labored full time. Once I turned professional, I used to be working at Pacific Meatpacking Firm on the slaughterhouse the place we killed sheep, cows, calves and hogs. I labored there for my entire profession. The foreman allowed me to go and combat so long as I used to be profitable. But when I used to be dropping he would give me a alternative: both field or work.

There was one other man who was working there that additionally boxed however he was dropping. Both keep right here and work or depart and field. It was my solely method of earnings so I needed to win.

Lampkin throws a power punch.

Lampkin throws an influence punch.

Courtesy of Ray Lampkin

Marshall: How did boxing show you how to?

Lampkin: I realized loads from it, and it actually did change me. I might need been in jail someplace if I used to be working round with guys who would find yourself in jail. I don’t know what I’d have performed if I used to be not working and boxing.

Marshall: Do you keep in mind what it was like coming dwelling after your huge fights?

Lampkin: I fought the 2 finest fighters on the earth at the moment, (Roberto) Durán and Esteban (de Jesús). I wished to see how good I used to be. In each circumstances, on equal grounds, I might beat them. Once I got here, Gov. Neil Goldschmidt and the entire butcher’s union had been there to greet me together with my household and associates. One of many papers requested if the president was coming on the town, and so they stated “No, it’s Lightning Ray Lampkin.”

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