O'Grady - Page 3
Additionally, Sean picked up a side gig by working as a color commentator for ESPN and CBS. O’Grady’s efforts were praised and strongly suggested that the Bubblegum Kid had a future in broadcasting. Next, he ended up on Good Morning America.
But the well-earned effects of O’Grady’s win over Kenty abruptly ceased. Before he could make a defense of his newly won crown, the WBA stripped O’Grady of his title.
Prior to the O’Grady vs. Kenty bout, a fighter named Claude Noel created a controversy by suing Hilmer Kenty, his promoter Bob Arum, and the World Boxing Association. The lawsuit boiled down to this: Noel – not O’Grady – was the WBA’s number one contender; therefore, in Noel’s mind, he should have been scheduled to fight Kenty for the title.
When the case went to court, judge Stanley S. Brotman sided with Noel, and instructed the WBA to strip O’Grady of his newly won title. In addition, Brotman ruled that the winner of the O’Grady vs. Kenty fight would be given 90-days to defend the WBA bauble against Noel. At that point, O’Grady and entourage – manager mom Jeanie, and trainer dad, Pat, accepted the judge’s ruling to defend against Noel. The sticking point that finally led to O’Grady’s loss of his championship centered not around who he would fight but who would promote the fight.
Pat O’Grady wanted the promotion to be part of the family business. Bob Arum insisted that he be allowed to promote the fight. Brotman once again ruled against O’Grady. Sean’s dad responded with an unqualified refusal. Instead, Pat O’Grady formed a new organization, the World Athletic Association (or WAA) and installed Sean as one of its champions. Predictably, the WAA gained no traction and no form of legitimacy.
Regardless, the O’Grady team arranged a fight between Sean and Olympic gold medal winner, Howard Davis, Jr. and CBS was to televise the contest. Before the bout could take place, Davis, Jr. bowed out, and was replaced by power puncher Andy Ganigan, who took the fight on two-weeks’ notice. No doubt, the O’Grady camped knew Andy “The Hawaiian Punch” Ganigan was a big hitter; but the also knew that Ganigan had a weak chin and that his last three losses were all by knockout.
So the stage was set and the odds lopsidedly favored Sean O’Grady. O’Grady would be fighting at home against a weak-chinned opponent who had taken the bout on short notice. O’Grady, with his vaunted power, seemed to have a tailor-made opponent against whom to defend his WAA title. It wasn’t to be. O’Grady went down three times in the second round and was shockingly stopped by Ganigan after O’Grady decided he could trade punches with the Hawaiian pugilist.
For all intents and purposes, losing the title to Ganigan signaled the beginning of the end for O’Grady, not that he didn’t try to bounce back. O’Grady turned twenty-three and moved up to welterweight. Unable to break the cycle, the O’Grady brain trust attempted to rebuild Sean’s career once again by following the blueprint they’d used for the Bubblegum Kid’s entire career.
Sean O’Grady fought and won four times in 1982, all by stoppage. O’Grady took on Eugene Baldwin, 5-30-0, in his first fight after losing to Ganigan, stopping him in four rounds. Next up, Lupe Sanchez, sporting a 0-5-0 record, was knocked out cold in three rounds. Two more wins over Jose Hernandez (11-10-0) and Orin Butler (0-2-0) convinced O’Grady’s management to test the waters by signing on for a fight against 30-year-old veteran Pete Ranzany. Ranzany, 57-7 -2, had lost two of his last three fights, dropping a split decision to Pat Hallacy and losing a unanimous decision to Milton McCrory; but was still regarded as a solid stepping
The bout was promoted by none other than Rocky Balboa (Stallone’s first attempt at promotion) and fittingly took place at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. O’Grady, who never gave anything he did less than his best, matched the rugged Ranzany punch for punch. When the bout ended after ten grueling rounds, O’Grady stood in ring center and watched referee Richard Steele, raise Ranzany’s hand. While judge Duane Ford scored the fight even 95-95, he was overruled by Lou Tabat (94-97) and Chuck Minker (93-97) and O’Grady closed out 1982 a loser via split decision.