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Where are they now
Where are they now
Accession Number2008-800-017
TitleWhere are they now
DescriptionWhere are they Now? A story about Henry Woods by Bruce Siebol
Date CreatedSeptember 2, 1976
MediumNewspaper Image
FacilityYakima Valley Museum;
LocationLocal History Files
Subject HeadingsBoxing
Full TextHenry Woods He still looks as though he could go twelve rounds with the world junior welterweight champion. Born and raised in Yakima, Henry Woods, 62, shows few, if any, battle scars of a professional boxing career that stretched from 1929 to 1942, having 125 fights and only losing nine. Graduating from Yakima High in 1933 Henry not only fought smokers to raise money for the sports program, but also turned out for the school's track team. He started his professional fight career at the young age of 14, fighting to a draw with Mac Bledsoe in Yakima. In each of his first five fights, Henry received just $2.00. He went on to fight 64 bouts without a loss until he was defeated by Cecil Pains. Henry's biggest highlight in his career was in 1935 when he fought Barney Ross for the world junior welterweight title in Seattle. Many things led to the downfall of Woods before and during the fight. A week before the scheduled match his mom became seriously ill and was taken to the hospital in Seattle. Then a few days later Henry and his dad were in a car accident in which Henry suffered a serious cut on his right hand. He still went on with the fight, only to be hampered by a painful twisted ankle early in the contest. This injury slowed him down so he couldn't move with the cat-like grace he usually had. Henry lost his only chance at a world title by dropping a close 12-round decision. Woods went on to capture the Pacific Northwest lightweight title and the California lightweight honors. Henry credits Art Milbvan, his trainer, and friends Skeeter Lindbergh, Johnny Ray and Max Massong as the people who put his fight career on the right track. He remembers training many long hours in Art's garage in Yakima where they had a punching bag and ring set up. In 1940 Woods retired from the ring due to personal problems and traveled the seas from Greenland to the South Pacific working on a boat. Henry made a short-lived comeback in 1942 when he was docked in Oakland, California. It seems that the opponent for a young fighter, Juan Zurita, pulled out of his scheduled fight so the promoter had to find a substitute, and fast, because of the expected large crowd out to see Zurita. With only five days training Henry accepted the bout with Zurita, taking him the full ten rounds in an exciting battle in Oakland. Just a short time later Zurita became the world lightweight champion. Throughout his career, Woods was never knocked out, but once was stopped because of a cut eye in Los Angeles against a fighter whose last name was Wilson. After his last fight he traveled the seas doing work on boats. In years to follow he worked at a boat building company in Tacoma. In 1967 he wrote a very interesting book entitled "The Fundamental of Scientific Boxing". Henry, being a scientific fighter himself, teaches the boxing basics in his book. It's a good book for any young fellow wanting to learn the art of boxing. Some of the famous close friends that Henry was associated with in boxing include Max Baer, former heavyweight champion, and Dick Sadler, former trainer of heavyweight contender George Foreman. When asked to compare today's fighters to the fighters in his era he said, "The fighters in my time were a lot hungrier than the fighters today. Today's fighters can get money from the many government benefits, but back when I fought, we lived o what we made by fighting. A lot of today's fighters are backed by an organization of businessmen who pay the fighter even if he doesn't fight. It's going to take another depression to bring out the real tough fighter again." "Muhammad Ali is a real smart fighter…making money for everybody associated with him, " said Henry. "I think he will defeat Ken Norton and then retire." Just recently retired from the boat building job, he plans to stay with his parents in Yakima and work around the house. He'd like to help anyone who's interested in boxing to learn the fundamentals.
Full resolutionVolume173\woods3.tif
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