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Forgotten Champions: James Page


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Also known as "The Mighty Quinn", James Page was the WBA welter champion from October 1998 to February 2001, making 3 successful defenses. He was a very tall welter at 5'11 and had a reach of 73 inches. On top of that, he had good boxing skills and hit hard, but was accused of being too passive sometimes and playing it safe, in his world title fights anyway. Page's career would hit rock bottom right after losing the title to Andrew Lewis and he would up retiring, only coming back once for an unsuccessful fight in 2012. Here is the story of James Page: The Mighty Quinn.

 

A native of Pittsburg, just like legends Billy Conn and Harry Greb, Page was born James Quindale Page (hence his alias) on 1 April 1971 in the Steel City. He turned pro at the age of 19, in December 1990, first fighting as a light welter. He won his first two fights by first-round TKO and went 7-0 before losing to Zack Padilla by UD6 in November 1991. After winning 3 more fights, in October 1993, he was matched against future two-time lightweight world champion Stevie Johnston and after 8 very close rounds, Johnston was awarded a majority decision. Many think it could've gone either way. In February 1996, he beat the future Fernando Vargas-challenger Ross Thompson by UD10. Just before that, he also beat the faded former WBO welter champion Genaro Leon by TKO2. In August of 1996, he surprisingly dropped a decision to the 11-5-2 Robert West, a split one. After that, things started going better for Page and in April 1998 he won the WBA Fedelatin welter title by stopping Luis Carmona by TKO3. He defended it twice, both times by TKO, before vacating it to have a go at the vacant WBA title. His opponent was the Russian Andrey Pestryaev and the fight was in Paris on 10 October '98. Page won impressively by knocking Pestryaev out in 2 rounds with a counter left and then a combo while he was on the way down. Pestryaev was also down for a flash knockdown in the first round, but was landing hard jabs when he got nailed. He was out cold. This could hardly have been a more impressive way of becoming a champion, but in his first defense, Page looked less impressive against Jose Luis Lopez, the former WBO-champion and a fast fighter with a good punch and good skills. The fight was at the Convention Center in Atlantic City, 5 December same year, and Lopez first put Page down in the third round, but then seemed to lose focus in the next few rounds, which enabled Page to bounce back. Page was again ruled down in the 9th, but he outboxed a passive Lopez for a large part of the fight, in the end winning clearly on all scorecards.

 

He started 1999 by defending against unknown Sam Garr and winning by UD, before fighting Freddie Pendleton in his third defense on 24 July, at Flamingo Hilton in Vegas. Pendleton was a tough cookie and once a world class fighter, but by then surely just a shadow of his old self. Page therefore dominated him for 10 rounds before knocking him down twice in the 11th to get the stoppage. For unknown reasons, Page was absent from the ring the entire 2000, before returning for his fourth defense on 17 February 2001, against the "new kid on the block", Andrew Lewis of Guyana. Lewis was 19-0-1 and known as a hard hitter and a strong, tough guy, who never stopped coming forward. The fight was at MGM Grand and Page suddenly looked old-it was obvious the ring rust had affected him. He was down in the second and then in the seventh round, before being stopped by TKO in the same round. That was the end of his career and sadly, not long thereafter, he fell onto a life of crime and in December that same year he lost the title, he was arrested for a robbery of a bank in Atlanta. He was sentenced to 11 years of prison. After coming out, he expressed a desire to return to boxing and applied for his license and was indeed granted it. However, when he finally got back in the ring, on 17 November 2012, against 8-9 journeyman Rahman Mustafa Yusubov, he looked very poor and was easily stopped with a series of left hooks to the head in round 2. The California Athletic Commission then retracted his license on the account of how poor he looked and said it would never re-license Page again. Thus, his career ended in a very bad and sad way and his final record became 25 wins and 5 losses, with 19 knockouts. Unfortunately, just like after the first retirement, Page again was up to no good soon thereafter and in June 2013, he was identified as the mysterious "button-down bandit" who had robbed six banks in East San Francisco area. Next year at his trial, he pleaded guilty and received a 7-year sentence. Which means he probably has been released again by now.

 

Page's story is a sad one indeed, as he wasted his title and his career away on not being active enough and then, in order to provide for himself, decided to become a criminal. As a fighter, he had all the tools one can wish for and because of his height and reach was difficult to beat for anyone-while he was prime. I don't think Page who lost to Lewis was prime anymore, obviously. Even though he had a few losses early on, most of them were on points in close fights, and he obviously learned from those losses. Here is an interview with him while he was training for his comeback fight in 2012, looking all cheerful and motivated. This was about James Page, another FORGOTTEN CHAMPION.

 

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