It was a day that the loneliest sport in the pantheon of competition seemed a little less so, if just for a minute. The “Iceman” John Scully Time Square reunion on Saturday, June 24th was a success on so many levels.
In the shadow of the featured boxing match, Edgar Berlanga v. Jason Quigley, just a few short blocks down the road at an arena that most reunion goers were all too familiar with, the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden or as it was remembered in this milieu of boxers who did their thing largely in the 80s and 90s knew it, The Felt Forum.
Times Square for a few short hours became the center of the boxing universe.
Who Is This Iceman?
“Iceman” John Scully, who fought pro from 1988-2001, is one of the most respected and connected figures in the world of boxing. Jacob Rodriguez wrote about this consummate boxing “good guy.”
The Connecticut product got the nickname courtesy of a quite impressed Emanuel Steward, the Kronk king.
Scully was a very good professional fighter who challenged for the IBF light heavyweight title, known for his toughness, intelligence, and dedication.
Those qualities translated beyond the ring and into his life as a successful trainer, where he is universally respected aiding in the career of one of boxing’s most feared fighters, IBF, WBC and WBO Light Heavyweight Champion, Artur Beterbiev.
While these are impressive credentials on his resume, his compassion for his less fortunate brothers of the ring has become a large part of his enduring legacy.
Scully started pondering a reunion like this in 2012, that came to fruition in 2014.
Reunion Concept Started 2012
“The first one I did was in Las Vegas at the Rival boxing store, I had quite a few, like 60 maybe,” said John Scully. “I do them everywhere, in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Detroit, New York City, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and Louisiana, I’ve done them in quite a few spots.”
Scully’s latest installment brought together boxers of various success and skill levels, from amateur champions to world champions, promoters, and of course boxing fans.
They came from a few blocks over, or a borough away, and as far away as Costa Rica, California, and Hawaii.
The number of attendees ballooned up to 150 plus people at the zenith of the event.
It was an afternoon of catching up on each other's lives and reminiscing about their time together. They laughed and even cried, and they shared stories that only they could understand.
“It was great to see fighters you consider brothers,” said “Poison” Junior Jones, who won world titles in two divisions and was considered one of the most exciting fighters of the 90s.
The afternoon started at the third floor of Dallas BBQ in Times Square, as the original out door meeting spot was scuttled because of the fear of rain.
It spilled onto the sidewalks, where onlookers could sense they were seeing something unique.
“You can see that some of the people looking at Iran (Barkley, the three-time former champion), they know they know this guy and they were like wait a minute I know this guy, so we drew a crowd out there,” said Scully, chuckling.
The day continued to the spiritual home of boxing in New York, the iconic Jimmy’s Corner once owned and operated by the universally loved Jimmy Glenn. His son Adam is running the show now, quite well I might add.
As the crowd thinned out, they made a stop at the Hulu Theater, sorry, the Felt Forum, a mecca in it’s own right, to see the next generation of the sport these warriors helped grow and build on.
Folks finished up at Diamante’s, the newest boxing must see establishment, owned and operated by the famous ring announcer, David Diamante.
He announced the fights at the Theater (Berlanga decisioned Quigley) and then did double duty, serving drinks at his establishment.
“In a sport that is the loneliest in the world and often times inflicted with selfishness, it was an amazing experience to see so many great champions, former fighters and boxing people,” said Tony Palmieri, Vice President of Star Boxing, the longest running New York centric promotion.
It was clearly a special day for so many who participated. “I am not a corny guy, but you could clearly feel the love,” said Scully.
The sentiment was echoed by “Poison” Jones: “The only thing that meant anything was the genuine love we have and will always have.”
One of the keys to Scully’s reunions: he reaches out to former amateur standouts and reconnects them with the boxing community.
Never was this more apparent and no interaction caught the spirit of the event more than the reunion of Tom Patti and Farrod Pinchback, who had fought each other three times as amateurs, including in the Golden Gloves and the Empire State Games.
John Scully and Pattis’ paths crossed originally in the ring at the Golden Gloves in 1986, in 2011.
Patti currently serves as Supervisor of San Joaquin County of California and is a former teammate of Mike Tyson, one of Cus D’amato’s fighters out of Catskill, NY.
Scully spoke on getting the former opponents together.
“I had always heard of Farrod, but never met him. When I was doing the reunion, I realized that Farrod was from the city, so I said, I got to find this guy. I thought he was almost like a mythical figure. I finally found someone who knew him,” Scully told NY FIGHTS.
Scully called Patti, who flew in from Los Angeles.
The former opponents met each other in the middle of Times Square.
What happened next captured the spirit of what the day was all about. Farrod was overwhelmed with emotion. “Tommy, what’s up,” he shouted.
Hugging and lifting Patti off the ground for several seconds, Farrod began openly weeping as they rediscovered an unbreakable connection.
Patti described the moment: “I was overwhelmed, it was one of the most special days of both our lives. I was really thankful, he was the greatest fighter I had to overcome. Kudos to John Scully for doing this.”
“What a lovely day,” said Pinchback, now a courier in New York City.
“I am not an emotional person, but that was an emotional moment,” said Scully.“The best thing from the day.”